Tourney First Time Hosting - low stakes (1 Viewer)


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May 9, 2024
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Hey everyone!

Hosting my first home game with some longtime friends this weekend and I want to provide the best possible experience so that we can get people excited about scheduling some regular games! Background of the group (8 people) - I think I am the only one with any poker experience beyond super casual play - they are just coming for fun to hangout and I was thinking just a $20 buy-in to keep is casual.

I've done some research on the forums already and read through a bunch of other posts, and I think I've narrowed down that a T5 tournament is the best bet for this type of new player group? However I wanted to get the forums thoughts on starting stacks/blind structure because one thing I am worried about and want to avoid is the game going on too long. In my opinion I don't think the group is going to want to play for 4+ hours, and I was going to try and aim for a 3 hour tournament for this first game. I've read that 200BB ($2,000) is a standard format, and I'm struggling with the best blind schedule, since I don't want to have to increase blinds every 10min - but I feel like I would have to skip levels if I did an increase every 30min but still wanted the game over in ~3 hours. This is what I currently have:

Every 30min:

I know that this is non-standard - especially having SB not be exactly half of BB - but I was trying to think of a reasonable schedule to make sure the game actually ends in a reasonable amount of time. Any suggestions to this is greatly appreciated.

The next question I had was on starting stacks/chip valuations - as I've read the standard for T5 is 10/10/7/2 - but when I lay this out I am very worried that this will FEEL like an unsatisfying NUMBER of chips when the players arrive. Overall chip count is not an issue - I have 800 dice chips [250White/250Red/150Green/100Black/50Blue] and I want the players to feel satisfied with the number of chips they receive to start play. I layed out the 10/10/7/2 and asked my roommate (will be one of the players and very inexperienced player) what he thought and he mentioned that he would like more chips. My solution to this was:

30 Red $5
14 Green $25
5 Black $100
2 Blue $500

Wanted to hear thoughts/suggestions if this seems reasonable or is just going to turn to foolishness quickly and I should just stick with 10/10/7/2?

Thank you to everyone who took the time to read through this as I'm sure you have all dealt with 10,000 new host repeated questions.
It doesn’t make a lot of sense to start everybody with 30 chips that will be useless after the second level. You should be coloring up those 5s after level two, so you’re just creating more work by starting with so many on the table.
Not a professional, but I'm going to give it a shot

15 minute levels
T4K starting stacks (10/10/7/6)
Break (Color Up T5s with 4 T100s)
Break (Color Up T25s with 4 T500s)
800/1600 (Projected end)

If you count each break at 15 minutes as well, the 800/1600 level is at 4 hours, which is the most time you'd want to play. If you shorten each level to 12 minutes (very short but necessary if you want smooth blind increases), it would be just over 3 hours. If pros could let me know if I calculated well, I'd appreciate it.
Up to you, but I wouldn't do a tournament with brand new people, play cash instead for super small stakes? This lets the blind stay the same, and start/end whenever. My newbies were sometimes reticent to sign up for 3+ hours of poker at first, cash allows them to buyin or out whenever, you can decide how long everyone plays for. Honestly many noobs will still play it like its a tournament and will think when they lose it its gone, but whatever.

If they're good with $20 buyins, give em:

25cent/25cent blinds: shortstack, won't last as long and some people hate the idea of nickels. Less chips/blinds but may feel better.
12 greens as quarters ($3)
13 whites as dollars ($12)
1 red as $5 ($5) or just 5 more whites; some people like the bigger chip.

Alternatively, super low stakes and splashy (prefer this for beginners) and play 5cent/10cent blinds, so everyone has tons of chips.
20 whites as nickels ($1)
20 reds as quarters ($5)
14 greens as $1s ($14)

This gives everyone 54 chips and tons of blinds, they can shove all in but there's very little pressure to lose it all. This also makes it fun when someone goes broke and can just buy more chips, you have way more bank and can easily top up for more money. People can come and go as they please.
Thank you for all the advice! Definitely super useful tips and things to think about. I had decided on tournament because I thought it would be simpler - but you do make the cash game sound easier than I thought.

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