Whether you play in a sit-'n'-go or a multi-table tournament, online or brick-and-mortar, you likely will face playing on the bubble - that point where one or two more people have to bust out in order for the remainder of the field to get paid.
The bubble can be a tricky time to play. A profitable time as well. Some players fold almost every hand, hoping someone else goes broke so they make the money. Other players seize this opportunity to raise constantly and add to their stacks by taking advantage of tight players.
Your decision to call for all your chips or fold stems in part from your desire to simply cash or to give yourself a chance to win. Your decision also should include a read on your opponent.
Actor James Woods, who is showing signs of becoming a top poker player, put all that together to provide a great lesson at the World Poker Tour's $10,000-buy-in L.A. Poker Classic at the Commerce Casino earlier this year.
There were 47 players remaining, with 45 getting paid at least $19,900. With blinds at $3,000-$6,000 and a $1,000 ante, Woods drew pocket queens in late position. Action had folded to Fabrice Soulier, who raised to $16,000 pre-flop.
Woods reraised to $42,000. Soulier then moved all in, which actually put Woods' remaining $275,000 at stake because Soulier had Woods covered.
Woods thought about his situation and thought about his opponent.
"We'd had a little contretemps before that, some trash talk," Woods said of his fiercely dismissive comments toward Soulier before this clash.
"I looked at him and I thought, `He's got aces or kings, so I'm dominated; I don't have a chance,'" Woods said. "But then I thought, `You know what? He just wants to push me around and he's going to use this hand.'
"Also, before I played this tournament, my best friend said to me, `Go in there to win and play like a man. Wherever there's a turning point, the question should be, do I have a better chance of winning the tournament if I do this or a better chance of just cashing? Don't play like a sissy. Play like a man.'
"So, when that point came, I thought, `This isn't about making $19,000 if I don't call here (and hope two other people bust out so he gets into the money). I said it to Fabrice. I said I'll either live like a man or die like a man, and I called."
Soulier turned over Q-J offsuit, about the best possible hand that Woods could've faced. Woods was almost a 9-1 favorite, and his queens held up on a board of K-3-3-7-5.
"That's poker, baby!" Woods yelled as he stalked around the poker room with his arms raised, amid a crescendo of cheers from fans.
Woods made it past the bubble and finished 24th out of 692 players, collecting $39,859.
Gaming: Poker [Sit 'N' Go]
Sit 'N' Go
By Steve Rosenbloom
Article posted on 6/29/2006
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