Winamax Introduces Aptly but Suspiciously Named Hit & Run Qualifiers

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The phrase “hit and run” rarely has a positive connotation. In everyday life, it conjures up images of gangster movies. In poker, it is used to describe an instance when a player joins a table, scoops a big pot right away, then leaves. A hit and run artist typically leaves the player from whom he won the money steaming, but there’s nothing the loser of the pot can do but move on.

So what in the world is this new “Hit & Run” tournament on the French poker site, That doesn’t sound good at all.

It is not as dubious as it sounds. “Hit & Run” is a new satellite format introduced by Winamax. Before discussing it, we should probably review what a traditional satellite or qualifier tournament, in case you are discovering poker for the first time (welcome!). A satellite tournament is one that awards tickets into a more expensive tournament to those that finish in the top spots. The number of tickets given out usually depends on the number of players in the tournament and thus the size of the prize pool.

For example, in a satellite (the word “qualifier” is used interchangeably with “satellite”) that has a $1 buy-in (we’ll pretend it is rake-free) and awards tickets to a $10 tournament, one would usually see one ticket awarded for every $10 in the prize pool. Makes sense, right? So if 200 people entered, creating a $200 prize pool, the top 20 finishers would win tickets to the bigger tourney. In the cases where the prize pool doesn’t result in a nice, even number of tickets, the excess cash is given to one or more players who just miss winning the tickets.

Winamax has changed things up with Hit & Run’s. In these qualifiers, rather than it being a contest to see who can survive the longest to win the ticket prizes, it is contest to see who can build their stacks the fastest. In a Hit & Run, players shoot for a “stack objective.” Whenever someone accumulates enough chips to hit this objective, they are removed from the tournament and awarded a ticket. Once all the tickets are gone, the rest of the players compete for the bit of cash that remains.

Players start with 9,000 chips in Hit & Run tournaments and need to grow their chip stacks to 40,000, 50,000, or 60,000 chips, depending on the buy-in. According to the chart on the Winamax website, when the ticket value is four times the buy-in, the stack objective is 40,000 chips. When it is five times the buy-in, it is 50,000 chips, and – you see where this is going – when it is six times the buy-in, the objective is 60,000 chips.

For Winamax, the goal here is probably to make satellites more exciting, as instead of just trying to survive to make the “money” (in this case, the ticket prizes), players will need to take chances and build up their stacks. The longer someone takes to do so, the more they risk losing out on the available tickets.

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