View Full Version : A question about bubble play

09-19-2005, 02:46 PM
I was just wondering... Most of the better players on this forum know when pushing is +EV, because that's basically what it takes to win, at the lower buy-ins at least. Raptor plays 20 tables, and probably makes 3 bubble decisions every second, and I bet most of his decisions are good, too. /images/graemlins/smile.gif

But I have been playing SNG's for a few weeks (or maybe months) now, I have bought SNG Power Tools, and still I very often find myself in situations where I don't know if going all-in is +EV or not.

Sometimes it's obvious, when you get AJs on the button shortstacked, but what if you get Qxs UTG with a short stack? (just an example) I usually have to check first. Most of the time, it's pretty close. When I check how I did after a tourny, I sometimes am surprised about what SNG PT says about some hands too.

So my question is: if you almost always know when a push is +EV, how do you know? Have all good players experimented with SNG Power Tools until they understood exactly how it works, and know what to do in each situation? Are they all mathematical geniuses? Or is it just experience? Because it's very hard to learn what is +EV and what's not by experience, especially when it's close, me thinks. /images/graemlins/tongue.gif

Then one more question: it's very important to know call ranges if you want to calculate EV. How do you decide what everybody's call range is? You usually find out too late. /images/graemlins/smile.gif

09-19-2005, 02:52 PM
Very good post. I have found myself struggling with bubble play as well. My most common finish in SNGs is 4th because I almost always push at the wrong time and I have major trouble protecting my big stack under the pressure to steal blinds. I am starting to think that sound bubble play requires one to not try to hard to steal the blinds and to wait out others to make mistakes.



09-19-2005, 03:32 PM
I think it's mostly an issue of experience. You can gain that experience a variety of ways - analyzing hands here, in SNGPT (the best way IMO), or through the school of hard knocks. The more experience I gain, the more I find that assigning calling ranges based on chip stacks is not such a bad idea. This of course is balanced by needing to consider several other factors as well that I don't need to get into, and which is not the point of your post.

I think something else that plays into the decision when it's close and you don't know is what your personal style is. For example, when SNGPT tells you that it's close either way. If you're already a winning player, your style more than anything else is what is going to affect what your finish distro looks like after 1000+ games. Typically I try to err on the side of aggression. Is this always right? No. Is this wrong if it's close? Also no. My ITM is probably fairly low for someone with my ROI, but with this style I'm comfortable with my decisions when it's close because I tend to play them the same way each time. But it could be wrong if that's not the style you feel comfortable playing. If you've got SNGPT though and you spend some time with it, you're on the right track and it will be a matter of time, study, and experience.

09-19-2005, 04:05 PM
OK, so *the* way to learn, is playing SnG's, then review as many bubble hands as possible in SnG PT. See if it was +EV, and see how the EV changes if you change certain variables. Post interesting hands here. Then play some more, repeat, until you are beating $215's for a 20% ROI? /images/graemlins/smile.gif Sometimes I'm discouraged, because there are so many different situations and hands.. I would like to know if this is how the good players here learned the game.

BTW, I read in an article a while ago that difficult decisions should be made with your subconsciousness. It said that as soon as a choice starts getting complicated, it's better to go with your 'gut feeling' or whatever, in stead of writing down all the pros and cons and decide what option is better. This would be true, because your subconciousness is better at handling a lot of information and details.
I don't know if that's true, but that would mean that if you're reading players, or deciding whether to push or not, it's better to go with your feeling. /images/graemlins/grin.gif (I think it is necessary that your subconciousness has some knowledge to work with then, BTW)

09-19-2005, 04:41 PM
my gut feeling says "push, push, PUSH" no matter what though haha so that wouldnt work for me /images/graemlins/wink.gif