Playing a satellite is a tournament parlay. Satellites are tournaments you enter in hopes of winning a seat into a larger tournament. They provide an opportunity for players to get into larger tournaments for a fraction of the cost and are extremely popular at all major tournaments. Let me give you an example of how they work.
Suppose a Hold’em tournament cost $1060 to enter. A one-table satellite (ten players) for this event would most likely cost $120 to play. The winner of the satellite would get an entry into the $1060 event (and $140 would go to the house). Most casinos host satellites continuously during a major event. Tournaments and satellites have different buy-ins. Players might play a satellite in one game but if they win it, they might prefer to play a UFA tournament in another game. Rather than assign players a seat into a particular tournament, tournaments issue “lammers” (buttons that are usually for $300 or $500) to players who win satellites. They can use those lammers to play in any tournament they wish. Players like having this option.
Another plus for issuing lammers is that players who so desire can make a deal at the end of a satellite. For example, suppose three players had equal chips at the end of a satellite with a prize of a $1500 buy-in. There would be three $500 lammers available (plus some cash for the vigorish). The three remaining players might opt to take one lammer each rather than play the satellite out. This is good for the house as it speeds up satellites, keeps more players in action, and generally keeps the players happy, as many would prefer to ‘chop’ rather than gamble at the high levels of the final stages of a satellite.