Poker for Beginners: What is the Bubble

If you just started playing poker, you may have heard the term 'the bubble' in reference to tournaments. The bubble refers to the point where the payment is cut off. For instance, in a tournament, if the first 10 places receive money, the 11th person would be out on the bubble.

How Large is the Bubble?

In most tournaments, the bubble will encompass about 10 to 15% of the players. For instance, in a tournament of 1,000 players, typically the top 100 to 150 individuals will win money. It is not uncommon for a tournament to have a bubble that encompasses up to 20% of the playing field, as well. Usually, the larger the bubble, the less each individual in a top spot will win.

Bubble Strategies

Professional poker players have different strategies when it comes to the bubble. When you are near the bubble and you want to place in the tournament, it is recommended that you play conservatively. It would not take much to lose the chance to place in the tournament, so until you reach a high level within the bubble, you should play tightly and carefully.

As you gain experience, you will feel more comfortable playing near and in the bubble. It is important to adjust your game play to suit your opponents' strengths and weaknesses, especially if your goal is the top spot. There is nothing more frustrating than missing the bubble by one or two spots, so be diligent and gain the experience needed to play well in the bubble.

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