Re-buy tournaments are my favorite types of tournaments to play. I am not much of a gambler away from poker; I rarely play table games like craps or blackjack, and I never bet on sports. My tournament style, and overall poker style for that matter, is generally tight-aggressive, but during re-buy tournaments, I use a different strategy that is fun to play and has given me a great deal of success in the past.
That said, there are some things you should consider when you play a re-buy tournament. The first thing to keep in mind is that you have to budget a lot more money for the tournament than just the initial buy-in. I budget for the initial buy-in, two re-buys, and the add on. So, if I am playing a $1,000 re-buy event, I will show up with $4,000. This gives me the opportunity to play the event correctly.
In a re-buy tournament, you can present your opponents with an image that you will later exploit in the tournament. Early on, I will often make unorthodox moves, pushing chips and building a hyper-aggressive image. Then, when the re-buy period ends, I revert back to my normal tight-aggressive style, and I tend to get paid off on all my big hands. The key to creating this image and opportunity, however, lies in budgeting enough money and a willingness to take risks. If you are not willing to invest enough money to make some re-buys and for the add on, then you should reconsider playing the event. You may catch cards and win a lot of pots and therefore never need to make a re-buy, but if you don’t at least have that opportunity, than you are at a disadvantage.
There is one important factor in a re-buy tournament that you will have no control over, and that is your table draw. Before the start of a re-buy tournament, tournament directors will post the breakdown schedule for that tournament. This lists the order in which the tables will be broken down as players are knocked out of the tournament. A good table draw has you sitting at a late break table. A bad table draw breaks early. I am always willing to invest more re-buys in a tournament when I am seated at a late break table simply because if I lose those chips, I will have a lot of time to win them back after the re-buy period ends. If my table is scheduled to break early and I donate a lot of chips to those players, I will not have the opportunity to exploit my newfound loose image to win them back.
When it comes time for the add-on, many players question whether or not they should take it. I suggest always taking the add-on unless your chip stack is in the top 20% of chip stacks after accounting for the other players taking their add-ons. This will help make sure you do not find yourself at a disadvantage when the real play starts.
So, if you find yourself playing with me at your next re-buy tournament and you notice that I am gambling it up, be careful! When you call my all in bet after the re-buy period ends, you are likely to find yourself staring down at the business end of the stone cold nuts!