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If you're planning on hosting a home Sit 'n Go one idea is to have a side table that offers a cash game. That way those who bust out in the main tournament have somewhere to play while the players left in battle it out.
While the World Series of Poker uses a freeze-out structure that eliminates players once they bust, in our experience a rebuy structure is better for home games.
Giving players the option to buy back in when they lose all their chips makes things more exciting. You'll find that players take bigger risks when they know buy-ins are allowed.
Helping to keep the action playing out for longer. You should also consider the winning structure too. Will one player take the entire pot?
Or will you have first, second and third place prizes? Both work fine for a home tourney but having more than one pot can fire players up.
And offer a bigger incentive to bring your best game. When setting the blind structure for your tournament keep in mind that you're playing at home, not in a high stakes casino.
Blinds of more than a 2x jump can be a little too big for a home poker game. So try to keep the levels beneath this around 1.
Or you might find very few players are ballsy enough to call or raise. If you do want a quick play tournament you can always make the levels shorter.
This will speed the pace along, but not at a blind rate that feels too intimidating. You can also estimate how long your tournament will last by taking into account the structure and amount of players.
For example, ending the tournament when just two players are left with 10 big blinds each. It's a good idea to keep the blind levels even and if possible try not to skip levels too often.
While you don't want the tournament to endlessly drag on, at the same time, you want to have weight to it. Around three levels is a good length of time to keep your tournament moving.
But if you did want it to last a little longer adding a fourth level extends the action. When it comes to blind structures, there isn't a one-size-fits-all formula.
Use your instincts, and remember that the structure you choose influences how long your tournament lasts. If you're not sure about setting your own blinds, or just want a bit of guidance, here are three starting structures we suggest.
A blank blind schedule for you to fill in as you please. Print it out and pass them round at your home game so that everyone's on the same page.
A good entry-level blind structure for first time tourney holders. Blinds are smaller to accommodate players just learning the ropes. A mid-level structure with slightly increased blinds.
Perfect for tournaments where skill varies from player to player. When it comes to deciding how many chips to dish out to each player, a chip set is usually a good number for a home tournament.
If you want each player to have a bigger stack of chips which has the upside of needing to change up chips for change less frequently then deal out a larger number of smaller value chips.
Otherwise, you can get away with using fewer chips per player, if you add in some higher denomination ones to each buy-in stack.
We go into more specifics about the science behind chip distribution in our ultimate guide to poker chips. Once you've got your card room set up and your chips shared out now comes the action.
But, with every home poker tournament no matter how relaxed the crowd it still pays to make sure everyone is aware of appropriate tournament etiquette, and any rules, before kicking things off.
When we use the word etiquette in poker terms, we're not talking about being prim and proper. By poker etiquette, we mean things that are generally acceptable and not acceptable in a Texas Hold'em hand or tournament.
Most players who put themselves forward for a home tournament will be up to speed with appropriate tableside etiquette. But it never hurts to lay down a few ground rules upfront so every player knows where they stand.
This wouldn't fly in a land-based casino so don't stand for it during a home tournament either. Make it clear that when you're in a hand all cells should be switched off.
And if you do need to take a call, wait until the round's finished then exit to another room. While acting when it's not your turn can sometimes be an honest mistake albeit a pretty amateur one for others it's a deliberate ploy to influence another player's thought process.
Either way, it's bad form, so make it clear that any out of turn action will be made to stand. Poker etiquette even extends to how you discard your cards at a game's end, or when you fold.
Generally speaking, it's considered poor behavior to discard cards away from the muck, or by throwing them towards the dealer or chip stack.
And don't pelt your cards forward full-force either. A gentle throw will go a long way to getting you in the dealer's good graces. You should keep your chips in neatly organized stacks in front of you.
Which helps to keep the rounds of betting fast, especially when it's your turn to act. Also, know the denominations, don't throw them so they splash the others about, and don't deliberately use them to obstruct another player's line of view.
With poker etiquette, it's more a case of checking your behavior to make sure you don't do anything to rub a fellow player up the wrong way.
But likewise practicing proper poker etiquette comes down to good sportsmanship too. So make the night easier for everyone and be a good sport, and if you have to throw your toys out of the pram, don't throw your chips or cards as well.
As well as making sure every player is up to speed with etiquette, establishing any tournament rules is another thing to get out of the way early on.
Make sure the rules of your game are clear. And confirm that all players understand before the action begins. That way no one can claim ignorance if something doesn't go their way, or they act out of turn.
Here are some rules you might want to consider introducing the next time you hold a Texas Hold'em tournament at home.
The tournament's prize structure, including the pot sizes for players who place a winning spot, should be laid out in plain view for all to see.
The tournament buy-in amount should also be clearly advertised. Players should be aware of the buy-in before signing up. But if you're allowing rebuys we recommend this make sure you specify up to what point in the tournament rebuys are accepted, and the number of buy-ins allowed in one sitting.
The question every tournament player will want to be answered, the rules about how you win should be clearly outlined in writing.
And verbally communicated in the presence of all players taking part. Freeze-out tourneys simply end with the last player standing but when rebuys are allowed it's important to establish at what point the winners will be judged.
Make it clear that when the blinds timer sounds, the next blind level kicks in, and the timer resets again. Also, make sure you allow for breaks in the action.
So players can grab a smoke, crack open another beer and take a 5-minute breather at regular intervals. Everyone playing should know when the next scheduled break is coming up.
These are just some basic rules to get you started and give your tournament structure. But if you want to get even more advanced you can also add in rules around late entry, early cash-outs, seating and rotating play.
All of which will help give your home game a more professional tournament feel. Want to advance your game even further?
If you really want to turn your home tournament into a legendary poker event to remember, here are a few more tips and tricks for a winning formula.
The key to tournaments is to sit tight and try and get through to the later hands with as many chips in your stack as possible.
Playing tight during the first few rounds, and upping to a more aggressive style, further along, is a great strategy to keep you strong into the later tournament levels.
If you're one of the few remaining players to make it to the final hurdle you may be approached by another player looking to strike a deal to split the pot.
Deals are all well and good but just make sure it's you that's in the driving seat. So keep your wits about you and if you smell a rat just cut them down to size.
Once you approach the end of a tournament you find yourself in what poker pros call the bubble. It's this close proximity to victory that can cause some players to slip up as the stress piles on.
So keep calm, hold your nerve, and make sure you're not one of the unlucky players to burst your bubble and go bust just before you're about to walk away a winner.
Even if you're experienced in tournaments, the process of playing several rounds back to back, over a few solid hours, can still take its toll. But likewise, if you're popping your tournament cherry for the first time, home games are a great way to hone your skills, without putting too much on the line.
So enjoy the experience, and if you bust out, don't beat yourself up. In tourneys, there's always going to be winners and losers.
Just think of every hand as helping to shape you into a savvier player. Your players will appreciate it, and it will also give you something to tuck into and chew on:.
Chowhound's recipe takes just an hour and a half to prepare and makes 16 fully loaded skins that go perfectly with a generous dollop of sour cream. Who doesn't love a big bowl of piping hot chili?
Make a big helping in advance then serve with tortilla chips, salsa and guac for the perfect poker chow. Complete with blue cheese dipping sauce.
In a home tournament, it's generally considered ok to kick back a little more than you would do at an official professional game.
So, to wash everything down, have a few cold brewskies to hand, as well as some hard liquor. Plus a little water on the side to aid concentration and refresh everyone's palette.
And don't forget to offer something softer for the designated drivers too. Of course, if you and your poker pals are also used to playing games virtually online.
Either in live dealer casinos or just against a random number generator. You might be interested to know there are some online software and apps that can also help you to organize your offline games too.
If you don't mind paying, The Tournament Director is a downloadable package that helps you run home poker games. It takes the work out of setting blinds and structures so you can enjoy the night as much as your fellow players.
It's available for free trial for 30 days. Finally, the Poker Tournament Manager includes a poker clock timer, plus support in setting buy-in limits, rebuys, distributing chips and antes.
Plus it automatically calculates payouts and can even be used to assign seats in a tournament too. It's available at a one-off cost. Of course, these three aren't the only software providers offering a way to keep tabs on home poker tourneys and help with the admin side of things.
In the internet is crawling with tons of packages, as well as apps for cellphone and tablet. All perfect for helping you organize and run a home poker game with a professional approach.
So read some reviews, work out what it is you need, and always take the software for a spin before committing your cash. So we've set you up with all the tools you need to get a successful home poker tournament off the ground.
Now, it's over to you. Get the kit, find the players, and set the date already. Time's a wasting.
And when you do host your first home tournament don't forget to tell our forum members all about it. As much as we know poker, our forum is tipping over with total poker heads who live, breathe and sleep the game.
In fact, you might even pick up some willing players out of it. So don't hold back. Sign up, jump in and share your poker experience with us online.
Remember Me? Forgot Password? Hosting the perfect Poker game at home. The secrets of an awesome home poker game explained. Get Your Guide!
Before You Start. Playing Poker. Before You Start Before you can even begin to think about inviting people over for a poker night, you need to wind back a few steps and cover off the basics.
Picking Your Variation Unless you're a fish in which case you probably shouldn't be hosting a home poker tournament you know there's more than one way to play poker in Texas Hold'em.
Seven-Card Stud. Players So, now we've decided on our poker style, it's time to think about who to invite into the game.
Cards playing surface chairs poker chips timer location to play. Frequent Players If you're looking to upgrade your starter deck these waterproof and crease-resistant Texas Hold'em cards from Iron Jia's will do nicely.
Frequent Players A great middle ground, this Da Vinci chip poker set comes with Picking a Playing Location. Stakes Setting stakes in a home poker tournament boils down to how many players you have and how quickly each hand will play out.
Structure While the World Series of Poker uses a freeze-out structure that eliminates players once they bust, in our experience a rebuy structure is better for home games.
Setting The Blinds When setting the blind structure for your tournament keep in mind that you're playing at home, not in a high stakes casino.
Small Blind Big Blind Ante 25 50 - 50 - 75 - 25 25 50 75 Create-Your-Own Blind Schedule. On the other hand, if you're hosting a Texas Hold'em only night, you should aim for players.
No matter what kind of poker night you've decided to have, you should make it clear how much money your friends should bring to play, or "buy in" to the game with.
A good way to set the buy-in for a new game is to choose an amount that you would spend on a night out. The other thing to consider is what the stakes, or the betting structure, will be.
Will it be a spread-limit, fixed-limit, or no limit game? How much will the minimum and maximum bets be? Once you know the answers, decide on a day and time and deal out the invitations.
Before your big home poker game, you need to make sure you have all the supplies to play—and having some food and drink on hand is always appreciated.
Essential Poker Supplies. Strongly Recommended Poker Supplies. All that's left now is to put on some good music and wait for your friends to show up—then get the cards in the air and have a good time.