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To Rebuy or not to rebuy?


Hi all, I was in A.C. yesterday playing in a ring 1/2 NL Hold'em cash game. Bought in for $300. After a couple of unfortunate hands (AA cracked and QQ cracked on the river), I find myself stacked. I decide to rebuy for another $300, hoping that my bad luck was only temporary. Unfortunately, this did not go quite well and I ended up loosing another $300, at which point I decided to call it a day. But since I've never won more than $300 in one session, I'm thinking: was it really that smart to rebuy? Is there some kind of rule of thumb that I should follow with respect to rebuying? Any thought would be appreciated. Thanks


  • pgearan

    I'm one who is fairly conservative about this, so personally if my initial $300 is gone I tend to call it a day no matter the cause. But that is a personal preference. I feel your pain - thinking about losing $300 twice if that is not something that is typical hurts.

    The rule of thumb I think is answering a few questions and letting those dictate your decision:

    1) Do you feel, aside from the run of bad luck, that you have a skill advantage over enough of the table that continuing to play should be profitable on average? Or is a challenging table where you wonder whether you are in the top half of players? If you do not have a decided advantage, I'd either find another table or leave altogether. Making a profit at a skilled table is tough, you'll be lucky to stay ahead of the rake and tipping.

    2) Did getting stacked even put you mildly on tilt or is affecting your judgment? Any negative emotions brewing as you consider rebuying? Obviously, if so, no way you should rebuy.

    3) Is your goal to get the $300 back, to get even for the day? If it is, I would leave immediately. The first $300 is gone, and as you said, you have yet to be $300 profitable in a session previously so no reason to think that your rebuy will produce that result. The focus now needs to be playing well with the next $300 and see what happens.

    I try to use the same logic I use when playing, when in doubt , when I can;t figuring out the best plan, fold and live to fight another hand/day.

  • sserrbbb8s

    Did you maintain the same seat? If I run bad I'll ask for a seat change or a table change. Making 13$ per hour is better then losing. I don't get that exact on my winnings. I only know the stack I started with is bigger from when I started. I'm not trying to make a living off poker just want to have fun and winning is the really fun.

  • synthesists

    An aside: ssserbbb8 is a deadly dangerous predator stalking APT'S daily tournaments!

    You've been warned! I'm still bleeding from the felting he handed me at the final table ofThursday's event.


  • dhirigoyd

    I did keep the same seat. The position was pretty good relative to the most aggressive players (I was on their left) and while there was definitely one hot seat that day, I feel that position versus other players is more important. To answer another question, I didn't feel that the table was particularly tough. So I thought that I could make a good portion of my money back against that crowd, barring any bad beat. But pgearan is probably right, the real question might be that if my goal is just to break even, then that's not a good reason to rebuy. After all, there's always another game...

  • nytider

    I play a lot more tournaments than I do cash games, so I usually just get up if I get felted in a cash game. But for tournaments, my theory is that I rebuy whenever I feel that there is still enough value that I'd late register at that point had I not bought in earlier. And as pgearan so aptly stated, I'd also consider how I am playing, what kind of competition there is, and whether I got tilted by the stacking.

  • halfairchild

    If I get felted because of bad luck, I'll re-load. If because of bad play, I'll call it a day. I prefer to buy-in a little short, say 150 in a 100-300 game, and have a second 150 at the ready. I'm a tight wad, but true story: I started with $35.00 in November 2015 and built my bankroll to almost $6000 in about 200 hours of play. Tight is right.

  • nytider

    Halairchild's method does help balance out volatility from one bad cooler-type hand, or the player who draws out on you. Of course, it also means you can't win as much when you do flop that nut flush or something.

  • monkeysystem

    My local poker room has 1-3 for 300 max and 2-5 for 1,000 max. I've never played in a live cash game, but am thinking about it. Anyway, here's my question: If I were to buy in to the 2-5 game for 500 would my short bankroll be a disadvantage that is negligible, acceptably small, or significant?

  • think
    edited August 2017

    100-200 BB is "starting to get into true deep stack play," and 200 BB is "true deep stack play" (Harrington on Cash Games).

    I've played a decent amount of 1/2 and never been able to buy in for 200 BB, although I could win a nice pot and get to 200+ BB. Note that a 1/3 game very well might play like a 1/2 game -- if the purpose of a 3.5x or so open is to establish the lead, flush out limpers, etc., well, I've played enough 1/2 games during which a $10-12 open might do that, but a $7 open was an invitation for a multiway pot.

    Hand values change as effective stack sizes change. Note the term "effective stack size." This means "smallest stack involved in a given hand." So, if there is a short stack at the table ("short" here just means "shorter than yours," although let's say, for example, <10 BB to 30 BB ballpark), then if you get your nice JTs, open for 2-4.5 BB, and you are in a pot with "short stack," there is no deep stack play. How about 3.5 BB open, then you semi-bluff a FD (low cards on the flop) for 6 BB and get a call. If the turn is a J, then maybe you feel somewhat good about your pair, and your outs are looking even better. The pot is now ~20 BB, and if you do anything resembling a pot-sized bet, there won't be any room to move in terms of river betting. So that's "effective stack size" in action. The idea is that some of the big hand potential is lost when there is no way to get paid off even if you do hit.

    It's like the old 20x implied odds idea with trying to hit a set on the flop -- if there's no way you can win 20x whatever you are putting up to see those next three cards, it's generally not worth the bother.

    And plenty of things can make that geometric increase happen more dramatically (especially multiway pots). So you lose the option of making a big move for a big stack in a big hand. But, unless you've got the stone cold nuts, there's no guarantee that you're going to win. And if your opponent is ready to risk his entire stack, he's got to have some kind of hand to back it up. So you have to figure that your volatility/risk is higher. This is a weapon that can be turned against you as well, and your whole double-stack can disappear as quickly as you can say "set-over-set."


    $500 for a 2/5 game seems like a fine level to buy in at. I don't see why you want to move straight to the higher limit if this is your first time playing live, but that's between you and your bankroll. What is everyone else buying in at? Remember, you lose the ability to threaten/play for big stacks (really more true at ~30-40 BB), but you gain the ability to force a showdown. It's not a perfect trade-off, but there are strategies designed around this.

  • sserrbbb8s

    Playing mostly cash games 1/3 I find players that buy in for the minimum will usually be the chasers and usually for the flush. Most will call a 4xbb in early position with any 2 suited cards and if the flop comes up with 2 cards of their suit its impossible to get them to fold and if they miss they just rebuy at the minimum and the cycle repeats.

  • nytider

    Being mostly a tournament player, I'll defer to the cash players, except to just throw out my general opinion. I think I'd rather be well-stacked at lower stakes than a short stack at higher stakes.

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