What’s the Bubble in Poker and Why Is it Important?

by Cole Paganelli | January 30, 2020 |

Players who are into cash games don’t often use the term “bubble” as it is mostly reserved for poker players who enjoy taking part in poker tournaments.

The term is actually very simple, it is that moment in the tournament when the players are about to enter the “money” part. For example, if the top 50 spots are the paid ones, it means that hte player who ends on the 51st place will not receive any money, while the very next one will get a share of the prize pool.

Therefore, if there are 51 players in the game, they are said to play “on the bubble.” This is a very interesting part of the tournament, as many then try some weird strategies in order not to be the one who would “burst the bubble.”

This is a particularly difficult time for everyone, especiall the ones who are short-stacked. Imagine playing in a tournament where thousands of people apply, and you make it to the bubble, only to lose all chips.

There are two kinds of players who play on the bubble. One group, which consists of those who are short-stacked, is usually focused on just staying one game. However, the other group is players who already have a lot of chips and who consider the bubble an opportunity to win even more chips.

Big Stack Strategy

If you have a big stack when you’re playing on the bubble, this is a perfect time to go aggressive in order to make others scared. You have no stress at this point and you can profit on the fact that the short-stacked players are going to be stressed about playing in this part of the tournament.

Medium Stack Strategy

Players who are in the middle are advised to be tight in this period and wait only for the opportunities that arise along the way. Once the bubble bursts, they can change their strategy and approach the game differently.

Short Stack Strategy

You know that you are short-stacked if the number of blinds you can play are below ten. In that case, you are pretty much in danger and need to do something about it. You don’t have a choice to fold often, so you need to consider whether the hands you have are worth folding or not. After all, you need to be very wise when you choose what cards to play.

There’s no particular strategy in this type of situation. Instead, you need to assess your environment and try to determine the best possible course of action. However, you need to understand that you’ll have to rely on the element of luck as well in this case.

To sum up, playing on the bubble is always exciting for everyone as tensions rise and players adopt different styles of play. However, you need to know that even if you make it past the bubble, the game is far from over, meaning that you are in the game with the best players in the tournament.

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