The rebuy period of a rebuy tournament reminds me of play money poker. At least half the field wants to see the pot and two or three people will be all-in at some point in the hand with crap like J7o, 85s, A3o, or two other cards that are equally random. These players are looking to make a couple of quick double-ups to give them a big stack.
It’s nice to have a big stack, but that doesn’t guarantee that you’ll win the tournament and it’s hard to recoup your investment when you rebuy 20 times.
The right way to play rebuy tournaments is to exploit these maniacs to build your stack early. Here’s how to play a rebuy tournament during the rebuy period.
Play Like You’re In A Drunken Cash Game
Tournament strategy is different from cash strategy because your tournament ends when you go broke. That’s not true during the rebuy period.
A rebuy tournament is more like a cash game when the rebuy period is on and that makes exploiting any edge profitable. For example, you probably wouldn’t want to take AK to war against a hand like JT or 94 early on in a regular tournament because you’ll get knocked out of the tournament around 35% of the time. In a rebuy, you should be willing to stack off in this spot because your edge is huge and you can rebuy if you lose.
Watch your table and find the players that seem like they’re willing to gamble with weak cards and be willing to get your money in with them when you think you’re ahead of their range.
Forget About The Gap Principle
The Gap Principle states that you need a stronger hand to play against a raiser than you’d need to raise from that position. For example, if someone raised from under the gun and you think they’d only do that with TT+ or AK, you would need a hand like QQ+ to consider playing against them. It’s a useful theory…usually.
The Gap Principle doesn’t apply to rebuy tournaments. Most players are playing way too loose to give them credit for tightening up in early positions. As a result, you should loosen up your calling range.
You would insta-muck QJ suited against an under the gun raiser and a caller in a normal tournament, but it’s an easy call in a rebuy.
Be Willing To Gamble
Be prepared to rebuy around 5 times when you’re in a rebuy tournament. I’m not advocating that you join in the insanity and ship any two cards, but I am advocating getting it in when you think you have an edge.
You have to be willing to push your edges during the rebuy period to build your stack. Target the players that are playing like lunatics and don’t be afraid to get your money in when you feel you’re ahead of their range.
After The Rebuy Period
After the rebuy period is over, you can start playing you’re usual tournament strategy. Your competition should be calming down and everyone will have their eye on the money. There will probably be a few players that still play like the rebuy period is still on, but you shouldn’t gamble with these guys anymore. Just let them crazy themselves out of the tournament.
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Rebuy tournaments can be a lot of fun. Resist the urge to get involved with any two cards, but be willing to felt your hand when you feel you have an edge. Building a big stack early on will certainly give you an advantage, but you have to be smart about how you build it.