Playing the Bubble in SNGs

When you approach the money bubble in any game, it’s the
point in time where every player feels some excitement or rush.
This is the portion of a game where the time you’ve invested now
pays off with a monetary figure. The key to getting through a
money bubble and into the money is to not play too reckless. If
you play too reckless, you’ll bust right before the money
bubble and not be satisfied with your play.

Picking Your Spots

Near the bubble, it’s important that you are playing pots in
optimal spots. The best spot to look at is from the button or
cutoff position. If you play hands from the button or cutoff, you’ll
apply pressure to other players as opposed to them doing it to
you. If you make a raise from the button or even shove from the
button, depending on how big the blinds are, you are putting a
ton of pressure on the blinds. The blinds will either shove
all-in or fold the hand. Around the bubble in sit and goes there
isn’t much room to do anything else or get too creative. If the
blinds decide to flat call, this is a strange play and you can
most likely continuation bet the flop and force a fold, but you
should also look out for a trap. Some players will do this with
a hand like aces, but that is pretty rare.

If you are playing out of the big or small blind at the
bubble you can force a number of folds if you represent a strong
hand. Position raises are very common as the bubble steadily
approaches and most of the time the raise before the flop will
work. If you are in the big blind and notice a player taking way
too many hands down before the flop, you can make a re-shove in
to try and win the pot. At the bubble, this is the most risky
time for it, but, without a hand your opponent cannot make the
call. Your goal should always be first to make the money and
then to go in for the win. Once you make the money you can open
your game up more and play more hands.

How Many Players Cash

If you are playing a six handed sit and go the top two players will cash in the
game. If you are three handed, it’s crucial to make no mistakes.
One mistake will cost you cash and a possible win of the match.
To avoid making mistakes you should look at stack sizes around
you. If the other players have bigger stacks than yours, it’s
time for you to start shoving and hope you double up. Your goal
from the first hand to the last hand is to win, and if you are
short stacked you have to put pressure on the big stacks and

If you are a big stack, it’s tough to call off with
weaker hands in spots where it will change the complexion of the
game. If you are big stacked or in first with three players left
you want to stay in first. Ideally you want to see the players
in second and third play a big pot with each other. If you
already have the stack, there’s no sense making thin calls and
gambling to possibly lose your stack. You can go from the big
stack to the short stack in a matter of one hand or a few bad

Six max sit and goes are aggressive by nature and the money
bubble shouldn’t change that. If you have been playing
aggressive by attacking blinds, this is the time where you can
build up your stack and go in for the win. If you have gathered
a lot of chips and have twice as much as your other two
opponents, you should run them over and put pressure on them.
You can win the game essentially by having a stack at the money
bubble. If you have the stack you should shove with hands that
are a favorite over a random hand or two random hands. There’s
no sense to put in a raise, because it will commit you to the pot
anyways. If you raise and proceed to fold as the big stack, you
are losing valuable chips.

The money bubble in full ring sit and goes is tougher to
approach, because almost all players in these are playing passive
throughout the game. As the bubble approaches you should have
been able to identify who has been playing tight and exploit
that by shoving on their blinds. Of course you need to pick up
some cards if you are four handed, but, you can also steal a
number of pots with marginal hands.

Full ring money bubbles are
tough to approach because there are two situations that will
happen. All of the players at the table will have close to even
sized stacks or one player will have a big stack with three
smaller stacks. If every player has an even sized stack, it’s
more or less a waiting game between the players. One player will
shove and get folds, then the next hand another player will
shove and get folds. It’s really tough to play with four even
stacked players, because it’s all about patience. If you have
enough patience eventually one player will shove in and bust
their stack.

The best way to go in for the money or a win with four even
stacked players is essentially to wait it out. If there’s one
big stacked player at the table, this player will most likely
look for every spot to apply pressure on the others by shoving.
If you are one of the short stackers, you should avoid the big
stack unless you have a big enough hand to play with them. What
you should do is try to pick on someone who has the same stack
size as you do. If you are shoving on them most of the time the
player will fold without a big enough hand to call. You’ll
apply far more pressure approaching the money bubble against
someone with a small stack as opposed to a big stack.