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World Poker Tour at Bellagio nice way to jump into action

Oct 21, 2008 5:00 PM

The Inside Straight by Joe Awada |

I noted last week that I would be playing in the World Poker Tour at Bellagio and would love to see as many of you come out as possible.

These tournaments, along with the entry-level satellites, I believe, offer the best value for the new and inexperienced tournament player, who is often working with a limited bankroll.

Perhaps the biggest selling point for these events is that you can get in for a nominal amount by playing in a satellite or super satellite tournament.

A satellite tournament, for instance, is usually a single-table tournament in which the winner is awarded a seat in the main tournament.

An even better bargain is the super satellite: for a buy-in as low as $30 you can win a seat into the main tournament. Moreover, since the super satellite usually awards several seats – up to 30 or 40 seats in some cases – you don’t have the pressure of having to win all the chips in order to advance to the main tournament.

Keep in mind there’s always the possibility of negotiation in one-table satellites: you can always negotiate to get $600 or $700 rather than fighting to the end; it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. And when you’re on a limited bankroll, if you can leave a table with money you’re a step ahead of the game.

Admittedly, these early tournaments often have huge fields. But within that field you’re going to find plenty of novices and inexperienced opponents, and the chance to cash is substantially higher than in events with smaller fields.

And that, in my opinion, is crucial for the beginning player – cashing out. When you have a small bankroll, your goal should be to cash, even if you don’t win the bracelet. If you can cash early, you’re well on your way to playing in further tournaments.

And that should be your goal – to be out on the floor, playing in a tournament, hopefully using money you’ve already won.

But keep this in mind: No matter how good you think you are, you’re going to be up against players who are at least as good, if not better than you are. Basically, these fields may be smaller than the lower buy-in events, but the fields are going to be stronger.

Regardless of how you get in, or which event you choose, beginners find that the most critical time of the event is the first half hour. Emotions are high, people are excited and often impatient to make a splash. But, remember, you must play under control and not get carried away at the outset. Keep in mind, one mistake and you’re out, so play on an even keel.

Finally, I’ve found that winning a tournament depends on five key ingredients: skill, heart, patience, stamina and luck.

Next week, we’ll take a closer look at these attributes and how you can best make them work for you.