A nice problem to have, but... (1 Viewer)

TheYeti

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I host a once-monthly .25/.50 NLHE game and I've been building my player pool exponentially over the last couple years. I've hosted at my house off and on for close to 20 years, but this new iteration really came into it's own post-Covid.

The current player pool consists of 10 "regulars", 7-8 "sometime-ers" and I've just acquired 2 new players in the last week(!). Since I only have a single table, obviously I'm not going to be able to accommodate everybody at every game.

All of my regulars are extremely regular. For the last 10-11 months, within an hour of posting, all 10 seats are filled! I know, I know...it's a nice problem to have, but I'd like to give the other players on the list a fair chance at getting a seat without pissing off any of the regulars. I worry that if the sometime-ers and new players don't get to play at least semi-often, they will leave the pool. I don't want to be back where I was 4 years ago when I could barely get 5-6 players together every 3-4 months.

I currently send out a blanket invite to everyone in the group that is "first to respond, first seated", but sometimes that results in one of my regulars not getting a seat so I'm considering breaking out the invite list into 3 separate lists; Regulars, Sometime-ers, Very Rarely-ers.

My first thought is to limit the invites to the regulars to 8 per game, leaving me 1 invite for the sometime-ers and 1 for the noobs (aka have never played). Maybe I'm overthinking this whole thing?
 
I have a similar situation. I have an 8 seat table, 8 regulars, a few that really like to play, and a few that are spares, and only get to play if there is some regs missing. The spares know exactly how it works, and are OK with it. Most of the spares and extras play at other home games, so they get lots of play action.
All my regulars are retired, so we play weekday afternoon games, where most will play, but I have 2 spares that can fill in if needed as they work part time.
I have 2 that still work, so that takes them out of the afternoon games. I try to have at least 1 night game per month where the workers can play. Since I know everyone's schedule, If I want to give the sometimers a game, I can schedule the game when I know that a few of my regs will not be able to play..
It's still a juggling act, but it can be made to work.

To add to this, my first email or texts are to my regulars and ask them to let me know in a few days, and if they don't respond, I go to my spare list. I typically give the guys 5 days notice of any upcoming game.
 
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Could you squeeze in a second game per month and have that be 50/50 no-regulars and regulars? Maybe shorter session, or add in Pineapple or Omaha which may thin the herd slightly leaving just enough for a full table amongst the regulars and non-regulars?
 
I had that "problem". I made a topper (they weren't readily available 10 years ago) to cover my dining table. When that table became regularly full I built a second table. Then a 3rd. I have used a topper on my dining table a couple of times now, and have taken most of the "permanent maybes" off the invite list.

Hosting 3-4 tables is exponentially harder though, so proceed at your own risk.
 
You can’t get another table and split the players evenly?

I really don't have the room for a second table, but @Poker Zombie might be on to something with the dining table topper.

If this route, do you have another player you trust 100% to run the second table and handle rebuys etc.?

I do. As a matter of fact, I consider him my co-host and he almost always takes care of all banking duties because I may or may not have drank a bit too much by the end of the night. :wtf:

Just friend a local chipper , they will probably want to bring a guest set and bank the 2nd table.

Unfortunately, I live in a area pretty much devoid of PCF'ers. :(

I have two lists. My regulars list, my backups list. Regulars put the most into the game. If they contribute, they go on the main list.

What exactly do you mean by "contribute"?

I had that "problem". I made a topper (they weren't readily available 10 years ago) to cover my dining table. When that table became regularly full I built a second table. Then a 3rd. I have used a topper on my dining table a couple of times now, and have taken most of the "permanent maybes" off the invite list.

Hosting 3-4 tables is exponentially harder though, so proceed at your own risk.

I do have a dining table that sits vacant on poker nights. However, I would need more chips, I only have starting stacks for 12. I know, I know...I'm a sorry excuse for a PCF'er. lol

I think on a good night I might get 12-13 players, that means both tables would be a little short-handed until we could combine to 1 table (usually around 11pm-12am, we usually quit at 1am). Not sure if it would be worth the hassle of managing 2 tables. :unsure:

1) Expand ro a second table
2) Host twice a month
3) Convince someone else to host once a month

1) Possibly!
2) The wife is against it, but I can be very convincing!
3) One of my players is trying to host his own game more often (same stakes as mine) and invites from the same list as me, but for some reason can't seem to get more than 5-6 players. He's only had 2 games so far and I haven't played at his place yet. I know he has decent chips since I sold him mine, he has a decent folding table and knows the rules well, he's been hosting (off and on) and playing for 20+ years.
 
What exactly do you mean by "contribute"?
My games been going on for 22 years, so it's become more than just a random game. I don't ask for a single thing or rake, so I now have players who bring sodas for the group, or have donated Pool lamps and brought TVs and mounts to add to a wall. They will order pizzas for the group before a game just to have a nicer night. These are expenses I can't cover weekly. They have invested into the game without being asked. The ones who invest get the returns.
 
The current player pool consists of 10 "regulars", 7-8 "sometime-ers" and I've just acquired 2 new players in the last week(!). Since I only have a single table, obviously I'm not going to be able to accommodate everybody at every game.
What you have to decide is how big you want the game to get. It is similar to a business in the sense that demand has exceeded supply... so you can either expand your hosting to meet the demand or keep things as is and they will have to look elsewhere for a game.

You can absolutely keep things as is... you're not obligated to grow your game to accommodate new players. But it would be a mistake to deliberately exclude the regulars in favor of new blood. They're the reason you have a game at all.

The risk you run is that if you lose too many regs all at once, the game will die. A quick example... there was a famously long-running private game here in GR that was held in the club room of a local country club... i.e. a rather exclusive location.

The game was well known but was occupied mostly by members of the club and open seats were rare and coveted. Well Covid happened. Then within a couple months time 2 members passed away and another 2 moved to FL full time. All of a sudden they couldn't get a game together and it ended up dying. Around that time, I started my own mixed rotational game and scooped up the remaining regs. The game at the country club died a tragic death because several players left the group all within a short period of time.
 
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What you have to decide is how big you want the game to get. It is similar to a business in the sense that demand has exceeded supply... so you can either expand your hosting to meet the demand or keep things as is and they will have to look elsewhere for a game.

This is a great analogy! I don't really think I'm willing to expand, even with 10 players it can get pretty chaotic and feel like herding cats sometimes. :ROFL: :ROFLMAO:

If I keep it at one table, which is probably the way I will go, I'm mostly worried about how to handle the invites. Should I;

a) Keep it the way it is, mass invite* - first to respond is first seated, or
b) Send invites to regs first, everyone else second (even though the table will most likely fill up with regs 95% of the time

*I use a Facebook group for creating the events (games) and for sending out the invites. I also have a Facebook Messenger group chat that includes every member of the group (currently 25) and I send reminders there as well. However, I have one reg that is older and not great with tech, he will sometimes miss the invite for 12-24 hours, putting his seat at risk. I also have one player who refuses to get Facebook so I have to remember to text him (which is kind of a pain).
 
I run a similar game once a month, but it has only been runny for about 2 years. We play upstairs on a Barrington table and I have a topper for the kitchen table if we get above 10 players. Congratulations on having a growing game! Work on selling it to the wife and expanding your chip set.
 
I am in the exact same situation:
- A single 10-seat table
- Once a month game
- 8 regulars, 4 sometime-ers, 4 randos hit-or-miss n00bs

We have a private slack channel where the 8 regulars are invited first. If all 8 take their spots, then I reach out to a rotating list of sometime-ers. If those can't fill it, then I go the n00bs. If any of the regulars cannot make it, then there are most spots open for the sometimers.

It's the best/fairest way I can come up with. If a sometimer is at the top of the list but cannot make it, they do not go back down to the bottom. They retain their top spot for the next month. After 2 consecutive asks, if they cannot make either, they drop to #2, and then to #3 after another month and finally they get bumped off the sometimer list and moved to the rando hit-or-miss list.

What differentiates a sometimer from a rando/n00b are things like:
- how late they stay; if they bust and leave after $20, they are not promoted to the sometimer list.
- how well they jive with the group
- are any close friends/family in the game
 
If expansion is off the table, I would invite the regulars, but give them a deadline of when you need a reply. Be transparent. Let them know that you have others waiting, so any "maybes" may lose their seat in a reply is not made by X date.

Make sure if going this route you are giving ample time for your B-listers to respond. If your game is on Friday, don't extend the invite to the B-list on Thursday. You want your B-listers to feel important, not an afterthought.

Finally, it's your game. If there is a B-lister that may be better for your game than an A-lister, even though the A-lister has been a long time player, do what is best for the game. As @Josh Kifer points out, arriving with unsolicited support, helping run bank, staying to help clean up, dealing after being knocked out/felted for the night, even being the most charismatic one in the room... the way one can contribute is a long list indeed. Recognize that some people are better than others for your game and keep them.
 
If I keep it at one table, which is probably the way I will go, I'm mostly worried about how to handle the invites. Should I;

a) Keep it the way it is, mass invite* - first to respond is first seated, or
b) Send invites to regs first, everyone else second (even though the table will most likely fill up with regs 95% of the time
There's no correct answer in my view. So I always tell everyone the same thing for my mixed games:

"There's room for 9 but I stop recruiting once I get to 7 commits. After that whoever shows up shows up."

It's a challenge trying to recruit because there's always a few people who don't use email/FB/text/whatever. So I have a group text that goes out, and I also use Mailchimp for email blasts. I can't accommodate everyone just because they don't use a specific technology or check their email regularly.
 
If expansion is off the table, I would invite the regulars, but give them a deadline of when you need a reply. Be transparent. Let them know that you have others waiting, so any "maybes" may lose their seat in a reply is not made by X date.

This is exactly what I was thinking earlier today! Since I usually fill up within a few hours, I was thinking I'd invite my regs and give them 24 hours before I invite the rest.

Make sure if going this route you are giving ample time for your B-listers to respond. If your game is on Friday, don't extend the invite to the B-list on Thursday. You want your B-listers to feel important, not an afterthought.

I typically send out invites the Monday after the previous game. This gives everybody almost a month to figure it out. :p

Finally, it's your game. If there is a B-lister that may be better for your game than an A-lister, even though the A-lister has been a long time player, do what is best for the game. As @Josh Kifer points out, arriving with unsolicited support, helping run bank, staying to help clean up, dealing after being knocked out/felted for the night, even being the most charismatic one in the room... the way one can contribute is a long list indeed. Recognize that some people are better than others for your game and keep them.

Very good point that I hadn't really considered. As of right now, I don't have any B-listers who fit that bill, but will be keeping my eyes open going forward. Thanks for the great advice as usual!
 
3) One of my players is trying to host his own game more often (same stakes as mine) and invites from the same list as me, but for some reason can't seem to get more than 5-6 players. He's only had 2 games so far and I haven't played at his place yet. I know he has decent chips since I sold him mine, he has a decent folding table and knows the rules well, he's been hosting (off and on) and playing for 20+ years.
Is this player one of your regulars or one of the b-list? What do you think it is that makes your game have a waitlist but his game no more than 5-6 people? Do you think that if you started playing in the game that more of your other players (regulars or b-list) would come along? This might be a good opportunity to help "co-host" if it helps him get more players, and maybe it'll be more of the overflow players rather than just a mirror of your regulars.
 
Is this player one of your regulars or one of the b-list? What do you think it is that makes your game have a waitlist but his game no more than 5-6 people? Do you think that if you started playing in the game that more of your other players (regulars or b-list) would come along? This might be a good opportunity to help "co-host" if it helps him get more players, and maybe it'll be more of the overflow players rather than just a mirror of your regulars.

He's a reg.

I think the reasons the other guy's game doesn't get as much attendance is mostly down to the newness of it. He's only had 3 games since he started back up after a probably 10 year hosting break. I'd like to think it's also because he doesn't have as nice a table, or chips as nice as mine, but in reality that probably doesn't matter to normal people. :)
 
He's a reg.

I think the reasons the other guy's game doesn't get as much attendance is mostly down to the newness of it. He's only had 3 games since he started back up after a probably 10 year hosting break. I'd like to think it's also because he doesn't have as nice a table, or chips as nice as mine, but in reality that probably doesn't matter to normal people. :)
I find having a nice table and comfy chairs far surpasses whatever chips you have...IMO.
I'm fairly certain that my regular gorillas would play with different colored buttons just to play poker
 

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