If you play poker tournaments then you know the feeling of being the bubble–the last player to bust out before the money. It’s not a good feeling, but if you’re playing correct tournament strategy, you’ll find yourself in that position occasionally.
Lately I’ve found myself in that spot a bunch though!
Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas recently concluded their Goliath warm-up series and I played most of the events. The first was a $600 buy-in event that allowed multiple re-entries and guaranteed a $150,000 prize pool. With two starting days and the ability to rebuy for a very long time, I found myself busting and re-entering multiple times on both days which is not a good spot to be in. The problem was, as the days progressed, day 1b in particular, it was looking more and more likely there was going to be some overlay, meaning the casino was not going to meet the guarantee and would have to add money to the prizepool. This made re-entering each time I busted seem like a necessary strategy. After my last re-entry, I managed to bag chips and make it to day 2 where I busted just five players from the money. Not the actual bubble-boy, but close enough to feel painful.
The same thing happened in the $400 event where I played several bullets and busted just three from the money when I got all-in with KK vs Kathy Liebert’s AA. Painful.
I then played the $250 buy-in PLO event and managed to only be in for one buy-in and take third place for $1660, which felt good and paid for my buy-in for the $1650 main event. I busted early in that one and decided not to re-enter.
Now, that’s not so bad. Two near bubbles in four events, no big deal. The problem is that I’ve been playing a ton of tournaments on WSOP.com. These are all small buy-ins, mostly in the $10-$50 range and I’ve managed to actually bubble or near bubble 15 out of the 23 I’ve played in the last week. PAINFUL!! Then yesterday I played another one and made it again to the end. I was on the actual bubble, playing 6 handed at the final table and the tournament paid 5 spots. I was 5th in chips with 9 big blinds when the UTG player, who had 8 big blinds, open shoved and I had 99 on the button. It folded to me and I was a little sick. This seemed to be an obvious call spot but if I called and lost, I would have less than one big blind and would almost certainly bubble this one. With all the recent bubbles, I just couldn’t handle another one. Eventually good sense won out, I called the all-in, he showed AQ, and a Queen on the flop sealed my fate for my 16th bubble or near bubble of the week with zero cashes in 24 online tournaments. The pain of poker variance is real.
I’m headed to Reno tomorrow to join Jason Somerville and all of the Run It Up warriors for the final few tournaments there at Run It Up Reno. Here’s hoping the only bubbles I see are the ones in the champagne toast when I win the RIU main event!