Home Poker Tournaments

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Home Poker Tournaments


If you've seen a poker tournament on television, you know how much fun they can be. You may have decided that you would like to hold a poker tournament at home. Home poker tournaments are a great way to spend an evening and are relatively easy to set up. Here's what you need to know about home poker tournaments.

Decide the Stakes:

In most states, having a poker tournament is legal, providing no one running the game makes a profit from the game. This means no entry fee, although asking people to throw in for drinks and snacks is probably okay. Still, you should check your local laws on playing poker at home just to be sure, as they may vary. If you decide to play for money, rather than glory or prizes, set an amount that everyone can live with. You don't need a very big prize pool to have a hotly contested poker tournament. Keep in mind you may want to try and have two or three tournaments in a night, so adjust the buy in accordingly. Traditionally prizes are awarded so that first place gets half the pool, second place gets around half of that, and third place gets their entry back, although you can adjust this to whatever your players are comfortable with.

Decide the Structure:

Figure out how many chips you will give to each player, how big the blinds will be to start, and how and how often they will increase. You should try to give out at least 20 times the amount of the starting blinds in chips, and can often give out more. Too few chips relative to the blinds doesn't allow for very creative play, and too many chips makes the game go on too long. The same idea holds for the round times. Rounds for home poker tournaments between 15 and 30 minutes long are usually pretty good. 5 minute rounds and people will be forced to just go all in every hand, and two-hour rounds and your game will never end. The fewer people that are in your tournament, the more chips and longer round times you can have. A good sample structure for a 30-person tournament might be blinds starting at $25 to $50, doubling every 20 minutes, with $5,000 in starting chips.

Entertain the Bust-outs:

If your tournament lasts three hours, the guy who went all in with aces on the first hand and got them cracked is not going to be too happy. Realize that as your tournament goes on, more and more people will be left with nothing to do. Make sure there is entertainment for the people waiting for the next tournament to start up, whether by setting up a cash game or a consolation tournament, or having other games, television, or music handy.

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