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Early and Middle Phase

The Bubble

The fears, frustrations and fun as the money bubble approaches...

The bubble phase of any poker tournament is always extremely important. This applies to both multi-table tournaments (MTTs) and Sit & Go tournaments (STTs).

However there are a number of ways in which your play should differ, depending on which type of tournament you are playing. In short, the main aim at bubble time in a Sit & Go tournament is to survive into the money-winning places. But in a multi-table tournament, the best players use this period to try to accumulate chips. They are willing to put their tournament life on the line in order to achieve the goal.

To understand why, we need to have a look at a typical prize structure for the two types of tournament:

STT and MTT prize structure comparison

STT: $100+9 buy-in, 9 players
MTT: Sunday Million ($200+15 buy in)

Place SNG Prize MTT Prize
1 $450 $250,000
2 $270 $182,000
3 $180 $127,000
4 $0 $85,000
9   $13,000
100   $1,500
500   $500
1260   $300
1261   $0

In the Sit & Go tournament, the winner gets two-and-a-half times as much money as the smallest prize. Of course it is always the aim to win, but making it to the money is hugely important. Compare that with the Sunday Million, where the smallest prize is $300. That is a nice chunk of money but first prize is almost 1,000 times as much.

Therefore the best professional players primarily aim to reach the top three spots in big MTTs and aim to reach the money in STTs. You should try the same.

Targeting weakness on the bubble

Many players will try very hard to just survive the bubble period of an MTT, and they will sacrifice a lot of chips in the process. You should observe your opponents to spot these players, and once identified you should exploit their weakness.
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