GGPoker Launches the Trending "Target Stack” Satellites GGPoker Launches the Trending "Target Stack” Satellites
Courtesy of PokerGO

Leading online poker network GGPoker has launched the latest sensation in the poker world: Target Stack Satellites. This format, which has gained traction in live poker, brings a refreshing twist to traditional satellite tournaments.

Unlike conventional satellites where players compete for tournament tickets until only a few remain standing, Target Stack Satellites change the dynamics. Instead of vying for survival, players set their sights on accumulating a certain number of chips, typically around 10 times the starting stack. Once they reach this target, they win a ticket to the target event, and their stack is removed from play. This process repeats until all available seats are claimed.

For example, suppose 100 players join a satellite with 10,000 starting chips each and one seat awarded for every ten players. In a traditional satellite, the final ten survivors claim their seats after many eliminations, with some qualifiers amassing stacks as big as 200,000 chips while others scrape by with just a single big blind.

In the Target Stack format, however, players win their seats as soon as they reach the 100,000-chip threshold, regardless of when it occurs. This means a player could win their spot in the tournament within the first orbit.

In cases where a player accumulates more chips than the target stack, the excess chips are divided among the players involved in the hand where the threshold was reached. Any remaining fractional chips are allocated to the first player to act in that hand.

Already Popular in Live Poker Tournaments

This format has gained prominence in live poker events, with leading operators like the World Poker Tour (WPT), World Series of Poker (WSOP), and PokerStars spreading it under various names such as Milestone Satellites, Landmark Satellites, and Win Your Seat @ xxx Chips, respectively.

Despite the different monikers, the core principle remains constant: accumulate the designated chip count to win a seat in the target event. This player-friendly format has garnered immense popularity, prompting more organizers to adopt it. Notably, the WPT has successfully implemented it for their WPT World Championship and other live events.

WSOP introduced the format in their WSOP Circuit events and will debut it at the 55th annual series in Las Vegas this summer. PokerStars also features it as part of their EPT live tour.

Target Stack Concept Spreading to Online Poker Satellites

Now, GGPoker joins the fray as the latest online poker platform to embrace the Target Stack format. This addition came into effect on March 29 as part of GGPoker’s routine software update.

These satellites address common issues seen in traditional formats, such as stalling and collusion, making them particularly appealing to recreational players.

While collusion remains a possibility, the elimination of stalling incentivizes continuous action. Furthermore, the format encourages action, instead of players sitting on their hands and stalling action.

It also saves time for players since they don’t have to survive through the end of the tournament; they win seats as soon as they meet the target. As players are eliminated upon hitting the target stack, the tournament advances at a faster pace compared to traditional satellite tournaments — making it appealing to organizers as well.

Poker journalist Barry Carter, alongside satellite specialist Dara O’Kearney, even penned a book dedicated to the Target Stack concept.

While referred to by various names such as Target Stack, Milestone Satellites, or Landmark Satellites, this concept has witnessed recent growth. However, it is worth noting that the idea has been in existence for some time. French online poker giant Winamax was among the first online poker rooms to introduce it as early as 2016 under the name Hit&Run.