Buying In For The Max

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When to buy in for the maximum in cash games?

Determining how much money to buy into a cash game might be difficult, especially for novice poker players. There are various elements to consider when deciding to buy in for the maximum cash games.

Although there are several benefits for newbies to play with a short stack, skilled and experienced players will also find many advantages in purchasing the maximum amount in cash games.

Edge over your opponents

If you believe you have a skill edge in a cash game and do not want to battle between the blinds and all-in plays, it is highly recommended to buy in for as much as you can afford, which is often 200 times the big blind.

For instance, a table full of recreational players would be suitable to buy in for the maximum amount. Amateurs are prone to making mistakes and there is no better way to capitalize on their errors than having a full stack.

Bankroll size

This is one of the most important factors to consider when deciding how much money to put into a cash game. You must ensure you can afford to lose what you bring to the table.

If you can handle massive swings and reload, or do not mind going down, you should choose a larger buy-in amount. In contrast, if you have limited funds for your highest stake and want to reduce the likelihood of needing to go down and rebuild, you will have to buy in for the lowest amount.

In reality, nothing is more damaging to your bankroll than competing at stakes that are too high for your actual bankroll.

Table dynamics

If you find yourself playing at a table where your opponents are deep stacked, the best option at your disposal is to buy in for the maximum amount. As long as the biggest stack at the table is not absurd, you should purchase chips to equal or cover them.

Extra chips mean you have more options and can play different hands on all streets. Players are less inclined to pile pressure on you if they know you have them covered and you will have increased fold equity.

Time availability

Another aspect is the amount of time you have available to play. If you are just going to play for a short amount of time, then you are probably aiming for a "hit and run" strategy. The minimum buy-in is more suited to that technique.

On the flip side, a full buy-in is better suited to benefiting from a long session of little pots, or patiently waiting for the rare opportunity to get all of your money in the middle when you are the favorite to win.


While buying in for the max is recommended in cash games, you should make that decision based on your skill level, bankroll size, and opponent's strategy.

Overall, however, to be a well-rounded poker player, you need to play well with varying stack sizes.