Dara O'Kearney (Satellite Specialist) - Ask Me Anything about satellites/knockouts

Dara OKearney

Dara OKearney

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Hi Cardschat,

I am Dara O’Kearney, known as Doke online. I am an Irish poker professional tournament player, with over $1 million in live earnings and more than $3 million in online MTTs, not to mention 8 PocketFives Triple Crowns.

I am perhaps best known for being a satellite specialist. I have won over $1 million in online satellites alone and have just written a new book on this subject called Poker Satellite Strategy:

Away from the tables I am the co-host of the Global Poker Award winning Chip Race Podcast and sponsored by unibet Poker. Prior to poker I was an ultra marathon runner

Cardschat have kindly agreed to let me do an Ask Me Anything thread where you can ask me anything at all about satellites and tournament strategy. This will be on an ongoing basis, I’ll be checking in most weeks starting this one to answer your questions and to begin with I will be around tomorrow to answer the first batch.

Also this month I will give a free copy of my book on Apple iBooks to my favourite question, once a week for the next four weeks.

AMA


Dara
 
Edison A

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Hello Dara, welcome to Cardschat, just a question, at what time in a satellite should you change the modality of your game?
 
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daveshoelace

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Can you remember the last big mistake you made in a satellite? Last time you made a push or fold or call where you later realised it was close but a mistake?
 
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tayday79

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Hi Cardschat,

I am Dara O’Kearney, known as Doke online. I am an Irish poker professional tournament player, with over $1 million in live earnings and more than $3 million in online MTTs, not to mention 8 PocketFives Triple Crowns.

I am perhaps best known for being a satellite specialist. I have won over $1 million in online satellites alone and have just written a new book on this subject called Poker Satellite Strategy:

Away from the tables I am the co-host of the Global Poker Award winning Chip Race Podcast and sponsored by Unibet Poker. Prior to poker I was an ultra marathon runner

Cardschat have kindly agreed to let me do an Ask Me Anything thread where you can ask me anything at all about satellites and tournament strategy. This will be on an ongoing basis, I’ll be checking in most weeks starting this one to answer your questions and to begin with I will be around tomorrow to answer the first batch.

Also this month I will give a free copy of my book on Apple iBooks to my favourite question, once a week for the next four weeks.

AMA


Dara
what is your tips for making the final table more than once. because i think most people make it by luck of good hands being dealt.
 
MattRyder

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Hey Dara - I have a personal attributes question.

Tom Hall says in the beginning of your book "Lots of players do not have the discipline to be good at satellites." He seems to be talking about volume and the ability to make many profitable plays with little time available for in-the-moment analysis. It actually sounds kind of mechanical but obviously there must be more to it than that, or is there?

If "lots of players" don't have the discipline, would you please expand on how an individual can assess if they are one of the few who could be successful at satellites?
 
Debi

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I always struggled with satellites so got frustrated with them and just refused to play them anymore. I think in retrospect I probably played the early stages too similar to a sng - when now as I think about I guess would not be a good strategy.

What are some key things to do differently when playing in the early stages of a satellite vs early stages of a sng?
 
Cesar gonzalez

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musica2017

Thank you because with your ideas and motivation in earnings strategy I feel proud and I hope to learn and become a player value as you thank you and greetings
 
Shells

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Welcome to our community, Dara!

At what age did you decide to take poker satellites seriously?
How did you get into poker?
Who was your biggest influence regarding satellites or did you have any influences?
 
Last edited:
joeisi

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Welcome aboard, the community is warm and friendly I am sure that you will have a great time here.

Very impressive Resume with the 8 PocketFives triple crowns.

For me personally I like Satellites. I always advise members that there different types of satellites and everyone should find a format that they comfortable with and keep practicing it. For me I like the one or two table short handed hyper sit n gos.

My question for you is what famous Marathon have you ran and do you an interesting or funny story about one of them?
 
SrWesleiNF

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Congratulations on your done !!
As for satellites, which is the most suitable for beginners, turbos, super turbos or regulars?
 
Dejange

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Hi and welcome to CardsChat :top:

I have a question, if someone managed to advance from 0,02$ satty to 100$ prize in main mtt, what would be your recommendations about the acquired BR to be invested further on?
 
ribbybruno

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Hello Dara! Nice to have you with us here at CardsChat!

I put your book on my Amazon list. I will read it soon!

Congrats on the results! Well done!

What would you say to me if I said I wanted to follow you in your footsteps?
 
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BigRivers

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Hello Dara,

I like Debi's question, but to add to it, what's the biggest differences in strategy between early stage satellites and and early stage MTTs?

Also what satellites do you think are the best value?, or easiest to win?

Thank you
 
Dara OKearney

Dara OKearney

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Stages and stack sizes

Hello Dara, welcome to Cardschat, just a question, at what time in a satellite should you change the modality of your game?

Thank you, and very good question.

There are two factors in what our modality should be at any particular point in a satellite: stage of the tournament, and our current stack. The combination of these two factors determines our modality.

First factor is stage of the tournaments. This can be broken down into three broad stages: early, middle and endgame. In the early stage, we will start with a strategy similar to that we would employ in a normal mtt (or indeed a cash game) of looking to accumulate chips and focusing on Cev (chipEv), with some adjustments (even at this stage we want to lower variance). The degree of adjustment also depends on our stack size (more on this in a minute).

In the book, we define middle game starts when a fifth of the field are going to get seats (everything before that is early game). Early is when everyone has roughly the same stack and everyone is super deep. Middle game is when stacks get shallower and there is also a large divergence of stacks where some people are short and some people are chipped up.

The endgame starts when a third of the field are going to get seats, and ICM is a bigger factor. This is typically when there is very little postflop action and it feels materially very different. The nearer we get to the bubble the bigger a factor ICM becomes, and the more it warps correct strategy. Because of this most of our book is about the endgame, and the adjustments you need to make from "Play normal poker".

The other factor is stack size. A key inflection point at which you should be looking to lower variance is when you pass 50% of the target stack you need for a seat. Another inflection point is somewhere around the 70% mark, the point at which you should be able to cruise to a seat and should be looking simply to maintain your stack rather than accumulate further chips.
 
Mortis

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Thank you for joining CardsChat and doing this Q & A!

My question: Late in an online satellite, let's say about 60 people left and 50 qualify for a ticket to the next tournament; you're sitting in the Top 3 chip stacks and nearly guaranteed a ticket...

Do you sit out or just fold until you qualify, or do you play as you normally would and try to knock some people out?
 
Dara OKearney

Dara OKearney

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Can you remember the last big mistake you made in a satellite? Last time you made a push or fold or call where you later realised it was close but a mistake?

That's an interesting question and one it took a full dog walk to think about. I probably made actual mistakes all the time as a result of not getting opponent ranges correct (and therefore not adjusting my own ranges correctly) but I don't really count those as you have to go with your best assumptions. For example, I often shove a hand I wouldn't have shoved had I known villain would call off with a hand they do end up calling off with, but unless I should have known they were likely to call too wide I don't really count that as a mistake (but I do immediately tag the player as a wide caller to prevent future mistakes).

There is a hand I played online after the book came out where I induced (raised and called a shove) with kings when open shoving is clearly better, due to proximity of the bubble. I can only assume I was playing so many tables at the time that I just didn't notice how close he bubble was. One funny upside since the book came out is I get "What do you think of this fish play?" messages from people sending hands where I'm the villain fish, which is how I even noticed this hand.
 
Debi

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That's an interesting question and one it took a full dog walk to think about. I probably made actual mistakes all the time as a result of not getting opponent ranges correct (and therefore not adjusting my own ranges correctly) but I don't really count those as you have to go with your best assumptions. For example, I often shove a hand I wouldn't have shoved had I known villain would call off with a hand they do end up calling off with, but unless I should have known they were likely to call too wide I don't really count that as a mistake (but I do immediately tag the player as a wide caller to prevent future mistakes).

There is a hand I played online after the book came out where I induced (raised and called a shove) with kings when open shoving is clearly better, due to proximity of the bubble. I can only assume I was playing so many tables at the time that I just didn't notice how close he bubble was. One funny upside since the book came out is I get "What do you think of this fish play?" messages from people sending hands where I'm the villain fish, which is how I even noticed this hand.

That is hilarious lol.
 
CadoARAJ

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Do you have like an EV mode to see if the satellite will be profitable or no, making an analyze of cost benefit between the cost per entry, number of the spots of the satellite vs field, facing the amount of the prizepool of the main event?
Tks for the interest at our comunity and welcome.
 
Edison A

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Thank you, and very good question.

There are two factors in what our modality should be at any particular point in a satellite: stage of the tournament, and our current stack. The combination of these two factors determines our modality.

First factor is stage of the tournaments. This can be broken down into three broad stages: early, middle and endgame. In the early stage, we will start with a strategy similar to that we would employ in a normal mtt (or indeed a cash game) of looking to accumulate chips and focusing on Cev (chipEv), with some adjustments (even at this stage we want to lower variance). The degree of adjustment also depends on our stack size (more on this in a minute).

In the book, we define middle game starts when a fifth of the field are going to get seats (everything before that is early game). Early is when everyone has roughly the same stack and everyone is super deep. Middle game is when stacks get shallower and there is also a large divergence of stacks where some people are short and some people are chipped up.

The endgame starts when a third of the field are going to get seats, and ICM is a bigger factor. This is typically when there is very little postflop action and it feels materially very different. The nearer we get to the bubble the bigger a factor ICM becomes, and the more it warps correct strategy. Because of this most of our book is about the endgame, and the adjustments you need to make from "Play normal poker".

The other factor is stack size. A key inflection point at which you should be looking to lower variance is when you pass 50% of the target stack you need for a seat. Another inflection point is somewhere around the 70% mark, the point at which you should be able to cruise to a seat and should be looking simply to maintain your stack rather than accumulate further chips.


Thank you very much for answering
 
Dara OKearney

Dara OKearney

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Hey Dara - I have a personal attributes question.

Tom Hall says in the beginning of your book "Lots of players do not have the discipline to be good at satellites." He seems to be talking about volume and the ability to make many profitable plays with little time available for in-the-moment analysis. It actually sounds kind of mechanical but obviously there must be more to it than that, or is there?

If "lots of players" don't have the discipline, would you please expand on how an individual can assess if they are one of the few who could be successful at satellites?


That's a really interesting question. I can't claim to speak for Tom or even necessarily know for sure what he exactly meant, but I can say I would make a similar remark and explain what I mean by it. A small part of it is that a lot of the strategy is very dull and mechanical (like fold everything beyond a certain point), but mostly it's just that because the mental challenges of a satellite are particular to satellites, most normal mtt players don't have much practice dealing with them. There are all sorts of mental game challenges specific to satellites that we were fortunate enough to have Jared Tendler contribute one chapter of the book on that cause people to set equity on fire in satellites. Bubbling a satellite is much worse than bubbling an mtt, and players who bubble a normal mtt can console themselves saying they were playing not to win cash but for the win. In a satellite, the min cash and the win are one and the same (except in rate cases) so the pressure not to bubble is massive. A lot of people can't take that pressure and try to "take matters into their own hands": they lack the discipline to keep making big folds because it feels bad and just prolongs the tension.

I hope this answers your question.
 
Dara OKearney

Dara OKearney

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I always struggled with satellites so got frustrated with them and just refused to play them anymore. I think in retrospect I probably played the early stages too similar to a sng - when now as I think about I guess would not be a good strategy.

What are some key things to do differently when playing in the early stages of a satellite vs early stages of a sng?

Interesting question. It's not actually the worst strategy in the world to play the early stages of a satellite like the early stages of a sng, as the default strategy is usually to play a bit tigther than you would in a normal mtt.

Thinking about it, I guess the biggest difference in a satellite (by which I mean a megasat) is that the stacks will be deeper for longer (so certain hands like suited connectors, suited Aces and small pairs go up in value, and high card unsuited hands that are often dominated go down), and there are often antes (meaning we should play more hands).

I can definitely relate to the frustration expressed. Nothing hurts quite like a satellite bubble, and you need a certain mental masochism to keep coming back for me during a downswing.
 
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BigRivers

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What do you think the most important considerations for mid to late game strategy are when there is only 1 or 2 seats to win and a lot of players remaining?

You can be general, I really appreciate it
 
Marcwantstowin

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Hi Dara.

I am a regular satey player, with the intention on qualifying for tournaments which would normally be above my range, according to my BR.

However, my question involves variance in these satey's. I find that at one given time, on pokerstars, playing a series of satey's I come accross the same players again and again. (Much of who atre polite). However, while playing these players, it is as if, their ranges vary so much, is it because, they hit a variance button? Or would you, or they, just change the way you play, to increase your winning potential, or is it because you play the same players so much, that you feel the need to change, to keep your opponents guessing?

Hopefully you get my drift, but as is known on here, I tend to use 1000 words when one will do?

Cheers for the help. :top:

Marc
 
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