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Tournament Weapons - The Re-Steal

Tournament Weapons - The Re-Steal

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Tournament poker, especially during its later stages, is a true dog-eat-dog experience. Back in the days, those armed with solid basics and a little bit of luck tossed in for seasoning, could make deep runs in MTTs and pile on SNG wins without problems. As basic poker knowledge becomes more and more common though, the basics alone will no longer cut it. In fact it’ll be a bit like bringing a knife to a gun-fight. The re-steal is a potent tournament weapon that allows players to turn their opponents’ aggression right back at them.

Nowadays, everyone is so into position and aggression that one is guaranteed to find a high number of players raising from late position pretty much all the time. It does indeed make perfect sense for these players to abuse the power of the late position raise. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to tell that when a hand gets folded around to the cut-off/button, one can raise profitably with a large range of hands. These guys though are simply begging for the re-steal to be used against them. Since their raising range is large, they’re generally quite vulnerable to light three-betting as well as to the re-steal.


Where exactly is the re-steal used most efficiently? As a general rule, the larger the blinds are, the more lucrative it is to re-steal. That pinpoints the late stages of MTTs and SNGs as the ideal spot to employ the re-steal.

By definition, the re-steal is best used from one of the early positions or one of the blinds. It is a move which is quite efficient in defending the blinds, since the light raisers are usually the players sitting in late position.

Since most of the players looking to take advantage of their late position are decent players, the re-steal is best used against them. Such players are also more likely to let go of a marginal hand when re-raised.

The objective of the re-steal is pretty clear: the player using the move is looking to force a fold, there are no two ways about it: it is a bluff, but because of the circumstances under which it is applied, it is a bluff carrying a higher-than-usual likelihood of success. This is what sets it apart from three-betting, which is basically a move aimed at value.


The factors that contribute to the success of the re-steal are numerous and multi-faceted. Players must consider the target’s playing style, their own table image, their pocket cards, their position and of course it doesn’t hurt if they have a plan B to fall back to in case they get called.

As a basic starting point, one should look for decent-to-good players to target for the re-steal. Those who apply a winning approach will always take advantage of their position through steal attempts.

As far as the re-stealer’s table image is concerned: he has to sell the bluff the best possible way. Just like with any bluff, he needs to build up his image and his re-steal attempt in a credible way.

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