Friday, January 07, 2005


Posted by Johnnymac 7:56 AM
A guy here at work (who actually played in our Tourney back in November) is hosting a small poker tournament tomorrow at his house. What makes this different than most poker tournament is that it is a single rebuy tourney and most tournaments either have no rebuys or unlimited rebuys. In tomorrow's tournament, you can take your rebuy any time your stack size is below the opening value and if you don't take a rebuy by the end of the first hour your single rebuy privilege becomes an option to buy an add-on no matter your stack size.

My boss and I are both planning on playing and were discussing our optimal strategy and we got to thinking that the rebuy should immediately be taken the first time your stack falls below the minimum amount. Furthermore, if the blinds escalate during the rebuy period, it probably makes sense even to throw one bet into the pot on the very first hand and then fold and take the rebuy right away as tournament chips are always "worth more" when the blinds are small and a smaller proportion of your stack. And thus, with a rebuy of a constant quantity, the value of the rebuy diminishes as time progresses.

I think this allows for three advantages: 1.) The psychological aspect of having a larger stack than your opponents; 2.) The economic advantage of being able to play more marginal hands at first while it is cheap to do so, thus making the implied odds on drawing hands much higher; and 3.) Provided that someone else at your table takes their rebuy early on, the chances of doubling up two times over ("quadrupling up?") are greater and thus magnify the advantages of #1 and #2 even more.

I have never played in a single rebuy tournament before, but I have played in a few casino rebuy tournaments and all allow an immediate rebuy at the beginning of the tournament, which is always the proper strategy for the reasons I list above. I think the strategy I am describing here is analogous to that practice.

Perhaps the only thing that would be detrimental to this strategy would be if all of the other players did the exact same thing. So long as some players decide to remain short-stacked for even a small period of time I think there is an edge to be exploited.

Am I missing something or does anyone have anything else to add? Try out the new comments page if you do.

2 Comment(s):

Posted by Blogger Dr Fro, at 11:11 AM, January 07, 2005  

I agree with two exceptions:

You would hate to pay double if you could have paid single and accomplished a similiar end.

Let's say you but the rebuy after the first hand. On the second hand you knock out a guy that didnt rebuy. Now you have 3xBuy-in. Had you not re-bought, you would have had 2x Buy-in. You would have paid double for 50% more chips. And of course, with each incremental chip worth less, you have definitely overpaid. Thus, I would not IMMEDIATELY rebuy. I would however rebuy fairly early. Obvious excpetion is if all or substantially all people do the one-hand-fold-then-rebuy strategy.

Now the other disagreement w the strategy (really a consideration) is the texture of the game - fast, slow, tight, aggressive, weak, etc. If you must play a lot of big bets, you may want to hang onto the rebuy to allow you to gunsling with the maniacs with insurance. Basically, making marginally +EV plays with high volatility that would be otherwise be inappropriate when facing freezout. If its a tight game with a big ratio of initial stack to big blind, then don't sweat it. If you stack is constantly in jeopardy, keep the insurance, methinks.



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Posted by Blogger Morris, at 11:16 AM, January 07, 2005  

I have played in many tournaments of this format. The proper play, and the ONLY proper play is to limp in on the first hand and fold and then rebuy. DO NOT LOOK AT YOUR CARDS. Winning the first hand (unless you double up or win a SIGNIFICANT pot) is the worst thing that you could EVER do. Thats because you have probably won a small pot and may not have a chance to rebuy again. Even if you win the first pot and continue on and get the add on, you have put yourself at a disadvantage by not having the large chip stack during the looser first half of the tournament. Make no mistake about it, mucho chips EARLY is huge. It allows you to play suited connectors, small pairs, etc. that can pay huge if you hit your hand at the same time someone else does. In the later, tighter, bubble periods those hands are largley unplayable as the game has usually become a "move in" game.



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