How to Qualify for the EPT: A Quick Tip to Boost Your Chances 50%

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PokerStars Serial Qualifier Pierre Neuville.

This is the first article in a seven-part series from EPT Serial Qualifier Pierre Neuville. Check back every Thursday for the next in the series.

So: You've read a few books by Dan Harrington and his pot-odds calculating colleagues?

Congratulations. You have an excellent base for your all-around poker game

Now you need to try and forget everything - or almost everything - they’ve taught you for a new stage.

One that will specifically teach you how to manage and dramatically improve your PokerStars European Poker Tour qualifier results.

The Secret is ... There’s No Secret. Sort Of.

Don’t repeat this to anyone ... but there is no secret!

I was an average poker player in the past. My success is primarily a result of meticulous work specifically focused on qualifying for the EPT packages offered through PokerStars.

I put the time in to figure out how to do it as efficiently and successfully as possible.

Months and years of research, practice, development of a method and unlimited precision executing that method have gone into it.

But now I'm happy to share all of that meticulous research so you don't have to do it yourselves.

Forget What You Know About Pot Odds

Do you have a good base in tournament poker and good results in most types of tournaments you play online?

Have you tested your skills in satellite qualifiers for live tournaments but never succeeded?

Above all things, try to forget everything you've read about "pot odds" and all the standard calculations you use to make your poker decisions on an ad hoc basis.

Great stuff has been written by Dan Harrington and more about the subject. You should read it if you haven't.

But as surprising as it sounds, for maximizing your chances to qualify for an EPT package, forget it!

Instead you'll need to learn to manage a qualification tournament by its overall strategy, which allows you to adjust your tactics at every stage of the tournament to maximize your chances.

Ask yourself this: did you use the tools below during your previous qualifiers?

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At home one day, playing with the stars the next.

1) Indispensable Organization

Above all, you'll need a pencil and notebook. 

You play with a mouse, but you qualify with a pencil and notes.

2) Did You Have in Your Mind, Without Forgetting it for a Single Second, the Utlimate Goal of Winning an EPT Package?

Here’s an example of what to enter in your notebook before the start of a tournament and what you have to keep in mind at all times:

  • Number of players in the tournament: 150
  • Starting stack: 3000
  • Number of players that will win seats: 9
  • Total chips in the tournament: 450,000
  • Calculate in advance: at the time of the bubble the average stack will be 45,000

Project these numbers over 15 levels or five hours and there will be nine qualified players with stacks that will vary between 25,000 and 150,000.

That's the context of the tournament that has to be very clear with you, constantly.

3) The Goal is Not to Have All the Chips

It's not even to have a maximum amount of chips.

The only goal is to not be eliminated from the tournament.

To be in the final nine players and still have a stack five hours from now.

That is your one and only purpose in an EPT satellite qualifier. Never forget it.

4) If the Only Goal is to Survive, Avoid Taking Risks That Will Get You Eliminated

Each decision depends not on EV or pot odds, but your overall situation in the tournament.

This is always the first and most important factor in your decision-making.

The Simple Equation of the Serial Qualifier:

  • Increasing your chances of qualification = reducing the risk of elimination.

Five Hours of Survival

You must win chips to survive. But the worst possible way to do this, of course, is flips.

Because you need to survive five hours (likely 15 levels of 20 minutes each), keep at the top of your mind the tournament you will play:

Starting at 3,000 chips, your goal is to have 42,000 chips, roughly, in five hours to feel safe.

You’ll need to put in 15 levels worth of blinds and antes for a likely total of 38,000.

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Always remember your goal.

So you’ll have to earn 42,000 + 38,000 = 80,000 chips from that starting stack of 3,000.

You will lose about one-third of those chips from unsuccessful moves, so about 40,000 chips.

Therefore your winning moves will have to bring back 120,000.

And there it is!

You don’t play hands at random, or in a vacuum, in a satellite qualifier.

You know exactly what the goal to reach is: five hours of survival.

Key Takeaways: Never Forget Your Goal and Be More Prepared Than the Next Guy

Before starting your next PokerStars qualifier, collect all of the information about the tournament.

Study the structure, take notes, track how it will change hour by hour.

You must remember to adjust your tactics hour by hour depending on the situation.

Keep a large sheet of notes next to you, close at hand, to indicate the relevant information for each situation.

If you do this careful preparation, you’ve already increased your chances of winning a seat by 50%.

Or at least 50% compared to all of the players who will sit in front of their computers and play just hoping for good cards - without thinking about or imagining where they are going and how they will get there.

You were a tourist in qualification tournaments before, but now you’re organized like a pro - and a future qualifier!

Next in the How to Qualify for the EPT Series:

About the Author:

Pierre Neuville is known across Europe as the "Serial PokerStars Qualifier" for his incredible run of qualifying for 23 consecutive European Poker Tour main events via online satellite. Read more about Pierre Neuville on his author page.

To open a new account at PokerStars and take advantage of our exclusive sign-up bonus and monthly freerolls, click through to our PokerStars review page.

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