Breaking Down the Rejam | Poker Podcast #116

I discuss the rejam in poker tourneys (MTT or SNG): 3bet re-shoving as a bluff to pickup valuable bets, blinds and antes when you’re short-stacked.

What is the Rejam?

The Rejam is a 3bet bluff shove over a pre-flop raiser with the intention of stealing his open, the blinds and antes.  This is an aggressive way to pick-up chips when you need them most because it’s normally done in MTT’s and SNG’s when stacks are typically around 15 to 25bb’s.

Example: you’re at 15bb’s, a timely 3bet rejam would add 5bb’s or 33% to your stack. And, if there’s an opener and a caller who are both capable (and likely) to fold, you’re looking at adding 7.5bb’s, which is 50% of your current 15bb stack.

The key part of rejamming is you’re doing it as a 3bet bluff.

Bluff 3bets

Quick question: What’s the goal of a bluff?  It’s to get your opp’s to fold better hands and win the pot outright then and there.

With that idea in mind, when you’re making your rejam, you want to be relatively sure your opponents will fold and award you the pot.  If there’s a good chance one or more will call, then it’s not an ideal rejam spot, and a different play may be called for.

The Perfect Rejamming Spot

Great opportunity: Near the money bubble and effective stacks are somewhere south of 25bb’s.  Our opponent opened the pot to 2.5bb’s from the CO.  He’s a loose-aggressive 28/22 player with an ATS at 45%.  His Fold to 3bet is at 75% over 8 samples.  We’re on the BTN, next to act after his open, and we look down to see A5s.  The blinds are both relatively nitty players and we only expect to see them give our 3bet bluff shove any kind of action with QQ+.

Breaking it down:

  • We’re near the bubble so most people are less willing to gamble for fear of busting out early.
  • We’re facing an open from a guy who steals a lot so he’s on a wide range that can’t defend well vs a 3bet shove.
  • The players in the blinds are nitty so we can expect folds from both.
  • Our hand has a very nice Ace blocker in it, and due to its suitedness and connectivity, it’s still got decent equity vs anyone who might call.

When should we consider rejamming?

When all the factors line up, it’s a great spot to rejam.  If one of the factors was off, like maybe the opener is a nit, or it was an UTG open, or the players in the blinds both had 50bb stacks and were calling stations, those might sway our decision.

When your stack is still healthy like this, and I consider 18bb’s to definitely be healthy near the bubble, you shouldn’t be taking chances with unprofitable rejam spots.  With a healthy stack like this, you want to take the low hanging fruit, the easy pickins, the best, most profitable rejams.  You’ve got the chips to hang on a bit longer and glide into the money or into a higher payout if you’re already in the money.

As your stack starts to dwindle, getting down to 15 then 10 then 8bb’s, you should be more inclined to rejam with each lost bb.

There are three major considerations for rejams: the opponents, the positions and your hand.

1. Consider the Opponents

Type

You’ll want to consider the type of player the open raiser is and how you think he’ll react to your 3bet shove.  High aggression levels in general make for pretty good targets b/c they’re opening frequently and therefor lightly, so look for these players.

You’ll want to consider the players yet to act in the same way.  How will they react to your 3bet shove?  Likely folds, great!  Likely callers, watch out.

Stats

For the players involved, there are some good HUD stats for you to utilize when thinking about how they’ll react to your rejam:

  • VPIP and PFR – high aggression is a likely target. So look for LAG’s and TAG’s who are likely opening wide.  Also, the wider the gap between VPIP and PFR the more likely they’ll call your 3bet shove.
  • Raise First In – especially by position over a good sample, this stat will tell you how often they open in the CO, BTN or any other position. The higher the better for rejamming over.
  • Fold to 3bet – of course, we love seeing a high fold to 3bet. This normally corresponds to higher levels of aggression as the wider they open, the less likely they have something to defend vs the 3bet.
  • Cold Call 3bet – this can be a helpful stat for determining how likely those still to act will cold call, as well as the original raiser’s view of 3bets. High cold call numbers should help to dissuade you from rejamming.

Stacks

Of course stacks are super important.  If the open raiser has a monster stack, don’t expect folds that often.  Same for those yet to act.  Conversely, super short stacks like sub 10bb’s are more likely to call as they may feel the need to gamble and double-up with anything playable.  Try to target mid-stacks that will be KO’d or really hurt by doubling you up.

2. Consider the Positions

Players – you want to think about the opener and yourself.  If the opener is UTG, then most likely he’s on a tighter range.  But if it’s the CO or the BTN, then they’re more likely to be stealing with a wider range.  Couple their position with their player type to get an idea of the opening range.  The bigger the gap between their opening range and their 3bet continuation range, the more likely they’ll be folding.

Your position is important because the earlier you are, the more players your 3bet has to get thru.  On the BTN you’ve only got the blinds and the original raiser to worry about.  But from UTG+2, you’ve got 7 players to worry about: MP, MP2, CO, BTN, SB, BB and the opener.  Your 3bet bluffs have a better chance of working in later position.

Tourney Situation – pre-ante you should be rejamming tighter because people are opening tighter as there’s not enough in the pot yet to fight over.  Near the bubble people are scared of busting and will fold more readily.  And in the money, people are often content with walking away with cash, so they’ll call you more readily again.  Just be sure to couple the tourney situation with the players to think about how their decisions will be affected.

3. Consider Your Hand

There are plenty of spots where you’ll find everything else lines up for the perfect rejam spot, but you’re dealt 32o.  If it’s perfect, it could be ATC perfect, so you can rejam with the 32o, the J4o, the 66 or the A8s.  Perfect is perfect, and if you expect them to fold often enough you can do it with ATC.

But, we also don’t want to abuse our rejamming powers because players will get tired of it and eventually look us up with an Ace or small-medium pp or KQ.  It’s best if we have some equity when called.  Suited connectors have great post-flop playability, as well as suited Aces and Kings, strong broadway hands and pp’s.

Blockers – Some great hands to include in your 3bet rejam range are Ace and King blocking hands.  The fact that you have an Ace or a King makes it a bit less likely that your opponents will have a hand worthy of calling your 3bet.

Break-even Math

We can’t talk about the profitability of rejamming without covering the math involved.  Let’s look at the break-even %, which tells you how often your bet needs to result in folds for it to b/e in profitability.  The b/e % is the amount of your bet divided by the total pot including your bet.  So looking at that 15bb shove example from earlier, you’re risking 15bb’s to win 5bb’s which includes the open raise, the blinds and antes.  So, 15 / 20 = 75%, so you need everyone to fold 75% to make this a b/e play.  If you think the opener is raising a wide range, but will only continue with QQ+ and AK, then he’s likely folding more than 75%.  And if you think the blinds are folding all but KK+, then it’s a profitable rejam at this sizing.

How do we study our rejamming opportunities?

For all the aspects of rejamming mentioned above, studying the following topics will really benefit your understanding of and the ability to spot great rejamming opportunities.

Player types and characteristics – I recommend you checkout podcast #289 where I dive into player types and give you a Poker Player Types PDF for quick reference on characteristics and ways to exploit them.  You also need to practice using the key stats I discussed to gain a deeper understanding of your opp’s.

Position – There’s a simple but great article on position I found at pokerlistings.com.  http://www.pokerlistings.com/strategy/how-not-to-suck-at-poker-play-in-position

Post-flop playability – read that article on post-flop playability at www.smartpokerstudy.com/pfplayability.  You can also use Flopzilla like I did to find out how often each hand hits flops on your own.  Actually, I suggest doing this on your own over going and reading the article.  You’ll learn more from doing this work on your own than reading what I say about it.

And on top of studying each of those topics, you should do hand history reviews.  You can do this for both online and LIVE hands played.

Online

It’s much easier reviewing online hands b/c of programs like PT4 that record every detail.  To filter for rejamming opportunities in MTT’s, here are the filters you’d use:

  • Set the “Effective Stack Size” under the “Pot size and stack depth- preflop” submenu for 15-25bb’s
  • Under “Actions and Opportunities” turn on “3bet (facing 2bet)” under “Reraise Opportunity”
  • This will show you all hands where you had the opp to 3bet, whether you did it or not.

LIVE

For LIVE hands, you just need to be very diligent and detailed in the notes you take.  Stack sizes, positions, hole cards, reads on opp’s and the stage of the tourney are all key things to record so you can “replay” the hand accurately after the tourney.

So, whether LIVE or online, once you have your hands to review, you need to think about the players involved, your position, the hand strength, and the break-even math and/or the EV and to determine if it’s truly a good spot to rejam profitably.  Use programs like Flopzilla to really nail down the opp’s opening and continuation ranges, and how well your actual hand would fare vs their continuation range.

Challenge

Here’s my challenge to you for this episode:  I want you to develop your rejamming skills.  At the beginning of your next tournament and everyone after that, be on the lookout for rejamming opportunities at 15-25bb effective stacks.  The more you actively try to search these out, the more you’ll find.  But I want you to make sure you’re picking the best spots, the low hanging fruit where all the factors align to make it a perfect rejamming spot.  The more you work on it, the sooner it will become an integral part of your MTT arsenal, so get to it!  And let me know how it goes, yo!

Now it’s your turn to take action and do something positive for your poker game.

Up Next…

In podcast #117, I’ll discuss something that will benefit every listener no matter what game or stakes you play… Hand Reading.

Until next time, study smart, play much and make your next session the best one yet.

Sky Matsuhashi