Rebuy Tournament Strategy

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Knowing what to do when faced with the decision whether or not to re-buy or add-on in a poker tournament is a crucial component of making money in the long run. While the correct strategy is easy to learn and practice it is amazing how many player’s are doing the exact opposite of what they should be doing.

First, I’ll just say that you must be well funded to play a multiple re-buy tournament; you can’t be scared to re-buy a bunch of times if you think therein lies your edge, and this is often the case.

So, first thing to remember is to imagine that the initial buy-in is perhaps only 15-25% of the actual entry fee, as you will likely need to re-buy and add on several times over to win or cash in the event.

Next, there’s a fundamental tournament poker concept that you must understand to take advantage of the re-buy situation: the short stack’s chips are worth more. If you take a couple of beats and the tournament director comes over and asks you to buy more chips for the same price they cost at the beginning of the event, that’s a bargain. Those chips are going to increase you chances of cashing or winning the tournament by infinity, and had they been given to a big stack they would only have increased his/her chances by maybe 10-20%.

You must almost always re-buy when you are out of chips, make sure the play very fast and aggressive with your short stack and be prepared to re-buy again. Of course, you must do so only when you feel good about your chances in the tournament, when you like your table and you feel like playing some serious poker.

In one of the $1k multiple re-buy events at the World Series of Poker, Daniel Negreanu re-bought at least 27 times before ending up with a big stack. In the end he finished 3rd and took home over $70k, a profit of at least $45k, not a bad day at the office.

This example illustrates what it takes to come out on top in tournaments where a re-buy is offered. Many players thought he was just showing off because he has a large bankroll, truth be told, profit was his motivation. So don’t be afraid to re-buy, it is a great tool of the winning poker player to increase his/her edge in tournaments. If you feel that the buy-in plus several re-buys is more than you are willing to lose on the day of the event, then don’t play, but consider what would have happened if you had only re-bought once more but decided not to.

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