Tourney League Poker Game Ideas

Mr. Cheese

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Hey all,

I've been thinking it would be fun start up a poker league with my regular players. We currently play cash games and tournaments but I've never had a league setup.

So here's my idea. Have 11 regular season tournaments with one championship main even tournament at the end.

Final Main Event:
2000 starting stack minimum. Additional chip bonus based on attendance and finishing place in each tourney. Maximum possible starting stacks 5275 (assuming full attendance and all 1[SUP]st[/SUP] place finishes).

League fee: ????? this fee would go for the final freeroll main event prize. Not really sure what would be a reasonable amount. I expect my regular 8 players will all want to participate and right now our regular tournaments feature a 25 dollar buy in plus a 5 dollar bounty. Does a 100 dollar league fee sound unreasonable? That way the winner of the championship main event would get 500+ followed by a few hundred for 2nd etc.

Speaking of that, what should the payout be for the championship game? 70, 20, 10 or a different percentage payout?


Point System
1 point awarded for each game attended.

“10” Bonus points if you attend every game during the season

1[SUP]st[/SUP]: 10 points
2[SUP]nd[/SUP]: 8 Points
3[SUP]rd[/SUP]: 6 Points
4[SUP]th[/SUP]: 4 Points
5[SUP]th[/SUP]: 2 Points

Each Point is worth 25 chip at the final tournament.

Regular League Tournaments will be T3000 with 25/50 blinds. No Rebuy no Add ons.
12 x 25
7 x 100
2 x 500
1 x 1000



So what does everyone think about Payout structure, point structure, league fee etc?
 

CdnBeerLover

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Starting stacks:
It depends on how long you want to run the tourneys and how deep you want them to be. We use 12k starting stacks with one rebuy using 12/12/7/7, but it's up to you what you use.

League fees:
We don't have any. Any money collected during a night is paid out that same night. Keeps things simple, and if someone can't make the final, there are no hard feelings. However, you have to play in at least one regular season game to be invited to the final.

Instead, the final is now a bit more expensive than regular games ($25 buy-in / rebuy instead of $15 buy-in/rebuy), and extra chips are awarded for points accumulated throughout the year.

Points:
We use them, and it's similar to what you have, except we don't have a bonus for perfect attendance.

Payouts:
We go with 50% / 30% /20% for 12 buy-ins/rebuys or less. More than that and it's 50% / 25% / 15% / 10%.
 

RichMahogany

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I don't like the idea of a one time league fee. IMO it's unfair to non regulars or those who can't attend every league tourney.

I prefer adding an extra $5 or $10 per player per tourney to put towards the championship game.If you also add small chip bonuses based on games attended it will help keep the losing players interested in attending regularly.

My 2¢ :)

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Also, what's your tourney structure and length of each level? Only 60 BB is a fairly shallow start.

I prefer deepstacks :)
 

TexRex

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Here's how I did this. In May 2012, I decided to turn our monthly tournaments into a league of sorts, though it really is more of a club. Since I kept records of the first 4 months, I included them in the stats for the first year, except for a couple of exceptions. Mine is 13 games – one per month with an end of the year Main Event (ME) in early January.

Our buy-in was $15. I added a $2 per month rollover fee that would be added to the (ME) pot. This year our buy-in is $20 with the $2/month rollover fee. We doubled the fee for the (ME). The ME fee this year is $64. If a player missed 3 games, they have paid $18 toward their $64. That assures that every player in the ME has paid the same amount.

I did that because I got the rollover concept from another game, but one complaint I heard was players did not like that some paid more than others to enter the championship game. Another thing they didn’t like about the other game was some players started with more chips than others because of attendance. They didn't reward finishes with extra chips, but based on the comments I got, players don't actually like that either.

What our players wanted was a ME that was a special event, but where players in it started even.

As for how to reward players through the year, that’s where the club concept came in. I charged an annual membership fee ($10). To encourage players to become members, nonmembers received 15,000 in starting chips, while members get 25,000. So even if someone came to only one game, the extra chips they receive makes the membership worth it even though they can't win any of our awards for only one game, but they could win a bracelet for winning.

The membership fee goes to club expenses, the biggest being the annual awards (6 of them) and an ‘bracelet” award for the monthly winner and the ME winner. Our awards are custom ceramic card protectors (cost about $10 each). The awards for monthly and ME winners we call bracelets (after the WSOP) and we track how many bracelets a person wins. We also have a website paid for by membership fees, and the club pays for cards, which as best I can tell is the one expendable item since cards do wear out eventually. Our members receive a newsletter a few days after the monthly tournament that is about 4 pages, giving them standings.

Our players are evaluated on 5 criteria – how many other players they knockout of a tournament over the course of the year (we have a Top Bounty Hunter award for this), final table appearances, in the money finishes, points, and tournament wins. Each of those counts equally (10% of standings). We also divide each category by per game performance with each category counting 10% of the final score.

We have up to 30 players (3 tables). Our scoring system is based on one from Bluff Magazine. Points are made up of two factors -- participation points multiplied by their finish points. Participation points = # of entrants/10. If we have 25 players, every player gets 2.5 points. At 25, we pay 6 places. Here’s how the finish points work – 17, 13, 10, 7, 5, 3, 2 for in the money.

Players
28-30 – pays 7 places, 17 for 1[SUP]st[/SUP] then 13, 10, 7 5, 3, 2 (for last in the money position)
21-27 – pays 6 places, 13 for 1[SUP]st[/SUP] then 10, 7 5, 3, 2 (for last in the money position)
15-20 – pays 5 places, 10 for 1[SUP]st[/SUP] then 7 5, 3, 2 (for last in the money position)
10-14 – pays 4 places, 7 for 1[SUP]st[/SUP] then 5, 3, 2 (for last in the money position)
6- 9 – pays 3 places, 5 for 1[SUP]st[/SUP] then 3, 2 (for last in the money position)

Our fewest # of players was 16.

A 25 player tournament would work like this:
1[SUP]st[/SUP] – 32.5 pts
2[SUP]nd[/SUP] – 25 pts
3[SUP]rd[/SUP] – 17.5 pts
4[SUP]th[/SUP] – 12.5 pts
5[SUP]th[/SUP] – 7.5 pts
6[SUP]th[/SUP] – 5 pts
All others – 2.5 pts.

The system rewards players according to how many participate whether they finish in the money or not.

Our tournaments are deep stack – 25,000 to start, SB/BB 25/50, 20 min blind levels, designed to end with 30 players at the 4:00-4:20 blind level (level 13).

Points are not tracked in the ME. The ME standings only count if there is a tie after the 12 game season. Awards are based only on the regular season, unless we need the ME to break a tie. Last year 2 players were tied for Top Bounty Hunter so whichever one got the most bounties in the ME would win, and if tied after that, their finish in the ME would decide it.

The ME paid out 8 places this Jan, instead of the usual 5. I hope next year it will pay 10 so everyone who makes the final table will be in the money. I designed our payouts where the last in the money gets their money back, and maybe a couple of bucks above that.

Our players LOVE this format. I’ve opened up a 3[SUP]rd[/SUP] table for this year – last year we were limited to 2 tables (21 total players).

Our 1[SUP]st[/SUP] and 2[SUP]nd[/SUP] place slots never go down in payout, but they will under your system if you add payout spots. Our payouts are based on 7-6-5-4-3-2-1, but modified so as to not go down for the very top places when we add spots. While the pay out is relatively flat, it encourages generally losing players because when they do get in the money, they get a decent reward for it. A lot of people don't think about the fact that if the losers never win anything, they won't generally keep coming unless it's a pleasant social experience. And even those people want to feel like they do have a real chance to win something.

Feel free to ignore the following, but here are my thoughts on your setup, and please remember you asked for feedback, so I'm being honest. :)


  • 11 games with championship – fine.
  • 2000 starting stack – no opinion without knowing starting blinds, blind times, and blind schedules. If starting blinds are more than 5/10, I think it’s too short stacked and probably too much of a luck fest, depending on the exact structure.
  • Chip bonuses for championship – don’t like. I’d like to think if I made the championship, my chances are as good as the next guys. Most of the players I’ve talked to feel the same way. Instead of a bonus for attendance, charge a makeup fee so every pays the same to be there.
  • League fee – don’t like, unless players get a tangible reward for paying, and that includes for the guy who can’t make the last game for some reason. Our membership fee gets you special privileges (that I didn’t address) and extra chips every tournament except the ME (since the ME is member only).
  • $100 championship pool fee (you labeled league fee, but it isn’t – it’s a fee that goes ONLY to the prize pool for that championship game) is about 36% of the cost of attending the first 11 games. I think that is way too high – I wouldn’t pay it. If I couldn’t make that game (work, family issues, etc.), I’d look at the game was one with a 36% rake. Ours is 10%.
  • 70-20-10 – Personally I’d like to see something more like 50-30-20, or maybe 60-25-15. Even 60% puts such a premium on winning that championship game, it would be frustrating if that was the night you got bad cards all night.
  • Points worth extra chips in championship – don’t like, and with your very short stacks, in my opinion, you don’t have a poker tournament where skill will prevail. You have a short stacked luck fest that a skilled player will only win more over a very long time. To me, poker is a game of skill, and when a structure doesn’t allow skill to win out, it’s just no longer poker to me.

For 25/50 starting blinds, I think the bare minimum starting stack should be at least 6000, and 10,000 would be better. The only thing that would get me to play would be if there were no other options available. Your max at the final table with 25/50 is not enough to give skill a real chance.

Over enough time, even in a luck fest, skill will slowly win more money, but it will take a long time. A good player will tend to look at a better structure where his reward for skill is much shorter.

A season with 8-12 games is short. If those are all luck fests, the big winner in a year might be the lucky player of the year. Our structure is designed to give better players the best chance. Deep stacks give a player the ability to play more than one hand like they should. Your structure honestly doesn’t give a good player with a good hand but one chance, and if the other guy sucks out on the river, the good player is out despite doing everything right. With a 10,000 stack, he should have another chance or two so the luck events out more.
 

Mr. Cheese

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Starting stacks:
It depends on how long you want to run the tourneys and how deep you want them to be. We use 12k starting stacks with one rebuy using 12/12/7/7, but it's up to you what you use.

League fees:
We don't have any. Any money collected during a night is paid out that same night. Keeps things simple, and if someone can't make the final, there are no hard feelings. However, you have to play in at least one regular season game to be invited to the final.

Instead, the final is now a bit more expensive than regular games ($25 buy-in / rebuy instead of $15 buy-in/rebuy), and extra chips are awarded for points accumulated throughout the year.

Points:
We use them, and it's similar to what you have, except we don't have a bonus for perfect attendance.

Payouts:
We go with 50% / 30% /20% for 12 buy-ins/rebuys or less. More than that and it's 50% / 25% / 15% / 10%.
I like the payout of 50/30/20. A bit more rewarding for coming in 2nd or 3rd vs my initial payout structure. I went back and forth about either charging a league fee or taking x amount from each buyin during the regular season. The reason I was thinking the league fee may be better is if people are having money taken out of the buy-in each time and having that put towards a big prize pool, what do you do with the person who only showed up to half the games? They've only contributed half the amount the full attendees have but they still get a chance at winning all the money. The way I look at it, if everyone pays the same they all have invested the same so it doesn't matter if it was a new person that only showed up to 2 games, they still invested the 100 or whatever the league fee was for the chance to win the big pot at the championship final event. I can see how both ways have their pros and cons. As long as everyone can make it to the final event I think having the league fee is probably the way to go. I am usually pretty good at working around the people that have busy schedules so it can be scheduled at a time that everyone should be able to make it.


I don't like the idea of a one time league fee. IMO it's unfair to non regulars or those who can't attend every league tourney.

I prefer adding an extra $5 or $10 per player per tourney to put towards the championship game.If you also add small chip bonuses based on games attended it will help keep the losing players interested in attending regularly.

My 2¢ :)

- - - - - - - - - Updated - - - - - - - - -

Also, what's your tourney structure and length of each level? Only 60 BB is a fairly shallow start.

I prefer deepstacks :)
I too prefer deepstacks but I do have 1 or 2 players who aren't huge fans of long tourneys. The compromise is to make the monthly tournament short with only 60 BB starting at 25/50 with 10 minute levels. Then following up the tourney with the cash game. The final game with be a big stack with the smallest stack being 200 BB's at a minimum (assuming he shows up at no games but the championship so he doesn't win any points) while the biggest stack could be 527 BB's.

If I've got my Championship Series chips by then this final game with for sure be using them so the blinds and starting stacks will be different being my breakdown for that set is 1k, 5k, 25k, 100k, and 500k chips. Currently the starting stacks and chip to point value was based off of a 5/10 starting blind.
 
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