Make A Spectacular Bubble Busting Fold.
Why shove it all in when you are beat?
For this example I am going to take a situation where the bubble play has lasted for five or more orbits and no one has pushed all in - yet!
For easyness let's take it that all three players have 3000 chips and now the blinds have moved up to 300/600 so any move is crucial.
You get A 9 hearts on the button and make it 900 to go.
The big blind moves all in and you need to decide what to do.
In this situation every text book will tell you to call. You are only a 40% underdog, any two cards blah blah blah.
Shortstack takes it on the chin. Any two cards will do.
Maths is an important part of poker. You need to know how many bets are in the pot before you decide to try and make your flush or straight. To play poker successfully you need to know all of the basic odds for drawing hands and can count "outs".
However there comes a point where maths is redundant because maths is only one part of the equation.
If you are thinking of calling here because the maths tells you it is the correct play then that's one thing. But the all in move is telling you that you are well beaten here and you should fold. Usually you are drawing to three cards - the three nines in the pack.
If you fold here then it is your turn next on the big blind. You just lost 900 chips so your stack is now 2100. Another 900 is about to come out of your stack as the blinds go through.
This is going to leave you with 1200 chips. Enough to play only one more orbit and being blinded out.
However now you are the short stack you have immense power. Moving all in with any two cards is a powerful move. Donking off 600 chips for either of the other two stacks is not desirable in this situation.
They have just seen you make a fantastic fold when you knew you were beat. They have seen your tight play. They know that you are only moving in with high cards.
whatever happens you are giving yourself a far better chance of making the money by making the fold and then raising all in with any two cards to try and steal the blinds. You may pick up a hand. The other two stacks may go to war. UTG may limp and let you play your big blind. All is not lost.
If you make the call as in the above example most of the time you will bust out. The big blind is certain you are going to call and he is looking forward to doubling up.
Remember this is not poker where you are facing your opponent and they can try intimidating you. Live poker is a different kettle of fish.
In this situation the big blind is playing the cards. And they are good ones. You can be sure of that. Many times you will bust out by calling here.
If you watch the pro's they will nearly always make the call in this situation because the maths dictates that they should. But this is not pro poker and the unorthodox can often win the day.
After you have played poker for a while there comes a point at which you learn to listen to your instinct.
When you first start playing tournaments it's very easy to keep taking the coin flips and accepting that this is how the game is played. However when you have played hundreds and hundreds, if not thousands of SNG's you begin to see the patterns play out over and over again.
In this spot your brain is telling you that you are well beaten. You've heard that voice in your head that is telling you your cards are no good. The difference in bankrolls is what marks out the great player from the good.
Folding here is the correct play. The maths may say otherwise but this game is not all about maths. Luck is involved and once you have folded it may ride to your rescue.
Calling the all in when you know you are beaten is not the play to make here. You still have a chance of making the money if you fold. Many strange things have happened in this bubble situation.
It's much better to take your chances and stay alive by folding here than moving all in and cursing when they turn over AJ or AK. Any pair is a big favourite over your hand in this situation as well.
This is the whole reason why you make a three times the big blind raise in the first place - it gives you the chance to fold. Otherwise you may just as well push your hand and accept the consequences.
More often than not you will take down the blinds with this play but on the rare occasion you get moved in you have to accept you are beaten and take your chances with the blinds and cards you are dealt. But this is far more preferable than knowing you have run into a bigger hand and calling anyway.
Listen to the voices.