Tourney How do you host a tournament home game?

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#63
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#64
Hey, @ATLarchip, I know we covered important topics thus far like:
  • The merits of hot dog rollers
  • Questionable contents of hot dogs; becoming vegetarian
  • Your players acting like fools towards things like hot dogs, beer, and bathroom habits
  • Not doubling the blinds every round
What it all comes down to is as long as you have a group of people who aren't afraid to have some laughs while talking over a card table (or a virtual one like we have here), you can't go wrong. Use an app like Blinds Are Up! or Blinds Up to track and plan your rounds, follow a blind schedule that's comfortable for you given your time limits, and make sure you get everybody else more drunk than you are. Can't lose.
 
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#65
I fink first and foremost you need your money in/money out sorted. Your game can live with non-optimal blinds structures and it can live without hot dogs. It can't live if the pot is down by £$¥€20 at the end of the night and no one knows why.
 
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#69
+1. While it's missing a few things (eg. a 1 minute warning before the end of a level would be nice), it has all of the basic features and works well.
Try writing to the dev. A pervious version only allowed you to have custom blind times for X amount of levels and was a set time after that. I prefer to go from 20 to 15 to 10 but couldn't. Wrote to the dev and within a few months the feature was added
 
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#72
For a timer/blind announcements, I use Poker Manager, available for iPad, iPhone or desktop Mac (and probably other platforms but I’ve never looked into it).
 
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#74
Wow. Thanks everyone for the responses! I’ve learned a lot from all this and am looking forward to hosting my first tourney soon. I will post the outcome and lessons learned. Thanks again.
Seriously, take @BGinGA up on his offer. You will be infinitly better off having played in one home event before hosting your own, and he's one of our most esteemed posters on tournament stuff.
 
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#76
Also, unless Minnesota is much different from Upstate New York, there are almost surely inexpensive tournaments which occur at some social halls (VFW, American Legion, firehouses, etc.) near you. These are useful for getting a feel for what to do... and not to do.
 
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#77
Also, unless Minnesota is much different from Upstate New York, there are almost surely inexpensive tournaments which occur at some social halls (VFW, American Legion, firehouses, etc.) near you. These are useful for getting a feel for what to do... and not to do.

At least in the twin cities area, there hasn't been nearly as much of this sort of thing as 10 years ago. But there is a public cardroom at each end of the metro area too.
 
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#78
Another tip to avoid stragglers: bonus chips for arriving early! This has become standard practice around here and it helps tremendously. For instance, the players must arrive 15-30 minutes before the scheduled start to get about 10% more chips as a bonus. Then start exactly on time. Basically everybody gets there early and gets the bonus, so everyone still has an equal starting stack and the game magically starts on time.
 
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#79
Another tip to avoid stragglers: bonus chips for arriving early! This has become standard practice around here and it helps tremendously. For instance, the players must arrive 15-30 minutes before the scheduled start to get about 10% more chips as a bonus. Then start exactly on time. Basically everybody gets there early and gets the bonus, so everyone still has an equal starting stack and the game magically starts on time.
Should be added that it's probably smart to actually handle it like everyone's default stack gets reduced and the bonus chips essentially bring it back up to the level it was originally meant to be, and the blind schedule geared for. Calling it a bonus should just be the psychology around it.

If you actually hand out extra chips your tournament will last longer than anticipated.
 
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#80
Since it’s a brand new tournament, the starting stacks can be set so as to account for the bonus, right?

My experience is that almost everyone shows up on time if there is a substantial bonus. I made ours 20% of the starting stack. There is only one guy (out of 14-18 per game) who routinely arrives late and misses the bonus. And his results definitely reflect that handicap.

There is usually no more than one other player per game who misses the cut-off time — which I am absolutely inflexible about — because of some unexpected delay. So in effect, the bonus is part of the starting stack. I hand the bonus chip out when people buy in, rather than taking it off stacks of late arrivals, because it avoids confusion.

Having this hefty bonus has really helped get the game started on time. We start picking seats as soon as the deadline passes.
 
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#81
The reason to be inflexible about the cutoff time for the bonus is otherwise you get a ton of pleading and the time just slips and slips...

“But it’s 7:33, I only missed by 3 minutes!” they’ll say... So what do you tell the next guy at 7:34, and 7:37, and so on? “But I’m only 3 minutes later than Bill and you gave it to him!”
 

upNdown

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#82
The reason to be inflexible about the cutoff time for the bonus is otherwise you get a ton of pleading and the time just slips and slips...

“But it’s 7:33, I only missed by 3 minutes!” they’ll say... So what do you tell the next guy at 7:34, and 7:37, and so on? “But I’m only 3 minutes later than Bill and you gave it to him!”
So what is the cuttoff? When they park their car? When they walk through the door? When they hand you their cash?
 

BGinGA

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#84
Our rules specify "paid and in your seat". Just being there isn't enough -- you must have paid, drawn a seat, and actually be seated and ready to play prior to the scheduled start of the tournament to get the bonus (which is handed out by the dealer to those seated players).
 
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#85
I use when they walk through the door, but I suppose the moment they hand you cash works, too. (Where I take money is near the door, so it’s pretty much the same for my game.) Though if 12 people walk in at 7:29 and there is a line...
 
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#86
Some other tournament options to consider, at risk of getting some tl;dr replies...

(1) Bounty chip: Each player gets a chip with a specific value which can be cashed out. If you knock someone out, you get their bounty chip. I use this in my tourney ($10 value in a $100 buy-in event, with a $20 add-on which almost everyone takes, so about 8% of the revenue goes to bounties). I find that this tends to lessen the sting of going out without getting in the money—even getting $10-$20 back keeps the non-winning players happy. It’s a psychological thing; more the act of receiving money than any real dent in your losses...

(2) High hand: A certain amount is reserved per player for the best high hand of the night. People organize these many different ways. I’ve eliminated the high hand from our tourney, as I think it is kind of silly... But we used to reserve either $5 or $10 per player. You had to use both hole cards, but it didn’t have to go to the river. At one point I instituted a minimum (AAAKK or better) and rolled the high hand over to the next game if no one got there—the longest this went was five sessions. High hands seem to make more gamble-y players happy, even if they only win enough to get back their investment over time.

(3) Last longers: I’ve never had these in my game, but sometimes 2+ players at other tourneys I’ve played in will arrange side bets among themselves as to who lasts longer in the tournament. Again, it’s sort of a hedge against bubbling or just for the fun of it (including the razzing involved).

Any of the above can be organized separately by the players themselves as optional additions, if you don’t want to be bothered, but still don’t mind people having the option.

(4) Add-ons: At our main break after the first four levels there is an optional add-on ($20 for about 10 additional big blinds). This adds to the total pool, which reducing the initial sticker shock, and also tends to allow people to play a little longer than without an add-on. Sucks to drive a distance to a game in a rural area only to be done in under 90 minutes. We don’t do rebuys—yet another option, one I dislike as it encourages BINGO play and also creates some unfairness for the lesser-rolled players. But we do now allow a player who busts before the break to take the add-on as a “short” rebuy in effect. Again, this seems to help keep the group happy.

(5) Special events: I recently reinstituted something we used to do, which seems to really boost attendance—reserving a small amount from each buy-in for a larger tournament either once a year or once every six months. (I prefer every six months, so the pool does not build up too much).

The way we work it is you have to attend 40% of games to qualify. Those who attend less than 40% in a sequence can’t play in the special event, and are in effect contributing to an “overlay.”

If you attend every game in a six-month period, your buy-in is a flat amount (for us, $100). If you miss games, you add $10 per missed session to equalize your equity in the total prize pool with the other players. So for example, if there were 12 games in a six-month period, you would have to attend at least 5 to qualify. If you missed three games, your buy-in would be $130 (3 x $10 + $100). If you played the minimum, your buy-in would be $170.

We make these special tourneys into more social event, with people arriving early and bringing potluck items. Kind of a chance to relax a bit and discuss the game more generally and just hang out. I found that for the period when I eliminated this system, attendance flagged a bit. Since I brought it back, we’ve been at two tables of 8-9 every game.

We also used to do a related thing with a point system, with players getting larger or smaller starting stacks for the end-of-year tourney based on their performance throughout the year. But that seemed less appealing to most players, since they weren’t too keen to play in a tournament where they began with a built-in disadvantage—even one that they’d brought upon themselves...

6) Payouts: I am pretty liberal in my payout structure, to keep people coming back. We pay 1/3 of players, rounding down (so for example, 5 people get paid if we have 15-18, 4 paid with 12-14, 3 with 9-11, 2 if 8 or less, though we are basically never that short). If paying 4th and 5th places, they only get their initial buy-in back. The ratio of payouts for the remainder of the money is 50%-30%-%20 of the remaining funds once bounties and the special tourney money is set aside. This means 1st place isn’t making such a whopping profit, though the #1 player usually has nice stack of bounties... Anyway, for a friendly game among a longstanding crew of regulars, it seems to work. (The real gains to be had are in the 1/2 cash game after.)

Clearly, some of the above are not going to make purists happy, but I’m hosting a home game among friends, not running a casino, and the options we use are meant to keep the gang together and the game going another decade.

Last thought: You might want to wait until you get the tournament established before considering such options, unless you are already confident of your group and ability to manage a tourney.
 
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MrWoody45

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#87
Basic Guidelines:
1. Optimal BB is 100-200
2. Consistent bind level transitions, for beginner-to-intermediates I suggest blind levels like 25/50 then 25/75 then 50/100 and so on
3. Optimal number of chips per player, 30 to 50
4. Colour-up armaments should be using the chip that will be available all the time and become your slaves toward the endgame, not gradually as it reduces set versatility and you would end up buying more chips than you actually really need.
I like that idea might use that
 

Poker Zombie

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#88
We don’t do rebuys—yet another option, one I dislike as it encourages BINGO play and also creates some unfairness for the lesser-rolled players. But we do now allow a player who busts before the break to take the add-on as a “short” rebuy in effect. Again, this seems to help keep the group happy.
Also living in a rural area, we do rebuys. We eventually had to limit it to 1 per player, known in the Zombie Poker Club as the "Robbie Rule". The Robbie Rule was implemented when 1 player finished first, but only cashed for less than third place money. I noticed it was depressing those who weren't willing to shove every third hand. The Robbie Rule cost us 1 player (you can guess his name), but I think it saved the club.

We do 1 tournament a year without rebuys. It is deeper stacked (to keep players in longer), and has a micro-stakes game following with a small buy-in per player funded by a small portion of the tournament prize pool.
 
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