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At a casino gambling table, to buy-in means to convert cash into chips, but what about its antonym, what's the word for to convert/exchage playing chips to/for chips that could be exchanged to cash at the cashier? Is it cashout?

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"Buy in" means to use either cash or chips to bet at a casino game, not to convert cash to chips. To convert chips to cash is indeed to "cash out" (two words) – Jeremy Jun 28 '13 at 15:35
@Jeremy Interesting. I've always understood buy-in to mean converting cash into playing chips, at least that's what the term they use for poker since I play poker. This website defines it this way as well. – Theo Jun 28 '13 at 15:51
It's an interesting question, for sure. In my mind, just getting chips shouldn't be considered buying in, as chips can be converted to cash at no cost... you haven't "bought in" to anything. Edit: That site is likely referring to putting money down at a table, where they give you chips. You COULD walk away, but usually you intend to bet those chips, so you're "buying in" – Jeremy Jun 28 '13 at 16:41
@Jeremy but you can't really bet any chips without converting the cash into betting chips first, at least most casinos won't allow you to bet on a table with purely cash. So I guess the idea of conversion in this term is implied. I mean why would you convert the cash into chips without the intent of playing on the table? I wonder if there's a separate term that solely means to convert cash into playing chips only but without the intent of using them on the table. – Theo Jun 28 '13 at 17:10
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Literally, cash out is used when you exchange your chips for cash with a cashier. By extension, it is often used to indicate that the speaker is ceasing an activity and collecting whatever compensation or reward is due from it. If a poker player walks away from the table with her winnings in hand with no intention of returning in the near term, therefore, it could be called "cashing out" even if she will not be immediately exchanging chips for cash.

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That's a good one, @phenry, but what about the figurative "buy-in" where people in a project consent to a particular course of action? Where they, having once given their buy-in, now withdraw it? – Cyberherbalist Jun 28 '13 at 16:02
I'm not exactly a professional gambler, but Cash me in sounds just as likely as Cash me out when you're leaving. After all, Google Books has almost 6000 instances of cash in my chips, but only 8 instances of cash out my chips. And I imagine nearly all of them refer to changing chips into money (either figuratively or literally). – FumbleFingers Jun 29 '13 at 0:05

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