Poker Satellite Tournament: Escalate Your Winnings

Poker Satellite Tournament: Escalate Your Winnings

You’ve probably heard about Chris Moneymaker and how his $86 satellite tournament buy-in at PokerStars earned him a win valued at $2.5 million. Moneymaker partook in this Poker satellite tournament just for fun. According to the ‘Poker Kid’, there was a stage in the tournament when he considered selling his spot for $5,000. However, since the rules prevented him from doing so, he rallied to the final, and he won!

As far as rags to riches stories go, Chris Moneymaker’s might just rank amongst the top 10 in the poker world. Although his win prompted the online poker boom (2003 to 2006), the question arises: is a poker satellite tournament still worth considering in 2003?

This casino news examines if buying into a poker satellite tournament is an intelligent decision or whether it’s all shades of risk.

A Poker Satellite Tournament Defined

Understanding what a poker satellite tournament entails is the first step to determining if they’re worth your time.

For starters, these competitions allow players with smaller bankrolls to feature in a more expensive and rewarding tournament without splurging too much cash. You could partake in a $20 buy-in poker satellite tournament that issues slots in a distinct $200 match. As such, for every 10 bettors that join the competition, a $200 tournament ticket will be available.

Therefore, if 200 players are featured as the tournament begins, a $4,000 prize pool will be available. In a regular poker tournament, this amount is shared amongst the top performers, and the winner will earn 10 to 15% of the total pot value.

However, in a poker satellite tournament, the rules are different. Using our $4,000 satellite tournament prize pool as an example, the best 20 players will get a $200 tournament ticket, and those who rank below will receive nothing. Note that these tickets aren’t transferable from one player to another. This distinct rule applies to online and live satellite tournaments.

It’s pertinent to note that poker satellite tournaments have distinct variants, with the notable revolving around the following:

  • Freezeout Poker Multi Table Tournaments (MTTs)
  • Sit and GO’s
  • Rebuys
  • Knockouts

Seeking Success in a Poker Satellite Tournament?

Regardless of the poker satellite tournament variation you choose, the aim is straightforward — trump other players and get past the bubble. Since high-ranking players earn the same prize (a tournament ticket), you need to get a stack to see your rank among the ticket-receiving players. Once you’ve achieved this, you can rest easy

But the question beckons — how can you steer clear from the bubble?

For starters, if you’ve got a stack that exceeds the value held by other players, it’ll be best to play conservatively and pay attention to your position. That way, those with smaller stacks compete against each other and cancel themselves out, giving you the leeway to progress.

Although the benefits of playing poker online seem extensive, primarily while being engaged in a poker satellite tournament, be smart with available funds. The standard rule of thumb is gambling with 5% of your bankroll during tournaments — for satellites, you could reduce your stakes to 3 to 4% of your total wagers.

Towing the conservative gameplay and spending route is excellent, as satellites reward top bettors with tickets for higher tournaments. Therefore, it’ll be best to save funds while you can to facilitate wagers in these competitions and hope for a Moneymaker-esque adventure.

Pros and Cons of Poker Satellite Tournaments

Although players featured in the Global Poker Index ranking buy into satellite tournaments often, it’s pertinent to note that while associated competitions are great, they wield some unsavory aspects.

Without further ado, let’s gain some context:


  • Adopting a simple strategy can see you rank high.
  • Buy-ins are relatively inexpensive.
  • Variance is decent when compared to values linked to MTTs.
  • Offers the opportunity to enter a poker tournament featuring professionals and mind-boggling rewards.
  • Some online casino sites fielding table games like poker allow players to redeem tickets gained from satellite tournaments into real cash!


  • Limited winnings, regardless of how high you rank.
  • These competitions can be time-consuming as specific variants require playing the associated target tournament. The gameplay structure makes satellites less enjoyable.

Final Thoughts

So, are poker satellite tournaments worth it? If you’re hoping to tow the path of Chris Moneymaker, YES! However, it’ll be best to consider other poker competitions, as satellites might offer less excitement and reward levels than you seek. Visit Vegas Aces Casino to play notable online poker games.

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