Easy Adjustments to Crush Rebuy Poker Tournaments

Easy Adjustments to Crush Rebuy Poker Tournaments

While rebuy poker tournaments have become somewhat rare in the live poker arena, online poker sites still offer plenty of rebuy MTTs these days.

The format used to be extremely liked up to a few years back, and while the re-entry format has taken over as the most popular, rebuy tournaments are still alive and well.

If you want to be a truly great tournament player, learning how to adjust to rebuy tournaments is very important, as it will give you a chance to shine in such events.

But before we talk about the strategic implications of playing in a rebuy MTT structure, let’s talk about what rebuy tournaments are and how they differ from other formats like freezeouts and PKOs.

What Is a Rebuy Tournament?

As you could probably guess from its name, a rebuy tournament is a tournament that allows you to buy more chips if you lose your initial stack, but then again, so is re-entry.

There are several major differences between these two formats that make rebuy tournaments and re-entries quite a bit different.

What Is a Rebuy Tournament? | Justin Saliba deep in thought at the WSOP

For all intents and purposes, a re-entry tournament plays like a freezeout. If you lose your chips, you must go to the cashier, pay your buyin in full again, and receive a fresh stack of chips. You even pay the rake again and are seated at the new table.

Rebuy tournaments are quite a bit different, as some of the following rules apply in most rebuy structures:

  • You can buy a rebuy when you lose all your chips
  • You can buy a rebuy when you fall under your starting stack
  • You can buy up to two starting stacks at once when you are out of chips
  • You don’t pay rake when buyin rebuys
  • You stay at the same table and the same seat
  • You can buy an add-on at the end of the rebuy period

As you can see, rebuy tournaments offer several different ways you can add chips to your stack, and they don’t require you to lose every last chip before you do so.

Instead, you can keep replenishing your chip stack in a rebuy poker tournament every time you fall under the starting stack. If you lose all your chips, you can buy two full stacks immediately.

While re-entry tournaments often limit the number of re-entries a single player can make, rebuy tournaments allow players to buy unlimited amounts of chips and bust as many stacks as they want to.

Finally, when the rebuy period ends, the tournament goes on a short break, and all remaining players are allowed to purchase an add-on, usually at the same price as the original buyin, but often for substantially more chips.

The Different Stages of a Rebuy Tournament

Like any other poker tournament, a rebuy tournament starts with all players assigned their starting stack, and the blinds set fairly low in comparison to that stack.

What’s even more, players in rebuy tournaments get to buy double stacks if they want to and can add on more chips as soon as they fall back under the starting stack.For this reason, the early stage of a rebuy tournament differs from that of a freezeout quite a bit, so it is worth discussing tournament strategy for the three main phases separately.

Early Play in Rebuy Tournaments

The early levels of play in a rebuy poker tournament tend to be quite hectic, with players throwing their stacks into the middle and hoping to gamble up a big stack. While it is true that the rebuy format allows for some more gambling and chance-taking, playing too wild and too loose during this stage will only get you in trouble.

It is very common to see some players go into rebuy tournaments with the intention of firing a dozen bullets, but this is certainly not the correct way to play in the early stages.

In fact, the more wild players there are at your table, the less inclined you should be to get in on that wild action. Instead, waiting for good hands and spots and chipping up when you are a huge favorite is the best way to approach the early levels of a rebuy event.

Also, don’t mind the chip stacks during the early levels, as you will always see some lucky players climb up to a massive stack, but this won’t really matter in the long run.

The escalating blinds will diminish the advantage of the big stacks, and the ability to purchase an add-on will put you on a comfortable playable stack after the break, even if you don’t chip up too much in the early levels.

Middle Stages of Rebuy Tournaments

Once the add-on break ends and everyone adds more chips to their stacks, the middle stages of the tournament begin.

In rebuy tournaments, you will typically have at least around 30 big blinds after the break, even if you just barely made it, and you may have quite a bit more if you did well in the early levels.

In either case, the middle stages of a rebuy tournament will typically play reasonably deep, so there is no reason to rush things and look for quick double-ups.

Of course, as the blinds go up, you will want to start playing more hands and look for spots to chip up, but play will generally be a bit slow for a few levels before escalating quite a bit as the late stages approach.

Final Stages of Rebuy Tournaments

As the money bubble bursts and the final table approaches, a rebuy tournament will play just the same as a freezeout. With no more ability to buy chips and no add-ons waiting, the late stages of a rebuy tournament are similar to freezeouts in all things except the number of chips in play.

Final Stages of Rebuy Tournaments

Typically speaking, there will be tons of chips in-play for every player who entered the event, as many of them bought more than one stack to begin with, and everyone bought an add-on.

This means that final tables of rebuy tournaments often play deeper than those in freezeout tournaments and that you will have more room to play in the late levels.

Nevertheless, the final table play will be quite the same, with ICM poker strategy playing a huge role in your decisions and pay jumps getting quite real quite fast.

Strategic Adjustments for Rebuy Tournaments

Since rebuy tournaments are different than freezeouts in quite a few ways, it is only natural that certain strategic adjustments must be made in order to thrive in them.

If you want to win big in rebuy tournaments, it is important to go into them with the right poker strategy. So, let us go into a few major strategic adjustments you should keep in mind when playing rebuy poker tournaments.

Always Buy Maximum Chips

As we already explained, most rebuy tournaments will allow you to buy more chips anytime you have at least your starting stack, but not more.

For that reason, you should always start the tournament by buying two stacks worth of chips. If you lose your chips, buy two stacks again if you are going to rebuy.

While it can be tempting to just buy a single stack each time, buying two stacks and covering your opponents will allow you to capitalize the most from loose play in the early stages.

When it comes to choosing how many times you will rebuy, the limits should have to do with your bankroll and not your strategy.

You should always aim to play good poker and not be playing stacks with the intention of buying new ones when you lose, as that is not the winning strategy.

What’s even more, always buy the add-on in a rebuy tournament, no matter how many chips you have. Small stack or big, always get those extra chips that could come in handy at a later point.

Expect Action Early

In a freezeout tournament, you can expect people to often play their draws or weak hands quite passively, as no one wants to bust in the first few levels of play.

Rebuys are quite the opposite, as you will see people shipping their stacks into the middle with flush draws, open-enders, and all sorts of other mediocre holdings, hoping to hit the miracle card.

What this means for you is that you will have to push your made hands even more than you would normally and that you will want to be prepared to lose some hands to bad beats.

In a rebuy tournament, it is often worth trying to see flops with speculative hands multi-way, as there is a very good chance someone will be looking to stack off on the flop when you hit big.

Don’t Gamble

The early levels of a rebuy poker tournament may seem like everyone is playing craps, but that’s not really true.

Don’t Gamble

The equities remain the same as they would in any other format, and you should always remember that you are still playing poker and that you can’t win the tournament twenty minutes into play.

For that reason, you should approach a rebuy no differently than a freezeout in terms of how you treat your chip stack.

Just because you can buy new chips if you lose the ones you have does not mean you should gamble it all on a 20% chance to double up.

What’s even more, remember that the chips you win in the early levels won’t really be worth all that much later on, as the blinds will escalate, so don’t risk the money you paid to buyin just for a double up that might not be worth as much as you think it is.

Be Careful with Your Bankroll

Another important thing to note about rebuy poker tournaments is that they typically cost quite a bit more than it would seem.

For example, imagine you were going to play a $11 rebuy tournament on an online poker site. If the tournament was a freezeout, it would cost exactly $11 to play in it, nor more, and no less.

In a rebuy tournament, on the other hand, you will need to spend another $10 to buy the double stack and another $10 to buy the add-on, and this is only the minimum.

If you end up losing your chips and want to rebuy, you will need to pay another $20 to get another double stack, making the tournament cost $51 in total.

When deciding to play rebuy tournaments, make sure to go quite a bit lower than your typical buyin for a freezeout tournament, or you could see your bankroll strained beyond expectations.

It Stops Being a Rebuy at Some Point

Remember that rebuy tournaments turn into pure freezeouts once the add-on break is over, and this is when you need to adjust your strategy as well.

Since there are no more rebuys available, you will want to start playing more conservatively with your chips but also giving other players a bit more credit.

While everyone may be going crazy in the early stages of rebuy tournaments, once the add-on break is over, you will see players play a lot tighter and more honestly.

So, once the rebuy phase is over, you should start considering the tournament a freezeout and make all the adjustments that this entails.

Crush Rebuy Poker Tournaments in 2024

Rebuy poker tournaments remain some of the juiciest and most profitable ones today, as tons of loose action goes down in their early stages.

With so much gambling going on, you will find more opportunities to exploit and more chances to build up your stack early.

Remember the strategic tips we gave you for rebuy tournaments in this article, and you may see yourself fall in love with the format.

You can find some low-stakes rebuy tournaments at any major poker site online, so get out there and get some practice playing rebuys and applying our general strategy to see just how well you can do.

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