The most important time in any casino online or poker tournament is on the bubble. This is where the most crucial decisions are made and where the most money is won or lost. Indeed, while a min cash won’t win you the most money on offer, the gap between no money and some money is the most significant in a tournament.
For this reason every decision you make on the bubble must be well thought out and carefully timed. Moreover, everything should be considered in terms of your stack size and position at the table. While it pays to be aggressive on the bubble – because you’ll scoop a lot of chips from those players who are afraid of getting eliminated – you need to pick the right spots to raise.
If you’ve got a large stack then it’s relatively simple: you just raise at every opportunity. However, if you’ve got a medium or short stack, then you need to be a bit more careful. The first thing you need to consider is the action that’s occurred before you. If there’s been no previous action, then you’re free to raise more liberally. However, if someone has raised before you, then raising (usually all-in) requires some analysis.
If the raiser has more chips than you, then you need to assess how likely they are to fold if you move all-in. Their propensity to fold will be based on their playing style (if they’re loose they are more likely to fold and vice versa) and how much of a hit their stack will take if they call you and lose.
A good situation for moving all-in on the bubble is when the raiser is loose and your stack is greater than 50% of theirs. Here the factors are in your favour and they are likely to fold a high percentage of the time.
If there’s been no action in front of you then you need to look at the stacks to your left and assess how likely a raise is to get through. If the remaining players have small/ medium stacks then it’s likely your raise will work. However, if you have a big stack to your left, it’s possible you’ll face some resistance.
Thus, knowing who is left to act should determine whether or not you make a move on the bubble. Indeed, while it’s important to be aggressive during this stage of the tournament, you need to do it at the right times. Get it wrong and you could find yourself hitting the rail without a return on your investment.
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