If you're not sure what re-buys are, here's some background: In today's event, players began with $1,000 in tournament chips, but unlike any other tournament, they could replenish their chip stack anytime it fell below that thousand-dollar opening stake by simply paying more money to the casino. New chips were available for $1,000 a pop, meaning if a player had the bankroll, he could play pretty much fearlessly.
The catch is that in this tournament, the re-buy period ended after two levels, meaning that players had to act quickly, playing ultra-loose and ultra-aggressive if they wanted to take advantage. Many big-name professional players came into the event willing to pay any price to build their chip stack, leading to many incredible hands. Here are a few tales from the gold rush:
Victor Ramdin and Feming Chan share a table and go all-in with each other, both holding over $10,000 in chips. Ramdin wins and takes the chip lead for his own. He doubled up at Chan's expense at least four times in the first two levels of play, and by the end of the re-buy period, he held a dominant lead over the rest of the field. His $23,000 in chips put him $14,000 ahead of the second-place Negreanu.
And the end result of this feeding frenzy? As I write this blog, Victor Ramdin has seen his chip lead narrowed to $11,500, but he still hasn't been caught. Daniel Negreanu sits in 13th, and Michael Mizrachi has busted, taking with him no payout to show for his $23,000 effort.
Those who didn't engage in the run-and-gun style of play include Howard Lederer, who has busted, and Kathy Liebert, who sits in sixth. What tomorrow will bring is anyone's guess, and whether Victor Ramdin will be able to hold the lead his aggressive play built for him is unclear, but the first eight hours of this event have been his and his alone. He should cash easily, as should Negreanu.
All in all, it's safe to say that those considering entering a re-buy-enabled tournament would be best advised to bring plenty of backup cash and plenty of intestinal fortitude.