2008 World Series: Bubble abuse

Short-handed no-limit hold'em is defined, in part, on the high level of aggression required to play. Team PokerStars Pro Betrand "ElkY" is defined in much the same way.

As the bubble of the $5,000 NLHE six-handed event approached, ElkY looked like he was just waking up from a nap. He stretched, sighed, and grabbbed what appeared to be a random assortment of chips. They hit the table in front of him and arranged themselves in the form of a perfectly-sized raise. It was like watching a sleeping bear roll out of hibernation and into a campsite full of very appetizing campers. Opportunity smells good.

Play folded to the big blind, who smirked. "That's the first pot you've opened, so I'll give you some respect." The sarcasm wasn't lost on anybody.

At this moment, ElkY is the chip leader of the event on the bubble, and he's exploiting it in the most abusive way he can. Where his opponents might be happy to have a few orange $5,000 chips to sit with their couple of yellow $1,000-chip stacks, ElkY has a full stack of orange surrounded by a wall of yellow and countless smaller denominations.

Bubble abuse is a fine art and it is one of ElkY's specialties. While some players are hoping to turtle into 78th place for a $8,000 payout, ElkY is comfortably opening pots and picking up the kind of chips that could lead him to the final table, and if things go very well, the $911,000 first prize.


This bubble is a tough one to pop. Hand-for-hand play has been going on for the better part of an hour. The longer it lasts, the longer ElkY can sling chips with impunity. That's something that's fun for everybody to watch...unless you're sitting at his table right now.

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in World Series of Poker