Tourney Tourney for beginners... blind structure help/advice (1 Viewer)


Nov 9, 2014
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Hi everyone! I tried searching for an existing thread that addressed this type of tournament but couldn't find one. Point me in the right direction if there's one out there.
But here's the situation...

I've been asked to host a poker tournament for a family birthday/reunion event. It'll be held on an upcoming Saturday afternoon and they want it to last about 3 hours (2-5pm), so I don't have to worry about meal breaks. Here are some of the details:

-I'll be setting up two oval tables to accommodate the 20 people that will be there. I'll be dealing at one table and I've asked a friend to come along as an additional dealer.​
-Almost all of the players are complete novices with most of them having only played poker once or twice in their lives. Everyone will receive a ziplock bag that includes their starting stack, a poker hand ranking card, and their seating chip.​
-My tourney chip set supports a four table tourney with denominations from 25 - 25,0000. So I've got some flexibility with starting stacks.​
-We need to plan for a 3 hour tourney... no re-buys. I'll include a 5-minute bathroom break after every hour of play.​
-There is no entry fee. Instead, the hosting family member is sponsoring the $1000 prize pool. My plan is to pay out 4 places.​
-I'm assuming there will be LOTS of limping and sluggishly slow play given the skill level of the players.​
Any suggestions on a blind structure and length of levels that accommodates these details? I imagine the play will be frustratingly slow.
Please jump in with any other comments/suggestions that would help ensure that most people have an enjoyable time!

Considering this seems to be a super casual fame for beginners, maybe pay as many as 8 players as 250-200-150-125-100-75-50-50?

So in 3 hours I think you can reasonably expect to get 8 levels (160min) and two breaks (2*10 mins, 20m)

Hour 1: 200-400, 300-600, 400-800
Hour 2: 600-1200, 800-160, 1000-2000
Hour 3: 1500-3000, 2000-4000

So given the 20x BB rule and that you are targeting 20 entries, you probably also want your starting stack to be T4000.

You can keep this simple with two chips T100 and T500. Starting stacks of 15/5 fit nice and easy into racks. (Or stretch it to 20/4 to get a few more chips in play.)

I know it's a 10BB start, but realistically, given the time constraints, that's what you have time for.

Hope this helps,
You need a turbo-style event to finish two tables in three hours, but I don't think it needs to be as extreme as tiny 10bb starting stacks. My suggestion:

20 players, 10k stacks (T100-base 10/6/6), 100/200 opening blinds (50bb), 15-minute levels.

L1 100/200
L2 200/400
L3 300/600
L4 400/800
L5 600/1200
L6 800/1600
break, remove T100 chips (4x T5000s)
L7 1000/2000
L8 1500/3000
L9 2000/4000
break, remove T500s (12x T5000s)
L10 3000/6000
L11 4000/8000
L12 6000/12000

15-minute levels is fine for this player group; they are unlikely to make a full orbit even with 20-minute levels. And they won't notice either way.

You can even run the last three levels at 10 minutes (if pressed for time), as it will be very shorthanded at that point.

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