A Beginners Guide to Beating Rebuy Poker Tournaments
Busting out of a tournament early can be very frustrating, especially if you exit the event due to a bad beat. For those that find these situations too frustrating, rebuy tournaments are perfect. In these games, you can simply pay again and replenish your chip stack immediately.
Due to the nature of these events, the strategy a player should use is very different to how you would approach a standard freezeout event. This guide starts with a look at your approach to rebuying, as well as a suggestion as to whether or not you should purchase the add-on. The guide ends by detailing the type of play you’ll find at the tables, and the best strategy to counter it.
To Rebuy or not to Rebuy?
One of the first questions you hear asked about a rebuy tournament is a simple one. Should I rebuy? Some players will swear by it and others take the opposite approach and treat it like a freezeout, simply walking away when their chips have gone.
A number of professional poker players take the stance that rebuying and rebuying regularly is the way to go. They’ll be happy for much all-in action early in the tournament in the hope that they build a large stack early in the tournament. If they can get this advantage early, they know how to play a large stack and it can give them great benefits over the course of a tournament. Of course, building that big pile of chips early on means they’ll be playing looser from the start, so you will see them shoving with weaker holdings, hoping to double their chip stack (or even treble or quadruple it in a multi-way pot).
One Hit Rebuys
Of course, rebuying on a regular basis comes at a cost. A pro might rebuy 10 times, meaning the initial buy-in is now 11x the original cost of the tournament. Some players may simply not have the bankroll to compete with this and will enter a rebuy with no intention of rebuying. There is something very satisfying about playing a rebuy event and reaching the latter stages without ever rebuying, but it is a tough ask and you’ll need a bit of lady luck on your side.
The Middle Ground
There is a middle ground, which many choose to take. Before the tournament starts, decide exactly how many rebuys you are willing to take. The size of a player’s bankroll can dictate this anyway at times, although even if you have unlimited funds, it can be an idea to have a clear idea in your head. When you get to the stage when you’ve used all of the rebuys, simply leave the tournament.
Add On Strategy
In the majority of rebuy tournaments, you can have the opportunity of an add-on at the end of a certain level of blinds. It is usually a good idea to take these as the majority of the field will. Not taking it can be the difference between being in midfield and then finding yourself at the lower end of the rankings. If you are very short, it can make a huge difference to your chip pile. The only time you should really not consider taking it is if your stack is huge in relation to the add-on. For example, if you have a chip stack of 60,000 chips, an add on of 2,000 chips is only going to have a minimal bearing on your tournament fortunes. In this scenario, it can be a good idea to simply ignore the add-on.
Rebuy Tournament Strategy
If you’re the type of player who is willing to use many rebuys to build a nice stack early on, your play should be much looser than usual. Your strategy will depend on the rest of the table, as if the table is tight, you can play a very wide range without too much opposition. If the table is the opposite and it turns into an all-in fest, then you should certainly be somewhat selective, although any hands with a couple of broadway cards or suited connectors should certainly be pushed (as well as the usual monster hands).
The fewer rebuys you are willing to make, the tighter you should generally play. If the table is all action, then it can pay to simply wait for the moment when you hit that AA, KK, QQ, JJ or AK and then play it hard. This can be great if you hit one of these hands early, but you can find yourself a long way behind the average chip stack if you have to wait a while (in a rebuy the average chip stack will be much higher than in a freezeout). As is the case with any poker tournament, if you find yourself with a chip stack of around 10 big blinds or lower, your only option at this point is to push or fold.