When to move from 1 table to 2 tables

Dodger

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Our home game has grown from a list of 6 to 14. Usually, not everyone can make it and we play with 8 or 9. Players are becoming more consistent in their attendance, and looks like we may have 12-13 for our next game.

Question - when do you make the decision on a given game night to add in a 2nd table?

We typically play cash games, but have talked about moving to a tourney format if we have two tables (with cash game to follow).

I feel like two tables of 6 would just leave us with two short-handed tables. But at the same time, 12 is just too many at one table, right?

With 13, I think that’s a clear two table layout. But, what are everyone’s thoughts on that 11-12 player range?

It’s like our home game is in its awkward teenage years - growing, changing for the better, but a little unsure of the next transition. o_O

Any and all thoughts/suggestions/advice welcome.
 

Rhodeman77

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I’d rather want them begging to get in than have a less than ideal game.

Stay one table. Maybe add a second night for the players that didn’t get in on occasion.

I played in a one table cash game that all the players from the previous week got first right to the seat for that week. There were stretches that the same people played 4 or 5 weeks in a row because they didn’t want to lose their seat.

While I love and prefer a short handed game, most people don’t. Starting short, them combing and being full late is annoying.

Often the bigger winners will use that time as an excuse to leave and lock up their wins.
 
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NittyByNature

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Looking forward to hearing others thoughts on this. Tough number of players to make work. In the past my group will do 2 short handed tables to start, merge once we are down to 9.
 

MrCatPants

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I’d rather want them begging to get in than have a less than ideal game.

Stay one table. Maybe add a second night for the players that didn’t get in on occasion.

I played in a one table cash game that all the players from the previous week got first right to the seat for that week. There were stretches that the same people played 4 or 5 weeks in a row because they didn’t want to lose their seat.

While I love and prefer a short handed game, most people don’t. Starting short, them combing and being full late is annoying.

Often the bigger winners will use that time as an excuse to leave and lock up their wins.
Agree with this. If you're game is not growing it's dying, cap it for now to encourage people to lock up seats early - only worry about going to two tables if you start to have a regular wait list of more than 2-3 people. Invariably people will cancel late and being at 11 or even 12 will still often end up as 10 for most games.
 

Mr Winberg

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I use 1 table up till 9, and 2 tables for 10 or more. That way I don't have to keep track of who's attending, those who show up get to play. Then again, I don't mind 5 handed games.

When we have 2 tables, my players really like us drawing for seats every hour to mix it up. I know it's not standard for cash games, but they like it so I oblige.
 

JustinInMN

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I really think you make the split at either 10 or 11. Frankly everyone should be okay with playing 5- handed in a home game. 5- handed is when I typically fire up the first game anyway.

I would suggest implementing "must move" seating as an incentive to arrive early. Say your main table (table 1) can accommodate 10 when the 11th player arrives the last 4 players to show up get moved to table 2.

Now I haven't had to do this in practice, so far the only time I have had two tables is for two different games. But it seems to me this ensures the 6 players that show up first never get moved and everyone has the opportunity to play in the "main game" based on order of arrival.
 

Rhodeman77

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I really think you make the split at either 10 or 11. Frankly everyone should be okay with playing 5- handed in a home game. 5- handed is when I typically fire up the first game anyway.

I would suggest implementing "must move" seating as an incentive to arrive early. Say your main table (table 1) can accommodate 10 when the 11th player arrives the last 4 players to show up get moved to table 2.

Now I haven't had to do this in practice, so far the only time I have had two tables is for two different games. But it seems to me this ensures the 6 players that show up first never get moved and everyone has the opportunity to play in the "main game" based on order of arrival.

I played in a game that was usually 1 table but sometimes got a second table going. He kept track of the order of arrival and the first 8 got to stay at the main table. Players 9 & 10 would be forced to move to the new table as long as there were at least 5 players for the second table.

There was always so much money on the main table there would be 8 people a 1/2 hour before the game started to make sure they were able to stay at the main table.

Since I had a baby at home I often wouldn’t be able to show until after 11 and would still have to wait over an hour to get in.

On the rare occasion that I do an open invite game (player recruitment) I have implemented the same rule.
 

DoubleEagle

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I think it is important not to shut anyone out. Keep doing that and some people will stop coming. If we have a low turnout, regardless of how many show up, they will get a seat. If we only have ten players then we will put everyone on one table. At 11 or more, we go to two tables. at 19, we go to three tables.

No one really likes playing 10-handed, but they don't like playing 5-handed either.
 

aaronroch

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What a great problem to have.
I assume your group only plays hold-em? Asking because 5 or 6-handed is perfect for many other poker games... Ive a friend in NYC that played in a game that ran up to 10 at one table for NLHE and up to 7 at another table for mixed games. It always sounded just wonderful to me.
 

surfik

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Playing 2 tables makes sense. First, the more the merrier, second we'll if someone goes play cards he expects whole evening of action. We usually played full two tables, but after some time one table played FT and second offered some cash action. This way everyone were entertained.
 

pltrgyst

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I’d rather want them begging to get in than have a less than ideal game.
Stay one table....

I agree. My home game in VA stayed one table for twenty years, and was never in danger of dying.

At the start of each weekly game, the first-come, first-served seats for the following week became available, and names were listed on the Web page. More players were added as they sent requests by email. It worked fine, and we always had a hard core of at least eight players.
 

Rhodeman77

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I’d poll the main players that play every game and ask them if they want to play 5 or 6 handed. If they are all okay with it then go to 2 tables at 11.

Also know how you are going to split. Some games would deal everyone a card and the lowest number needed to start the second table would go. Others would do it by order of arrival. That is something else to ask your core players which way they prefer.

And if the players players don’t want to play short handed you can have the 1-2 waiting for seats play some form of Chinese poker or Gin while they wait for a seat to open up.

Heads up PLO or PLO8 is good too. Occasionally I’ve won a buy-in that way before even getting into the main game.

Be creative and give your players options of things to do while they wait.
 
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RoyalBluff

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For our game, we initially considered having two tables but sticking to one for now. We need 6 players minimum to play, 9 max, and we have a dedicated dealer. The list does fill up but not to a point where we have a waiting list.

If we ever do 2 tables, we're thinking 7 players max each, since we also need to consider the size of our room.
 

Frogzilla

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Is this for holdem? I’d definitely split to two tables when 12 are there. 6 handed hold em is great. I personally even prefer 5 handed hold em to 10 handed hold em

My procedure:
-10 guys: squeeze in at single table
-11th guy: ask him to wait
-12th guy: draw for 2nd table using 6 red cards, 4 black cards
 

AH77

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My personal standards are 10 max with 8 being ideal and 6 being the minimum. I would rather play 6 handed over 11 handed any day of the week. I would start your game with 2 tables of 6-7 then consolidate the tables once some players bust and you can have a 9-10 handed game.
 

Dodger

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What a great problem to have.
I assume your group only plays hold-em? Asking because 5 or 6-handed is perfect for many other poker games... Ive a friend in NYC that played in a game that ran up to 10 at one table for NLHE and up to 7 at another table for mixed games. It always sounded just wonderful to me.

Yes, just hold’em. This group is under a year old, and we literally started with a night of teaching and explaining rules. We’re in a good rhythm now, but not sure we are ready to add in other games just yet.

...on the wish list...
 

Dodger

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I think it is important not to shut anyone out. Keep doing that and some people will stop coming. If we have a low turnout, regardless of how many show up, they will get a seat. If we only have ten players then we will put everyone on one table. At 11 or more, we go to two tables. at 19, we go to three tables.

No one really likes playing 10-handed, but they don't like playing 5-handed either.

I agree. It’s a very social game and more about drinking and giving each other shit throughout the night. I’m not about to place a limit on attendance. I’d rather work through the awkward “1 or 2 tables” question than keep people out.
 

Dodger

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Is this for holdem? I’d definitely split to two tables when 12 are there. 6 handed hold em is great. I personally even prefer 5 handed hold em to 10 handed hold em

My procedure:
-10 guys: squeeze in at single table
-11th guy: ask him to wait
-12th guy: draw for 2nd table using 6 red cards, 4 black cards

Hmmm...best suggestion yet that would fit our group I think. Although, I don’t think I’d make the 11th guy wait. Our crew is too nice and everyone would offer to be that person sitting out. Maybe a table of 5 and a table of 6 at that point....
 

Dodger

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I really think you make the split at either 10 or 11. Frankly everyone should be okay with playing 5- handed in a home game. 5- handed is when I typically fire up the first game anyway.

Yeah - leaning toward the split at 11. Just makes sense.
 

Mr Winberg

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I think you're making the right call in not excluding people or having them wait. I'd split at 10, though, cause I think 10-handed can be a bit of a drag :)
 

T_Chan

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I know a few guys who will do 1 table up to 10 max, but then keep getting the names of people who want to come and reopen the invites once 14+ is reached and open up 2 tables for 7 handed. If only 11-13 players RSVP, then then only the first 10 play.
 

Al Azouri

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I split at 13. Most of my crew hates playing short handed. (I personally like playing 6 handed). When we’re at 12 the button sits out and deals for the table. It gives him a good incentive to keep things moving along.
 

jcooper911

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play 30 minute bomb pots, rotate one person or two people in and out at each bomb pot. firstly it mixes up seats which is fun, gives people a chance to grab food, chill for a bit or talk to the wife or just take a break. I have 12 people usually come to my game, and we have a 10 handed table going for 6/7 hours as a result of having 12 attend so if somebody busts or has to go, we still have a truly solid game. simples :)
 

EclecticGloogaloo

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I consider 8-9 players to be the awkward attendance number. 2 tables of 5-6 playing mixed games is awesome, then as people go bust or leave early you can always collapse back to one table.
 

SendThatStack

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Anything over 10 people. 11 we play 5 and 6 handed. The 5 handed will often have a forced live straddle.
 
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