We are at the approximate halfway point of our 888poker World Series of Poker Main event satellite series and now at Step 3. The buy ins are starting to get more serious as $1 now marks the entry fee to hop on the ladder.
As with Step 2, there is a slower structure in this step. Blinds go up every six minutes, rather than the five in Step 2 and three in Step 1. All entrants start with 2,000 chips and have rebuy options open for the first 10 levels of the satellite. Most importantly, instead of one out of every 10 entrants earning a seat to the next step, one of five advance.
With this new dynamic comes a need to adjust in strategy. Luckily for players, the newest member of the 888poker team, Parker ‘Tonkaaaa’ Talbot has just the suggestions anyone might need.
“Satellites are a game where if you study enough, any tournament becomes soft. People make mistakes in all of them and someone could stack off with a big stack. Overall, satellites are profitable.”
All of the 888poker team pros featured thus far in this series have offered strategy advice for how best to avoid bubbling and in turn, failing to move on to the next step. Talbot offers similar advice and suggests being aware of the playing habits of your opponents.
“Don’t stack off on the bubble. Play the first half as you would a regular tournament. Making a 10 big blind shove on the button should be more profitable than calling with ace-king in the big blind.”
Most of all, Talbot recommends players live by the saying of “shove wide, call tight” in order to be most profitable when making decisions for large portions of chips.
Fellow 888team pro and 2015 WSOP November Niner Bruno Politano is in agreement with Talbot. Politano suggests players treat it like a standard MTT and then ramp up the aggression late when chips are of the utmost importance.
“I think the strategy for the lower satellites is to make it seem like a regular tournament. Play tight in the first levels and aggressive in the middle and the final stages. The important mental part is to not lose your focus because it’s a lower step. Play the first step like you will play the last step and you will have more of a chance to win all your steps.”
Now that we are midway through the steps to qualify for the Main Event, our next part in the series will focus on how players should attack Step 4, the $5 section, before making their way into the world of Steps 5 and 6.