Poker is a game for everyone, that can be played by anyone, as long as you have some money to bring to the live or virtual table. That money is called the buy-in, meaning the amount that is needed to enter into a poker tournament or cash game. Learn more about poker buy-ins below, and find out what the biggest buy-ins of all time have been.

As mentioned above, the buy-in is the amount of money needed to get into the poker game, whether that’s your local home game, or the biggest stage in poker. At the World Series of Poker specifically, the buy-ins have a wide range. This year, the lowest buy-in live event is $300, while the biggest buy-in is $250,000. All of the buy-ins are combined to create the overall prize pool, the money that will be up for grabs, and handed out to the final 10-12% of finishers usually.

What a $1 million buy-in looks like

In cash games, the buy-in refers to how much money the player puts up to enter the game. Unlike multi-table tournaments, players can buy in for different amounts of money at the table. In terms of a $1-$3 game, some players will buy in for $100, while others could buy in for $300 to start with 100 big blinds. Of course, if you are playing online on sites like GGPoker, Pokerstars, and 888Poker, you will find stakes and buy-ins much lower, as low as $0.1/$0.2.

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Many casinos will have a cap on the amount of money you can buy in for, but not always. Recently at Hustler Casino, they ran three days of historic streams, where the minimum buy-in was a cool $1,000,000. One player at the stream bought in for a whopping $3,000,000.

Какой вид покера предпочитаешь?

Knowing your limits is absolutely paramount for anyone who wants to play poker professionally, or even semi-professionally. Living above your means can come back to haunt you in real life, and the same can be said for playing poker. While there is not an overall consensus standard, many will say that in order to play comfortably, you should try to have 100 buy-ins in your bankroll for whatever stakes you want to play. Meaning if you want to consistently play $10,000 buy-in events, you should want to have close to $1,000,000 in your poker bankroll. Of course, not everyone abides by the terms of this system, but in general, it’s a good way to ensure that you won’t go completely broke playing poker.

Not all players are well-funded enough to play five figure buy-in events of course, but the same standard can be applied for the lowest of buy-ins. Daily tournaments in certain casinos can be as low as $30 potentially, and those who don’t want to worry about losing big money on buy-ins can of course find freerolls online on all different kinds of sites.

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When the World Seris of Poker started, the biggest buy-in event was the $10,000 buy-in Main Event. This was the case for years, until some bracelet events started to offer $25,000 and $50,000 buy-ins, specifically the Players Championship, which was first won by Chip Reese. However, there have been much bigger buy-ins events for the World Poker Tour, Triton Poker Series, and in various PokerGO series. The World Poker Tour launched a short lived Alpha 8 Tour, where all tournament stops had a six figure buy-in, $100,000.

Antonio Esfandari After Winning the One Drop

The only other seven-figure buy-in event held outside the WSOP was the Triton Million for Charity Event in 2019, which was chopped heads up by Aaron Zang and Bryn Kenney. However, the most famous massive buy-in poker tournaments ever have been the Big Ones for One Drop. All of them have had a seven-figure buy-in and produced the top first-place prize in poker history. Four of them have been run before, won by some of poker's biggest names.

Buy-inNumber of PlayersWinnerPrize Money
£1,050,00054Aaron Zang$16,775,820
$1,000,00048Antonio Esfandiari$18,346,673
$1,000,00042Daniel Colman$15,306,668
€1,000,00028Elton Tsang$12,248,912
$1,000,00027Justin Bonomo$10,000,000

PokerGO has also run a handful of Super High Roller Bowls, with a massive buy-in of $300,000. There have been 15 total Super High Roller Bowls run throughout the world, with first-place prizes ranging from nearly $1,500,000 to $7,525,000. The latter was the first one ever ran, which was won by Brian Rast. Other winners of these events include the aforementioned Justin Bonomo, Christoph Vogelsang, Isaac Haxton, and most recently in 2022, none other than Daniel Negreanu. The Canadian poker legend bested a field of 24 players to win over $3.3 million.

As you can tell by now, the bigger the buy-in, the bigger the prize, so check out more of our content here to improve your game, and maybe one day you will be sitting at the table with these champions.