Large Multi Table Tournaments have a refreshingly Darwinist feel to them: As a tournament progresses, I just know that I am watching evolution at work as the fittest survive and others uhm don't. The analogy does not preclude luck really as the current earthly evolution is the sum of endless rows of improbable results.

Now even I reach a post-bubble (in the money) stage of a tournament once in a while, and with evolution in mind, I tend to picture myself as a large flightless bird on some southern pacific island paradise welcoming the first rats as they swim ashore from a visiting european ship of sail.

This perspective is probably not far off the mark. As an average player at the start of a tournament, I am not shining skillwise compared to the opposition when more than 80% of the lesser skilled field has been elliminated. I feel somehow that the magnification of my relative disadvantages should effect how I play somehow.

There are a couple things that I know. I know that by steadfastly holding on to my remaining chips, I am hurting a player who might otherwise hold them - and that his hurt is to some extent my gain. I also know that tournament pay out structure rewards smaller stacks. Each chip in a small stack is worth more than each chip in a larger stack. By extention, each chip I  win is worth less than each chip I lose All this is Independel Chip Model theory. A model that has a stunning flaw from my perspective. It assumes I am of average skill compared to the remaining field. An assumption about as true as our flightless friend imagining rodents a friendly addition to his local environment. To address these flaws, I am going to do two things:

1. I am going to ignore all prize levels up to and including the one I am in as irrelevant. This prize money is already allocated and even if I were to lose now I would still get the current prize. So its worth nothing tournament wise.

2. I am going to ignore prize money on the final table as irrelevant. This is an approximation meant to pay for my  skill disadvantage. Arguably inaccurate, but I have to exclude some fraction of the prize pool from my calculations if I accept poker is a game of skill and I am currently at a huge disadvantage in that field. Excluding final table money is as good as anything in what is in any case an assumption based analysis.

Step 1 resets the tournament to pre-bubble play, while step 2 removes any motivation I might have to play for reaching the final table. So basically then I am playing to make the money as I have defined it, while my motivation to predatorially accumulate chips in this post bubble pre bubble stage is severely weakened. Basically, I am playing to survive past the next level and that ultimately means I am playing to allow other players to elliminate each other.

Given that when I pass the next level, I reset to 0 and the task at hand is to pass then next level after, then I really only have 1 question to answer: What play will maximize my chances of breaking the next bubble (as I see it). The answer will usually be folding, dependent on stack to blinds, speed of game (how many blinds until next level) and tactical position/hand evaluations in that order.

The base strategy is then a tight shove-fold approach (given that I will very likely remain with less than say 15 BB perpetually) that in turn is the best way to void the skill difference between me and virtually anyone else. It might leave me almost blinded out if folding seemed the best way of passing the next level, but if I pass that level, then mission accomplished (and then I start shoving with virtually any cards).

The above thought is pretty much the logic behind ideal PSO/PSQ tournament play as I understand it. Here the increments between levels are minute (it changes between every elimination). But the basic thought is the same - I am playing in a perpetual bubble where I gain as others are elliminated - So keep the death bed rattle rolling unless miracle cards and position save the day.