Taking Your Game To The Next Level – How To Get To SuperNova Elite In 2015
Extra Update November 2015:
PokerStars has announced a that they will not be continuing with the SuperNova / Elite levels in 2016 as they move towards a more recreational model.
I recommend that instead of chasing rewards next year, you seek out the softest games instead.
There is no better tool for finding the best games for your bankroll / location than the Sit N Go Planet Fish-o-Meter. Check it out now!
Changes for 2015:
- No more WCOOP Main Event entry ticket at SuperNova Elite level
- Battle of the Planets promo gone for Sit N Go players, this reduces value of grinding these games, though does not directly influence your VIP status.
- New 'Lottery' Sit N Goes. See my thoughts below on whether these would make a good choice for a SN / SNE Chase
Compared to previous years, these are minor changes. While the new owners of PokerStars (Amaya) looking to increase the appeal of the games to recreational players via their casinos, sportsbook and lottery SNG types games - will be a positive for keeping the games soft. If anything, it will get easier to make a profit in the games as we move forward.
Here is the full guide:
Supernova and Supernova elite are the top levels of the PokerStars VIP club – and they are within your reach. The best players make $200,000+ a year from bonuses and winnings via PokerStars’ famous loyalty program. Even if your goals are more modest, there is nothing stopping you from making $20,000 or even $50,000.
This guide takes you through the process for becoming a SuperNova or SuperNova Elite step-by-step. After covering the benefits you will find a guide to how many ‘points’ you’ll need to collect, and calculations of your ‘run-rate’. After this the different games are assessed, with pros / cons of each and comparisons of the variance and profitability of each format. Continuing the practical theme, multi-tabling and your tools setup come next.
Psychology and commitment are both vital to your chances of success, and several aspects of the right mindset are also covered in this article. I’ll wrap up with some words about staking, which helps many players spread some of the risk of their SuperNova Points chase.
If you do not already play at PokerStars, then this guide will refer to a lot of terms you are not yet familiar with. I recommend that you download the client, and check out the different areas to become familiar with the different details covered below. You can claim up to 3 'first deposit' welcome bonuses (100% match, up to $600 total) by registering with PokerStars Marketing Code PSP310 and then deposit with bonus code STARS600. Check out www.pokerstars.com now!
Benefits Of PokerStars SuperNova and SuperNova Elite In 2015
PokerStars often update these at the start of the year, so I'll keep an eye on their website for further improvements.
SuperNova Elite Benefits
SNE status will be worth between $95k and $120k, depending on how you spend your bonuses and tournament entries. There are additional perks, such as upgraded accommodation at live tournaments, and free entry to all the monthly / quarterly freerolls which add even more value – though these are harder to calculate and depend on how many you decide to play.
Here is the high level breakdown (numbers are approximate - and remember, this is not even including your winnings or the additional multipliers you get for year #2!!). PokerStars have added a lot of tables and figures for collecting points via different games to their site, you can find this from the homepage by clicking 'VIP Club' through the top menu, then 'supernova' then on the left hand side menu you will find a link to 'Supernova Elite'
- Cash Bonuses Bought With Player Points: $50k to $75k
- Milestone Cash Credits / Stellar Rewards: $45k
Total: Between $95k and $120k + Equity from VIP Freeroll Events + Whatever You Win From The Tables = Est $120,000 to $250,000 in 2015
Supernova Status is worth between $5000 and $70,000 depending on how many times you hit the magic 100,000 VPPs throughout the year. There are some perks like the VIP freeroll entries which are harder to account for (this really depends on whether you like playing tournaments or not and how well you run, since the final few places have the big prizes).
Note that the second 100k VPPs is where the big money starts – the first will get you the 3.5x multiplier.
|Points||Bonus||Stellar Rewards||Milestone Cash Credit||VIP Reward Bonus||Tickets||Total|
|100 000 VPP||$600||$1200||-||$3,910||$220||
|200 000 VPP||$600||$1200||$2,600||$9,510||$720||
|300 000 VPP||$600||$1200||$5,400||$15,110||$970||
|400 000 VPP||$600||$1200||$8,400||$20,710||$970||
|500 000 VPP||$600||$1200||$11,600||$26,310||$970||
|600 000 VPP||$600||$1200||$15,200||$31,910||$970||
|700 000 VPP||$600||$1200||$19,000||$37,510||$970||
|800 000 VPP||$600||$1200||$23,200||$43,110||$970||
SuperNova / SuperNova Elite Guide – How Many Games + Hours Are Needed In Different Poker Formats?
As you climb the levels of PokerStars loyalty scheme the multiplier between FPPs (frequent player points) and VPPs (VIP club points) increases. This goes from 1.5x at SilverStar level to 3.5x at Supernova level and 5x once you hit SuperNova Elite.
SuperNova And Supernova Elite Status From Cash Games
This is based on reaching the first 100,000 points / 1,000,000 points over the course of one year and on 6-max NL Holdem games. The minimum buy-in covered here is $25NL
►SuperNova Cash Game
►SuperNova Elite Cash Game
|Limit||Number Of Tables||Daily Hours||Weekly Hours||Limit||Number Of Tables||Daily Hours||Weekly Hours|
SuperNova And Supernova Elite Status From Sit N Go Tournaments
This is based on reaching the first 100,000 points / 1,000,000 points over the course of one year and on full ring (9 players) Sit & Go tournaments. The minimum buy-in covered here is $15. Not that the battle of the Planets promotion has been discontinued. Since those seeking SN / SNE status naturally also benefited from this, there is some adjustment from last year. There is still plenty of value in this format, especially for players who grind the turbos.
►SuperNova Sit And Go
►SuperNova Elite Sit And Go
|Buy-in||Number Of Games||Daily Hours||Weekly Hours||Buy-in||Number Of Games||Daily Hours||Weekly Hours|
|9 (15 games / hour)||3||21||
|18 (30 games / hour)||15||105|
|9 (15 games / hour)||1.5||10.6||
|18 (30 games / hour)||7.5||53|
$30 & $60
|9 (15 games / hour)||1.1||7.7||
$30 & $60
|18 (30 games / hour)||5.6||40|
|9 (15 games / hour)||0.7||5.2||
|18 (30 games / hour)||3.5||26|
What Games Are Suitable For A SuperNova / SuperNova Elite Chase?
Some poker variants have a ton of volume available, while others promise more profit or less volatility in your results. Choosing the perfect table size, format and game for your SN / SNE chase is a matter of balancing several factors.
Of course, you’ll be playing a lot of your chosen game, so it makes good sense to be very sure that your choice is the best suited to your tastes, talents and temperament too.
Bread and butter Game + Side-Games
Before I go into the possible variations, a quick note on the need for a side-game.
Many times, you’ll find your preferred game gets profitable in the evenings – or that there is not enough volume in the day to keep enough tables going. What you can do here is find a secondary poker variation. Something that you can grind during the day to keep your points total moving along, while you wait for the shorter and sweeter evening sessions where you both accumulate VPPs and make a nice profit.
Let’s take Sit N Goes as an example. In the evenings you crush the $15’s and $30 18-man games, and get to play 16 table sets as the recreational crowd logs on. During the day those same games are filled with regulars and not so profitable, and the $30 games are slow to fill. Here you could choose a busier game for your daytime session, maybe the $8 or $15 1-table Fifty50 SNGs. Even though your ROI would be lower in these games, you can accumulate a lot of VPPs by following a ‘safe and mechanical’ strategy… keeping yourself fresh for the profitable evenings.
Rating The Games On Profitability, Variance, Volume And VPP Accumulation
Some games have a bigger potential for profit, some games let you accumulate VPPs faster… and somewhere in-between is a game which avoids the big bankroll fluctuation and is nice and easy to multi-table.
Alright, no game is perfect… I’ll give my opinions on each rating and let you compare this with the format which you enjoy the most.
6-Max NL Holdem Cash Games: This should be the benchmark game by which others are compared. Daytime games can be a little ‘reggy’, though a little table selection time can easily locate profitable games among the huge number on offer. You can choose from fast, short-stacked or deep games and will need your HUD and notes on the regulars in this format.
- Volume of games: 10 | Potential For Profit: 7 | Variance: 6 (10=lowest, 1= highest) | Points Accumulation: 8
Full Ring NL Holdem Cash Games: Not as much volume as there used to be, especially during the daytime when you’ll likely be playing against 7 nits and a fish on each 9 player table. This format is easier to multi-table, with fewer and stronger hands played lowering the focus on ‘playing the players’ somewhat compared to 6-max. fewer hands per hour, though can be profitable in the evenings.
- Volume of games: 9 | Potential For Profit: 7 | Variance: 6 | Points Accumulation: 7
Fixed Limit Holdem Cash Games: The 6-max tables do get some action, though these games tend to be tight and attract regulars. Rake is higher, so you’ll gain more points in this game. Fixed limit tends to be ignored in the press / web, but has a big following and is still a viable choice for your SNE chase.
- Volume of games: 7 | Potential For Profit: 8 | Variance: 8 | Points Accumulation: 7
Pot-Limit Omaha Cash Games: Plenty of volume here, and the action tends to lead to big pots and lots of VPPs. You’ll need a big enough bankroll to withstand the bigger swings from this game. You’ll also need a deep understanding, it can be easy to feel like you are getting it in good when you are making losing plays in this equity-math + draws based game. Omaha Hi-Lo is also possible.
- Volume of games: 7 | Potential For Profit: 7 | Variance: 3 | Points Accumulation: 8
Zoom Poker: A viable alternative, especially playing 6 entries (you’ll need 2 table sizes / formats as the limit per pool is 4) and taking the time to make notes + set up your HUD for this format. You’ll be playing fewer starting hands, which can be a drag on accumulating points per hand dealt. The huge number of hands it is possible to play makes up for this. Recreational players love this format, making evenings and weekends hugely profitable. Omaha / Omaha Hi-Lo have become busier since last year, and could be a viable option, especially if you are willing to play them in the evenings when numbers peak.
- Volume of games: 9 | Potential For Profit: 7 | Variance: 6 | Points Accumulation: 7
Heads-Up Cash Games: If you are not already a specialist in heads-up play then forget it, this is a hot game and people who really know it well literally crush novice opponents. Volume is lower, since playing the player means you need to focus more. Recently, steps were taken to stop ‘bumhunters’ waiting for fish on 20+ tables. Lower swings and big profits from these games, at the expense of being able to mass multi-table.
- Volume of games: 6 | Potential For Profit: 7 | Variance: 6 | Points Accumulation: 6
1-Table Sit N Goes: This is another bread and butter game when it comes to making your SuperNova Elite Chase. High volume of tables at decent buy-ins, an easy ‘mechanical’ strategy which makes multi-tabling simple and profitable too for those prepared to study the bubble math. Stay with the Turbo games for volume, and the 9-max for lower variance. You’ll need to get to know the regulars, understand their thinking and work out how to exploit them – particularly if you want to play during the daytime.
- Volume of games: 7 | Potential For Profit: 7 | Variance: 7 | Points Accumulation: 8
Fifty50 Sit N Goes: Another favorite, these games split the prize pool in half, and pay out when there are 5 of the 10 starting players left. Everyone then gets their buy-in back, with the rest of the money divided based on chip counts. These games have a very tight early strategy and push / fold late game, and so are very easy to multi-table once you learn the math. Lower variance and plenty of volume… as usual you’ll need to watch out for the nitty regs. The fees are lower in this format, which means you’ll need more games to keep the VPP tally moving compared to regular Sit N Goes.
- Volume of games: 5 | Potential For Profit: 6 | Variance: 7 | Points Accumulation: 8
Hyper-Turbo Sit N Goes: These are crazy games, with 2 minute blinds and 500 starting chips, you get to play post-flop for approximately 4 minutes each game! Even with the lower fees, these are a fantastic way of cramming a lot of games into a session. You’ll need to know the push / fold math backwards, and you’ll also need to be able to cope with a huge amount of variance (big bankroll needed).
- Volume of games: 8 | Potential For Profit: 3 | Variance: 2 | Points Accumulation: 9
Heads-Up SNGs: Pretty much the same overview as for cash games, you absolutely need to be a specialist in this format. Profitable games for those who play well, though lower fees and difficulty with mass multi-tabling means that you’ll struggle to collect enough points at the lower buy-ins.
- Volume of games: 6 | Potential For Profit: 9 | Variance: 6 | Points Accumulation: 4
18 Player SNGs: Reasonable volume, though take longer than the equivalent 1-table games with the same fees. Profitable games in the evening, not enough daytime volume to focus on this format – if you enjoy these then a different daytime ‘points collecting’ game + evenings at the 18’s could work out well.
- Volume of games: 7 | Potential For Profit: 8 | Variance: 8 | Points Accumulation: 6
45, 90 and 180 Player SNGs: These are profitable formats, though take too long for those considering SuperNova Elite… You could still use these as your profit centers and grind another format for extra points if you are aiming for SuperNova.
- Volume of games: 4 | Potential For Profit: 9 | Variance: 4 | Points Accumulation: 3
Multi-Table Tournaments: If you are playing the biggest buy-ins, all day every day, then you are probably making a nice profit over and above VIP deals. If you are a smaller stakes player, then it will be extremely difficult to focus your SN chase just on tournaments. Of course, your Sunday tournament session might well help to keep that points total growing.
- Volume of games: 8 | Potential For Profit: 9 | Variance: 2 | Points Accumulation: 2
Lottery Sit N Goes: My first thought for the 'Spin N Go' games is that the variance is very high. After trying a bunch of them out, the standard of play is so poor and the format so fast that this might be a better candidate than it first appears.Many players that might have chosen the hyper turbo Sit n Goes are now playing these games instead.
- Volume of games: 8 | Potential For Profit: 8 | Variance: 2 | Points Accumulation: 4
SuperNova Elite Guide – Practical Multi-Tabling, Tools And Your Computer / Desk Setup
I already have a detailed guide to multi-tabling here at SNG Planet, so this section will just cover those aspects directly related to your points chase.
Chances are that you are going to need to increase the volume of games played to keep your run-rate high – and that will usually come at the cost of a little profit per table. If you are not already playing 12+ tables, then now is the time to learn. You’ll need to discover whether tiled or cascaded games work best for you, and (for SNGs) whether sets or continual play suits you best.
I strongly recommend that you use a computer which is 100% dedicated to poker. This will help with speed, security and with keeping you focused while you play. Not having chat or games on your dedicated machine could be a great help.
A quality mouse, and mouse mat with wrist support should be standard. Some people use game controllers or keyboard shortcuts, and a little experimentation with these could help you find some gems. You’ll be spending a lot of time sitting down, and investment in a quality chair will make a big difference to your life (not to mention your health!). Finally, you need to focus, and your setup should be somewhere you will not be interrupted. The corner of the lounge with your family watching TV is just never going to cut it.
Multi-tabling stops you making those subtle reads on betting patterns which give your ROI a lift. To counter this, you’ll need to invest in a HUD (heads-up-display) software package. Programs like Holdem Manager collect data on opponents and collate this into stats which are displayed alongside them on-screen. This same software collects data from your own play for later analysis, it is great for finding a plugging leaks.
Red Kings Poker currently have a special offer of a free copy of Holdem Manager 2 Pro (the latest version of the best software). You can get it as part of your deposit bonus. Check ‘Promotions’ and then click the ‘Free Holdem Manager 2’ link on the left hand side menu bar at www.redkings.com for more.
Another software tool that can be very useful when multi-tabling is ‘Table Ninja’, this lets you create shortcuts and set default bet sizes – for example 2/3rds of pot after the flop, or 2.25 times the blind pre. This is made by the same people that brought you Holdem Manager.
Other tools are game-specific, you can find more in our detailed Online Poker Tools section.
I’ll end this section by saying this: If you want to make big money from online poker, you need to be prepared to invest in the right setup and toolkit to make this possible. If you can’t afford it right now, then make a priority list, and re-invest your profits as you go along.
SuperNova Elite Guide – Psychology, Discipline, Planning, Keeping Ahead And… Downswings!
The single biggest challenge you will face in your quest for SNE is to maintain your work ethic and motivation throughout the year. I have seen many players burn out of poker completely by leaving it too late and spending the last 6 weeks of the year on a crazy quest to get the points playing 18 hours a day. This can actually cost you a lot of cash, as a positive ROI is very difficult under those circumstances.
You’ll need to get ahead of the chase early, and then stay ahead. It is easy to give up while behind on your pace – if you have already invested in getting ahead then you will find it much easier to keep going.
Early in the chase your motivation and commitment will be high, and those hours and VPPs will add up. Keeping this motivation going, particularly in the summer when others are out can be very difficult. It almost seems like a cliché to write it, but you need to have a balanced life to have any chance of success with your chase. Work hours are work hours, and you need to make time for friends, loved ones and recreation. If you spend every single moment sat playing poker you’ll feel great for a few weeks… but the amount of time you spend will gradually fade, alongside your love of the beautiful game!
Exercise And Health
I discovered fitness and healthy eating after I started playing poker – and the effects are amazing. Just 30 minutes exercise a day will make you sharper, mentally stronger and more motivated to reach your goals. Add healthy eating and you will soon feel like you are sitting in a brand new body. I’m sure this is not the first time you have heard this, and it shocked me the first time around – this is totally worthwhile for the sake of your SNE chase and also your long-term health!
At some points in the year you will likely hit a downswing, which can make staying motivated very difficult. Maintaining commitment and discipline here is vital, simply being aware that many will stumble at this point is often enough. If not then you need to study, slightly reduce the number of tables you play – and focus on making the best decisions possible above all else.
Just keep your mind on $100k+ in benefits and $100k+ profit from the games… it will be a lot easier to cope with those difficult periods and come out fighting!
SuperNova / SuperNova Elite Guide- OnGoing Benefits And Next Steps
Once you hit Supernova Elite you start to get a 5x FPP multiplier – ensuring that cash bonuses literally fly your way during the rest of the year and into the 2nd year too. All you need to do to maintain this status is hit 7500 VPPs per month – with no more than 1 month’s gap. At this point the bonuses already received will mean you can play at higher stakes, making the 2nd year of SNG a less intensive experience.
What is really great here is that anyone who can multi-table can get there – with just a little commitment, planning and the willingness to study and improve as they go. If you are not sure then my suggestion is to give it a try for a week, see how many points you can earn and see if the lifestyle suits you. I look forward to publishing the success stories of a number of SNG Planet readers come November / December next year.