Tournaments Game Guide

What is a Buy?


ins for Poker Tournaments

A buy-in for a poker tournament directly relates to the size of the prize pool and can range anywhere from $1 to $10,000.

Definition of a Buy-in

A buy-in the amount of money that each player is required to pay to enter a poker tournament that goes directly into the prize pool. This is distinct from the entry fee which is also paid to enter a poker tournament, but does not go towards the prize pool. The entry free is an administrative fee that is used to run the tournament. The buy-in will also buy you a certain amount of chips to be used in the tournament.

For example, if you enter a tournament that is listed as $300 + $50, the $300 is the buy-in amount and it goes directly towards the prize pool, while the $50 is the entry fee paid for administrative costs of running the tournament.

Buy-in Amounts at Poker Tournaments

The amount that a buy-in will be for each poker tournament varies. It depends on how many players are expected to enter, as well as what sort of prize pool they would like to offer. Buy-in amounts typically range from $5 for small house games up to $10,000 for the main event of the World Series of Poker.

If you are hosting a poker tournament, before deciding on the buy-in amount, you should take into account how many players you are able to host the higher the buy-in, the fewer players will enter, the amount of money you are willing to spend or lose and whether you are offering other services such as dedicated dealers or complimentary food, in which case you can add a fee to the buy-in amount (typically 10%).

Receiving Chips for your Buy-in

Paying the buy-in amount for a poker tournament will buy you a certain number of chips in the event. The number of chips that you will receive will be the exact same number of chips that all the other contestants receive as each contestant is required to pay the exact same buy-in amount. Once the tournament has started, players will not be able to exchange chips or buy more chips, unless the tournament allows re-buys. Players are eliminated from the tournament as their chips run out hence the set number of chips that each player receives. The buy-in amount does not necessarily equal the number of chips you receive. For example, a tournament with a $300 buy-in may get you 1,000 chips.

Low buy-in Events

Players who feel they are unable to enter tournaments due to large buy-in amounts, should be able to find low buy-in events. Especially with the increasing popularity of online poker tournaments, there are many different types of tournaments that are available to players now. Low buy-in tournaments require a minimal buy-in amount that generally ranges between $1 and $200, but is generally less than $100. The prize pool for the event depends on the number of players, but a low buy-in event may be hosted by several online casinos, in which case the total number of participants increases greatly and therefore, so does the prize pool.

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