Bubble’s Burst

There’s always been a general opinion that the bubble is the worst place to end a tournament.  You spend hours grinding just to fall at the final hurdle and leave with absolutely nothing.  Well, nothing but bitter memories *Reminisces over harsh bubbles in the past*.

Wait a second though.  All the bubbles I can remember have been satellites in one form or another.  There was the satellite in Barcelona to the High Roller.  Sure that hurt (even ignoring fact I ended up buying in direct out of stubbornness).  There was also that Priority Freeroll I bubbled missing out on a brand new iPad.  I mean I have no need for an iPad, but I still felt myself wanting it – damn marketing.

Upon reflection I can’t actually remember any tournaments I’ve bubbled.  Perhaps you could argue that I have yet to bubble a big event – this is probably true, although the fact that I can’t remember tells its own story.

Having played thousands of tournaments online I can say I have had my fair share of bubbles.  Oddly though, my worst memories of online are definitely the tournaments where I end up finishing 2nd.

Thinking about it, surely this makes perfect sense.  2nd to 1st is the biggest jump money wise.  Its also the last place you can finish without beating the entire field and claiming the top prize and/or a trophy.

“But at least you’ve made a decent amount of money” I hear you cry. “Bubbles get absolutely nothing”.

I’m not saying finishing as the last player to get nothing is a pleasant experience.  It isn’t.  However if you are playing to a bankroll of 100 buy ins or 500 buy ins or similar, 1 buy in either way is not going to make or break your poker career.  A 1st instead of a 2nd may however be a substantial difference to your roll/livelihood.

If you are playing within your roll, a bubble shouldn’t be a big deal.

Issues arise when players take punts at higher buy-in tournaments well outside of their rolls.  Usually live events with huge guarantees.  When players take shots at bigger events the bubble hurts that much more as its a much bigger dent to their roll than their standard MTT.

You should of course be trying to satellite into bigger events outside of your bankroll to minimise this effect.  This is when bubbles hurt most.  Top 10 get seats to a major event.  You end up finishing 11th and spend the rest of the night weeping in the corner.  It’s understandable.  But its rare.

Satellites to major events are not the norm for tournament players.  Tournaments are.  And although our minds get clouded with that one time we almost landed a £10k package to Vegas, on a day to day basis 2nd place is the worst place to finish financially.

So get practicing on your Heads Up game.  The Bubble isn’t the issue.


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