Satellite tournaments are smaller buy-in tournaments where you compete to win a seat in a large poker even for a much smaller cost than you would pay to buy directly into the big event. The amount of seats the satellite tournament awards is determined by the amount of players in the satellite and the difference in buy-in between the satellite tournament and the big event. The ratio difference between the buy-in of the big event and the buy-in of the satellite will be the same ratio between the amount of players who bought into the satellite tournament and the amount of seats that are awarded. For example if you are playing in a $10 satellite to a $500 event, 1 out of every 50 players wins a seat. Satellites are great opportunities for players to try to take a shot at some big games that fall without their bankroll management range.
The huge difference between satellite tournaments and regular tournaments is that there is no difference in prize between every player who cashes. All the winning players receive the same thing, that being a seat or a token to a larger tournament. This difference can change your strategy in a few ways that we have outlined below.
See a lot of flops early on
As a rule of thumb, satellite tournaments have more fish than regular tournaments. A lot of winning players don’t see satellites as a good use of their time, because you don’t actually win any money. The fact there are a lot of fish means you should see a lot of flops early on and try to make a big hand to double up with. That being said you should still only be making good calls from good positions and not wasting your chips. Success in a satellite tournament is made a lot easier if you have chips early on.
Avoid coin flip situations early
You don’t want to risk your tournament on a coin flip early on. IN most satellite tournaments your starting stack is of a greater value than half of a doubled up stack. This is because the entire goal of a satellite tournament is survival. Of course the degree of this changes depending on what percentage of the players in the tournament win a seat.
Late satellite tournament big stack play
If you were able to accumulate a large stack through the early and middle stages of the tournament you should now be playing tight and holding onto the chips that you have. Avoid confrontation with other tall stacks that can do harm to you. If you have enough chips to wait out the tournament, then do so. An example would be if you are in 5th out of 22 players in a satellite tournament that awards 18 seats and you are dealt QQ. The chip leader raised the pot from early position. This is a time when you should probably fold this hand and just try to wait out 4 more busts. Since the relative value of the extra chips you would earn by winning this hand is basically 0, there is no reason whatsoever for you to risk busting out of the tournament when you have enough chips to survive.
Late satellite tournament short stack play
If you weren’t able to accumulate many chips through the early stages and are now one of the short stacks you need to try to win chips and avoid bubbling. In satellite tournaments the best players to raise are the medium stack players who you can still do damage to and who are trying to wait out the last few busts. You should be coming over top of their blinds from late position when you get the chance. You should only go after the monster stacks and short stacks with quality hands. The huge stacks aren’t really worried about winning a seat and will likely call just to try to finish the tournament faster. Short stacks are in the same position as you and would be looking to double up with any good hand as well.
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Carbon Poker sit and go tournaments can be very good value for the players who are able to use the tournament structure to their advantage. The fact that 1 out of every 3 players get paid is different than most 18 player tournaments in which only 4 players cash. The extra two players cashing, along with 1st through 5th being the same prize allows you to play a much tighter game in order to hold on for a cash. Another reason the tournaments can be good value is because the first half of the tournament is played at two tables. If your table doesn’t play as many hands as the other this means that there is a greater chance of players from the other table busting before players from yours. A lot of players will just be scheduled tournament players who are used to very large fields and are just looking for tokens to some bigger buy-in MTT’s. You can take advantage of these players by using the tournaments structure to your advantage. Here’s how:
Play tight and aggressive early on
Your objective early in the tournament is to stay close to your starting chip count and not play many hands. If you do get a big hand early of course you should play it and try to gain some chips or double up. Play big hands aggressively at this stage though. You do not want to let people catch hands against you and bust you from the tournament at this stage. Remember to stay tight. It’s actually possible to cash in these tournaments without every playing a hand. Extremely rare, but possible.
Slow down your table
You can slow down your table by taking the maximum amount of time allowed for you to make every decision. The logic behind this is that if your table plays fewer hands than the second table, the second table players will have more hands to possibly bust on, as well as have more blinds being put into the middle. Obviously once you reach the final table this is no longer beneficial.
All in or fold with 10 times the big blind or less
Once the blinds have increased to a point where you have 10 times the big blind or less you have to start either pushing or folding. You can no longer afford to call or raise because you don’t have enough chips to make moves after the flop. At this point the only call you should possibly be making is from the small blind, with no other callers in front of you.
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Watch the blind increases
Once it gets down near the bubble the blinds will be very large. At this point it would be smart to start managing the blinds are trying to be in the button seat when the big blinds increase. The 200 chip difference between levels could be the little difference between bubbling and cashing.
Do not be the bubble boy
This goes without saying. You do not want to finish in 7th position and have played the entire tourney with nothing to show for it. If you are a shorter stack near the bubble you should be checking if you or other short stacks will be having their chips forced in first. If other players will be forced in by the blinds before you, it may be smart to wait and hope that their cards don’t hold up when they are pushed all-in. If it is you who will be the next person forced in you should be looking to push all-in sooner rather than later. When choosing when to move in you should take into consideration your position, the other players chip stacks and tendencies and of course your hole cards. A perfect situation would be pushing from the button with a good hand on players in about 4th or 5th who would not want to risk crippling their stacks and doubling you up.
On the other hand if you have managed to develop a large stack heading into the late stages of the tournament you should try to coast into the money and not risk your chips. You should try not to play many pots with other large stacks. Remember there is no difference in prize money between first and fifth so be stingy at this point and don’t risk your chips.
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In online poker you don’t have as much information as in live poker to determine whether your opponent has a strong hand, but there are still some things you can look for when it is your opponents turn to act.
- In general if a player thinks for a while and then decides to raise he is not bluffing. The player likely thinks they have the best hand and they were deciding how much you would call.
- In limit poker a quick raise preflop will usually mean the player has top pair.
- In limit poker a quick call with two flush cards on the flop will usually mean a draw.
- If a player raises very quickly it will generally mean they are either bluffing or have only a moderate hand.
There are many other tells that are unique to individual players that usually have to do with the amount the player bets or the time it takes the player to act. If you can watch these two things and find some tendencies of certain players you should be able to beat them consistently.
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I am a semi experienced player of this game, but I do have an idea of how 7-Stud Hi-Lo should be played. I would like to pass on the little I have learnt, mainly for the benefit of those forum members wanting to play in the upcoming HORSE game who may know less than me, so please do not treat the following as being definitive.
I thought a Question and Answer format would be appropriate:
Q. What type of starting hands should be played?
A. That depends on the amount of players in the game. You should always play only those hands which are likely to result in a scoop of the entire pot. At a table of between five to eight players you should mostly be trying to build hands that will be in contention to win both High and Low. Once it gets down to four players or less you should mostly be aiming to make a high hand.
Q. So, which specific starting hands should be played when there are at least five players at the table?
A. Three low cards (eight or under) to a straight/flush/straight flush; trips; three low with an ace (difficult hand to play); pair of aces with a low card; two low and one high card to a flush; three cards to a high straight flush. If playing at a tight table you can play low paired hands such as 447, 556, 66A etc.
Q. Which starting hands should be played at a table of four players or less?
A. Paired hands as for a tight table above; trips; high pairs, especially a pair of aces with high kicker; 99A; 1010A; . All of these hands can also be played at a table that is very tight.
Q. Which hands should not usually be played?
A. High straights and high flushes; unconnected low cards without an ace or flush possibilities; 99X; 1010X.
Q. How do I play the above starting hands at a full table?
A. It all depends on what cards the other players are showing. If you see five low cards (including your door card), your chances of making a low are slim. If you have AA5 and you see another ace and a five at the table, your chances for high are slim. You need to be playing live cards with plenty of outs.
Q. So how should the betting go if I decide that my starting hand is a possible contender for a scoop of the pot?
A. Either complete/raise the bet with a door card ace or fold. Otherwise just call. Completing or raising the bet if there is an ace in front of you, and just calling if there is an ace behind you is the “advanced” play.
Q. How do I proceed on fourth street?
A. Usually fold if you do not improve your hand on fourth street. If you started with three to a low, and you failed to catch a fourth, check and fold. If you started with AAx and fail to make aces up or trips, check and fold. If you failed to catch low to your high card flush draw, fold. If you have a draw to a good low, bet or raise aggressively until the river unless a better low is likely or raising will make the high draws fold. Or you may feel more comfortable just checking and calling to see what fifth street brings. Usually just call with a flush or straight draw, but be aggressive with two pair or trips.
Q. And on fifth street?
A. Look around the table to see who has hit and who hasn’t. Check if any upcards were needed to help your hand. Bet your two pairs, trips and lows/low draws unless there are much better hands showing, such as a pair of Aces (or any likely trips) or suited/straightening lows. Watch the action (and the players) to get clues as to the kinds of hands out. If good for low, reraise any callers for high if they will call you. If good for high, make low draws pay to hit their low. Just call with flush and straight draws that may not also make a low. Obviously bet a made straight or flush unless slow playing is preferable.
Q. What about sixth street?
A. Same as fifth street, but more so.
Q. And seventh?
A. If good only for high, do not reraise a made low unless a worse high is also in, and the low won’t also be a high. If good for low reraise the highs to the max.
Q. How do I play if it is shorthanded?
A. Aim mostly for high hands. Complete the bring-in more often, especially heads-up.
Q. Anything else I should know?
A. Be alert. Use commonsense. Be aggressive when you need to be, but know when to slow down and fold when your hand fails to hit the cards it needed. Bet with only your scary looking upcards when the game is tight. Be patient.