Rebuy vs Freezeout

Poker MoneyThere are a few different types of poker tournament available to play, and over the years more creative formats keep appearing particularly at online poker sites.

However the basic two formats of poker tournament that you will come across are Freezeout Tournaments and Rebuy Tournaments.

Freezeout Tournaments are fairly straightforward, you pay your buy in to enter the tournament which is a fixed amount and are given a stack of chips to start the tournament with. If you lose all your chips then you are eliminated from the tournament.

Rebuy Tournaments are different in that they have a period of time at the start of the tournament (usually 1 hour) where players are allowed to rebuy if they lose all their chips. When they rebuy they get another set of starting chips. After the rebuy period has ended then the tournament reverts to a freezeout format.

What are the differences between playing a Freezeout or a Rebuy tournament?

In a rebuy tournament event the first hour (usually) is made up of “rebuys” whereby if your chipstack drops below the original starting amount then you can rebuy chips by paying the tournament buy in again.

This leads to two different knock on effects:

  1. Rebuy events will have a much larger prize pool per count of starting players than a freezeout due to all the additional rebuys (effectively just additional buy ins).
  2. If you are one of the blinds on the first hand then your workable stack has dropped below the starting stack amount and so you are entitled to rebuy immediately on the first hand. Doubling your stack straight away. This gives you no significant advantage other than a psychological one when playing a pot, buts its useful to illustrate that you are permitted to rebuy as soon as your stack drops below the number of chips you started the tournament with.
  3. Lastly and more importantly, if you bust out of the tournament you can rebuy in to it.

It’s this third aspect that is misunderstood and misused by many rebuy players.

The fact that you can rebuy into the tournament for the first hour means that in the lower stakes tournaments there is a lot of crazy stuff going on! Because people know they can rebuy they tend to shove and call all ins with abandon leading to a lot of very mad play.

A lot of players play rebuy tournaments in a completely different way, with the aim of building up a big stack early on ready for when the rebuy period ends and the freezeout format starts. this means that they just go all in and throw chips about with speculative hands hoping to double up, if it fails they just rebuy and try again.

Bankroll Management

Where the misunderstanding of a rebuy event lies is in respect to bankroll management.

If you are playing a rebuy event then it stands to reason that you must be prepared to rebuy. A general rule of thumb for rebuys is around five so if you are playing a $3 rebuy event then you should be prepared to invest around $15 if you keep busting out early.

A freezeout tournament means that once you have lost your chips it’s game over. A freezeout tournament is just what it says – once you have lost all your chips you are frozen out.

For a freezeout you can only buy into the tournament once. So if you are playing a $3 freezeout $3 is the most you stand to lose if you bust out early.

So which Tournament format should I play?

Rebuy tournaments really are a different kettle of fish and the tournament strategy that I am going to be teaching you in this guide will be for Freezeout format tournaments. I would suggest that you forget about other formats of tournaments until you have mastered the freezeout.

Actually most big poker tournaments both online and offline are freezeout formats so this really is the most important to master. Once you are comfortable then you can always learn a different format later on, as long as you recognise that you will need to adapt your strategy significantly.

Poker Finder Mascot
  • Trust & Security

    I'll only recommend Safe & Trusted sites with a proven track record

  • By Game Type

    Different rooms are better for different game types & stakes

  • Beginner Friendly

    I'll find you a site with players of a similar skill level

  • Promotions

    I'll find you the best value Promotions, Bonus & Freebies!