What is a ‘Re-buy’?
A re-buy in poker is when you have lost all of your chips, or almost all of them (sometimes known as a ‘short stack’), and buy more. Different variations of the game – tournaments and cash games – often have different rules and procedures for re-buys.
The ‘Re-buy’ Explained
During cash games, if you lose most of your stack of chips – or even all of it – you can choose to rebuy more chips so that you can keep playing. Usually, in cash games, you are only able to rebuy if you are not ‘in hand’.
Should you find yourself running short on chips, and are then dealt a pair of aces, you won’t be able to rebuy even if you are not able to make the maximum bet you wish to lay.
In cash games, players often agree on rules which include a maximum buy-in, meaning that you are not able to go over that limit. You may also find that there is a minimum buy-in at the table and your rebuy will have to be at least that amount to be valid.
Poker tournaments, by contrast, usually have different rules. For example, you are customarily only allowed to re-buy when your chip stack falls below a specific number; generally, a limit is placed on the number of re-buys allowed during each game.
Where tournaments do allow re-buys, convention in tournaments often only permits re-buys up to your original stack level. Re-buys are also often time-limited, such as being prohibited before the first break in the competition.
One side-effect of re-buys during tournaments, as well as allowing players to remain in the game, is that they do increase the size of the prize pot by leveraging the expanded number of players who can stay in the match.