How much time for socializing? (1 Viewer)


3 of a Kind
Apr 24, 2020
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At a glance, I do think 5 minutes is too short for in tournament breaks. I think really needs to be 8-10 minutes at a bare minimum, maybe more if the tournament is bigger.

I would endeavor to start the tournament as close to the announced time as possible, but definitely have a "doors open" period of 20-30 minutes before that point. Then people can buy in right away and then chat among themselves until cards fly. And yes, it's important to respect when big moments are happening during games, but outside of this, plenty of time for banter.

FWIW, I am planning a tournament in August. I am advertising doors at 6, start at 6:30 (though really I will be happy dealing by 6:40) first break is 18 minutes (same as a full level), later breaks are 9 minutes (half a level)
Our events are usually multi-table social affairs, that run thusly...

5:30 Doors open, Dinner is served. Pregame food really encourages early arrival. It is not Hot Dogs.
7:00 Cards in the air. This is very timely. We rarely have anyone show after 6:45, and when they do they have reasons (one owns a nail salon, and will sometimes have a late client). I think one of the marks of efficiency is hitting your timing marks. If you never start late, players wont show late.
12 minute breaks every hour. It takes about 10 minutes for the average smoker to burn a cigarette and I don't allow smoking in the house, so anything less than 10 minutes is senseless. We usually play tournaments, but occasionally host a cash game. We take breaks in the cash game too. This allows me to top off short stacks without interrupting play at my table, and allows more interaction between guests playing at different tables. Many eliminated players will use the break to say their goodbyes without interrupting a hand.

The last break occurs when down to a handful of tournament players, and this break is often skipped if the players agree. By 11:30, everyone is full

Game concludes between 11:30 and midnight, depending on chip set / blind structure used.

Doh, I just double-checked and my breaks are set at 10 minutes. Currently it's:
R1: 20m
R2: 20m
R3: 20m
B1: 10m
R4: 20m
R5: 20m
R6: 20m
B2: 10m
R7: 20m
R8: 20m
B3 + chip up: 10m
R9: 20m
R10: 20m
R11: 20m
B4 + chip up: 10m
R12: 20m
R13: 20m
R14: 20m
B5: 10m
R15: 20m

I'll try squeaking the first break up to 12 minutes and see if that's more comfortable.

Later breaks do get skipped...last game I could only muster 8 players and the tournament seemed to play a lot break 3 we were skipping the break and only had a few players left!

Poker Zombie

Royal Flush
Oct 29, 2014
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Adding 2 minutes to the break will have a minimal effect on overall game length. By your schedule, +8 minutes over 4 hours.

As host, these breaks also allow us to do the following:
  • Race off chips as needed
  • 2nd Break - Put away main course food. Snacks and desserts remain out.
  • 2nd Break - Last chance to rebuy in tournaments. Players wishing to sacrifice their short stack places a $20 on their chips to indicate they want a fresh stack.
  • 3rd Break - Towels in the bathroom are replaced with fresh towels.
Hosting a MTT is work. A labor of love, but work nonetheless. We had experimented with 10 minute breaks and 15 minute breaks, but found 10 minutes left us pausing the clock on occasion, which leads to getting caught in a conversation resulting in extended breaks. 15 minute breaks lead to post-midnight runs, which is later that I would like (I work a 24 hour shift the night before a game, so by midnight I am on 43 hours little-to-no sleep). We went back to 15 minute breaks during COVID to encourage adequate hand-washing, but attendance was also lower during that time so games naturally ended sooner.


Supporting Member
Jun 24, 2017
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Houston, Texas
I have a pregame on the porch - drinks and cigars - about half the guys generally show up for that.

Breaks are as others described. We usually have a unscheduled dinner break when pizza arrives and take about 20 minutes - everyone socializes then, or during the game if they didn't pregame.


Oct 30, 2019
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It certainly is a balancing act. Socializing is such a big part of our home games that we play about once a month here...
With that in mind, we just had to KO someone for constantly not being aware of his turn, due to Socializing at the table. His lack of play was consistent over multiple games. (The unfortunate part was, he was so defensive of his timing. If he would simply acknowledge his pho pa, I'm sure he would have been invited to tomorrow's game. He's a good guy, but the vibe just would go negative from that behavior)


Full House
Aug 8, 2019
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Buffalo NY
When I do tournaments (not all that often but we do it once in a while), it's poker first and food consumption second. As people bust out we get cash table going. Cash game is SIGNIFICANTLY slower than the tournament, since BSing with each other is first, beer consumption second, and poker third. If socializing is not happening at your game, play cash. People keep their heads down focused on the game because of the rising blind structure of tournament play. Cash games give you the freedom of not having a running clock.


Full House
Jun 10, 2016
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Most important interactions are during hands.

5 minute breaks are too short, I would like to have time to smoke cig and use a toilet without hurry so 15 minutes at least (remember if game takes place at your home you have up to 10 players and just one toilet)

If player want to talk private they can always sit out.

Let them say hallo and what is new before game.
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