Rebuy tournament strategy
Rebuy tournament tips
Beating Low Buy-in Rebuy MTTs
One of the most profitable games for players focussing on MTTs are low limit rebuy tournaments. These tournaments have buy-ins ranging from $2+0.20 to $10+1 with guaranteed prize pools ranging from $7,000 to $35,000 and anywhere from 250 to 1500 runners.
If you’re looking for multi table tournaments with soft fields and decent-sized payouts, these are a great choice. And you can earn grinder points for a poker sponsorship while you play there.
What makes these tournaments so profitable?
- The low buy-ins attract new and inexperienced players.
- The ability to rebuy allows you to take more chances early and build a big stack.
- Many experienced players fail to use to a proper rebuy strategy.
- The rebuys make the payouts larger than comparable freezeout tournaments.
Reg speeds, Turbos or Speed Tournaments?
Probably the best value in these tournaments, especially considering a $/hr winrate, are the Turbo and Speed tournaments. The players are generally much worse and much more willing to gamble.
Speed tournaments usually take less than 3 hours to complete and the turbos are often over in 4 to 5 hours. The following strategy relates primarily to these structures.
Your First Rebuy
When the tournament begins, rebuy immediately. Even if your first hand will get you all-in and probably double you up, you should still rebuy before it happens.
Many people say, “But what if no one else rebuys? There’s no advantage!” After the first hand, someone will be over their starting stack by winning the first hand. A few hands later someone will win a bigger pot and may increase their stack by 40%.
By rebuying, you will have everyone who doesn’t rebuy covered and be able to maximize the number of chips you win when you bust one of your opponents.
When Else Should I Rebuy?
You should rebuy whenever you have the opportunity during the rebuy period. If you bust, make a double rebuy if allowed, otherwise rebuy and then rebuy again as soon as you’re dealt a hand.
Whenever your stack returns to the starting stack level, rebuy immediately. If the starting stacks are 1500 chips, you’ll be able to rebuy whenever you have 1500 chips or less.
If you’ve dwindled from 3000 chips down to less than 2000, be willing to gamble with the remaining chips over your starting stack so you can rebuy again. Remember, your goal is to build a big stack and the best way to do that is have as many chips as possible when you double up.
What does this mean? If you have 1930 chips and are in middle position with a semi-decent hand like 89s, try to play the hand in a way that allows you to invest exactly 430 chips. If you fail to take down the pot, you’ll be left with 1500 chips and be able to rebuy before the hand ends.
If you get dealt AA on the next hand and get all your chips in the middle, you’ll have started the hand with 3000 chips and be able to double to 6000. If you hadn’t played your 89s recklessly, you would double your 1930 chips to 3860. These decision can make the difference between a min-cash into a final table.
How Many Times Should I Rebuy?
You should be ready to rebuy the equivalent of 5 or 6 total buy-ins. Limit yourself to a total of 7 buy-ins, including your eventual add-on.
Why limit your number of buy-ins? With turbo and speed rebuys, the blinds increase so quickly that the value of a new starting stack decreases during the later blind levels as you’ll often be limited to buying in for 10-15 BBs. Quite often the cost isn’t worth the number of double ups you’ll need to regain a competitive position.
Also, repeatedly busting after getting your money in good or losing race after race can destroy your mental focus and your table image.
Finally, min-cashing is usually the equivalent of 6 to 7 buy-ins. There’s nothing worse than cashing in a rebuy and still losing money because you rebought 15 times.
Set a limit and if the cards just aren’t falling you way, don’t worry. Take a break and when you’re ready to try again, another tournament will be waiting for you.
Playing During the Rebuy Period
The rebuy period usually lasts for the first hour and your goal should be to have at least 5 times your original starting stack. To reach that goal, you should be willing to take flips and gamble a little more liberally than you would in a freezeout.
Many players in these lower buy-in rebuy tournaments are willing to shove or call all-in shoves preflop with a wide range of hands: any Ax, K7+, Q8+, any suited connectors, or any pair. Identify these gambling-oriented players, play your stronger hands very aggressively against them and try to get your whole stack in preflop.
Be willing to call preflop all-ins a little wider than usual against these players as well: two high cards or pretty much any pocket pair will usually do. You’ll be surprised how often you’re way ahead.
Remember, the bulk of the tournament payout will be in the top five positions and building a big stack early is one of the best ways to make it to the final table and claim one of those top spots.
Should I Add-on?
Most of the time, you should. Usually the add-on will be for more chips than a normal rebuy, but at the same cost. It is almost always correct to purchase an add-on, especially if your chipstack is around the tournament average. Add-ons will often increase your stack by 20-40% for the cost of one more buy-in. You will also gain an advantage against players who don’t purchase an add-on.
The only exceptions to this rule are when you have a one of the largest stacks in the tournament or your stack was crippled on the last hand before the add-on.
With the former, the % of added chips won’t make a significant change to your chip stack or position, so there is little added value in purchasing an add-on.
With the latter, if you’re stack was severely crippled, you’re probably in a position where you’ll need to double up multiple times in order to simply cash in the tournament, so the cost isn’t worth the risk. Try your luck with your stub of a stack and use the buy-in you saved to register for a new tournament.
Playing After the Rebuy Period
After the rebuys and add-ons are completed, play will usually slow down and resemble a typical turbo freezeout tournament. Play solid poker and take aggressive stabs at small pots to slowly chip up the leaderboard.
As the blinds go up in relation to the stacks, push the action and bully your opponents. As you get close to the money, look to 3bet shove over midsize stacks that have shown a tendency to fold and aren’t pot committed by their raise. Play for the win, not just to cash.
Speed tournaments will remain fast paced throughout the entire tournament, as most stacks are very small in relation to the blinds. If you’re near the chip average, you still need to be willing to gamble and double up repeatedly to make the final table.
Quite often, stealing the blinds and antes will be enough to add 50% or more to your stack, so the risk is definitely worth the reward if you can identify the tight-weak players. Once you’ve built a bigger stack, you can sit back a little bit and wait as players are forced to gamble due to the rapidly escalating blinds.
The Rest of the Story
Once you get into the money, the tournament plays almost identically to a freezeout. You’ll have a little more room to manoeuvre in the turbos, but the speeds will just turn into an all-in or fold crap shoot.
Because of the low buy-ins, you’ll still have a fair number of inexperienced players in the field. Like most tournaments, the bulk of the money is at the final table, so do your best to get there and grab your share.
In many cases, first place will pay out more than 200 buy-ins in relation to a single buy-in. Not bad for a days work. The key to success is as usual: a solid game, smart aggressive moves, and volume, volume, volume.
- Rebuy early and rebuy often, but set a rebuy limit for yourself.
- Play a tighter range of hands than your opponents.
- Identify players looking to gamble and get them all-in preflop when you have strong hands.
- Be willing to gamble more as stacks get shorter, especially in speed tournaments.
- Go for the win. If you fail, try try again.
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