Fun Spot Near the Bubble in a WSOP $1K Event

Jonathan Little

Here's a hand I played in a $1,000 buy-in no-limit hold'em event at the World Series of Poker, one in which the approaching bubble had a lot to do with how I played it.

As I explain at the start of the video below, when this hand took place we were getting near the bubble although there was still some way to go before the cash. At the time I had a below average stack of 16,000 (20 big blinds at 400/800), and thus was wanting to make something happen.

It's possible I might have been able to fold my way into the money to make a min-cash, but I was more interested in building up a stack to try to go deeper and possibly win the tournament. (If we had been right on the stone bubble, however, I would have certainly been folding in this spot.)

Action began with the button raising to 1,800, and I called from the big blind with {4-Spades}{3-Spades}. The flop then came {k-Spades}{5-Spades}{2-Diamonds}, giving me both a flush draw and open-ended straight draw. I checked, fully intending to check-raise all in after my opponent bet, but he thwarted that plan by checking behind.

The turn was the {2-Clubs}. This time I bet 2,000 into the 4,800 pot. As I talk about in the video, I might have preferred checking again and check-raise shoving. In any event, my opponent did something unexpected after I bet — he raised to 5,100.

Now what? I'll stop there and let you think about what you would do in this spot, then let you watch and see what I did and listen the reasoning behind my doing so.

After calling the turn raise and then missing on the river, I had to shut it down and accept I wasn't going to win the pot.

Don't make the mistake of thinking you have to bluff-jam in a spot like this, thinking it's the only way to win. It's okay to fold sometimes, even when you're short-stacked with the bubble approaching.

Jonathan Little is a professional poker player and author with over $6,900,000 in live tournament earnings. He writes a weekly educational blog and hosts a podcast at Sign up to learn poker from Jonathan for free at You can follow him on Twitter @JonathanLittle.

  • The approaching bubble affects @JonathanLittle's strategy in this hand from a WSOP $1K event.

  • How would you play this combo draw when short-stacked near the bubble? See what @JonathanLittle did.

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