What Is A Buy-In In Poker?
The buy-in represents the amount of money that a poker player needs to pay to join a cash game or a tournament.
Each of these poker formats has its own rules when it comes to the conditions and the size of the buy-in.
Live and online cash games usually have limits that dictate the minimum and maximum amount of money you can pay to join the game. The minimum and maximum amounts are expressed in the number of big blinds and depend on the stakes.
Usually, the minimum buy-ins range from 20 big blinds to 40 big blinds, and the maximum buy-in is 100 big blinds for normal games and up to 250 big blinds for deep stack cash games.
It is important to note that in cash games, players receive the counter value of their buy-in in chips which means that each chip, depending on its domination, is worth a certain amount of real money.
When it comes to tournaments, buy-ins are expressed as a fixed amount that players have to pay if they want to play in the event.
Poker tournament buy-ins consist of two amounts: one indicates how much money is going towards the prize pool and the other indicates the tournament fee or rake the host is charging for organizing the event.
In tournaments, each participant pays the same buy-in amount and receives the same amount of chips. Unlike cash game chips, tournament chips do not have monetary value and can’t be exchanged for cash. Instead, they are just used to keep the tournament score.
Poker Buy-In Example for Cash Games:
Let’s say you want to join an online $0.5/$1 No Limi Hold’em cash game. On most online poker sites, the minimum amount you need to have in your account to join this game is $20, and the maximum amount you will be allowed to buy is $100. You can pick how much you want to bring to the table between these two amounts and sit down to play.
Poker Buy-In Example for Tournaments:
Imagine that you want to buy-in into a $110 online poker tournament. This buy-in amount on most sites means that $100 is going to the prize pool, and $10 is the tournament rake. It is often even expressed as $100+$10 to make it clear.
To participate in this tournament, you have to pay a $110 starting fee, and you will receive a predetermined amount of chips, for example, 1500 tournament chips.