Getting all your Chips in!

02/24/2014
By Tommie ClarkGoogle
The bubble is one place most big stacks misunderstand and this is why you see so many chip leaders plummet at this point.

Impatient plays are often not rewarded, and they often catch players out bringing what could have been an exciting and successful tournament, down to a game of survival or even elimination if you are all-in versus another one of the big stacks in the tournament. Some players have tried to run over the table with their big stacks when they are just off the money. Unfortunately, this is because of a misunderstanding about how to play the approaching bubble period of the tournament.

Most people know that if they play aggressively enough on the bubble, you can get tight plays resulting in a lot more folds than when the tournament started. Betting at this stage is by all means recommended to take down pots screaming for an owner. However, pre-flop betting can get tricky.

It is pre-flop many players misinterpret what they should be doing at the bubble point. Some big stacks will either be left with a large raise or re-raise to call. Unless they are holding a group one premium hand there is no reason to go all-in. Nonetheless, plenty of the big stacks seem to think that if they go all-in, they’ll scare their opponent off the hand just because they are playing with tournament lives closer to the cash.

Going all-in against a strong pre-flop bet, raise or re-raise from another player is really not the best move to make before the bubble. Instead you should be thinking that at this point the other players are likely to only play strong hands. That means if you feel an all-in is going to scare that person away, you are probably one of the people that runs into Aces or Kings consistently on the bubble.

For some reason, some players will play the all-in move as a compulsive display of aggression. It’s a risky move unless you really do have the goods to back up your big push. A simple Q-J off suit is not a hand you want to push with, yet we have seen many poker players feel this is a hand worthy of their tournament life and the chance to cash.

On the bubble, a Q-J off suit isn’t a premium two hand.



The only time the all-in is worth a risk is when you are up against short stacks with all the big stacks folded out of the hand. It takes patients for this happen and is a tool in your poker locker that can unleash some serious damage.

Waiting for a good hand you can isolate the short stacks with an all-in with hand as low as 8-8. You are going on a coin flip fifty-fifty chance of beating your opponent in most situations, which offer even odds on the win in any case, so you are getting the right odds. Weighing up all these points, poker’s all-ins around the bubble should be treated with more care and attention to strategy.
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