Most online poker sites host “featured games” each evening, with a qualification route via satellite tournaments for players reluctant or unable to pay the high direct buy-in. There are quite often many different formats of satellites feeding the same target poker tournament, so it is important that you pick the one to enter which gives you the best value. The GUKPT for example runs a wide variety of satellites and qualifiers to win main event seats.
What to Consider when Entering Tournament Qualifiers
How long is it going to take to qualify? Some “stage” qualification processes require that you play through numerous satellites before qualifying for the target event.
Although the sense of victory when you get there will be immense, you might have found starting your qualification campaign at an intermediate level less stressful and consequently you are not “pokered out” by the start of the featured game.
Are there a minimum number of guaranteed seats for the target tournament?
If the number of seats being offered is dependent upon the entries for the satellite and any re-buys/add-ons, you may find better value in satellites which offer a minimum number of guaranteed seats irrespective of the number of players that enter.
Look for freezeout satellites which offer “XX Seats Guaranteed”, are undersubscribed and do not have a late registration period.
Can you take advantage of late registration satellites?
Another good place to find value is in satellite games which offer late registration. You may find 30 minutes into a satellite tournament a large proportion of the original players have been eliminated, and your odds of qualifying for the target tournament have substantially improved. Although you will be at a disadvantage in respect of the chip leaders, you are not trying to win the tournament, just get into the qualification bubble.
Are You Going to be Able to Play in the Target Tournament?
This might seem like an obvious question, but may be overlooked by some players. It is a great achievement to gain entry into a tournament with a $200.00 buy-in and only paying $10.00 to get there, but if the tournament starts at 10.00pm and is unlikely to conclude within six hours, you are not getting any value from your satellite entry if you cannot stay awake to finish the game.
This is even more important if you are playing in a qualifier for a live poker event half way around the world!
Tournament qualifiers are a great way for players on a limited bankroll to get into big multi player poker tournaments that would otherwise be beyond their reach.
Remember not too spend more than the target event buy-in attempting to qualify for the featured game, and that during the early stages of tournament qualifiers (particularly in re-buy games) the standard of play is much looser than you would find in the final game.
Remember to take notes about your opponents during the qualifying stages, for even if they do not qualify for the target event in the same game as you, they still may be on your table via a different route when the target event begins.