The Bubble is a feature of poker tournaments and refers to the point at which the prizes are about to be reached, but the next player eliminated will be the final player to finish outside the money. This is known as finishing ‘on the bubble’ and is arguably the worst scenario to find ourselves.
A typical example of the bubble is when a tournament pays out the top 50 players and 51 remain and they’re on the bubble – whoever is unfortunate enough to get knocked out in 51st wins nothing at all, and the rest will all be paid.
The bubble causes many players to be too cautious, not wanting to be the bubble, and the result is a lot of middle and short(er) stacks constantly folding.
Meanwhile, this special phase of a tournament sees the introduction of a temporary ‘hand-for-hand’ period in which a new hand begins only when all tables are ready after finishing the current hand. This is aimed at avoiding the problem of players gaining an unfair advantage by stalling.