Originally Posted by chapstick
I wondering if anyone has any advise on how to survive the bubble. I used to play the same style of poker, but I find myself sometimes busting out before I place. What I do now is basically not play any hands until a place. The kinda works, but I feel like I'm hurting my chances of actually winning the whole thing.
Well just survive it!!
I think it's OK to attack the scared players but that's also the surest way of finishing before the bubble if you don't have the stack (which doesn't mean it's necessarily a bad thing if you're in it to win it). But that's not really the right advice for someone who wants to "survive the bubble", it's more like the right advice for someone who want's to benefit from the bubble.
I wouldn't try to steal too much blinds just before the bubble if you're short stacked especially not from the bigger stacks.
If you're big stack be very aggressive and steal a lot of blinds. Put the short stacks in front of a situation where they think "have I just spent 3h just end up with nothing".
But to come back to your question, how to survive the bubble, you've already answered it: Don't play any hand. Not that this is best way to play, but that's definitely the way to survive the bubble.
Most experts say that you should not tighten up before the bubble and that's the best time to play aggressively and bluff/play position. Sadly I don't listen to them and that's why I'm still a bum!!!
I have a 31% ITM rate in MTTs (27% for MTTs over 180 players) so believe me I know how to survive the bubble, I practically invented the concept!! I tighten up so much that I miss the bigger picture which is to make big bucks!! Maybe one day I'll understand. In the meantime I grind out a living from poker while listening to the experts tell me I have a small d1ck!!
However what you can do to still have a big chance of making the money without going into auto fold (which is what I do cos, like you, I'm obsessed with making the money):
- Tighten up: Play less marginal hands like KQ, KJ or A9 or speculative hands like small PPs and suited connectors which may require you to bleed some chips on the flop). Don't shy away from big hands though. If you lose with them then so be it!!
- Avoid calling especially raises (and that's an advice I would give in poker in general). If you think you are gonna race, just avoid it and fold. Only call raises with premium hands.
- Try to control the size of the pot. It means you can still lose hands without losing a significant part of your stack. Stuff like checking draws, not pushing with good but beatable stuff and so on. If you think the guy's on a flush draw and will (wrongly) call your all in, even if this is what you want, dont do it. He might have bad odds
to call you on a draw but that's a matter for the long run, not this tournament. After a while trying different things you'll get a hang of pot size control.
- Don't bluff although you can still do "small ball" bluffs (putting small bets as bluffs if you don't think anyone has anything). But don't do big bluffs which are do or die ones!
- Raise your hands only ifyour position is good. If you keep raising in early position, you stand more of a chance that your raise will be re-raised or called. You may have to end your tourney here if that's what you do. You may consider folding some good hands in early position too (like A10 UTG which you would normally raise 3 or 4 times BB)
- Only steal blinds if you really need to and ONLY if your position is good.
- Consider raising small or not at all, avoiding preflop all ins.
- If you are close to the bubble, stall for time using the maximum time allowed to play.
- Avoid re-raising all in, even if that's what you should do (for instance with AQ or AJ from a loose player raising every other hand). If he is so loose he will likely call and the end you're likely to only be 60%-70% likely to win (if you have the best hand) so losing here is a reall possibility. But you should be able to adapt to the situation. If you've seen this loose aggressive player fold when re-raised all in, you can consider it, he will probably fold and raise the next hand.
That should allow you to still play and not crash out before the bubble. That's what I do if I really wanna cash. You'll essentially be playing an uber-tight game for a while.
Note that this is a strategy to survive the bubble and I am by no means saying this a is how you should play poker all the time. That's up to you, but if you wanna cash, that's the way to do it.
Obviously if you have a big stack, those don't apply, you'll probably make the bubble regarless so play your best game. However you may want to avoid confrontation with the other big stacks. Again that's the way to survive.