How do you play on the Bubble?

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How do you play on the bubble during a poker tournament and what exactly does it mean? A poker tournament consists of several phases. All players who participate in the tournament want to experience the buzz of the Bubble phase. It is certainly a phase where you want to be as a player, but it is also a phase in which you do not want to be the next person who flies out. How exactly do you play on the bubble and does it always work the same? We are happy to tell you more about this.

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What is playing on the Bubble?

Let's start with the most important thing, because what is playing on the bubble exactly? The bubble is the point in the poker tournament where the next disabled player makes no profit and the other players are awarded prizes. The 25 best players will win an amount in the Poker Tournament. There are still 26 players left and these players are "on the bubble". The only player who does not receive a reward and is switched off is therefore actually eliminated "on the bubble".

The bubble is therefore a term with multiple applications that all have to do with the period just before the money is reached in a tournament. The period itself - when only one or a few players have to be switched off before the money is reached - is called the "bubble period". The last player to be eliminated before the money has fallen, is either "the bubble" or has "bubbled" the event.

Playing on the bubble is not standard

It may be clear that not every player plays the same on a poker tournament and this also applies to playing on the bubble. When the "bubble phase" comes, this is seen by most players as the moment when you do or when you are switched off, also called the "do or that" phase. That is why it often happens that players suddenly change their playing style at the moment, depending on the stack of sheets they have for themselves.

They do this, because they have to decide at the moment whether they have to play with the intention of eliminating other players, or whether they must "survive" to receive part of the prize. The Bubble phase is therefore also a moment when many sudden changes take place in the game. So you play to win and to eliminate players or to survive.

Play to win

The first category of players playing on the bubble consists of the players who go for the win. This group consists of players who are planning to use the Bubble phase to their advantage, so that they can collect more chips and increase their chances to win the tournament.

Play to survive

The second group of players consists of players who prioritize the "survival" in the Bubble phase, so actually not being eliminated. These players play to get the right to take part of the win home. So they do not play to win, but they play (or not) to make a smaller profit for sure.

Why is it important to know how to play on the bubble?

Many experienced poker players will tell you that it is important to study playing on the bubble well. There are important reasons for this. In this phase of the game, also called "Bubble Play", different strategies and styles are applied. It is good to study this, whether you participate in the game whether it looks at it from the sidelines.

By paying close attention to you can analyze what happens in this phase. This helps you in the first place to get your chances poker When it comes to the survival of the bubble, but it also helps you to increase your chances of a higher profit amount.

Making strategic decisions

If you play on the bubble, then of course you have to deal with all other players who are still sitting at the gaming table at that time. These players influence the strategy that you apply. The number of players determines, among other things, how many hands a player can survive with folds, with both the before If the Big Blind (BB) and Small Blind (SB).

On the other hand, it is also the case that it can be an effective strategy to play relatively aggressive or separately, in order to collect more chips. This strategy is used more often by players with a large stack. Once you play on the bubble in a poker tournament, then it is very important to make the right strategic decisions.

Notifying various styles

We mentioned that the Bubble phase in the game is often the phase in which players change style. It is good to know these various styles and to notice while playing. Some players will fold almost every hand, even good hands. Their playing style will be as tight as possible. Others will raise and go all-in with many hands. The size of the stack of a player and how the other players act, influence these decisions.

You don't want to be the Bubble Boy

During the poker tournament, more and more players are being eliminated until the phase in which money is earned comes into view. Are you the last player to be eliminated before the money is reached, then you are the "Bubble Boy". You are eliminated while playing on the Bubble. In certain cases, two players are eliminated at the same time in the Bubble phase. In this case it is usually decided to distribute the first mincash among these two players.

A different "price" can also be made available for the Bubble Boy if this is only one. For example, it is sometimes chosen to give this player a buy-in or a free entry for the next tournament. Still, basically the player who becomes the Bubble Boy really goes home empty -handed.

Don't play a hand if you are in danger of being disabled

Within a poker tournament you can often see which players are experienced in playing on the bubble, and which not. A mistake that many starting players make is that they do not play a hand when they are in danger of becoming off. If no hand will be played, this will come in most cases because at that time the player shoots, as it were, from the idea that it can be eliminated on the bubble. If you are a player in this position, then it is good to play, especially because experienced players notice that you no longer play a hand. They can easily use this in their own game.

The worst position when playing on the Bubble

The short stack is the worst stack you can have when you play on the bubble. In all cases this is an unpleasant position to be in, but this applies even more when playing on the bubble. You don't have enough chips to take advantage and someone out. It is not an ideal situation, but a situation where you will often find yourself and probably the most important moment to play well.

In this case it is the most important first step to find a balance between the tension and the patience that you have to bring. Remember that surviving should not be your only purpose in no way. This does not mean that you should not try to survive, but it mainly means that your decisions must be focused on winning the tournament.

Only making money should not be a goal

Why is it not good to only focus on survival when you play on the bubble? This has to do with the fact that in most cases this focus will have a negative effect on your profit, if you can get a profit out of it. If you only play to win money, you will notice that you more often min-cash. In the long term, this influences your profit in a negative way.

So, if you have a short stack and are in a lean position, then consciously choose to continue to play for the winning of the entire tournament. Nobody wants to leave the game empty -handed, but in all cases try to play from your mind instead of from your emotions.

Play on the bubble with a medium stack

Medium stacks are in an interesting place on the Bubble. There are two totally different ways of acting that you can choose, and both are correct at certain times. In this case, the best way of acting depends mainly on the players at the table and the way they choose to approach the bubble.

Choose an aggressive playing style when the table is full of frightened players and / or with players who have a big stack. Remember that players who always look at the clock, who always look at other players or quickly fold up players with fear.

Never show fear with a medium stack

If you play on the bubble with a medium stack, then it is the most important thing not to show your fear when you experience it. So don't look too much at other players or at the clock, and don't choose Folden too quickly. If you do show your fear, you turn yourself into a target for attentive players.

It increases the risk that you quickly become a player with a short stack. Are you mainly at the table with players with large stacks? Then it is often wise to at least make your opening series a little tighter, because there will probably be more pre-flop 3 bets and much more aggression in the game.

Play on the bubble with a big stack

It is sometimes thought that players with a big stack will never end up as Bubble Boy when playing on the Bubble. This is certainly not correct. Every player in this phase of the game, including those with large stacks, runs the risk of being eliminated. In the end it is always about tactics. Of course it is true that you start in the strongest position on the bubble phase if you have a big stack.

Just like with satellite poker tournaments, the players with large stacks have all the tools, maneuvering space and the ability to put everyone under pressure at the table. This is the chance for these players to make use of the fear of other players, to survive the Bubble phase, to win more chips and to increase the chance of the big win.

Benefit from a big stack when playing on the Bubble

How do you benefit from the bubble with a big stack? Start in the same way as the Stack Medium and assess how everyone plays. Find the tight players and the short stacks that try to survive. Openly ruthless in their blinds and with a very wide range of hands. There will be situations in which the players are so tight that the cards you have not even matter. You know they folded before you even have Geraised.

If you want to do really well, you look at your cards as if you really have no idea what to do with it. On the other hand, remember that you cannot bluff with everyone, not even while playing on the Bubble. Play aggressive, but stay on your guard.

Analyze your games on the Bubble

The most important thing is that after playing on the Bubble you will analyze what exactly happened. With a positive analysis of errors made during the game, you can determine how the game could have expired differently. You learn from this for the next poker tournament.

Not only assess your bad move, but also look carefully at the good moves you have made. By combining this knowledge and putting them into practice in future tournaments, you will get better and better at playing on the Bubble.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is meant by the Bubble period?

The Bubble is a term with multiple applications that all have to do with the period just before the money is reached in a tournament. The period itself - when only one or a few players have to be switched off before the money is reached - is called the "bubble period".

When are you the Bubble or the Bubble Boy?

The last player to be eliminated before the money has fallen, is either "the bubble" or has "bubbled" the event. This person, who just grabs the money in the tournament, is also called the "Bubble Boy". Of course the bubble can also be a woman.

What is The Battle of the Blinds?

When everyone decides to fold for the players who have made the mandatory bets, then there is a "battle of the blinds". It is a term that is heard more often within several phases of a poker tournament.