There’s nothing quite like bagging one of the major online poker tournaments at Ignition's site, whether it’s the daily $10K Guaranteed, the weekly $100K Guaranteed High Roller, or even the main event at a major festival like the Super Millions Poker Open. But what if you don’t have enough money in your bankroll to play in one of these big main online poker tournaments?

Not a problem. Instead of buying in directly, you can win your seat for a fraction of the cost by playing one of the many poker qualifiers series running at Ignition's site. If you are successful in your strategy in using the latter method, you win a Tournament Ticket that you can use to enter your target event. Either way of getting in is fine, but if you happen to be working with a smaller bankroll, poker satellites will be a better choice for you to enter the series.

What Is a Poker Tournament Satellite?

The terms “qualifier” and “satellite” are used pretty much interchangeably these days when you play in the poker world online. These are special tournament events because the prize pool is made up of Tournament Tickets instead of cash. There will usually be a guaranteed number of Tickets up for grabs; if enough players enter the satellite, then more Tickets may be added to the pool and become live. The satellite will play out until there are as many players left in the field as there are Tickets to be won – then the tournament ends and the winners get their reward. In some satellites, there might also be a small cash prize for the last player who gets eliminated on the bubble.

Differences Between Satellites and Regular Poker Tournaments

The lower buy-ins, the prize pools and the “early” endings that come with satellite tournaments are the key differences in comparison to standard online poker tournaments in the poker world. In addition, satellites tend to have shorter stacks and/or blind levels, in order to keep the action flowing. There will usually be several opportunities to “satty” your way into a major tournament; if it’s one of the later events that ends after the target event has begun, you will be whisked automatically to your seat and start playing at whatever blind level they’ve reached. Otherwise, you’ll have to register and cash in your Tournament Ticket to play the main events online at Ignition's site.

How to Play Satellite Poker Tournaments

Satellites offer some of the softest series you’ll find in this real money poker world. Since the buy-ins are lower than their target tournaments, the competition level in these events tends to be weaker, although many of our high-rollers at Ignition will also try to satty into major tournaments rather than pay up front. You’ll need to play a more exploitative strategy of poker in order to take advantage of the softer players in the poker world. If you find an opponent who’s too passive, bluff more and call less. If they’re too aggressive, bluff less and call more. Find the best strategy that works for you.

At the same time, since the satellite ends once the number of players remaining matches the number of Tickets to be won, it pays to be ultra-cautious in many spots – unless there’s only one Ticket in the prize pool. It is best to pick the strategy best for you to play at Ignition's poker site. The satellite is the one place in Texas Hold’em where it can actually make sense to fold pocket Aces preflop. If you’ve already accumulated a big stack of chips, enough for you to fold the rest of the way and still win your Ticket, there’s nothing to be gained by opening any hand, even the best hand in Hold’em.

This might take some getting used to, especially if you’re an aggressive player. There’s no value in “bossing” a satellite and running up your stack once you’ve got the chips you need. Don’t forget, pocket Aces will lose to Seven-Deuce offsuit nearly 12% of the time at showdown if you get all the chips in preflop. Let someone else try to knock opponents out instead, and assume the risk that comes with getting into these confrontations.

While online poker satellites series have relatively small buy-ins, it’s still important to have a sound bankroll management strategy before entering. As a general rule, keep your roll divided into smaller units and avoid risking more than a certain amount of units in any one tournament. How many units will depend on how many people are playing the satellite in question, how many Tickets are in the prize pool, and how big of an edge you think you have over the competition. Satellites can also have higher variance than regular poker tournaments, so increase your buy-in requirements accordingly.

Poker Tournament Tickets

If you’re not familiar with using Tournament Tickets at Ignition Poker, these vouchers act as a form of currency that you can use only for entering tournaments – no cash games, and no redeemable cash value, either. You can collect Tournament Tickets to these poker events by winning a qualifier, or by converting some of your Poker Points at Ignition's site. Most of your Tickets will be for specific events like the $100K Guaranteed, but you can also collect generic Tournament Tickets that can be used for any event at the specified buy-in, like “Any $10+$1” and “Any $20+$2.”

There are two different ways you can view your accumulated Poker Tournament Tickets in the Ignition Poker client: in the Main Poker Lobby, listed under your Playable Balance, and by checking My Poker when you use the Account Button. You should find one of the following four status levels posted for your Tickets:

- Unused: Tickets that are still eligible to be used for entering a poker tournament.

- Redeemed: Tickets that have already been used to enter, but the poker tournament hasn’t started yet.

- Used: Tickets that have been used to enter tournaments that are now underway or complete.

- Expired: Tickets that were not used and are no longer active.

If you haven’t already, take a moment to look at your Poker Tournament Tickets to make sure you haven’t forgotten any of them. If a Ticket is about to expire, use it now to enter an eligible tournament that’s running later on – don’t let it disappear just because you don’t have the time to play right now. Remember: A Tournament Ticket is a terrible thing to waste in this poker world.