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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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