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The buy in is the amount of money that a player commits to playing with in a game of poker, either at an online or physical casino. Many times the buy in will be listed with a minimum and maximum amount so a player can easily see if the game is suited to their budget.
When a player joins a poker table they will be informed of the minimum buy in, but usually a higher amount will be played to cover all eventualities. The exact amounts of the buy in will differ depending where the game is and what style of game is played.
As well as being the only casino game where the bettor is not playing against the house, buy in limits also mean that poker can sometimes be the most cost-efficient game to play as the players are theoretically more in control of what is going on.
Sometimes if the poker game is part of a wider tournament the buy in amount will consist of the amount going to the prize pool as well as the amount going to the organisers of the game. For example, a £250 buy in would be made up of £200 towards the pot and £50 towards the casino for hosting the event.
The World Series of Poker has featured some of the biggest ever prize pools and first prize amounts. This obviously means that the Main Events will have the biggest buy in amounts as well. But the biggest prize pool outside the Main Event was for The Big One for One Drop held in 2012 that had a US$1 million buy in – with $111,111 used as a charitable donation.