# Ending Blind Levels - an extract from Poker Satellite Success! by Bernard Lee

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**Introduction**

Satellite play can be a great way to gain a cheap entry to a main event. Even very strong players, who can afford the main event buy-ins, still play satellites as they view them as extremely profitable. If you want to play them, the first thing you should know how to do is to calculate the ending blind level. Bernard Lee, in his extensive summary of satellite play Poker Satellite Success, explains how.

**Calculate the Ending Blind Level**

A crucial piece of information that you can determine before the satellite begins is which level the bubble will burst. This calculation is relatively easy. You can use some information that I have provided to you earlier in this book in Chapter 1 - Important Terms and Concepts.

First, you will need to calculate the number of entries needed for one main event seat. Next, multiply that number of entries by the number of starting chips. Then, you divide that product by 10, since the average chip stack near the end of the satellite will be approximately 10 big blinds.

This answer will be the approximate big blind amount for the satellite level that the bubble will burst. The ending blind level will very rarely be more than one level away from this calculation.

See the formula below, followed by some examples:

(Number of Entries Needed for One Main Event Seat x

Number of Starting Chips) / 10

= Big Blind Ending Level

Example 7

If the buy-in is $1,000 for a satellite into a $10,000 main event, the satellite will give out 1 seat for every 10 entries. If the satellite starts with 6,000 in chips, multiply 10 x 6,000, which equals 60,000. After dividing the product by 10, you find that the approximate ending level will have a big blind of 6,000.

(10 x 6,000) / 10 = 6,000

**Tip: **A common 1 in 10 satellite will typically have an ending

blind level where the big blind is the same as your original

starting stack.

Example 8

If the buy-in is $250 for a satellite into a $1,500 main event, the satellite will give out 1 seat for every 6 entries. If the satellite starts with 4,000 in chips, multiply 6 x 4,000, which equals 24,000. After dividing by 10, you find that the approximate ending level will have a big blind of 2,400.

(6 x 4,000) / 10 = 2,400

Example 9

For this satellite, the buy-in is $290 (which is broken down into $250 to prize pool, $20 entry fee, $20 staff/dealers fee). The main event buy-in is $1,700 and each winner also receives $100 cash. Each player begins this particular satellite with 6,000 chips.

Using the formula for *Number of Entries Needed for One Main Event Seat *that I introduced in the Important Terms and Concepts chapter:

(Main Event Buy-In Amount + Any additional payout) /

(Satellite Buy-in Amount - Any casino/staffing fees)

= Entries Needed for One Main Event Seat

($1,700 + $100) / ($290 - $20 - $20) =

$1,800 / $250 = 7.2 entries needed for one main event seat

Then, using the previous formula to calculate the Big Blind of the Ending Level:

(Number of Entries Needed for One Main Event Seat x

Number of Starting Chips) / 10

= Big Blind Ending Level

(7.2 x 6,000) / 10 = 4,320

Since this satellite did not have a big blind level of 4,320, I would just round down to the previous level with a big blind of 4,000. If the players in the satellite are playing extremely tight and the average number of blinds is less than 10, then you can round up to big blind of 5,000.

Overall, this calculation of ending level is extremely important, since you will know what level you have to survive to in order to win a main event seat. Often, your opponents will not be privy to this critical information and you may be able to take advantage of this calculation during the satellite. You will be able to understand that there is no need to have an enormous chip stack late in a satellite. You will only need to survive approximately until this specific ending blind level. Knowing which blind level the satellite will end at is a huge tactical advantage that you can leverage in your decision making over those players who do not know this information.

I have played in several satellites where eliminations occurred very quickly in the middle levels. Players believed that the bubble would burst soon and basically stopped playing as they didn’t want to risk getting eliminated so close to the bubble. However, knowing that it would take a few more levels, I was able to take advantage of my opponents’ stoppage of play to pick up very valuable chips that guaranteed my main event seat. And, yes, this situation has occurred at the WSOP during one of its summer satellites (see Example 26 in Chapter 10 - Real-Life Scenarios).

Another scenario exists when a satellite buy-in is greater than the commonly found 10% of the main event buy-in. During this satellite, the bubble will occur at a relatively earlier blind level, so you will not have to accumulate as many chips. Thus, if you calculate which level the bubble will burst, this critical information can prevent you from taking unnecessary risks during the levels close to where the bubble will burst.

Finally, if the satellite is a regularly scheduled event, like at the WSOP, you may want to ask the tournament supervisor or a player that played in the satellite the previous day or night, what level the satellite ended in order to gather real-life data to confirm your calculation.

Full details of the book can be found HERE