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What is a Re-Steal in Tournaments?


What is a Re-Steal?  Poker Tournament Strategy

The trick to winning poker tournaments is to make the most plays in the most profitable situations. One of the most important and common moves for doing this is the re-steal.

The re-steal is common move in cash game and the mid-late stages of tournaments that revolves around positional and circumstantial factors.  A re-steal is when you re-raise someone in a tournament who you thought was stealing.  It plays on gap theory, and is usually performed in the earliest table positions i.e. UTG or EP.  The re-steal gets its name because you are taking back a pot “re-stealing” from someone else.  It’s a a type of semi-bluff and can also be reffered to a 3betting light.

The re-steal requires making a big raise against someone who has previously re-raised the pot.  The best opponents are those who raise pots from LP or the button, which are common stealing positions. The important thing to remember is that the re-steal should only be used when you strongly believe the player you’re re-raising was stealing with a marginal/junkie hand in first place.   If a player has an abnormally large 3bet% from the button or a large RFI% (raised first in%) then that’s your first clue.   Normally a player who re-raises the pot in a tournament or cash game is signalling strength, however because this is a tournament you should always suspect players will be stealing lightly in the mid-late stages.

Conditions for an Effective Re-Steal

The biggest factor for pulling-off a successful re-steal is to know your opponent was stealing in the first place.  A good read on an opponent or knowledge of how he played previous hands is important.  If using tournament indicator, try looking for an RFI% above 30%.  Also, if you recognise a tight table or there are small-stack players on the blinds (below 15BBs) then you should know your opponent will be stealing.

Fold equity is extremely important.  You need to make sure a) the original stealer will not be pot committed if you re-raise him; b) he can’t be small-stacked otherwise he would have gone all-in with a re-raise and he will be forced to call anyway; c) you need to have a tight/respectful table image; and d) you need a good size chipstack (above 25BBs preferably).

Example of Re-Steal:

The small blinds are 1000/2000 with 100 antes on a 10-man table.  It folds round to the button who makes a 3BB raise to 6000.

The pot is now around 10,000.  You then decide to raise to 18,000, making the pot 28,000 requiring 12,000 to call.

The important part: Now you can see where stack sizes come into play.  Your opponent is getting about 2.5:1 odds, which means he will only fold if he has a bad hand or is not already pot-committed.  If he had 20xBBs then it is unlikely he will call with a marginal stealing hand like J8. However, if he has 5-10xBBs, then up to 50% or more of his stack would be in the pot and it would be hard to fold to.

Best Hands for Re-Stealing in Tournaments

You can re-steal with a large range of hands in a tournament – the objective is to not get called.  However you should make sure your hands still have “outs” or potential along the way just in case you are.  Suited connectors, low-mid pocket pairs, Ace hands and face cards are ok.

Conclusion on Re-Stealing

You shouldn’t be afraid or put off by the risks and complexity of re-stealing because it is an extremely common concept in tournaments, and the chances are “if you’re not doing it, the others at your table will be.”

The advantages of re-stealing are also that they give you more respect at the table and players will think twice before stealing in late position with you sat opposite them.

Where to Practice?

You can try re-stealing and get the best practice going by playing 180 or 90 man MTTs at Full Tilt Poker (Best Site for 180 Man MTTs)Go to Full Tilt Poker & Get $600 Bonus!


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