Rebuy strategy thoughts
I like rebuy tournaments.
There are proportionately more chips in play, it's straightforward to build a decent stack early on and the payouts can get pretty decent. I just finished a $10 rebuy and came 11th of 130 for $76, which given that I rebought 3 times and added on was a massive $26 profit (that's sarcasm), but it was a good run and not that far from something worthwhile.
My approach is usually the same. First I play at a buy-in where I am happy to put at least 5 and possibly as much as 10 or 12 times the buy-in into the pot. For me this means playing $5 and $10 more often than not and expecting to put somewhere between $30 and $100 in the middle.
Playing at Party Poker
you can rebuy when you have equal to or less than the starting amount of chips (3000) and you can rebuy while the high card is being dealt at the start. I always do so immediately and so start the first hand with 6000. Very few people do this, either because they don't know you can or don't see the value. For me it's a necessity to be in a position to double from 6000 to 12000 rather than 3000 to 6000 if I hit a flop hard or get dealt AA or KK and the appropriate buy-in cost means I'm not worrying about the dollars.
I then start playing as many hands as I possibly can. This means playing anything at all unraised while the blinds are in the first couple of levels and calling 2-3xbb raises with any two paint, connectors, one-gaps and anything pretty. The hand I still am cautious about is AT or less, which remains a victim hand if you start calling raises.
Essentially it's a case of hit the flop hard (two-pair or better) or get out with the garbage hands and play "normal" poker with the semi-decent and decent hands. The standard of the $5 and $10 is appalling early on and it's easy to get carried away thinking that the guy raising is trying to steal with nothing. He probably is, but he also doesn't know how to fold so there's no point trying to get him to do so. So preflop I play implied odds
like in no other circumstance, post flop Tight-Aggressive all the way.
There is such a palpable sense of panic in these things that it's not too hard to spot the guys who are pushing any Ace or any pair and pick a spot with a decent holding to double up. If I bust I rebuy and add-on and try again. I'm not talking about calling all-ins with 22-99 or even TT, but what would be a marginal or even poor call of an all-in with JJ or AQ in a freeze-out becomes a viable strategy against players routinely pushing 22 and A7. In fact many of them only slow down when they get a genuine monster and it's then time to start worrying.
The other way to build a stack is to slamdunk a flop with garbage. Playing J4o may well be a route to disaster in a freeze out (and it is) but in a rebuy it's worth speculating 40 of 6000 chips for the occassional flop of J48 when you can pretty much guarentee that the guy with KJ (or even A8 or AQ!) is going to be prepared to put all his chips in the middle.
The most important part is that when the flop comes J98 or similar that you let it go when faced with any resistance. In fact it's getting off the hands that you don't quite catch enough of (top pair bad kicker) that I think is the secret to playing the crazy maniac during the rebuy period. The reality should be a maniac preflop (though in fact picking cheap pots and not calling big raises) and a tighty once the flop comes. The preflop image should be enough to ensure getting paid when the big hands hit.
The final key to the rebuy period for me is using the "Party Rebuy trick". This enables you to rebuy when all-in during a hand. This means that if you get JJ-AA it's a sound move to push 6000 chips in the middle and rebuy. If everyone folds you have 9000 for the next hand, if you get a call you may double and have 15000 and if you lose, you will have 3000 and can add-on. Again the importance of not being concerned about paying 5-10 times the buy-in is key to playing this strategy. Picking spots on the flop, turn and river to push and rebuy is also key.
Ultimately a combination of the above usually means that I finish the rebuy period with at least 20000 and I always add-on. This means that on the Party structure you have 100 times the bb of 200 after the break a very unusual stack in freeze-outs.
Now it becomes a case of playing "proper" poker. Respecting raises and playing position preflop while looking for opportunities to pick off the small stacks. I find it's amazing how many players continue in the style they played the rebuy period and blow huge stacks in the next hour. Having a decent stack means that the odd mistake or bad piece of luck can happen and not be a fatal blow. It also means that coinflips can be avoided a lot more readily as there is not usual pressure to double up.
So after the rebuy it becomes as normal a game of patience and aggression to get to the endgame. One other difference is that because of the chips in play there is also a different dynamic to the final couple of tables. The volume of chips means that it's not quite the allin or foldfest that they usually are. The little bit of extra room does allow for a bit more restealing and even some post-flop play at final tables!!!!
A note on the quality of play. I think that a significant number of people playing these are underrolled and therefore are scared to rebuy. They play it like a freezeout and while on occassion this is going to work it misses the golden opportunity that rebuys provide to play deepstack poker in the latter stages based on a good first hour.
In summary, played right use to the rebuy period to build a stack big enough to play some really solid and pretty risk-free poker to get to the endgame. Long live the rebuy.