The importance of finishing first
Just a quickie here about the importance of finishing first.
I was playing a couple $16 turbos this morning; I won one and bubbled the other with a little too much aggression when I ran into Q♣Q♦with my 10♠5♠ (). After I finished them off, I was just skimming through my STT stats in PokerTracker, and it got me thinking about the importance of staying aggressive on the bubble (which in turn gives you a much better chance of finishing first rather than second or third).
Let's look at a couple examples for $10 10-seater STTs (which are very general and unrealistic just to illustrate my point). Each player has managed to get to the top four 50 times.
Payouts are as follows:
$50 for first place
$30 for second place
$20 for third place
$0 for fourth place
First we have a player who's stats suggest that he's pretty weak-tight on the bubble, but has still managed to squeek into third place 35 times, and bubbled 15 times:
(0*$50)+(0*$30)+(35*$20)+(15*10) = $700
Looks good, but let's take a look at someone who's been much more aggressive on the bubble, and has built his stack every game to a point where he's a strong contender for 1st. Let's say he placed:
(25*$50)+(0*$30)+(0*$20)+(25*0) = $1250
So even though player 2 bubbled 10 more games, and placed in 10 fewer games than player 1, he still managed to make %180 the prizes of player 1. Like I said, these are pretty unrealistic examples, and the actual difference between a weak-tight and an aggressive player's profits won't be as much, but it is still huge.
Aggressive bubble play is essential in having any contention for first place unless you're a cardrack who somehow manages to have a massive stack every time the bubble comes (in which case you would actually have more of a reason to push people around).
This also applies to MTTs and final tabling, but I'm way too lazy to do any crazy calc's on that.