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StrategySit & Go

Bubble Strategy (1): Introduction

Before reading this lesson, you should have read through:

By now, you should already be familiar with the risk premium concept, thus you know you need extra equity on top of your pot odds to call a bet profitably. This extra equity tends to be the highest on the bubble, and immediately before it - when the last “unpaid” players are being eliminated. This phase of a tournament is called the bubble phase.

Dynamics similar to the bubble phase can be present at other times throughout the tournament, however these are much more pronounced during the bubble phase. Therefore, dealing with these situations is an important skill to develop.

In this module you will learn what your gameplan should be in the bubble phase, depending on your stack size relative to those of the other players. You will also learn in what way bubble scenarios differ between various SNG types.

You can find specific advice regarding bubble strategy in most of the popular SNG formats in the lessons to follow.

The bubble phase

Obviously, you cannot draw a line and say “here is where the bubble starts”. The bubble phase dynamics arise gradually, building up as the tournament gets closer to the actual bubble. As you gain more and more experience, you will get a feel for this, and learn to adapt to these dynamics gradually.

For now though, and for the purpose of this lesson, the bubble phase needs to be specifically defined.
It will henceforth be assumed that the bubble phase starts when there are 20% more players left in the tournament than there are on the exact bubble.
For example, in a 9-man SNG with a typical payout structure, there are 4 players left on the bubble, so the bubble phase starts with 4*(100%+20%) = ~5 players left. In a 180-man SNG which pays 27, there are 28 players on the bubble, so the bubble phase starts with 28*(100%+20%) = ~34 players in the tournament.

You can try to do that calculation for other tournament types that you play. If you play a given SNG format, you will notice that the dynamics start to become recognisably more “bubbly” around a certain point.

Next steps

Take the quiz and test your understanding of this lesson.
Start the quiz
Discuss this lesson or ask your questions in the forum.

That's not the entire article...

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Comments (2)

#1 Boomer2k10, 18 Dec 13 20:09

Hi All

Please enjoy the first article in our SNG Bubble Series of lessons

If you have any questions or comments please join the Discussion in the forum here:


Don't forget to study the video, take the quiz and do the exercises which come with this article

#2 luana13, 17 Jul 15 15:53

How can this be done: "trying to manipulate the blind increases in such a way that they increase immediately after passing you."? Sorry if the info was already in a previous article, I must have missed it, but I'm really interested as I often have the impression the blinds are increasing right before me... :) Thanks!