What are Satellite Tournaments?
Satellite tournaments are immensely popular in the world of online poker; and there isn’t a single poker player who hasn’t heard of or participated in one of them. A satellite tournament can be defined as a minor event, which qualifies players and provides them the buy-in to huge tournaments of international significance such as the World Series of Poker (WSOP).
How Satellite Tournaments Work
Prestigious poker tournaments with large prize pools have large buy-ins too, which players simply cannot afford. Satellite tournaments with their smaller buy-ins come to the rescue of such players; and the top participant wins a seat to the larger tournaments.
All prominent poker rooms organize satellite tournaments to enable players to participate in lucrative, live poker events such as Grosvenor UK Poker Tour (GUKPT), European Poker Tour (EPT), WSOP, and many more. While many players are unable to afford the colossal buy-in to the Main Event of one of these mega tournaments, they can easily afford the smaller buy-in to a satellite tournament that offers top players the chance to participate in these big events.
Many prominent online poker rooms such as Ladbrokes Poker, PokerStars, Blue Square, Full Tilt Poker, to mention a few, invest a lot of money on satellite tournaments. These online poker rooms offer lucrative prize packages to winners of their satellite tournaments. For example, a player trying to qualify for WSOP by participating in a satellite tournament at a particular online poker room wins a prize package to WSOP Main Event.
In most cases, the prize packages include the buy-in to the Main Event, travelling and accommodation charges, and spending money. Some poker rooms also provide players with branded clothing so that they can effectively represent the poker room at the live poker event. Some satellite tournaments offer as prizes only the buy-in to the event and winners will have to make their own travelling and accommodation arrangements.
Types of Satellite Tournaments
Online Poker rooms design a wide variety of satellite tournaments, which include single table tournaments, multi table tournaments, rebuys, freezeouts, freerolls, and so on. Players who cannot afford the buy-in to a satellite tournament can also win their way to it via feeder satellites, which are simply satellites with smaller buy-ins. Some satellite tournaments are in stages or levels, requiring players to climb the stages or levels one by one in order to win the prize package.
Participating in Satellite Tournaments
Joining an online poker room only to participate in satellite tournaments is not a good idea. Satellite tournaments are not really lucrative; the only prize one can win is a seat to a tournament of greater significance. So, players are not advised to spend their own money on satellite tournaments. If they lose the satellite tournament, they lose their hard-earned money too.
First, players must join an online poker room and avail of all the welcome bonuses. Then, they must fatten their bankrolls by earning points and playing real money games and cash tournaments at the online poker room. The points and the cash won at the poker site can then be reinvested in satellite tournaments.
The winner of a satellite tournament must participate in the live poker event he/she has just qualified for. So, before participating in a satellite tournament, players must ensure that they can really participate in the event they are qualifying for. They must avoid participating if they cannot travel or take days off work.
Many players participate in satellite tournaments without bothering about the fact that they cannot travel or get leave. Such players must be aware that the prize packages given away to the winners of satellite tournaments are non transferable and non refundable in most poker sites, with a few exceptions. This means that players must participate or forfeit the prize package; demanding a cash equivalent is out of the question.
Satellite tournaments are the means by which a serious poker player’s dreams of getting into professional poker can come true. They can be aptly called the stepping stones to poker success. Innumerable players have made it to live poker events of international significance such as WSOP by simply investing a few dollars in a satellite tournament held in an online poker room.