Hosting a Tournament
So, after amassing a bit of skill with Holdem and building a solid group of playing friends, you decide you want to host your own tournament. Well, here are a few tips I’ve picked up over time to help make the whole production easier.
Before beginning a night of poker with friends, it’s always nice to pop open a few freshly bought decks of cards to play with. As a personal preference I enjoy playing with Bees the most, as they are well made, easy to shuffle, and generally get the job done.
Collect the Stuff
Usually one red deck and one blue deck keep things more manageable, so that mixing cards won’t happen. Of course, the nicer the chips you can get, the better. Heavy clay chips have a powerful feeling, let you perform tricks more easily, and also provide that professional atmosphere. The same goes for the table. Simple fold out table’s work fine, but If you have the choice, always go with the roomier one (no one likes bumping elbows with your partners while playing).
Make sure you know how many people are coming, and what you’re going to need to accommodate for them. It’s always nice to have a few good playing surfaces near each other and ready to go once the people start arriving. As a good rule of thumb, each table should provide for at least 6 people fairly easily to make sure that playing is fun and comfortable. Of course, make sure you have enough cards and chips, or that someone is bringing them over. The most important thing to remember, of course, is the snacks. Nothing beats taking the occasional break to munch on some Chex Mix or pizza.
Setting up the Rules
I find that when I don’t set down a solid set of rules before the game, some sort of controversy will arise later. Make sure your position is clear on re-raising, side-pots, blinds, buy-ins, betting limits, cashing out (or leaving early), and winners amounts. With this set, no one will end up upset or angry because they thought a different rule was in effect.
Over time I have come to prefer a certain set up for the basic rules. I allow re-raising for one round to keep the betting at a sufficient amount, but prevent it from going around the table a crazy amount of times. I usually prefer side-pots to be based on agreement, so that all players must agree to start one before it’s allowed. The blinds are always set to be 2 to the left of the dealer, and will double or raise a certain amount for each player that leaves.
This is usually based on the size of the game, with more players it is raised a certain amount, with less it just doubles. Setting up the betting limits is fairly obvious, you can choose a pre-flop amount and post-flop, or just play a pure no-limit game. For larger tournaments I like using no-limit more often, though this is more of a preference. As far as leaving early, I will let someone take back their original cash in amount if they are? in chips from their original amount, though depending how deep into the game you are can affect this decision. Once again, it’s all personal preference.
I find that letting other players choose some of the rules, such as buy in, winning and blind amounts keeps everyone happy. Though it’s always fun to be the all powerful dictator poker master when you have it at your house, just remember what you would want if you were at someone else’s houses, too.