The basic rules at a poker cash game table are pretty straightforward. You can buy in and leave at any time, and there is real money at stake. Players also have to make the mandatory preflop payments, know the betting structure, and observe certain rules when it comes to buying chips.

Certain tournament formats also allow players to purchase a new stack of chips, but the exact rules on rebuy in poker ultimately depend on the type of game you are in. If you’re not familiar with the rebuy concept, the following guide will walk you through some of the basics.

What Is a Rebuy in Poker?

A rebuy, by definition, is the purchase of more chips. You buy the chips you need to stay in the game. Most commonly practiced in cash games, players are allowed to rebuy chips any time between hands.

So, what does rebuy mean in poker tournaments? For starters, rebuys in tournaments are usually not permitted. In addition, purchasing more chips in tournaments generally doesn’t make sense because rebuys don’t do anything to improve a player’s return on investment in the long term. But there are expectations for this rule.

Rebuy in Practice

In cash games, players usually rebuy when their stack of chips begins to dwindle. That said, there are certain restrictions on the amount of chips you can purchase as well as rules that dictate when rebuys are permitted.

Meanwhile, rebuy tournaments allow players to replenish their poker chip stack at specific times and usually after they go broke. This enables competitors to stay in the game and secure a more solid position in the tournament.

Cash Games

If you’re running low on chips in a cash game and you choose to rebuy, you can only do so when you are not in a hand.

When it comes to cash games, the rules commonly include a maximum buy-in. That means that you cannot rebuy over that limit. Also, some games have a table minimum, and you may be required to purchase a certain amount of chips in accordance with those requirements.

Poker Tournaments

Different rebuy tournaments have different rules. Some give players the option to rebuy only once, while others allow you to rebuy multiple times. In many cases, tournaments will allow unlimited poker rebuys.

When a tournament allows rebuys for short stacks, your rebuy will only get you back to your original chip stack. In other words, if you started with £2000 worth of chips and you are below £1000, the rebuy will only allow you to get back to the starting point.

Another key poker rebuy advantage is that it boosts the overall prize pool of the tournament. You may start out with a small prize pool, but as players bust out and rebuy or reenter, the prize pool grows. With every player who rebuys and busts out, the prize gets bigger.

Your budget for a rebuy, re-entry, or an add-on in a poker game determines your strategy. Depending on how often you wish to rebuy, you can play loose or more aggressively, knowing that you can stay or get back in the game.

Rebuy vs. Re-entry vs. Add-on

Although some players tend to confuse rebuy with re-entry, these two terms aren’t the same thing. A rebuy involves buying more chips at the table when your stack dwindles below a certain amount, whereas a re-entry event requires you to go back to the cage and purchase a whole new stack. In other words, you need to make a new buy-in for your poker seat just like any other new player.

An add-on is an option to buy additional chips regardless of the amount that you are holding. Just like a rebuy, this is done at a specific time, such as a break. Add-ons usually have a better value, and if you play your cards right, you may be able to secure both a rebuy and an add-on at the same time.

Add-ons usually generate more chips than rebuys because they are done later in the game when the blinds are high enough and more chips are necessary.


1. What is a rebuy in poker?

A rebuy is an in-game option allowing you to buy more chips to stay in the game when your stack falls below a certain number.

2. Should you rebuy in poker?

When permitted, a rebuy can keep players in the game and give them more breathing room to test out the playing field and get to know the opponents.

3. How many times can you rebuy in poker?

This depends on the cash game or tournament rules. Some allow only one rebuy during a break, while others allow you an unlimited number of rebuys.