Play One-Table Tournaments and Satellites online

The structure of a standard one-table no-limit hold'em satellite has ten players playing. Each player is sitting with $800 to $1000 in chips. The blinds are $10-$15 in the first level of play. It increases to $15-$30 in the second round, and go up to $25-$50 in the third round, $50-$100 in the fourth round, and $100-$200 in the fifth round and so on through the remaining of the tournament. While you are playing these one-table tournaments, you can take help of the betting charts.

The First Round

The number of players in the game decides the relative strength of a starting hand. When the game is ten-handed, you need a stronger starting hand to play than you would need when the game is five-handed, for example. A weak hand should be thrown away when the game is ten-handed whereas it might be playable when the table is short. Also remember that when the game is ten-handed in the initial of the satellite, there isn't much blind money in the pot to fight form so you are less reason to try to steal pots with marginal hands.

Your position at the table is very important in no-limit hold'em. You should play more conservatively in early position. In the first three positions after the blind, you certainly want to play only premium hands and bring it in for a raise when you enter the pot. On the other hand, you can play liberally from middle to last position in un-raised pots when the pot is short-handed i.e. two or three limpers have entered the pot. You should look for a situation where you can win the pot and maybe double up, all the while trying to avoid getting eliminated. Always keep in mind that you cannot win the satellite during the first round of poker play but you can lose even if you make a minor mistake.

Marginal hands can get you into trouble in no-limit hold'em than they are in limit hold'em games. The blinds are very small in relation to the risks involved. You could lose your entire stack with this marginal hand. You might want to slow-play with your pocket aces or pocket kings in the first round of betting expecting that someone will raise and you can re-raise him.

The Second Round

At the second round, the blinds go up to $10-$25. The second round is more or less same like the first round. You are watching the player who is playing fast, who's tight and who's frightened. You should looking for people that you might be able to steal the pot from - later on as well as identifying players who might try to steal from you. Knowing these things, you can decide who to play with when somebody comes in for a raise and can better judge what kinds of hands you want to play.

The Third Round

Now at this level, about seven or eight players are left at the table. The blinds increase to $25-$50, meaning that it costs you $75 per round to play. The normal raise is $150-$200. You should continue playing your hand conservatively in the third level, all the while looking for an opportunity to double up with a premium poker hand.

The Fourth Round

The blinds have increased to $50-$100. Now you have to pick up a few more pots because with fewer players still in action, the blinds are coming much faster. Your main object is to accumulate your chip position if you already have a lot of chips or gain on the chip leaders if you are trailing. At the least, you want to be alive in the game and maintain your relative chips position.

Players are playing more aggressively in order to pick up the blinds. Even the tighter players have to start opening up their game (playing looser) because of the big blinds and the smaller field of players. From the fourth round, it is very important to know when your chips are at risk, when you need to improve your chip position by accumulating some chips.

Stealing the blinds becomes very important at the fourth level and you are always trying to figure out who is out of line (playing a weak hand) when they try to steal your blind. You are reading your rivals and trying to figure out what they actually have. If you are sure that you have the best hand and you think your rivals are weak, you can try to make them lay down a hand by coming over the top of them (re-raising or moving all-in) before the flop. You are not looking to see the flops you want to win it before the flop. When you come over the top of someone, or raise trying to steal the blinds, remember that you are making a play in the expectation of improving your chip position.

If you get broke in one of these plays you run into a better hand or you get down out on that is a part of the game. In order to play no-limit hold'em game perfectly well, you must make these plays when it is the correct time.

The Fifth Round

The blinds are $100-$200. There are about five or six players left in action at this level. If possible, you don't want to let your chips get so low that it would be correct for your rivals to call any bet that you make. If you have twice the size of the big blind, your rivals should call you with all sorts of weak hands - they are usually correct in doing so. Having four times the size of the big blind will give you a chance to pick up a pot.

If you are down to two or three times the size of the big blind and you have a truly hopeless hand like a 7-2 or 8-3 what would you do in this situation? If it is most likely that your rival will call you, you would better off waiting for the big blind with chips (you are in either first or second place). Paul is the short stack and he definitely needs chips. He goes all-in for $400, double your big blind. What would you do?

You call him with any ace, any pair and any two cards ten or higher, any king-small you can call him with any reasonable two cards if you are at the lead and his all-in bet is no more than double the big blind. Why? This is because you have a chance to take him out of action? What if he only has $300 and goes all-in? You don't want to double him up, but sometimes you have to take that risk.

If you have the three times the big blind, calling would not be the correct at this level there aren't any two card that you just call with. If you play a poker hand, you are going for all your chips. You cannot fear of going broke. In no-limit hold'em when you move all in, you are making a calculated gamble that your rivals don't have a hand that they can call you with. You are just trying to make money in such kind of bad situations.

Why you gamble more with a short stack than you do with a big stack? This is because you are forced to do it. You want that your chip position should be improved. When the stack is short, one thing you want is to go - up. Your stack is so short that you want to make your stack of chips at the top level. You are going to change your chip position in any way - either just quit the game or get more and more chips.

For example, you are holding a premium hand such as A-A, A-K, A-Q or even A-J. With this hand you don't care with whom you are playing against, although you might prefer going against the shorter stack (assuming that the rival calls your all-in raise) because if you win the pot, you will knock him out and will have equal chips to the big stack.

The Sixth Round

At the sixth round, the blinds are $150-$300. You are playing against three players or less. There is no limping. If you have any reasonable hand, then play with it. You don't have to think much when the pot is only three-handed. However, you need to be careful when you are playing ten-handed pot.

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