Nomura's Interview: The secrets to winning satellites for MILLIONS South America

4 years ago ● Gustavo Pando

Skills, in poker, are important. However, even the most skilful players can suffer defeat if they don’t apply good strategic thinking. Mastering that aspect of the game is what separates amateurs from professionals and defines the role each player will take in the game’s food chain. Are you a shark or a fish?

Renato Nomura is a shark. Born in Santa Catarina, he is a member of the partypoker online team and became the first professional in the room to win a MILLIONS South America package, which will be played from 15 to 24 March in Rio de Janeiro. He did it by playing satellites on partypoker every day, where there is $2,616 of added value per day in $109 seats.

A professional since 2016 and a disciple of João Simão, Nomura has earned $270,762 live. Therefore, many people may think that winning a seat in a satellite is a small accomplishment for a pro. However, in an exclusive interview, the “Japanese”–as his friends affectionately call him—explains and thoroughly analyses why qualifying is so important.

The Brazilian player offers a lesson—almost a tutorial—on how to play these satellites, which are a player’s best friend when on a limited bankroll.

"Getting a ticket in satellites increases one’s ROI"

Is a satellite just another poker tournament? Yes, but it has some special features, and Nomura explains and carefully analyses each of them. Come and learn how to play the satellites to the MILLIONS South America.

  • The ABCs of Phase 1

"Since these satellites are played in phases, it is important to adapt one’s strategy to each phase. Our goal in Phase 1 will not only be survival, but also the accumulation of as many chips as we can get so as to increase our chances in the Finals.”

  • The ABCs of Finals

“Once you’ve made it to the finals, always remember that survival is your main goal. During the final phase of the tournament, you must avoid variance as much as possible and focus on surviving.”

  • When to put pressure and when to wait for the right cards

“When you get shortstacked you have to put pressure on the larger stacks because they tend to take smaller risks. But when you are among the bigger stacks, you need to avoid spots with a high variance, because your stack is at a satisfactory level.”

  • Math vs. Strategy

“Satellites are tournaments having different characteristics. As a result, you should remember that you do not need to win the tournament; just make sure you qualify. Many players know this but make mistakes—especially on the home stretch—so you must bear in mind that you should always base your decision on strategy rather than on math.”

  • The “best” play vs. the “correct” play

“Here’s a basic example: you get AK on button and the tournament is close to the money positions. Let’s say you have 30bb and both your opponents in SB and BB have 20bb. At a normal MTT, this would be a clear opportunity to bet / call and allow your opponents to go all-in with hands where your rank is way ahead.

“However, at a satellite, where the main goal is survival—and you are about to get your seat—it would be best to make an Open Shove (all-in) because this will greatly reduce variance and cause your opponents to flee with several hands. In this way, we will collect important chips for our survival. Do remember that, in this example, you do not yet have the necessary stack to ensure qualification.”

“MILLIONS South America will mark a turning point”

Renato Nomura began to play poker ten years ago, although for over eight years he was an amateur. It was João Simão (Brazil)—a friend of his for more than a decade—who helped him enter the professional world. “I’ve learned much from him, but I know there’s still a lot of knowledge to be gained. My poker career is like a baby”, says the partypoker team member, who also acts as coach of the Massari Poker Team, i.e. the team put together by João and his wife Luiza Simão (Brazil).

Nomura y Joao Simao, amigos de la vida y el poker

How much time do you devote to studying and playing?

“I play five times a week—from Sundays to Thursdays—and I study once a week—on Fridays. Saturdays are my day off. My schedule also includes the lessons I give, which generally take place during weekday mornings, Fridays or Saturdays. A well-structured routine is fundamental but, if there’s one thing I’ve learned from poker, it’s that ‘Every choice is a renunciation’. So, my advice is: if you really want to succeed, pursue your goal; go for it, because it’s worth it!”

Renato has grown exponentially in the last few years, especially since he joined partypoker. “It has helped me so much, mainly in terms of visibility. Therefore, my goal is to always promote the parkypoker brand as much as I can, which makes me very proud because it is a company that listens to its customers above all”, states the poker player, who is counting the days until he travels to the Belmond Copacabana Palace to play from 15 to 24 March.

What type of environment do you expect to find in MILLIONS South America?

“An awesome environment. The Brazilian people are extremely friendly, so I have no doubt there will be a fantastic atmosphere and it will be a historic event. It will mark a turning point.”

What impact do you believe the tournament will have on local poker?

“I think the event is important at both national and international levels, which—in the future—will lead to more brands investing in Brazil, even from other countries. More events of this magnitude are likely to be organised here after MILLIONS South America.”