Making Money

5 tips for playing re-buy tournaments at your local poker room

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The poker boom is alive and well in Houston, as legal rooms have opened up all over the city. My personal favorite is Lions Poker Palace, but there are rooms everywhere now. Most have generous tournament schedules, and the most popular structure is the unlimited re-buy tournament, because it helps build the pots. Most allow unlimited rebuys until the break, then an add-on. By using these simple strategies, you can maximize your chances to win.

1) Know the bottomless pits

One strategy in these tournaments is to plan on buying in as many times as you need to. If you employ this strategy, you are playing aggressively and shoving with marginal hands to either double up or take chips. While this can work, more often than not you wind up buying in too many times to get a positive R.O.I. Take some time early in the tournament to see who is doing this, because these are the players you want to target.

2) Employ a 1 plus 1 strategy

In these tournaments, I always plan on adding on, and bring enough for one rebuy. The plan is simple; if you are playing well and get unlucky, (aces cracked by 5-7 offsuit or some such nonsense) you rebuy. If you are short before the break, you shove planning to rebuy. If you get unlucky twice, it's not your night. Go grab a beer at the local bar.

3) Target the bottomless pits

Even though you aren't planning on unlimited rebuys, it does not mean you won't try to stack chips early. Play small ball and try to catch hidden flops, and you can get paid off when the unlimited guys hit top pair. Pick your spots and you can easily build a nice stack heading to the break.

4) Decisions, decisions

If you get close to the end of the re-buy period and you are under the re-buy stack, don't be afraid to shove with marginal hands. If you win, great. If not, rebuy at the break and add on and start over.

5) Everything changes

Hopefully you can build a nice stack picking off the aggressive players. After the break, the game will change. Players who were reckless when they can rebuy will tighten up. Now is the time to turn up the pressure, increase your aggression and go for the win. Remember, because of all the rebuys, there is a lot of dead money in the pool, and you can cash with a minimal investment.

Obviously, you will have to employ solid poker strategies throughout, but if you approach these tournaments with this strategy, you will find yourself pulling a nice R.O.I. more often than not.

Good cards and enjoy the game!

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A WEEKLY REVIEW OF CRENNEL'S COACHING

Now my job: Texans feast on Lions

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Thanksgiving is full of tradition. There's the typical family gathering, large meal, and of course, football. Sometimes, new traditions are added and old ones are retired. I think the Texans did both in their impressive 41-25 win over the Lions in Detroit. Old traditions were carried on (Lions losing on Thanksgiving), some were put to rest (Texans not being able to get turnovers), and new ones were started (multiple passing touchdowns by Deshaun Watson in six straight games).

The fact that this defense got three turnovers in the game was unbelievable! They got all three in the first quarter within the span of eight plays. JJ Watt's pick-six was insane. He went for a batted ball, ended up catching it, and ran it in. They forced Jonathan Williams to fumble on the Lions' very next play from scrimmage and recovered it. On the Lions' next possession, the Texans recovered yet another fumble after the challenge was reversed. Great call by the coaching staff to challenge and win. The defense looked good. Tyrell Adams stood out because he was in on those two fumbles, made 17 total tackles with 14 of them being solo tackles. They also brought pressure that seemed to make Matthew Stafford very inaccurate and resulted in four sacks. I give defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver credit for knowing he needs to blitz to get pressure, but the run defense has to improve.

The offense kept the tempo up in this game as well. The spread and hurry-up were used to keep the Lions already staggered defense off balance. Knowing the Lions were without a couple defensive backs, I thought it would be the perfect marriage of their defense and the Texans' offense. A buddy asked before the game about the line (Texans -3.5) and the over/under (52.5). I told him bet the Texans and the over because neither team can play defense and both have good quarterbacks. Offensive coordinator Tim Kelly put together another good game plan and Watson executed it flawlessly. One route combo I saw later on in the game I particularly enjoyed. Two receivers were tight to the left side. Cooks ran a hook/curl and settled in the middle of the zone while Fuller ran a vertical route. Duke Johnson ran a swing route to that same side. It left Cooks wide open as the attention went to Johnson in the flat, Fuller deep, and the action to the other play side. Route combos are important because it gives the quarterback different reads as he goes through his progressions and lets him pick apart the defense based on what he sees. Combine that with Watson's play and the way Kelly has changed his play calling now that he's liberated from he who shall not be named, we're seeing a beautiful thing.

As good as things were, there's still room for improvement. The defense gives up way too many easy yards, both run and pass. They can't get pressure bringing only four and will often give up big plays if the blitz is picked up. Plus the run defense is still an issue as evidenced by the Lions' first possession of the second half. The Lions ran the ball 10 plays straight for a total of 58 yards on that drive. Utterly ridiculous! Watson was good (17/25 318 yards and four touchdowns), but he missed two more touchdowns with passes slightly off, and continues to hold onto the ball too long at times. The difference between these two issues I've presented here is the fact that Watson has so played well, his "issues" are minor and very correctable, while the defense is terrible and there's no easy fix in sight. But let Romeo Crennel and Anthony Weaver tell it, they're getting the most out of these guys and they're playing disciplined.

The thought that this team may actually creep into the playoff picture may take shape better after next week if they can beat the Colts. I doubt it, but it is getting interesting. Let's see what else happens around them because they need help getting there.

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