Blind Structures for Home Poker Tournaments

World's Most Handsome DealerWhen choosing or creating a blind structure for your home game tournament, you're looking for a little balance - you don't want the tournament to run into the wee hours of the morning, or beyond, but you want to give your players the opportunity to play some poker.  If every hand is "All In" or fold after the first hour of play, your guests aren't likely to be excited to come back to the next game.  They want to enjoy themselves, and to play some poker - the better players want to diminish the luck factor as much as they can, and the new players want to give lady luck a little chance to breath, and the little lady at home some space to watch The Bachelor.

Recently the brilliant minds at Chicago Poker Club have had a debate on how to best structure an event.  The home game in question was attended by 29 players, more than have of whom were very occasional players, a couple of whom play two to three times a year in this particular home game.  The other half of the field consisted of players who play 1-3  times per week, or have played 1-3 times a week at some point in the last couple of years.  I'm oversimplifying a bit.

The structure featured 30 minute levels for the first two hours, and then 20 minute levels thereafter.  In general the blinds did not double, but increased by 50-80% per level, depending on the denominations.

There were two schools of thought.

  1. I contend that the structure is upside down - the levels should be shorter at the beginning of the event, narrowing the field a little more quickly, and injecting a little more luck early on.  For players who were eliminated early, the more experienced players would like get a cash game going, and the less experienced players would either join the game (hooray for dead money!) or would decide they had spent their entertainment budget and move on... getting to enjoy the rest of their evening. 

    This would leave more time in the later levels to increase the time to 30 minutes.  When the field is thinner and the money is on the line, there would be more play in the structure.
  2. Mr. F feels differently.  He suggests that a good deal of the players were non-regulars, and that they just came to have a good time.  The longer the levels are up front, the more play they will get, the more the intent of the evening is served (fun versus intense competition) and also the more likely they are to come to the next event.  He contends that the structure should allow the early levels to stay longer, to squeeze the middle levels of the tournament, and then potential roll back the blinds a level or two at the final table (remember that the final table is 1/3 of the field).

What do you think?  What do you prefer?  Continue the conversation on the forum..

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