Home game: Poker Tournament

Home game tournaments are a little more complex to organize than cash games. First of all you obviously have to pick appropriate stakes(this is actually easier than in cash games). Second, you have to set the blind structure. Third, you have to decide on prize distribution. Fourth, you have to run the tournament. Now, how do you do these things:

1.Deciding on stakes is easy, just ask around before hand how much people are willing to invest and set the buy in at an appropriate amount. Since the amount of money involved doesn't change over time(if you don't have rebuys) like in cash games, this shouldn't be too hard of a task.

2.How you set the blind structure is totally up to you. You have to decide what blind levels there are going to be and how long they are going to last. This totally depends on you, and what you want. If you want a quick gamble, set the blinds high(relative to the starting stack) and make them short... but if you want some nice deep play set long blind levels and small blinds relative to the stack size. For your convenience I've set three blind structures that you can use for 2-10 players:

Turbo(30-60min of play):

Starting stack: 1500 chips

Blind levels last 5min

Blind levels:

1.level: 25/50

2.level: 50/100

3.level: 75/150

4.level: 100/200

5.level: 200/400

6.level: 500/1000

Fast(60-120min of play):

Starting stack: 1500 chips

Blind levels last 15min

Blind levels:

1.level: 10/20

2.level: 20/50

3.level: 50/100

4.level: 75/150

5.level: 100/200

6.level; 200/400

7.level: 400/800

Deep(4hours+ of play):

Starting stack: 2000 chips

Blind levels last 20-30min

Blind levels:

1.level: 10/20

2.level: 20/40

3.level: 40/80

4.level: 50/100

5.level: 60/120

6.level: 80/160

7.level: 100/200

8.level: 150/300

9.level: 200/400

3.Like the blind structure, the prize structure is totally up to you as well. There are a couple of thing you should consider while forming your own payout structure:

-Number of players

-Amount of prize money

-Play time

What I'm trying to say is that if there are more people playing there should be more paid places, if there is little money in the prize pool there should be less paid places, if the tournament last longer there should be more paid places(so players don't feel like they wasted a bunch of time). Again, it's up to you to find a balance that suits your needs, but to help you a little here are some »standard« payouts relative to the number of players playing:

2-4 players = Winner takes all!

5-7 players = 2nd gets his money back, 1st takes the rest

8-10 players = 1st: 50%, 2nd: 30%, 3rd: 20%(flatter structure) or
1st: 65%, 2nd: 25%, 3rd: 10%(top heavy structure)

4. Running a tournament can be pretty hard, but thankfully there are gadgets and apps out there that can help. The beginning shouldn't be a problem, just collect the buy ins and distribute the chips(be careful to put enough small denomination chips in play so that people can easily pay blinds). Later on, when the blinds get bigger, you can also exchange some small denomination chips for larger ones so that collecting pots won't be such a mess every time. Now, the one thing where problems usually arise is keeping track of blind levels. Here are links to some helpful apps and gadgets that will make tracking blind levels easy as pie:

That's it! All the magic you need to organize a nice home game tournament. The only thing left is to call your friends and start playing!


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