Online Satellite Qualifiers Turbo Rebuy Poker Tournament Strategy – Part #2

Continuing The Look At Turbo Rebuy Strategy, How To Play After The Rebuy Period and Bubble Play.

This is the second part of the Turbo rebuy satellite strategy series, originally aimed at qualification to the Poker Stars Sunday Million - however the thoughts and strategies can be transposed to other poker sites and to World Series / WPT satellites too. The first article touched on the pay at the higher blind levels – here we will start again at the 30 minute ‘add-on’ break and go from there.

Though the skills and strategies are transferrable we assume that you have a Poker Stars account - if not then why not!!?! Stars are the world's most popular site for many very good reasons - check them out for yourself now, Marketing Code PSP3108 (registration) and bonus code STARS600 when you deposit to claim your handy 100% to $600 sign-up bonus - you can clear this over 3 separate deposits if required - Check out PokerStars now!

Turbo Rebuy Late And Bubble Play - Adding On!

In Turbo Rebuy Strategy Part #1 we concluded that both not rebuying at all and maniac rebuying were both negative expectation strategies... tight and aggressive play, carefully watching opponents and picking spots hopefully lead to a reasonable stack in time for the 30 minute break... now a much debated question - are there any circumstances in which you should not add on??

Usually no - I would need to have at least double the average and have the add-on total less than 10% of my current stack to consider saving those few $$.... those blinds are going to increase dramatically in a very short period of time - best to have every last chip you can get your hands on!

Turbo Rebuy Satellite Bubble Play - Questions Ahead Of The Later Stages

The first thing I then do is look at the ratio of seats available to people left and see how this relates to the average chip stack. This will be different depending on the buy-in level (small for the $3+Rs and Bigger for the $10+Rs). There are a couple of things to look for...

  • What will the average stack be at the bubble? (ie a few people left to go rather than just 1)
  • What is the multiple of your current stack to get there?? (ie how many double ups do you need)
  • How many tables will be left at the bubble and how full will they be? (If it appears that all the tables will be short handed on the bubble you may need a few more chips than if they are full - for example with 23 spots paid the ratio of players / table will be higher on the bubble than with 18 paid)

The blinds start up at 200 with a 25 ante after the break - you have a small window of opportunity to assess how the play of your opponents has changed; Are the small stacks acting desperately? the big stacks pushing people around?? Who can fold after limping or raising pre flop and who can not?

Turbo Rebuy Late Game Strategy - Staying Ahead Of The Blinds

At 5 minute intervals the blinds go up... 400 / 600 / 800 / 1200 etc etc - you have to stay ahead of them, waiting for those aces will not winning you a seat! The options are simple right? You can steal blinds - in fact you must steal blinds, you can win showdowns or best of all you can re-steal from those people you tagged earlier as light raisers or willing to fold after raising.

A large number of players do not understand pot-odds. In the middle stages these can often be more important than the ICM side of things. I have seen people fold getting more than 4/1 from their blinds many times in these - do not do it!! Unless the tightest player in the world just pushed you should be calling a short-stack all in with any 2-cards here assuming you have a reasonable stack. Think of it this way if there is any doubt - each time you call with your 8 10 off from the BB getting 4/1 against this range - any pair / any ace / any suited K or Q and most connectors or high card combos - you expect to win 40% more chips than you put in the pot.

The only time I would not call with the odds is on the bubble - will get to that shortly.

As the blinds get higher and higher I loosen up my open pushing range considerably. At the same time the calling range should get far tighter... the Gap Concept is now your best friend.

Turbo Rebuy Bubble Strategy - An Example Of The Gap Concept In Action

Here is a real-life example with about 5 left to go until the money... I am on the button with JJ and a medium stack. A very large stack opens from early position for about half my chips and I sigh and check the 'Fold' button ready... someone pushes on top of him and - the really good part - the next player overcalls the all in - both had 10's against the big stack’s AQ - He spiked his Ace to leave both players dead. The funny part for me is that TT is a great hand to push in the late stages, but to call? and to call 2 all-ins? crazy play - if you do not yet see why then read on - it is all in the equity risked vs potential equity gain!

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I was able to get a seat by pushing far worse hands than JJ into people who could not call without a monster... the key is to calculate about what you are risking by calling (an estimate for the guys with the 10's in tha above example would be $160 to $170 of $ev) and compare it to your risk and then your potential gain (max equity = $215 for the Sunday Million seat). The first 10 10 guy might have thought he had 60% against big-stack but was laying almost 4/1 against himself... that is to say that by calling he was risking $170 (the average equity he would have in the prize pool if he folded the hand) to win $45 more (since the max prize is the $215 seat). Think in those terms when you consider calling late game all-ins and your results will improve instantly!

The 2nd guy does not even bear thinking about from a mathematical perspective- max 40% equity - his call loses more than $100 every time he makes it - simply a terrible call.

Late Game Satellite Bubble Strategy - Who Knows Strategy? And Who Knows You Know?

As with SNGs the key is to understand which players know what is going on... you can push into them with almost any 2 as the bubble approaches so long as they have stacks which can withstand a fold. You will often have more fold equity against the bigger stacks than you think too - if you are over half their size they are not calling without a hand at the bubble in most cases. Personally I tend to work with a 77+ a9o+ KQ range for these circumstances. Working out who knows the general poker strategy concepts is key here, if you push into a novice and get called by ace-rag then you only have yourself to blame!

Late Game Satellite Bubble Strategy - You Must Watch The Other Tables

You must watch the other tables, must is too mild a word - seen some horrible plays with 1 or 2 people to go where an almost all in big blind called a raise for the last of his chips when folding would have won him a seat (someone already out on another table). Calculating how many people will be blinded off before you is critical here and can make the difference between a seat and no seat. Of course not all of the forced all-ins will mean someone is out but you must keep an eye on them.

When hand for hand play finally arrives try to manage the blinds - they will be huge by then and going slowly can make the difference between one of your opponents being all in next time around and not. Conversely you can act quicker of you are next in the blind. Do not be afraid to fold now - as long as several opponents are blinded out before you then there is really no benefit to having those extra chips when compared the risk of someone waking up with a hand against you.

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