Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The Longest Mile

One of the hardest things I face in tourneys is the impending bubble. I really am split about what to do when I have a marginal stack and the bubble is approaching. For instance last night. I have 7K in chips and the bubble is fast approaching. What do I do? Should I hold out for the bubble. The blinds are 600/1200 and going up. There are ten left until the bubble. Any hand I play hard I am all in for. I have been playing this O8 tourney for two hours. So is it better to double my money by making the bubble or should I get aggressive and try and double up or bust?

Last night I chose to make the money. I did make a move against a small stack and lost about 3K. I was way ahead until he rivered a straight. He called my all in with AQJ6.. I was wayyyy ahead with my pair until the straight. I also folded an A2 s00ted with my 4K stack because I did not want to bubble. Either move could have been good or bad. I would have won the A2 low uncontested. As it ended up last night I did make past the bubble and not much more. It basically took to long for the small stacks to be blinded down and by the time I had chips I had to go all in. I had a decent hand with A23 s00ted, however, the flop of KKJ was not very pretty. Since KKJJ won I guess my KK99 was not too bad. Out in 30th place or so of 400.

So should I have not attacked the small stack with my pocket pair? HU these hands can be profitable and I was guaranteed HU. Should I have played my A2 s00ted? If the KKJ flop happened then I would have most likely bubbled out. It gets really tough at the end of these things if you do not have a lot of chips. Sometimes I decide it is better to bubble and sometimes I get a little sick of being 37th out of 400 and decided to cruise into some amount of money and satisfaction.

I still have not decided if it is better to make the money and then see what else you can do or just play like there is no cutoff. I have to believe that the latter option is the better one. I can take pride in being outside of the bubble so many times right? I mean I consistently almost make the money? One of these times it will pay off with that elusive first place win I so desire right? Does making the money mean more though? I mean if I limped in on the last four I bubbled in then I would have made 5% of the final money? If I keep doing that consistently I will eventually have made the final table money. One of these times I am bound to go on a rush at the right time too and I will hit that elusive first spot. I will then have the addition bubble wins to add on to that right? Who knows. It is such a hard decision and I am not sure either way is wrong.


Blogger iamhoff said...

I'm going thru the exact same questions as you...do I tighten up nearing the bubble, hoping to make the money barely, or do I get aggressive and try to double or triple up and go even deeper, with the risk of busting out. I think the more noble choice is to go balls out and play like there's no cutoff. To consistently place near the money says that your game is good, and helps you identify things you need to work on (Lord knows I need to work on my short game). Still, if the bankroll is shrinking (as mine is) with all of these bubble finishes, it may dictate that you tighten up to preserve the bankroll, so that you'll have the depth later to finally bust thru the bubble and make the final money. That's my take. Now if I can only get it together enough to do it myself!

10:52 AM

Blogger CJ said...

As we everything in poker... the answer is:

It depends.

How much is the payout? Did you satellite in? For example, if you get into the 200K guarantee on a $5 satellite and 80th place pays $150... then avoiding the bubble is very profitable.

If it's a $10 tourney and 80th place pays $12.50... just making the money may not be as big of a deal.

Consistently cashing is better than consistently bubbling. I think everyone knows that.

There are times to tighten up and make sure you cash, and there are times to acquire chips. I would tend to lean towards the tighten up and cash, myself. Then you can take your chances after the money and make your run from there.

10:58 AM

Blogger Jordan said...

Having recently bubbled in a live tournament (on a soul crushing suckout AQ v KQ), I'm going to say that you should be looking to make the bubble most of the time. Once you are through, anything can happen (and usually will). The only thing I will add, though, is that if the table has tightened up because of the bubble, you should take advantage if you see any clear opportunities. What you should not do is try to make opportunities where none exist because you want to take your chances at doubling up.

3:04 PM

Blogger SirFWALGMan said...

I agree with everyones comments.. I guess the issue is that while you are waiting for the bubble your going to *possibly* get blinded down so that you have no chance after the bubble. This is a VERY real threat and needs to be looked at.

3:10 PM

Blogger Yoyo (Poker Poison) said...

I am a bubble girl, but my vote is to go for the gold. Unless as Iamhoff says the value of getting past the bubble is worth it. Otherwise, I'm want to play for #1. If I lose I lose. And I can deal with that.

8:05 PM

Blogger Unknown said...

A2 suited (without other wheel or connecting cards) is much like 99,TT,JJ in Hold' Em.

Great starting hand but can get trashed easily on the flop.

If you had the chips to take a flop relatively cheaply (calling 1 raise cold, but not 2), I'd do it. Then evaluate from there.

5:47 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You want to win the thing. Your opponents are tightening up to avoid bubbling. This is a great opportunity to increase your stack. I still make a lot of these decisions by feel, but if I do bubble, I usually attribute it to not accumulating enough chips early, not because I tried to play poker on the bubble.

That said, being short-stacked on the bubble in an omaha tourney is poker hell.

8:10 AM


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