Sorel Mizzi on closing out satellites
For the first time ever, we're lucky enough to welcome the strategic musings of brand new Betfair Sponsored Pro, Sorel "Imper1um" Mizzi - a veritable colossus in the world of online poker! See when it is OK to fold AA.
"In satellites, players usually start off with more chips and the blinds move up slower, better players usually have a clear edge and therefore there is tons of value in playing them. Early in the satellite, play your standard game - this article will focus on the strategy to employ late in a satellite (specifically around the bubble) when your talent will really be tested.
Advice for big stacks:
Increase your raise frequency: You can easily justify raising every hand in a lot of circumstances in a satellite. Keep your raise sizes to 2.2 - 2.7x as it will have the same effect as raising 3x but save chips in the long run.
Pick on exploitable stacks and tight players that raise in position: No matter how tight a player is or you think he is, they need to eat too. Tight players usually look for obvious steal spots (button, cutoff, sb) to accumulate chips and they usually get away with it. But not when they're raising in position behind someone with a trained eye! Use the information that they're tight against them by re-raising them in spots where they could easily be opening with marginal hands that they will fold to a re-raise. Also, look out for players who make standard raises in position with exploitable stacks where you know (and they know) that they would still have a good number of chips if they fold to your re-raise but at the same time don't have enough chips to have fold equity if they shove (generally 11-20x bb stacks)
You want the bubble to be prolonged for as long as possible: Keep shortstacks alive by folding to a lot of shoves, even with hands you'd normally call with in a regular MTT. You're not looking to win hands with showdowns, you're looking to pick up small to medium sized pots pre-flop and sometimes on the flop with manipulative re-raises and well timed aggression.
Advice for medium stacks (13-24 BB's):
Look for spots to re-steal against aggressive opponents, particularly aggressive opponents with with 15-25 BB's. The last thing you want to do is piss off a big stack that might spite call you.
Advice for short stacks (12 BB's and lower):
Shove a wide range of hands in position
Try not to call off your chips pre-flop unless you're extremely confident that you're very ahead of your opponents range (you want to be about a 70% favourite when calling a shove in most weak satellite fields. The reason you should be calling off your chips in weaker fields is because weaker players have tighter calling ranges when you shove, so there are going to be several spots where you can accumulate chips with aggression rather than just calling off your chips in a marginal spot.
Satellites are the only form of poker where folding Aces preflop can be easily justified. Eg. you're 2nd in chips with 5 left and 4 people get a seat.. chip leader is open shoving every single hand preflop (as he should be) and there are 2 shorstacks on the table. When the chip leader open shoves, obviously his range is huge, but despite this, any hand, including AA is an "insta-muck" considering you're almost guaranteed a seat if you just sit back and try to maintain."
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