Rebuy poker tournament strategy is all about the crazy aggressive betting. Unlike almost any other type of tournament, being conservative and playing only stronger hands is often not the best strategy for Rebuy tournaments. Like cash games, because of your ability in rebuy tournaments to restock chips, you will want to play aggressively, sometimes wildly so, in order to try to stock chips early. Unlike a normal large tournament, in a rebuy always assume you will need to bust a few times before getting the chip stack you need to be a force.
Being aggressive can be more intimidating in rebuy tournaments for generally conservative players, because many players will be playing extra aggressively and loosely, if not manically so. Everyone who is smart is trying to double and triple up in chips early because they know they’ll need them. Getting a large stack early is critical because there is a limited amount of time for rebuys and then that’s it. But during that time, the amount of total chips thrown into the tournament can grow in leaps and bounds. You can’t count on the normal number of idiots and amateurs to all knock each other out because they can keep buying back in, and a few may get lucky and amass a huge pile of chips.
If you’re not serious about dropping a lot more money than the entry for a rebuy tournament, then you need to look for a different type of game. If the entry fee is something extremely low, like $1 or $2 for an online tournament, then you should still expect to spend a minimum of $6-10 for that tournament, and many good rebuy players tell me that’s too restrictive and still too conservative.
In a normal tournament you would not call 2-3 all ins with A-K suited or pocket J’s, but in a rebuy, this is a good idea. You need to take that chance because if you win, you may not have to rebuy at all and you’ll still be in a strong position. If you lose, you show probably a stronger hand than most of the players who went all in and you rebuy and get at least a little respect from players who might hesitate slightly to go all in against you again and buy you some leeway later.
The number one rule with a rebuy tournament is to get a good stack of chips. At very minimum, three times your starting stack, maybe more. After that you can slow down to let the really crazy ones knock each other out, or wait for the very strong hands as opposed to the moderately strong before putting your chips back in, but you need those early chips. Now, because so many people are looking to go all in, obviously don’t do something stupid and call four all ins with 2-7 off suit, at least have something of nominal value in your hand, but when you do, don’t be afraid to push it.
If you get an early large stack, then sit back and play a more conservative aggressive style. One advantage of rebuy tournaments is that if you get a really large chips stack early, it will take an extremely long time before the blinds can do any damage at all, and that will be well past the point where rebuys are no longer allowed, meaning at that point the lesser players will have knocked each other out and you can wait for the very strong hands to bully the table again. Just remember to get into the fray early, you’ll have to have those chips for later.