There was an episode in the Seinfeld TV series once about a “bubble boy”; a boy who had an immune deficiency disease. But, that’s not the kind of bubble boy I’m referring to here. Rather, it’s the dreaded poker “Bubble Boy”; otherwise known as the last person to get knocked-out of a poker tournament, and not cash. But, most of you reading this know that already.
I chose this as a topic to write about because I have a slightly different viewpoint about being the “Bubble Boy” than most players I know. Admittedly, it can be frustrating to play poker for hours, or in the case of the WSOP Main Event – for days, and have your tournament end just one position short of “the money”. The 2011 WSOP Main Event “Bubble Boy” was Reza Kashani, but as a consolation prize, he was given a seat in the 2012 Main Event. I suppose that if anyone plays enough tournament poker, they will eventually be the “Bubble Boy”. Even the great Phil Ivey has been a “Bubble Boy”, finishing in 55th place in the 2012 LA Poker Classic.
One of the regular players at The Boblagio was the “Bubble Boy” three times in-a-row. Not coincidently, he does not like to play tournaments, preferring “cash” games instead. I personally don’t recall being the “Bubble Boy” in a live game myself, although I’m pretty certain I have been.
My feelings about being the “Bubble Boy” are different than most, primarily because it doesn’t really bother me that much. Of course, if I ever have the good fortune to play in the Main Event, and were to survive to the point of getting knocked-out one place out of the money, you can be certain that would I would be pretty upset. But, in a home game, I’m playing for the pure enjoyment of the game, and to be able to play for several hours and not cash does not disappoint me. My parents played Bridge a lot when I was young (which I also learned to play), and they usually played about the same length of time that our home poker tournaments last (about 6-7 hours); and they didn’t play for money. However, they enjoyed the game immensely. So, for me, poker is similar to the Bridge card games that my parents played - sure, I do like to win (who doesn’t?), but I enjoy the socializing, strategy, analytical aspects of the game, and trying to outwit my opponents. Any cash that I might win is just “gravy”.