This is a discussion on Bubble Play within the online poker forums, in the Tournament Poker section; When’s a good time to start thinking about the bubble in a poker tournament? For example, how many players away from the bubble should you
the main thing is to put pressure on weak opponents and use information that is already available in relation to players who prefer a particular style of play up to this point.
Of course, you should have a good stack before this period
I always pay attention to three things:
1 - How long the tournament lasts.
2 - Your stack, the number of big blinds.
3 - The Number of remaining players.
If there are 10 players left before the bubble, why take the risk? You spent so much time, but you didn't get anything.
It really depend on the tournament. Being 10 away from the money with 600 players left and 3 minutes between blinds going up is very different from being 10 away from the money with 22 players left and 15 minutes between blinds going up. In the first situation the bubble will likely burst in the next hand, but in the second situation it can still be almost an hour away.
Also in some tournaments the bubble is more important than others. At the one extreme you have satellites, where you either win a ticket or nothing. In these the bubble is everything, so as soon as you are sure, you have chips enough to fold your way to a cash, its a mistake to be playing any hand at all.
I have folded KK preflop is this situation and then cashed. I have also folded my SB, even 70% of my stack was already in the pot, because I knew, the tournament would finish in this or the next hand.
At the other extreme you have structures like the 180 man SnGs on PokerStars. In these 27 places pay, but place 10-27 only pay your buyins and some change, while winning the thing pay your buyin almost 50 times. In these strutures min-cashing almost does not even matter, and you should mainly be focused on accumulating chips, so you have a chance of at least reaching the final table.
And then there are all those tournaments, which are somewhere in between. Those where you do kind of want to cash, but you also want to reach the final table, because this is where, the really big money is paid out.
Then you have to weigh those things against each other, and if the bubble will burst within 1-2 orbits of hands, it can be reasonable to take of some marginal spots. Or if you are very short completely give up on the final table and try to fold your way to a small cash, as you would in a satellite.
Its really never to early to start looking at how you want to attack the bubble. You can start to identify who to steal from, who is playing fit or fold, and who likes to fold to 3bets. Another thing to look for is the stack sizes ie who may jam over your raise.
Try to play on the bubble in accordance with the size of your stack.
1. If the stack is large - it is necessary to often show aggression, steal the blinds.
2. With an average stack - play quiet and tight game.
3. With a short stack - play carefully. If it is possible to get into the prize zone, then it is better not to risk. In most cases, have to play push / fold.