Poker Tournaments: Re-Buy Tournaments Strategy

Poker Tournaments: Re-Buy Tournaments Strategy

Before entering any type of tournament it is very important to first understand the structure of the tournament. In this article, we will be talking exclusively about multi-table tournaments. So, you should not apply any of the theory within this article to 'Sit and Go' style tournaments.

Re-Buy vs Freeze-Out

The first thing you should always check before entering a poker tournament is whether it is a Freeze-Out or Re-Buy Tournament. To simplify this concept, a Freeze-Out Tournament is one you pay a specific entry fee in exchange for a specific amount of chips, which you are then allowed to use however you want on the felt. If you get knocked out of the tournament, that is, you lose all your chips then you are out of it. You have no chance of re-buying into the tournament or starting from the beginning. On the contrast, in a Re-Buy Tournament, you begin with a specific number of chips, but if you lose them, you are allowed to pay the entry fee again in order to receive the same number of chips.

In many Re-Buy Tournaments, you are given the choice to start with a double-buy-in, which simply means that you can pay 2x the entry fee at the start in order to get twice the amount of chips your competitors will. We will be expanding later on this concept, to see if it is profitable or not. Keep in mind that in these types of tournaments you are also given the option to buy-in single or double amount of chips when you lose your stack.

Re-Buy Tournaments must always have a time limit, or a level limit, set by the tournament director at a pre-arranged time for the re-buy period will end. If this was not the case, then players could keep re-buying into the tournament even on the final table. Other tournaments, frequently called 2x Chance Tournaments, give you the option of only re-buying into the tournament once. Other tournaments may limit your re-buys to 3 or 5.

Lastly, when the re-buy period ends there is always a brief add-on period, which usually lasts between 5-10, where all the players get the option to add a specific amount of chips to their stack, regardless of their initial chip stack. Although many players feel that it is a must, no matter what the situation is, it is important to keep in mind that this is not always the case.

Pre-Limiting Your Re-Buys

The key element in being successful in the Re-buy Tournament sector is pre-limiting your re-buys. If you go to the casino/card room you will probably have enough money for 10 re-buys in any given standard tournament. Sometimes, especially for beginners, players get carried away and re-buy into the tournament even when the blinds are huge and they have no chance of building a stack. So, before entering any type of Re-Buy Tournament you should always plan how many times you can to re-buy (also counting your add-on), and when you should change this plan. For example, you were doing well in your first buy in, but you went bust near the end of the re-buy period when the blinds have increased considerably.

When You Shouldn't Add-On

As mentioned before, at the end of each Re-Buy Tournament you will be given the option to add on chips to your stack. The cost is the same as it cost entering the tournament, but most times you are offered 2-3 times the amount of chips, to try to equalize the impact of the blind difference. There are two main scenarios at which you should not add-on:

  1. If you are in a commanding position over the tournament, holding more than 2x the chips average, then you are better off not wasting your money.
  2. If you are low on chips you may also wish not re-buy, as you will probably be better off playing the short stack and trying to get a couple of double ups in order to get yourself back in to the average chip count.

Three Main Strategies to Consider When Playing a Re-Buy Tournament

1. Playing it Loose

The first strategy is the most risky, where you are willing to spend between 10 and 20 buy-ins in order to play the tournament. Always be aware that there are enough players in the field to justify these re-buys. You don’t want your money totaling 50% of the prize pool. The main aim is to play all Class A cards extremely aggressive, preferably getting all your chips all-in on a coin flip situation. You should continue doing this until the re-buy period is over or until you amass about 5-10 times the average chip stack.

2. The Intermediate Strategy

For this strategy, you should take into consideration all of what we have said above, especially the part about pre-limiting your re-buys. You should take risks, but calculated risks, try to avoid coin flips as you would in a Freeze-Out Tournament. Don’t shy away from too much value. You should aim to be using somewhere between 2-5 re-buys.

3. Playing it Freeze-Out

The third strategy is a bit trickier, where you play Re-Buy Tournament using just a single buy-in, which depending on your choice may also consist of an add-on. The theory behind this strategy is even though the variance of the tournament circuit will be higher; you will not manage to cash as much as you would in a Freeze-Out Tournament. You will have the opportunity to increase your investment/pay-out ratio and if played correctly in a tight/solid matter should be very rewarding

Recommended Poker Sites

shield of trust Secure trusted partners Trusted star verified Verified
Affiliate Disclosure: At Gambling.com, we want to ensure that players are matched with the right casino and sportsbook offers for them. For this reason, some of the recommended site links are affiliate links. This means that if you visit a website through our link and make a deposit, Gambling.com will receive a commission payment at no extra cost to you. At Gambling.com, we want to ensure that players are matched with the right casino and sportsbook offers for them. For this reason, some of the recommended site links are affiliate links. More
  1. 1
    PartyPoker
    Established 1997
    More info
    Deposit £10, receive up to £40 in Free Play
    Official Partner of F1 McLaren Racing Team
    Poker Ambassadors Kevin Hart & Carl Froch
    Earn up to 40% Cashback Every Week
    Bonus Code
    The code required to claim this sign-up bonus (if any)
    not required
    Rakeback
    Does this poker site refund a portion of your rake or offer cashback for poker loyalty points?
    Yes
    WSOP Satellites
    Can you enter satellites for World Series of Poker™ event packages?
    No
    Home Games
    Can you set up private online poker games with friends?
    No
    One of the pioneers of online poker, PartyPoker was once the world’s biggest poker site and they still host huge online tournaments such as the prestigious MILLIONS series - with a $1million guaranteed main event, plus satellites to PartyPoker live events.
  2. 2
    888 Poker
    Established 1997
    More info
    100% Welcome Bonus up to $888 + £20 Free Bonus
    'Online Poker Operator of the Year' 2022
    Unique BLAST & SNAP Fast-Fold Games
    Satellites to Exclusive Online XL Series
    Bonus Code
    The code required to claim this sign-up bonus (if any)
    NEW888
    Rakeback
    Does this poker site refund a portion of your rake or offer cashback for poker loyalty points?
    Yes
    WSOP Satellites
    Can you enter satellites for World Series of Poker™ event packages?
    Yes
    Home Games
    Can you set up private online poker games with friends?
    Yes
    With over 10 million registered members, 888poker is one of the world’s largest poker networks and they also have their own live circuit featuring some of the most prestigious poker events in the world, with destinations such as London, Barcelona and Bucharest.
  3. 3
    Double Bubble Poker
    Established 2021
    More info
    Play £10, Get 50 Extra Spins
    Exclusive 'Wild Seat Poker' Texas Hold'em
    Instant Play Software (No Download Required)
    Poker Tutorial Videos to Improve Your Play
    Bonus Code
    The code required to claim this sign-up bonus (if any)
    not required
    Rakeback
    Does this poker site refund a portion of your rake or offer cashback for poker loyalty points?
    No
    WSOP Satellites
    Can you enter satellites for World Series of Poker™ event packages?
    No
    Home Games
    Can you set up private online poker games with friends?
    No
    Double Bubble Poker is a fun place for beginners with a friendly interface, welcoming hosts and pocket-friendly tournament entry fees starting at just £0.01.
  4. 4
    GG Poker
    Established 2014
    More info
    Deposit £10, Claim £40
    Largest Online Poker Site in the World
    World Series of Poker™ Official Partner
    External Tools & Tracking Software Blocked
    Bonus Code
    The code required to claim this sign-up bonus (if any)
    not required
    Rakeback
    Does this poker site refund a portion of your rake or offer cashback for poker loyalty points?
    Yes
    WSOP Satellites
    Can you enter satellites for World Series of Poker™ event packages?
    Yes
    Home Games
    Can you set up private online poker games with friends?
    No
    GG Poker offers award winning features include EV Cashout, Snap Cam, NFT Avatars and Squeeze Cards. You can also play online with GGTeam Pro Players Daniel Negreanu, 'ElkY' Grospellier and Jason Kroon.
  5. 5
    PokerStars Poker
    Established 2015
    More info
    Bet £10 Get £40 Free Play
    Owner & Sponsor of the European Poker Tour
    Official Partner of the Red Bull F1 Racing Team
    Signed Neymar Jr as 'Cultural Ambassador'
    Bonus Code
    The code required to claim this sign-up bonus (if any)
    FORTY
    Rakeback
    Does this poker site refund a portion of your rake or offer cashback for poker loyalty points?
    Yes
    WSOP Satellites
    Can you enter satellites for World Series of Poker™ event packages?
    No
    Home Games
    Can you set up private online poker games with friends?
    Yes
    PokerStars host some of the biggest online poker tournaments including the famous Sunday Million which has a $1million guaranteed prize pool, plus exclusive satellites to the European Poker Tour.
  6. 6
    Coral Poker
    Established 2002
    More info
    Deposit £20, receive up to $30 in Tournament Tickets
    Sit & Go Leaderboards with Daily Prizes
    MyGame Whiz - Personal Poker Coach
    Up To 40% Automated Weekly Cashback
    Bonus Code
    The code required to claim this sign-up bonus (if any)
    not required
    Rakeback
    Does this poker site refund a portion of your rake or offer cashback for poker loyalty points?
    Yes
    WSOP Satellites
    Can you enter satellites for World Series of Poker™ event packages?
    No
    Home Games
    Can you set up private online poker games with friends?
    No
    At Coral Poker you can qualify for big online and live poker tournaments, including the Irish Open and UK Grand Prix, plus the high roller MILLIONS tournament series.
  7. 7
    Bet365 Poker
    Established 2001
    More info
    bet365 Poker - Welcome Package of up to €365
    63 Million Customers in Over 150 Countries
    Regular Tournament Series Events
    Twister Sit & Go's with Jackpot Prize-Pools
    Bonus Code
    The code required to claim this sign-up bonus (if any)
    not required
    Rakeback
    Does this poker site refund a portion of your rake or offer cashback for poker loyalty points?
    Yes
    WSOP Satellites
    Can you enter satellites for World Series of Poker™ event packages?
    No
    Home Games
    Can you set up private online poker games with friends?
    No
    Bet365 Poker offer regular Cash Games, Sit & Gos & Tournaments, plus premium tables where you'll play exclusively against Bet365 players only. They also provide 24/7 customer support.
  8. 8
    Paddy Power Poker
    Established 2004
    More info
    Bet £20, receive up to £50 in Tournament Tickets
    Sponsors of the Irish Poker Tour & Championship
    Daily & Weekly Freerolls with Big Rewards
    £12.5K of Prizes in Weekly Twister Races
    Bonus Code
    The code required to claim this sign-up bonus (if any)
    not required
    Rakeback
    Does this poker site refund a portion of your rake or offer cashback for poker loyalty points?
    Yes
    WSOP Satellites
    Can you enter satellites for World Series of Poker™ event packages?
    No
    Home Games
    Can you set up private online poker games with friends?
    Yes
    Paddy Power Poker have a 'Twitch Team' of poker ambassadors, who you can enjoy live interaction with as they broadcast MTTs & Cash Games via their Twitch channels.
  9. 9
    Grosvenor Poker
    Established 2007
    More info
    Earn up to 40% Rakeback
    Online Home of the Grosvenor UK Poker Tour
    Qualify for 'National Poker League' Events
    'Loyalty Club' - Earn Up To 40% Rakeback
    Bonus Code
    The code required to claim this sign-up bonus (if any)
    not required
    Rakeback
    Does this poker site refund a portion of your rake or offer cashback for poker loyalty points?
    Yes
    WSOP Satellites
    Can you enter satellites for World Series of Poker™ event packages?
    No
    Home Games
    Can you set up private online poker games with friends?
    Yes
    Grosvenor Poker can reasonably be called the home of UK poker, with exclusive satellites to live events taking place at Grosvenor Casinos across England, Scotland & Wales, including the GUKPT and the biggest live poker tournament in Europe - the Goliath.
×