My Satellite Experience

On Friday March 10th, I decided to participate in a satellite at Lucky Chances for their $330 buy-in no rebuy $15,000 guaranteed limit hold-em tournament to be held the next day (the 11th). Each of us 10 paid $40. First place was a $330 non-refundable buy-in, second place was $40, the remaining $30 for juice.

I had no expectations at all of winning. I wanted some practice and my only goal was to not be first out.

We started out with T200. The first three rounds (10 minutes each!) would be 10-20, 15-30, and 25-50. After the break (and color-up), we'd go to 50-100, 100-200, and if necessary, 200-400.

I don't remember much about the first rounds. I won one pot but otherwise wasn't catching too many cards and was staying out of trouble.

At the break there were five players left and I was down to T100 (including winning one chip in the Orleans style color-up). The next lowest stack had T150, the other three had about 500-700.

The limits were 50-100 and I had the small blind. I made it a point to not look at my cards until it was my action. The next-smallest stack was UTG and he limped. The cutoff and button folded. I looked and saw QJ. With only a few more hands before being blinded off, I raised all-in. The BB folded and UTG called. We didn't expose our hands (this would change later). I flopped a Q, and my opponent didn't improve his K3s. Including the BB, I'd doubled-up-and-a-half.

I now went on a pretty good rush. I raised pre-flop with AQ, was called, flopped a Q and won after a bet on the flop. I showed it for advertising. Later I had AT, raised it pre-flop and took down the blinds.

Now for a critical hand. There are three players left. I have T500 and am in the #2 chip position. The limits are 100-200, and I'm in the BB. The button (#3 chip position) folds. The chip leader is in the SB and he raises. I look and see Ah-Th. I three-bet him and he quickly calls. I think, "he's got a hand he likes".

The flop is As-Jh-8h. He bets. I think, "There's 600 in the pot now so I have the right odds for my draw, but if I don't catch the flush, how good is my kicker? He's likely to have an ace, though he might try to push me off with cowboys. And if he's got a flush draw too, I have the nut flush draw." I raise. He thinks for a bit then calls.

By now, we've drawn a pretty good crowd around us. The dealers puts out the turn and river. Blanks. I missed the flush. I show down my AT. He puts out Ac-Kd. I'm out-kicked. I start to stand up and leave. The director says, "Wait! You have a straight!" I stare again at the board: As-Jh-8h-7c-9s. Holy shit, I think. The crowd behind me is buzzing. I take down the T1000 pot. I'm the chip leader!

I'm ahead by about a 10-7-3 margin. I concentrate on trying to knock out the short stack and propose a deal, but I can't get the cards. In addition, the former chip leader is attacking my blinds and I can't get anything remotely useful to try to bluff-reraise him (let alone a legitimate hand).

I lose the chip lead and we're about 2:1:1 in size. I propose a three-way deal (which I'd seen end the last satellite), but the leader says it's his 4th satellite so he doesn't even want to give up $40 to the 3rd place player.

My cards have totally dried up. Finally the end comes. I'm in the SB (still at 100-200). The button/leader folds. I see Q5s. I raise all-in. The BB has about 250 and calls. Now we expose our hands. He has 87! The flop is 5-6-x, pairing me and giving him an open-ender. The turn is a 6. The river is a 7. IGHN.

I left the table so I don't know how it finished.

Even though I came in the worst position, I still had a lot of fun. I'd like to play in some more of these. Maybe if I go to TARGET I'll try some of the WSOP satellites.