Disclaimer: This guide is based on my experiences of $10 & $20 DON SNGs.
This post follows on from my ‘DONs Mid-Tournament & Post Flop Play’ and looks at end game strategy based around bubble play and collusion.
The sole objective in a DON is to finish in the top 5. Therefore, throughout the course of the SNG we are trying to preserve our existing stack and build on it where possible. Once the bubble is reached your play will typically tighten even further. For example, if you’re the big stack, there’s little point in taking risks and you should be folding everything unless you’re getting involved in order to knock someone out.
However, the other stacks at the table are often just as relevant to your decision making as your own stack size. Almost every decision you make on the bubble should be based on the size of the remaining stacks at the table. Any potential raise/shove you make depends on the size of your stack, who and where the small stacks are and, importantly, the size of the stacks you are raising in to.
If we have an average stack we should be in a good position to make the money but we still need to be aware of the other stacks at the tableand the requirement to build our own stack. This doesn’t mean that risks should be taken but premium hands (6 handed and positionally adjusted) will often be played strongly as normal.
If you’re on the small stack, there are no comparably sized stacks and your M is less than 3 you should be looking to get your money in at every opportunity.
If, however, your stack is small but there are one or more significantly smaller stacks at the table you should revert to folding most holdings. You cannot rely on them bubbling out – ultimately they will have to shove and may double up – but this will often happen. You should therefore always be aware of their position, stack and their play (if they have already acted) before you make a decision. As before with an average sized stack it is still +EV to get your money in with a premium holding.
Most DON regs understand collusion on the bubble and it’s importance. Collusion, for the uninitiated, refers to two or more people calling an all-in from a short stack in order to increase the chances of the short stack losing the hand, being knocked out and everyone else making the money.
The shorter the small stack, the more likely collusion is to happen and the danger of others colluding upon you underlines the need to not let your stack get too short.
If you’re looking to collude yourself, it’s an easy decision as a big stack and even when you have an average stack it’s still a good move (especially when another player has already called). However, if you have a small stack you should fold and leave it to others at the table to deal with the shorty. A good rule for deciding if you want to call is if your stack minus the amount to call is still healthy (based on M and the other stacks at the table).