Playing the bubble
Playing the bubble and going in to your late stage tournament strategy
is when you should start to pick up aggression and start to make it easier to get in to the money. Most players will tighten their play up and be more selective with hands and this is where you should take advantage. You should start to open your range up a lot more than normal and try to build up a big stack. You should be playing almost all pairs at this point from middle to late position at the table, and playing them aggressively. This is where it gets tricky though because some players will also be picking up their aggression stacking off over the top of your raises. So, to be able to make sure you don’t have as much risk against these moves you should of previously identified who are the tight players at your table and who are the loose players at your table.
Changing gears is the main focus at this stage of the tournament. If you do have a big stack you will want to maybe tone it down and pick better spots to pick up chips and keep building your stack. But, if you have a short stack you should be willing to gamble for your tournament life when the time approaches. If you have a hand like tens or jacks that should be good enough to put all your money in the pot. Winning races is something that you will have to do eventually so why not push in it at this stage. Of course, everyone wants to cash in the tournament, but the main goal of any tournament that you play is to win the tournament.
After the bubble has past and you are in the money the short stacks will try to double or go home, and the big stacks will try to coast their way through to get to the serious money. Basically, you will still want to play pots in position as you should be throughout the tournament, but when the blinds are big you should probably be making more three bet shoves all-in, or just moves all-in. Getting lucky is something at some point that every player has to do in a tournament whether it be in the early stages, middle stages, or late stages of the tournament. You are not going to always get your money in with the best hand and win the pot. If it was that way then every player would play tight and stick to playing big pairs. If you can take aggression to the highest level and start running well you will be a serious contender to win the tournament. When you are playing well and running well it feels good, and you can see other players fall apart right in front of you. So, apply the most pressure and put your opponents to the test rather than yourself to the test because if you feel no pressure of the money or chips at stake than you will be playing better poker and taking down bigger cashes.