Find Poker Players
Here are several web sites to help you find poker players for your game. These sites will also assist you in finding poker games
in your area. You can also try posting a message in the HPT Forums
List of Home Games and Poker Leagues.
Find Poker Pal
Home Poker Tour
Plan My Poker Game
Texas Hold'em-Poker Forum
How to Promote Your Poker Tournament
Here are several suggestions to help you attract players to your poker tournament.
Guaranteed Maximum loss
One of the biggest advantages of a "tournament" style of poker is that you can guarantee
the maximum amount of money that a player can possibly lose. Make your buyin $25 with no rebuys or add-ons ... you just
guaranteed that the most money any player can possibly lose is $25. Add a couple bucks for beer and food and you've got a
cheap night out with the boys! What wife wouldn't allow that? Don't mention anything about side games!
Keep Your Buyin Low
Many people shy away from poker because they have visions of losing hundreds or thousands of
dollars in one night. The risk of losing as little as $100 in one sitting is probably enough to keep many of your co-workers and
friends from coming to your poker night. Keep your buyin low and you'll be surprised at the number of
people who will want to play. Start with a $5 buyin tournament if you must. Give each player 1000 chips and
within an hour they'll be whooping it up like they're big-time gamblers in Vegas! After a player busts out, put
that sad puppy-dog look on your face and suggest that maybe we should let the eliminated player buy back in for another $5
(and let anyone else do the same for the first hour). There you go ... you've got 'em hooked! They'll be back
for more and you can slowly increase the buyin. They won't wanna play for a measly $5 once they think that they're
pro's (about 3 tournaments later!). Now you're having fun!
Have Established Rules and Be Organized
Print a poker rule book and refer to it when you
start the tournament. You should also print a blinds schedule to hang on the wall.
The quickest way to lose players is to be unorganized or unknowledgeable of poker rules. Make an effort right from the start and you
will win over most players. If your friends/co-workers rave about how organized your tourney was ... the flood gates will open and
you will be swamped with people who are now confident enough in you to risk a little of their hard-earned money at your poker
tournament. And remember, running a poker tournament is a bit like playing poker - if you appear experienced and strong
from the very beginning, you probably won't be challenged too often. Be polite but firm.
It is important to have competent dealers at your poker tournaments because dealer errors will slow down
your game and be a huge irritant to your players and the tournament director who will be constantly called upon to make rulings.
Ask your most experienced dealers/players to deal for your first couple tournaments - other players will volunteer to deal after
they feel a little more comfortable. You can go one step further and impress them with smooth dealing styles from
What Day of the Week?
I hold my tourneys at 7pm on Wednesday evenings and try to finish up a little after midnight.
Wednesday seems to be the easiest night of the week for the guys to get away from their families and jobs. I also do some
Monday Night Football dealers choice nights and some Saturday nights tied in with boxing or some other big sporting event
on television. The important concept here is to schedule your tourneys on nights when most players will be available to play.
A usefull tool to organize players is to set up an online calendar. Google Calendar works extremely well and all your players
can input their schedule so you know when everyone is free to play.
A little background music, a soothing fan to keep the air flowing, comfortable chairs, bright
lights and twenty middle-aged, beer-bellied, belching and swearing poker players. Check out my
Poker Decor page for ideas on how to decorate your poker room.
Try to position one or more lights directly above the table pointing down at the board cards or both ends
of the poker table. Every seat at the table should be equally lit. You should also have lighting from outside the table to assist players in viewing their hole cards.
Encourage your players to wear hats and sunglasses to protect from the glare of so much light coming from so many directions.
Use Meetup or Invite Sites to Organize Your Players
You can use sites like Evite.com
or Meetifyr.com to email
and register the players in your tournament. You can easily send one email to all your prospective players and have them respond as to
whether or not they will be attending. All the invited players can view a list of people and whether or not they will be attending.
You can also join a poker table on an online casino
and play against random users. It's a great oppertunity to meet and connect with other poker players from around the world.
Start an Internet Forum Where Your Players Can Post Messages
Go to the Home Game Forums to start your own poker forum
(bulletin board). The forum is password protected so that only you and your players will be able to read or post messages. You can post
messages about your tourneys - dates and times for future games, questions about rules, directions to your house, but most importantly
... good-natured teasing about past and future poker games!
Your Tourneys Will Expand in Size (Build it and they will come!)
Even if you only start out with five to eight players for your first tourney or two, the word
will get out and your tourneys will increase in size. Once people hear that "It's just like the World Series of
Poker!" they'll be calling you to get into your game. Friends of friends will crawl out of the woodwork to join
your tourneys. The main reason for this seems to be the "guaranteed maximum loss" of a tourney structure. Many
more people seem willing to come out and play poker if they know that there is a limit to how much money they can possibly
lose. And then, of course, there's the overwhelming influence of The World Poker Tour and The World Series of
Poker ... expect the new players to wear dark sunglasses! Don't tease them... too much!