Tuesday, July 28, 2009

After the Bubble Bursts – Now What? by @ChrisKristofco

Thoughts from a Winner

Chris Kristofco is a winning online poker player. He has a new Poker Blog you should check out. While much has been written about taking advantage of timid play near the bubble, he has written an insightful article about play after the bubble that can help your tournament results.


How to Play After the Bubble Bursts
We’ve all heard a lot about bubble play in NLHE tournaments. Big stacks should punish the tight play surrounding the bubble, and short stacks need to pick spots to try to steal or double up. But what about after the bubble bursts? What happens then?

Bubble GumImage by jmacphoto.com via Flickr

Post-bubble play is one of the least talked about elements of NLHE tournaments, but one of the more important. What happens after the poor bubble boy is sent packing? One word: chaos. All of those short stacks who have been looking to survive and make it into the money now are drunk on their mincash winnings and are spewing chips into the middle of the table like a sick child on the Tilt-a-Whirl. Now is really the time to pick your spot.

After the bubble breaks, big stacks can collect more chips picking off these desperation moves, and smaller stacks might just get an easier double up than they would have prior to the money. Remember the change in philosophy of the average player. For many of them, at this point, they are on a freeroll. Use that to your advantage.

As a large stack, tighten up just a bit in your raising requirements, knowing that small stacks might be shoving, forcing you to call in marginal spots. However, know that you will also get to pick off some smaller stacks with less than the nuts. You have to understand where your opponent is coming from in order to adjust your game appropriately. Knowing that small, and even medium stacks, are in spew mode can help you make proper decisions.

As a small stack, your game just got a lot more interesting. You need to be aware that the action is about to kick up into turbo mode. You might have to get it in with less than an optimal holding since you can’t afford to wait several orbits until the action slows down (which it will). So, you might have to stick it in with AJ. On the other hand, if the next money jump is significant, you might be able to get there without playing a hand. Just be aware that players will now bust out at an amazing rate, and make your decisions based on that information.

Medium stacks might have the toughest time of all. The action is going to be fast and furious around you, and the temptation to get involved light is going to be high. Just be aware that immediately after the bubble break is probably not the best time to try to steal blinds. Sit tight. Wait to get it in strong. Often medium stacks get it in way too light because they perceive that they have to make a move since the chips are flying around them. It isn’t necessary. Pick your spots without letting too much moss grow on your now rocky persona.

Chris Kristofco

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