How to Run Your Own Poker Tournament

Thursday, July 26 2012

By Chip Leatherby

This article should give you the basic info on how to run a poker tournament. Running your own tournament can be a fantastically exciting and rewarding exercise whether it be with a small group of friends or a charity event. The first things you need are players for your own poker tournament. Ideally you would have between 6 and 10 players but you could go as low as 4 if people are busy. Aside from players you need some equipment... That being a table that is big enough to fit the required number of players (and chairs).

Now to the specialist equipment :-

Essential to run a poker tournament is

Cards (preferably two decks with different patterns on them to eliminate confusion.)
Poker Chips (You could use buttons or matches but you'd lose the Vegas look!)

Optional when running a poker tournament

Card Shuffler (Something for the player with bling.)
Dealer Button - A button that moves around the table indicating who the dealer is.
Felt table cloth - Let the cards glide across the table like you're in the Bellagio

Got All the Kit - What Now?

When people have arrived and have found a seat at the table you can begin the game. Between your guests you may have decided what the buy-in for the tournament is. A private tournament in your home differs from an online poker room or a bricks and mortar casino. This is because you don't take what is known as a rake from every hand. The casino's etc skims a small amount off each hand so that the house never loses. I will assume for the purposes of this article that you aren't planning on opening an illegal gambling den.

So decide on you buy-in amount and decide at the start if you allow re-buys. This means a player who is knocked out may buy back in for x amount of chips. Another decision to make at the start to avoid arguments is how the pot is split. Is it winner takes all or second place takes double their stake and third their stake. These are your decisions but my advice is that you make this clear at the start as you don't want to lose friends over a game of poker. Let's face it you don't have to go too far back in time when many a body was dragged from a saloon in Dodge City over a card quarrel.

Once everyone has paid their buying hand the players their chips. In these tournaments everyone starts with the same amount of chips in equal denominations. So for example, if each player is given a total of 150 chips. This could be divided as 5 black (worth 10 chips each), 10 white (5), 15 Blue (2) and 20 red (1)

Chip colours can vary from set to set so don't feel worried if yours has different chip colours. You don't have to stick with this but as a guide it's a standard breakdown of chips.

If you are holding a poker tournament we will assume that you understand how the game works. A consideration to make is how you decide when you raise the blinds. Here are a few methods:-
Time - set your watch for a blinds raise every 10, 15 or 20 minutes the choice is yours.

Every time a player is knocked out (this can take a while in a slow paced game)

Every time the dealer button goes full circle. This is great until there are two players! That is essentially what is required from you to run a poker tournament. I would strongly recommend getting snacks and beverages as well or ask your friends to bring some though be warned if you play often with a group of friends as I do, one pattern sticks out. The person who is not drinking because they have to drive often walks home with the winnings..Think on and enjoy playing in your own poker tournament.

Chip leatherby is the main author for [] With years of experience with poker, Chip has now decided to share his knowledge to help people of all skill levels with their game. Chip's unique tips and tournament reviews can be viewed anytime at Poker Shark.

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