Poker League Software - Is There a Market for a Premium Product? (2 Viewers)

Do you run a league or just one-off tournaments? Would you pay for quality software to run things?


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Moxie Mike

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Hello fellow home game hosters!

Last night was the last event of season 11 of the Moxie Poker League. One of the Moxie poker constituents saw me running league via a Google sheet and asked is I'd be interested in a programmatic solution to make things more streamlined and efficient.

I explained that there aren't any perfect solutions on the market that I'm aware of, so I'm pretty much resigned to do things manually. I've looked at Home Poker League and Blind Valet, and found them both to be lacking for my purposes.

As a point of reference, I run the league points via a spreadsheet that can be found here, the payouts are calculated via another spreadsheet, along with The Tournament Director software which I use exclusively for the blind timer and nothing else.

I use a word doc that I print for the check in, and another sheet for the sign out which records a player's exit and the number of bounties. That information is transferred manually to the Google sheet when the event is over. I also use Mailchimp to send out a weekly email blast to the entire list, which includes a write up of the last event and any housekeeping notes the group needs to be aware of.

The entire process takes around an hour all said and done.

So my friend, an app developer, is interested in creating a robust solution. He asked me if something like this has any viability as a consumer product.

I kindly ask that you chime in with any feedback specific to your level of interest, and what is the most you'd be willing to pay for an excellent, well supported, feature rich product on a monthly basis.

If anything materializes with this, I may ask further questions about which features to include, etc... but right now I'm just trying to determine if there's a market for this and what the size of the market might be.
 
Why not use TD ($30 lifetime license)? It has the capacity to run league/pts etc...I'd pay upto $50. A lot of cheap/free options.
I haven't explored all TD is capable of. But one thing I don't care for is it's generally clunky interface, and the fact that you can't operate it remotely.

If you're running events, you're probably playing in them too. And it'd be a big PITA to stop playing every time there's an elimination or a rebuy to walk over to the PC and open the window to update the information. It would be much easier to update those things in real time from an app on a tablet or phone without having to get up from the table.

It would also be nice if recording those things updated the league points structure in real time.
 
I wouldn't pay monthly, rather I'd pay for a license upfront. I bought TD years ago and it does everything I need it to, eliminated the need for spreadsheets that you mentioned.

The bad - the developer hasn't make an update in years. I do have to run it from my laptop, although I'm sure if I tried hard enough I could use my tablet and TeamViewer to control.

I've tried other applications and they either weren't robust enough, or were limited for my use case.
 
I do have to run it from my laptop, although I'm sure if I tried hard enough I could use my tablet and TeamViewer to control.
I got this to work from my phone, though I often end up just going to the laptop anyway. Would it be nicer to have an app? Sure, but i can do basically everything else i want with TD
 
I think many here make the points situation far more complicated than it needs to be.
 
I wouldn't pay monthly, rather I'd pay for a license upfront. I bought TD years ago and it does everything I need it to, eliminated the need for spreadsheets that you mentioned.

The bad - the developer hasn't make an update in years. I do have to run it from my laptop, although I'm sure if I tried hard enough I could use my tablet and TeamViewer to control.

I've tried other applications and they either weren't robust enough, or were limited for my use case.
That's the challenge with a one-time license - the dev isn't really incentivized to support or continue to add features to legacy products. As long as the product continues to generate sales they can pretty much leave it on autopilot.

Whereas with a subscription model, the dev has to perpetually add value so subscribers don't bail. So they need to add features and ensure compatibility/security/compliance/etc.

From the feedback so far, it seems as though many people are pretty satisfied with their current solution although I'm always of a mind that if someone comes along with a better mousetrap, people will often upgrade.
 
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I think many here make the points situation far more complicated than it needs to be.
My point system is pretty standard, but there is a formula for calculating a player's bonus chips in the championship game. I'm not sure at this point how feasible it would be to standardize that part of the league.
 
That's the challenge with a one-time license - the dev isn't really incentivized to support or continue to add features to legacy products. As long as the product continues to generate sales they can pretty much leave it on autopilot.

Whereas with a subscription model, the dev has to perpetually add value so subscribers don't bail. So they need to add festures and ensure compatibility/security/compliance/etc.

From the feedback so far, it seems as though many people are pretty satisfied with their current solution although I'm always of a mind that if someone comes along with a better mousetrap, people will often upgrade.
It would need to be a REALLY good mousetrap. Removing the headphone jack and a new color ain't going to do it.
 
My point system is pretty standard, but there is a formula for calculating a player's bonus chips in the championship game. I'm not sure at this point how feasible it would be to standardize that part of the league.
If you did bonus chips by place of finish for the season it would still work out about the same as any complicated formula.
 
It would need to be a REALLY good mousetrap.
Agreed.

I reviewed a lot of threads before starting this one - and it seems as though while people are getting by with the current offerings, there's still something left to be desired.

For me personally, the most important attribute would be time savings. If the process of organizing players and automating certain tasks were done well to the point that it saves me 2-3 hours per month, I'd gladly pay $10/mo for that product. I realize for many hosting poker games is a labor of love and time saving isn't critical, but different people are motivated by different things.

Hopefully more people will chime in and/or participate in the poll... but maybe this isn't as hot of a topic as I'd like to think it is.
 
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The group I play with only does tournaments but we never used any apps or software, just would adjust blinds when we saw fit throughout the night. I recently downloaded Poker Timer for the iPad and paid about $6 for the pro version. I really enjoyed the customization.

Since it was my first time using any kind of software to control the tournament I had to spend some time to figure out the blind structure to make the game last about 5 or 6hrs. I let the app do its thing but as a host/player/dealer I didn’t keep up with who got knocked out by whom or the additional rebuys that happened. In the end it was a chop pot and ended before the last two rounds.

In the future I’ll use it again. Considering we don’t play as often the $6 wasn’t a steep price point.

Edit: Poker timer also allows iPad to TV mirroring as well as controlling from iPhone via temporary tournament ID
 
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A customization I’m sure a few PCFers would like to see is

  • Paulson/CPC edge spot and color customization for chip denom display
  • Inlay image upload for chip demons
  • Cross platform remote control
  • Multi screen protection
Keep in mind I haven’t used TD so not sure if some of these options already exist
 
Agreed.

I reviewed a lot of threads before starting this one - and it seems as though while people are getting by with the current offerings, there's still something left to be desired.

For me personally, the most important attribute would be time savings. If the process of organizing players and automating certain tasks were done well to the point that it saves me 2-3 hours per month, I'd gladly pay $10/mo for that product. I realize for many hosting poker games is a labor of love and time saving isn't critical, but different people are motivated by different things.

Hopefully more people will chime in and/or participate in the poll... but maybe this isn't as hot of a topic as I'd like to think it is.
I think there is probably a lack of a viable market. BlindsUp on apple started off great, then the dev disappeared for a while, then came back to try again. I don't think he had the customer base to support the platform.

There are plenty of home hosts where a stop watch and a white board is all they need.

I'd love to see and end all be all app, but I'm not going to hold my breath.
 
I run tournaments very infrequently but when I do, I want nice software that can do all I need. That means none of the free/limited alternatives work and I don’t want to pay a monthly fee for something I’d use once a year tops. Getting a TD license is the least non attractive alternative rn. It works fine, but the interface and user friendliness leave plenty to be desired.

I would love it if there was a really good app that one could pay to use full access for a limited time, say three days. Plenty of time to test and set everything up, play the tourney and be done with it.
 
Really, the only thing I need out of The Tournament Director would be the "remote control". I'd love to be able to bust people out from my phone. Even with that though, if I have to do a rebuy, I need to get up and get them chips anyway, so that doesn't save me much. With my game now, I'd say a good 30% of the players know how to bust themselves out of the tournament, and just do it when they're out. I mean .. you hit "X", find your name, and the name of the player that knocked you out, and hit OK. Once we get to the final 5-6, I have to pay them out anyway, so I have to get up and take care of that.

TD can -- use formulas to track points, be setup to print a "buy-in" receipt, all for rebuys (x per person, and until a certain level), export scores/results, allow a customizable screen, allow uploads of chip images to display, customize prizes by whole dollars (if US) or percentages.

TD cannot -- maintain a season long score (I think, I haven't really looked into it), use the remote control option from a phone, send out and maintain RSVP's, assign mystery bounties, provide a UI where people can "log in" and see everything.

Given that, if you use TD and export your results (which can also be flexible in the fields you export), and upload that into an app that uses some free database, you could do a lot of your tracking and maintenance there (and give the players access to that, and have them see their points/stats and such).

My process after poker night is to export the results (in .csv format). I open those, and then open my existing points calc spreadsheet. I copy the results into my monthly tab, it calculates the points, and then I manually copy those into the main sheet that has all scores. I could probably do a vLookup and such, but that's above my excel knowledge. Once I do that, I upload that to google docs (for a google account I created just for poker), and share the doc. I send out the link to my group. It takes about 15-20 minutes to do it, so it's not that big of a deal. I'd love to just do an export/import into an app and be done, but considering it takes about 3-4 hours of my year .. I'll be ok.
 
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Really, the only thing I need out of The Tournament Directory would be the "remote control". I'd love to be able to bust people out from my phone. Even with that though, if I have to do a rebuy, I need to get up and get them chips anyway, so that doesn't save me much. With my game now, I'd say a good 30% of the players know how to bust themselves out of the tournament, and just do it when they're out. I mean .. you hit "X", find your name, and the name of the player that knocked you out, and hit OK. Once we get to the final 5-6, I have to pay them out anyway, so I have to get up and take care of that.

TD can -- use formulas to track points, be setup to print a "buy-in" receipt, all for rebuys (x per person, and until a certain level), export scores/results, allow a customizable screen, allow uploads of chip images to display, customize prizes by whole dollars (if US) or percentages.

TD cannot -- maintain a season long score (I think, I haven't really looked into it), use the remote control option from a phone, send out and maintain RSVP's, assign mystery bounties, provide a UI where people can "log in" and see everything.

Given that, if you use TD and export your results (which can also be flexible in the fields you export), and upload that into an app that uses some free database, you could do a lot of your tracking and maintenance there (and give the players access to that, and have them see their points/stats and such).

My process after poker night is to export the results (in .csv format). I open those, and then open my existing points calc spreadsheet. I copy the results into my monthly tab, it calculates the points, and then I manually copy those into the main sheet that has all scores. I could probably do a vLookup and such, but that's above my excel knowledge. Once I do that, I upload that to google docs (for a google account I created just for poker), and share the doc. I send out the link to my group. It takes about 15-20 minutes to do it, so it's not that big of a deal. I'd love to just do an export/import into an app and be done, but considering it takes about 3-4 hours of my year .. I'll be ok.
Just FYI - TD does allow for a season long score. You need to set it up with a league and a season.

I've got 8 years of data, all assigned out by years of my league.
 
Just FYI - TD does allow for a season long score. You need to set it up with a league and a season.

I've got 8 years of data, all assigned out by years of my league.
I still have to export and put into a spreadsheet. I assign an additional 100 points for each bounty won throughout the season. Also, the formula I use, when entered into TD does not produce the same result as it does when plugged into excel. They're close, but not the same. I will definitely look into this next time I have a free moment (which, at my current pace ... is September)
 
I still have to export and put into a spreadsheet. I assign an additional 100 points for each bounty won throughout the season. Also, the formula I use, when entered into TD does not produce the same result as it does when plugged into excel. They're close, but not the same. I will definitely look into this next time I have a free moment (which, at my current pace ... is September)
I do the same, I use an excel template that has the formulas built in so it's a quick copy and paste to spit out the tournament of champions starting stacks.
 
Really, the only thing I need out of The Tournament Directory would be the "remote control". I'd love to be able to bust people out from my phone. Even with that though, if I have to do a rebuy, I need to get up and get them chips anyway, so that doesn't save me much. With my game now, I'd say a good 30% of the players know how to bust themselves out of the tournament, and just do it when they're out. I mean .. you hit "X", find your name, and the name of the player that knocked you out, and hit OK. Once we get to the final 5-6, I have to pay them out anyway, so I have to get up and take care of that.
I previously used a free app called Splashtop to mirror my pc to my phone, but it wasn't optimal due to screen size. I recently discovered that I can do the same on my fire tablet, works great on there and with that i can do anything i need to without leaving my seat. The only issue is i still have to get chips anyway for rebuys so at that point it's normally easier to just do it on the computer next to where the chips are anyway.

The other thing I like about tournament director is that though it's wonky to figure out, the display options are very customizable if you know what you're doing and at this point i've already made a bunch of different layouts for different types of tournaments etc. So i would be hard pressed to ever go away from it with the work i've already invested and a google sheet covers the rest of my needs when it comes to tracking yearly standings.
 
I previously used a free app called Splashtop to mirror my pc to my phone, but it wasn't optimal due to screen size. I recently discovered that I can do the same on my fire tablet, works great on there and with that i can do anything i need to without leaving my seat. The only issue is i still have to get chips anyway for rebuys so at that point it's normally easier to just do it on the computer next to where the chips are anyway.

The other thing I like about tournament director is that though it's wonky to figure out, the display options are very customizable if you know what you're doing and at this point i've already made a bunch of different layouts for different types of tournaments etc. So i would be hard pressed to ever go away from it with the work i've already invested and a google sheet covers the rest of my needs when it comes to tracking yearly standings.
I really need to make some layouts. I just need some of that free time I hear rumors of
 
We use blind valet and we are quite happy with it.
We control it from a phone app and it's mirrored on 2/3 TV screen/tablet.
Design is nice and it's plenty of features to personalize the tournament or the league.
Only thing missing is a poll for determinate which day most of the players are available to play. (We use for that xoyondo).
 
I think I need to take a longer look at TD. I always knew it had a lot of capabilities but I've never used it for anything other than the blind timer since I don't really have time to learn how to use it and set everything up. But it's starting to sound like it might be worth the effort.
 
I’ve been using Tournament Director for years and despite the lack of a recent update, I’m still happy with it. I used to use TeamViewer with it to do remote bust-outs but found it more trouble than it was worth. I now run a league too but do most of the tracking offline via spreadsheets. I’d ideally like an updated version of TD with a simple remote app feature, something with a few buttons to control the clock and do bust-outs. I’d pay a small yearly subscription for that, maybe $20-$30. Beyond that, I’d live with what I have.
 
I’ve been using Tournament Director for years and despite the lack of a recent update, I’m still happy with it. I used to use TeamViewer with it to do remote bust-outs but found it more trouble than it was worth. I now run a league too but do most of the tracking offline via spreadsheets. I’d ideally like an updated version of TD with a simple remote app feature, something with a few buttons to control the clock and do bust-outs. I’d pay a small yearly subscription for that, maybe $20-$30. Beyond that, I’d live with what I have.
Yeah, the ideal would be a simple app to go with TD with just a few buttons like you say, but it's not really designed to play nice with a remote solution from what I can tell as a developer.
 
I think there is probably a lack of a viable market. BlindsUp on apple started off great, then the dev disappeared for a while, then came back to try again. I don't think he had the customer base to support the platform.

There are plenty of home hosts where a stop watch and a white board is all they need.

I'd love to see and end all be all app, but I'm not going to hold my breath.
I downloaded the APK last night and installed the newest version, which is now 5.0. It seems to be getting regular updates as of late. This works well for my single table events and even two tables and can be installed on a PC if you know how to install the Android Sub System on Windows, or better yet you can install BlueStacks and install it that way.

They recently added some automated seating options but I haven't figured out how to use it. I think you need to subscribe to add more than 6 players and keep track of stuff, which I'm not willing to do. I'm happy using the free mode.
 
Yeah, the ideal would be a simple app to go with TD with just a few buttons like you say, but it's not really designed to play nice with a remote solution from what I can tell as a developer.

C'mon, it can't be that hard for someone to figure out...

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;)
 
I only run tournaments (not a league) and am happy enough with Tournament Director.
I only need it to keep the database of players, be a timer and recalculate prizes when players rebuy
I've used it enough to make several layouts
There hasn't been a new version since 2020 and probably won't be, but Corey did respond to some questions
I sent him a couple of months ago.

Certainly an app that did all that and had invite/rsvp capability would be a step up
 
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