Playing the Bubble in Sit and Go’s
April 21, 2009
The most important stage of a sit and go tournament is the bubble. In case you don’t know, the bubble in a single table sit and go is when there are four players remaining but only three get paid, meaning that one player is going home with nothing, while the other three will all profit. If you can master the strategy in this article you’ll find yourself in the money more often, and you’ll also have a much better chance of winning the sit and go outright.
Your Goal on the Bubble
It’s important to define your goal for bubble play before you devise a strategy. I personally like to always play for the win, not the finish. I’d much rather take 1st place once out of three tries as opposed to getting 3rd place twice out of three tries. The strategy in this article is going to be for players who want to win, and aren’t trying to fold their way into the money.
At this point in the sit and go I’m sure you’ve been playing quite aggressively, because the blinds and antes are now very significant compared to the average stack. I recommend continuing that aggressive style of play on the bubble, if not upping your aggression. The reason for this is because the bubble is the best time to make bluffs and accumulate chips. While other players are folding and trying to slide into the money, you can pick up pots and build your stack.
One of my favorite moves on the bubble is the small preflop raise in position. When you’re on the cutoff or on the button and are the first to enter the pot, go ahead and make a raise of 2.2x. The reason I like to keep the raise small is because if the other players are going to fold to a 3x raise, they’re still going to fold to a 2.2x raise. And if they do happen to have a hand and re-raise you, you’re conserving chips by only raising 2.2x.
One trick I like to use at poker sites online is to raise an odd number so the stack looks very large. For example, if the blinds are 200/400 I’d raise to 899 or 949. Although the raise is hardly more than a minimum raise, the chips will stack up on the table and it will look like a much more substantial bet. This works well to scare other players out of the pot while only risking a small amount of chips.
If you notice another player making raises a little too often, you’re going to have to make a stand to defend your stack. Once he/she makes one raise too often, throw out a re-raise if you feel they’re just bluffing into the blinds with position. I like to make a re-raise of roughly 3x their initial raise so they don’t have the odds to call unless they actually have a solid hand. This lets you pick up the pot and deter them from making future raises into your blinds.
Back to Poker Articles page.