Turbo Rebuy Poker Tournament Strategy – Part #1

Here We Look At Early Strategy In Turbo Rebuy Satellite Qualifiers
And Discuss Where Your Profit Comes From.

This article will be part 1 of 2 looking at strategy for Turbo Rebuy Tournaments – we will look at early game considerations and the type of players you can expect to find in these. The second part will have a look at the mathematics (ICM) angle and the details of good bubble strategy.

Although this article is based on the Turbo Rebuy Satellites at Poker Stars the principals and strategies outlined will work where ever you play. Turbo rebuy satellites are usually associated with the Sunday Million, EPT or WPT events and winning seats in larger World Series qualifiers. If you have not yet discovered for yourself exactly what makes Poker Stars almost twice as popular as even their closest rivals then we recommend that you do so now - the difference is actually amazing. Use marketing code PSP3108 (when you register) and bonus code STARS600 (when you deposit) at PokerStars to claim your 100% to $600 sign-up gift.

Turbo Rebuy Strategy - Overview Of The Games

The turbo rebuys can look can look like a 'flippament' (skill-less all-in shoves rather than post flop poker) but there are some definitle strategy considerations beneath the surface. For Sunday Million seats there are 3 varieties 3+r, 8+r and 10+r - the ratio of seats to players obviously varying significantly. For WSOP and WPT events the buy-ins can vary and include $16 and $27 events.

You get 1000 chips to start and the blinds go up every 5 minutes, after 30 minutes (bb=200) there is a 5 minute break and an add-on (1500 chips at whatever original the buy-in was)... after that the blinds escalate so fast that you only need to fold for a couple of rounds to find yourself getting behind.

Turbo Rebuy Strategy - Dead Money And Types Of Opponent

Fortunately there is always a certain amount of 'dead-money' in these games. This comes at the 2 extremes of opponent types.

Firstly the rocks, these guys never rebuy unless broke, sit with just half a buy-in at times and wait for premium hands... often you see people nursing 500 chips and then leaving when their ace-king gets busted at BB150... terrible. Realistically you need to budget 3 to 5 buy-ins to have a serious chance in these.

Secondly the maniacs, all in almost every hand and rebuy after rebuy. If these opponents build a stack early they can be dangerous - but the cost of their stacks often means that the tourneys on the whole are -ev. You need chips to survive these crazy poker tournaments - but spending 10 buy-ins will never pay for itself in the long run, there is a cap on how much you can win at $215 (for the Sunday Million) after all.

My personal thought for the initial stages is to find some middle ground, to play good hands aggressively and watch opponents for information to use later. Pairs can be good value as many people will be playing ace-rag, if your table lets you limp then great - play a few speculative hands in the short time that the blinds are small and build a big pot if and when you hit. I usually open shove premium hands as there is a good chance of getting called - especially with 1 or 2 maniacs at the table.

Turbo Rebuy Strategy - Here is what to look out for in the early stages...

  • Rocks, keep an eye for those who do rebuy but are waiting for premiums. If someone who has folded 20 hands in a row suddenly shoves then get out of the way fast. (sounds kind of obvious but unless you pay attention you'll end up paying these guys off!).
  • Raise / Folders - Look out for people who fold to re-raises during the rebuy period. Some players have a nice big 'gap' between hands they will raise and those they will call a re-raise with. Make a note of these guys as you can re-steal from them once the rebuy period is over.
  • People who min raise / limp premium hands - the standard of these is so horrible that this happens all the time. Those same players will try it later in the tourney so make a note as soon as you see it... again you are looking for potential re-steal targets for after the rebuy period has finished.
  • Conversely watch for those who overplay hands like ace-rag and 'any-2 suited' again you need this information for the later stages

Of course you will be moved table a fair amount of the time - unfortunate but a fact of life in any tourney. It is no excuse for not watching the players early though!

Hopefully, with some patient yet aggressive play you have an average or above stack at the 30 minute break... that is 6000+ chips usually (including the add-on). The next 30 minutes is the critical time in these, and I start of by tightening up!!

Turbo Rebuy Tournament Strategy - Assessing How Many Chips You Need

Here is one way to look at it - you have the average stack of 6000 chips (example from a 3+r) there are 20 places paid and 150 players remaining. A little math will show us that we need to get to approx 20,000 chips to be above average at the bubble - we need to double up one and a half times – that is all!. Note: This will be a much better ratio in the 8+r and 10+r tourneys.

There will be a mixture of small and big stacks around and many players will be feeling the pressure to double up quickly. The good news is that you have a short window of opportunity in which to wait - specifically wait 2 blind levels (unless you get a decent hand of course). This will give you time to get some important information – namely - what changes in your opponents play have happened after the rebuy period finishes? It also means that when you do enter a pot, to steal the blinds / antes once they are >1000 chips your raise is assumed to be with a strong hand (careful you pick the right opponents though - not everyone will notice!).

Re-stealing is king in the middle stages, here is where the info picked up in the early stages really comes into its own... think of it this way: taking the blinds / antes at bb400 will give you a net gain of 825 chips, coming over the top of a position raiser and making him fold can easily double that amount. As with SNG Tournaments you'll want to avoid doing this with easily dominated hands but as long as your cards are 'live' then the risk of a 55/45 situation can be easily made up for by the chance of a 30% stack increase with no showdown!

Turbo Rebuy Poker Strategy - Stop Calling All-Ins Without A Great Reason!

Calling all-ins: You should be able to put most opponents on ranges by this stage, while calling an all-in is never the best strategy you'll have a hand good enough to do it on occasion, once the blinds get 800+, especially with a limper or 2 (yes people do limp in these!) then the current pot combined with your chance of winning a showdown against your opponents range can make a call worthwhile here... my personal rule of thumb is to try and be 2/1 ( 65%) favorite in order to make the call early. For example a pair of 10s against someone I know would shove any ace, any suited King. any 2 broadways + all pairs.

Hopefully stealing the occasional blind, re-stealing from position raisers or limpers and showing the occasional good hand has increased your stack to the 15000 range in time for the end-game. Part #2 will look in more detail at Turbo Rebuy Satellite Bubble Strategy.

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