Ideas to recruit players to home games

10centguitar

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Thought I would start this thread to get and share some ideas.

Im referring mostly to cash games but some ideas work for tourneys too.



*For cash games here they do match roll tournys to start. $10 to win $200 (20 chips, blinds at 1/2 then doubling every time a player is eliminated)

*Hourly hands. (face up hold em) $5 to juice the pot. Typically everyone juices and the house gives $50, so $5 to win $100

*Cash for on time players/bonus chips for on time tourny players.

*bonus for bringing a new player


Any ideas?
 

grandgnu

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What you're describing doesn't sound like a "home game", more like a raked cash game for profit? Not that I oppose them, I've played my share. But I wouldn't consider it a "home game" and I would have much higher expectations of extras provided from the hosts than a "home game" where I'd feel more like I should pitch in as a guest
 

10centguitar

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I was definitely describing raked cash games, only because those were the things that came to mind.

I meant to start a discussion on ideas like those with a focus on home games.



Some of the ideas I mentioned, when tweaked a bit, are great for home games.

For instance, at a home game I play in we do a turbo tourney like a match roll to start. Its usually $5, but could be whatever. Each player gets 20 chips. Blinds double every time someone gets knocked out.

Since there is no house its 100% player money. $5 to win $50. Bonus chips for on time players would help too.



Also we sometimes "rake" the pot and use all of it towards an hourly hand. Usually we will pull 1BB per 12BB in the pot with a max of 3BB.

We don't do a face up hand though, we play a game called triple threat. Its an ante game that involves two pineapple hands. Less complicated than it sounds and pretty awesome.

Jucie is optional and usually everyone juices the pot.
 

SixSpeedFury

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My friend does this at his cash games. $1 for every $10 pot in a .50/.50 game. The players love it. So it should depend on the players if they're comfortable contributing $5 to the high hand jackpot.
 

Joe Harris

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I've found a few players via Craigslist, and by searching/posting on Reddit. Having different players each time does seem to help entice the regulars to come back, and makes the whole thing feel more dynamic. It does make security concerns more of an issue, so you have to vet newcomers a bit.

I've also had limited success in the past by finding listings for old home games. There are a few places on the web you can find these archives. Basically the idea is you message whoever set it up and see if they're still interested in playing. Usually you get no response though.

Also we sometimes "rake" the pot and use all of it towards an hourly hand. Usually we will pull 1BB per 12BB in the pot with a max of 3BB.
I really love this idea. You could do all kinds of stuff to determine the hourly winner.
 
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guinness

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For a locally raked game we had the following for quite awhile:

1. 10% bonus added to your cashout after every 10th visit. If you lose, you need to wait another 10 visits.
2. Free 20 minute girl massage after every 5 visits.
3. $25 bonus if you buy in for $1K (max buyin for 1/2).
4. Free custom donkey shirt if you dust 500+ in a session.
5. Guaranteed 5K BBJ at all times.
6. $25 if you bring a friend that has never attended.
7. Massage girl every game
8. Free liquor, beer, buffet and candy (25 types).

Even with all the above, it STILL didn't work bringing in new players. Game is located in a fantastic location too, but the game is tough, plays higher than normal 1/2 games and just couldn't sustain itself. The game still plays on Fridays, but since NL became legal in New Hampshire after July 1st, everyone is hitting the local soft card clubs and I foresee eventual busto.
 

grandgnu

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For a locally raked game we had the following for quite awhile:

1. 10% bonus added to your cashout after every 10th visit. If you lose, you need to wait another 10 visits.

So you play 9 sessions and on your 10th session when you cashout you get 10% bonus on only that cashout, yes?

So let's say you buyin for 1K and bust. Can you buyin for another 1K, play a little bit, then cash out and get the 10% or does it only apply to their first buyin?
 

Joe Harris

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Even with all the above, it STILL didn't work bringing in new players.

Those are some pretty interesting incentives. That said, it occurs to me that in having them you are basically setting up your game as an alternative to casino play. In my experience, home games are less about the economics, and more about the social aspect. With a raked game (even if it's reinvested in the group) and high stakes (relative to most home games), you are basically pricing out anybody that doesn't have that much cash in their entertainment budget, as well as any players who aren't good enough to be really competitive long-term. Nobody wants to commit to a weekly loss of $500..if they don't mind that, they're probably not going to wait until the home game to get their gambling done. Any random person good enough to regularly compete with your players can probably expect a greater return on a casino game.

How do you usually find new players? Word of mouth only?
 

Mental Nomad

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I've found that the biggest draw for my home games is lower stakes.

Novices simultaneously feel that they will lose less money due to their due to their amateur play, and that few sharks will be attracted to a low - stakes game. The combo makes the risk /fun ratio acceptable.

I'm currently playing a 1/2 nl game, a .50/1.00 nl game, and a two-bit nl game (.125/.25).
 

guinness

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10th session 10% bonus applies to overall session profit regardless of buyins. No overall profit, no bonus.

Those are some pretty interesting incentives. That said, it occurs to me that in having them you are basically setting up your game as an alternative to casino play. In my experience, home games are less about the economics, and more about the social aspect. With a raked game (even if it's reinvested in the group) and high stakes (relative to most home games), you are basically pricing out anybody that doesn't have that much cash in their entertainment budget, as well as any players who aren't good enough to be really competitive long-term. Nobody wants to commit to a weekly loss of $500..if they don't mind that, they're probably not going to wait until the home game to get their gambling done. Any random person good enough to regularly compete with your players can probably expect a greater return on a casino game.

How do you usually find new players? Word of mouth only?

That raked game is a solution for casino/bigger players who are local. Foxwoods/Mohegan Sun is ~2.5 hours away (without Boston/Hartford traffic) which sucks. This game acts as a half casino, half home game in terms of feel. It serves for people who want an alternative to the typical .25/.50 <$100 buyin type games. It plays bigger than 1/2 so for the last 3 years its been a great game for me since it was 2 blocks from my work office and 25 minutes backwoods drive from my house. The local cardrooms are also 25 minutes from my house but before July 1st it was 1-5 spread limit by law, but now NL is legal and is the local soft spot even though it plays smaller than the underground game.

When I host a home game, I have 2 tables and send out invites 2-3 weeks in advance. I advertise that I will have one circus table (2,3,4,5,6 card games, .25/.50 pot limit types and everyone plays big) and one casual player table (.25/.50 NLHE only and people buy in between $20 and $100). This seems to bring in the "jesus christ I'm not playing with guinness and those guys" types who just want to drink some beers and make/dump $200 or less. It works really good because the casual player will usually feel safe enough to invite a friend and advertise that there is a friendly stakes table (lol) and aggro deep $ table.
 

lnlver

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Install a brass pole from the floor to the ceiling in an open area near the poker table. With the anticipation this will generate, I guarantee it'll double your attendance at a minimum. :)
 

10centguitar

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For a locally raked game we had the following for quite awhile:

1. 10% bonus added to your cashout after every 10th visit. If you lose, you need to wait another 10 visits.
2. Free 20 minute girl massage after every 5 visits.
3. $25 bonus if you buy in for $1K (max buyin for 1/2).
4. Free custom donkey shirt if you dust 500+ in a session.
5. Guaranteed 5K BBJ at all times.
6. $25 if you bring a friend that has never attended.
7. Massage girl every game
8. Free liquor, beer, buffet and candy (25 types).

Even with all the above, it STILL didn't work bringing in new players. Game is located in a fantastic location too, but the game is tough, plays higher than normal 1/2 games and just couldn't sustain itself. The game still plays on Fridays, but since NL became legal in New Hampshire after July 1st, everyone is hitting the local soft card clubs and I foresee eventual busto.

Sounds like a really high rake....

that will kill a game too.
 

10centguitar

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When I host a home game, I have 2 tables and send out invites 2-3 weeks in advance. I advertise that I will have one circus table (2,3,4,5,6 card games, .25/.50 pot limit types and everyone plays big) and one casual player table (.25/.50 NLHE only and people buy in between $20 and $100). This seems to bring in the "jesus christ I'm not playing with guinness and those guys" types who just want to drink some beers and make/dump $200 or less. It works really good because the casual player will usually feel safe enough to invite a friend and advertise that there is a friendly stakes table (lol) and aggro deep $ table.


really great idea
 
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