Thursday, 4 December 2014

Playing the sats and what to do with $t money

The question I get asked more frequently than any other is undoubtedly "What do you do with $t money?". For that reason, I thought it would be very helpful to a lot of players if I wrote an in-depth post on how I accumulate so much $t money and what I do with it. So here we go!

Most of you probably know already that I mostly play the Hyper-Turbo Satellites at PokerStars. As the name suggests, these sngs are satellites for bigger tournaments. So when you win, you don't win money but an entry to the tournament that the satellite "feeds".

In the picture above you can see part of the lobby of a hyper turbo satellite for the Sunday Million. It starts when 6 players are registered and the top 2 finishers will win an entry to the Sunday Million. That means that as soon as the satellite is over, if you won you will be automatically registered to the Sunday Million.

Now let's assume you continue playing satellites for the Sunday Million and you win. Since you can't be registered in the tournament more than once, PokerStars will credit your account with an amount of $t equal to the buy-in you were playing for. So in this case, if you win a satellite to the Sunday Million but you're already registered in it, they will credit your account with $215 in $t.

What is $t money?

$t is Poker Tournament money. You can use it to play any tournament you want on the site (both sngs and mtts) but you cannot use it to play cash games or cash it out. If you want more info about $t money, visit the PokerStars page.

Do I really need $t?

If you're putting in a lot of volume at the hypers, you will inevitably have an amount of $t in your account. The more you play and win, the more $t you will be getting. There's really no point in converting ALL of your $t in real money if you plan to regularly play the hyper satties, cause it will get converted back to $t through the game every time you win.

The best thing to do is to keep an amount of $t in your account to play with, and convert any excess to real money. The amount of $t you need to have really depends on the stakes you are playing, but there's no golden number for this one. If you try to register a tournament and you have both $t and real money on your account, the PokerStars client will always prefer to use the $t first. So as long as you don't run out of $t and you're only playing tournaments your real money balance will not go down.

So to answer the above question, you don't really need to have $t but if you play at PokerStars often it's inevitable that it's going to end up in your account one way or another. And that's totally fine, cause you can convert it to real money anytime you want.

How do I convert $t to real money?

Now let's assume that you have some $t but you're not really interested in playing any tournaments, you just want to hit the cash games or cash out. Or even better, let's assume you're a huge winner at the hypers and you have so much $t that you don't know what to do with it! You want to convert a part of it to real money but don't know how? Read on!

To convert $t to real money you basically need to trade it with another player. If you have friends that are poker players, that's extremely easy and they will often trade your $t at 100% of the value (meaning they will give you $100 for $t100). If you don't know a lot of people in the poker industry though, then you need to visit twoplustwo's Marketplace! That's a part of the forum that people say how much $t money they want to sell or buy and how much they are charging for it. The people buying $t from others are usually charging a certain amount of money, but it's really small. The value of $t money is very close to real money value so expect to make trades like $t100 for $99 or something like that. If someone wants to buy $t100 from you and giving you $80 in return, they're ripping you off. So be careful with the amounts you exchange!

There are of course sites other than twoplustwo's Marketplace that offer similar trades, so feel free to search for the one that works best for you. That's just my suggestion, which I recommend cause twoplustwo has a lot of users and it's more likely to be fast and efficient for trading $t, but there are certainly other options.

How does the exchange work?

You always make the exchange through the PokerStars client. In PS7 you go to Tools -> Transfers $ Trades -> Sell Tournament Money.

First, select the currency that you want to exchange (dollars, euros, etc.).  Then, write the PokerStars ID of the player you want to trade with and finally fill in the amount that you are selling in $t and the amount that you want to receive in real money. Click on "Submit" and you're done!

The way this works is that the player you're trading with is going to do the exact same procedure through his "Buy Tournament Money" tab. When PokerStars receives both requests, they will automatically make the trade for you as long as every detail matches. If both players haven't put the same amounts to trade or the usernames don't match, then the trade will not be completed. Let's say you are selling $t100 for $99 but the other player puts that he is buying $t100 from you in exchange for $90. Since the values are not the same, the transaction will not take place.

This system makes the exchange between two players 100% safe because PokerStars is acting as an intermediary. That tosses any trust issues out of the window and there's no problem even if you're trading with a complete stranger. The only two things they need to know from you are the amount of money being traded and your player ID. Beware of people that ask you for your e-mail or password or to send them money through the client through the transfer option!

Also, keep in mind that PokerStars allows you to maintain "open" only one transaction per time. If you initiate a trade and then the other player doesn't do their part, the transaction will be cancelled after 24 hours automatically. If you don't want to wait, you can also manually cancel the transaction and then initiate a new one with another player.

Converting to real money through the hypers

Some hyper turbo satellites will only give two entries to the top two finishers. Some others though, will give a small amount of money to 3rd place. The amount of money is tiny comparing to the buy-in of the satellite which is why we tend to ignore it and always say that the 6max satellites give prizes to the first two. But that's not totally accurate. In the example of the Sunday Million I used above, 3rd place gets $5.30. It's next to nothing comparing to the $74 you paid to play the satellite, so you've basically lost if you finished third. However, 3rd places are always paid in real dollars, not $t (which makes sense since it's prizepool money, regardless of how tiny the amount is). If you play small stakes you'll see that third places only give a couple of cents. A true hyper grinder though will play hundreds of games per day, so those tiny amounts add up. Slowly but steadily a small amount of your $t money (assuming you always use $t to register) is going to be converted back to real dollars through your 3rd place finishes. 

Of course this concerns mostly the hardcore hyperturbians and you don't need to take any actions since it's automatic, but it's a little something to keep in mind. If you don't need to make monthly withdrawals to pay your expenses you'll find that when you do need to make a cashout there may be enough money for you to get without having to proceed to $t trading. Oh, and of course you can always get the VIP Reward Bonuses with all the FPPs you'll be getting from playing the hypers and that's also paid in real money.

So there you have it! All my knowledge around $t money in a post! I hope you found this post helpful. If you still have any questions leave me a comment below or send an e-mail to

Good luck at the tables!

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