Rebuy Poker Tournaments – How to play them

Everyone knows that in tournament poker that if you want to win, you have to have all of the chips.  So it stands to reason that you need to get involved in your fair share of pots in order to increase your chip stack.  But in re-buy tournaments, is it better to stay tighter earlier?  There are a great number of factors that must weigh into this decision.

Because of their structure, Re-buy poker tournaments offer much higher guaranteed prize pools than single buy in tournaments with the same field size.  This is because players who lose all of their chips have the option of purchasing more chips.  For example, a typical a re-buy tournament would be a starting stack of 1000 chips for lets say a $5 buy in.  At anytime in the tournament, you can purchase a re-buy if you lose all of your chips to another player.  To re-buy chips, it will cost you another $5.  But here’s where a lot of additional prize pool money comes into play, as most re-buy tournaments offer double or triple re-buys, which means that if you go bust, you can purchase 1000 chips for $5, 2000 chips for $10, and 3000 Chips for $15.  All of this money gets added into the prize pool.

Additionally, most re-buy tournaments offer an “Add on period.”  Once the re-buy period is over, you can “Add On” to your stack for another amount of pre-determined money.  In the above example, it would often be possible to add another 1000 chips for another $5, or something along those lines.

Re-buy tournaments are notorious for their early loose-aggressive play, because players have the option of simply purchasing more chips if they go bust.  Given this option, they are more likely to get all their chips in with much more marginal hands.  So if you have a very strong hand, it’s almost always advised to get all your chips in to get the most value from your hand.

When you’re considering whether to play in a re-buy tournament, there are a few items to consider prior to, and while you are playing:

1)      How much money are you willing to invest in re-buys and add-ons?  It is extremely rare that you will be in a position at the end of the re-buy period and not need more chips.  Because of the fast and aggressive nature of the tournament, you should budget for the tournament according to your bankroll to accommodate for this.  Remember, you need all the chips to win the tournament, and the players with the most chips can provide the most pressure.

2)      Open up your game.  In order to counter the aggressiveness of your opponent, you are going to have to play more hands.  Get ready to mix it up and expect some random behaviors early in the tournament during the re-buy period.

3)      Your chip stack relative to the blinds.  If you’re playing at a level of say 400/800, and you are re-buying only 2000 chips, you’re basically adding money to the pot as a short stack.  Once the blinds go up to a level that leaves the Re-buys short, you may be better served walking away if you bust.

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