More for less
At this year's World Series of Poker Asia Pacific, I won my entry to the $10,000 Main Event via satellite. I have to say - it feels great to satellite into a big event. Since I was planning to play the Main Event no matter what, winning a seat via satellite felt like being given free money.
If you're somebody who looks after your bankroll well, it's a big plus to try to satellite into events whenever you can. Many premier poker tournaments cost $10,000 to enter. That's a chunk of anybody's bankroll. I love the fact that I'm sponsored by PokerStars and that, much of the time, the buy-in is not a headache for me. But when it comes to WSOP events or the Aussie Millions, to be able to win a seat via satellite is a big help.
Practicing satellites is also a great way to preview the kind of field you'll face in the main event and to get a feel for how the game is played by locals in that region. Then as you play the main event, and you come across those types of players, you can make an initial judgment about how they will play.
Down in Melbourne, I was at the same satellite table as Chad Brown. I know how Chad plays - I've seen him many times on the circuit. But the locals, the players that I haven't seen or met before, I didn't have much information on them. It's always good to gather that information prior to walking into a $10,000 tournament.
You have to be prepared not to win a seat on your first try, however. If the satellite only pays a seat to 1 in 9, it may take a few tries for you to win one. With satellites, it's almost like a rebuy. You've already put money in the pool and there's no guarantee when you'll win one. You just have to keep playing and don't stop until the satellites stop running (as long as your bankroll can stand it!) If you're an amateur poker player whose bankroll isn't huge, you may want to set a limit before you sit down at your first satellite for an event. Three times might be your maximum number of tries at a seat.
Keep in mind that your bankroll should dictate your personal satellite guidelines whether you're already at the event or whether you're trying to satellite into an event on PokerStars. Most PokerStars live events offer online satellites, usually in two formats: 3x-turbo rebuys and a more expensive format that offers more "proper" play. I enjoy playing the 3x-turbo rebuys, even though they can be rather tilting at times and my record in them is not the best!
Remember - just because you win a seat to an event via satellite doesn't mean you have to stop playing satellites for that event. A lot of people keep playing and get two or three seats and use that money towards other events, both live and online. There are satellite specialists who make money just purely off the satellites.
Satellites are a great bankroll management tool for every poker player out there. They don't replace the thrill of making a deep run in a major tournament, but they can help you get there.
Celina Lin is a member of Team PokerStars Pro