Rebuys & Ad-Ons


Once the tournament is up and running, some players will inevitably start losing chips to other players. One way to capture more donations from participants is to offer them a “rebuy” – the chance to buy themselves more chips before a certain point is reached in the tournament.

For example, if I’m a player and I lose all my chips in the first 15 minutes of the tournament and therefore get knocked out, paying for a rebuy would allow me to re-join the tournament. Depending on the length of the overall tournament, rebuys might be allowed only during the first hour for tournaments that are 4 hours or longer, or for a length of time less than 60 minutes for shorter tournaments.


Limited vs Unlimited Rebuys

The first thing to consider when it comes to rebuys is the idea of how many times will you allow someone to rebuy. Some poker purists might say that you should only allow someone to rebuy just once. If this is the case though, you might be leaving lots of money on the table, so to speak.

A more lucrative option might be what’s called unlimited rebuys. In the case of unlimited rebuys, if I’m a player who keeps losing all his chips and getting knocked out of the tournament, you might want to let me buy myself back in as many times as I’m willing to pay for a rebuy (within the allotted rebuy period of time). Limiting me to just one rebuy would limit the amount of donations your organization could collect from me.



Typically once the rebuy period has ended, the Tournament Director will announce that players have a very quick break from play while they are offered the opportunity to purchase an “add-on” – an extra amount of chips for a donation to your organization. Those players who are still left in the tournament at this point then can increase their stack of chips by giving you a donation. Keep in mind that this add-on is strictly a one-time offer at this point only. After these add-ons are purchased and play then continues, no further rebuys or add-ons are allowed.

For the add-on, you typically you might ask for the same dollar amount as a donation that you charged players for a seat in the poker tournament, although you can also adjust this pricing at your discretion. Also, most common would be to offer either the same amount of chips that players started the tournament with as an add-on, or even to offer more. For example, if guests started the tournament with $2,000 in chips, their one-time add-on offer after the rebuy period expires might be that they would receive $2,000 in chips for another donation of $50. Alternatively, you could make it even more enticing for players to purchase an add-on by giving them even more chips than they received at the start of the tournament.

For example, you could give them $3,000 in chips as an add-on, even though everyone began with just $2,000 in starting chips. Sometimes it can help your bottom line to make it the add-on such a good deal that no one wants to pass it up. The key is to strike a balance between collecting as much in donations for your organization as possible while keeping the structure of the tournament reasonable and not upsetting too many of the poker purists and aficionados in the crowd.

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