How To Host Your Own Home Tournament

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I began hosting my own poker tournaments at a very young age. I would have a tournament every Monday night (with Monday night football on in the background) at my house. The buy-in was just $5.

At first we'd get a turnout of just 10-15 "regulars". After a few months we started getting 20 players. then 30. and then MORE.

The buy-ins grew.

Soon we had to move the tournament to Sundays at 4 P.M., because each one was lasting so long and we needed more time.

And it just kept growing. and the stakes kept getting higher...

At that point, I was living in a two-story house. Before I knew it, I had three poker tables in the basement and one table in each room. including the kitchen. The place looked like a fraternity house combined with a casino. It was crazy.

But then. after many happy and successful years. it finally got out of hand. Strangers were showing up from other towns. Players were cheating. Fights broke out. Neighbors kept complaining. And the stakes were getting too high.

The last game I hosted had 70 players show up. People were STANDING at the tables while they played, because there weren't enough chairs, seats, and flat surfaces to sit on.

I decided enough was enough. The card game was moved to a nearby country club, where it still goes on today. hosted by some friends of mine.

Of course, I still remember those home poker tournaments like they were yesterday. Because that's where I got my poker education and built my original bankroll. starting all the way from measly $5 buy-in games.

I got to meet and know a wide range of players of all ages. I made countless "poker friends" to travel to tournaments and casinos with. and I learned the game inside and out.

So that's what this bonus report is about: how to successfully host your own home poker tournament. Hosting your own game can be an extremely valuable way to improve your skills quickly while meeting fellow poker enthusiasts. And it's a great way to make money (or lose it). OK. let's get started. GETTING STARTED

The first step to hosting your own tournament is figuring out WHERE you're going to have it. If you're on a "shoestring budget", the kitchen table (or counter) will probably be your location of choice. You can buy fold-out poker table tops for pretty cheap. and then upgrade to a real poker table as soon as you build your winnings.

You'll want to buy poker CHIPS before investing in a table. Nice poker chips can dramatically improve the "feel" of the game. Even just the SOUND of chips clanking together makes for a better "poker atmosphere".

Plus, real chips will allow you and your friends to learn chip tricks, which makes things more fun and entertaining.

As for the cards, pretty much any regular playing deck will do. If you don't have a real dealer button, just use a random household item. I've used everything from half-dollar coins to blank CDs to duct tape.

You can also easily create your own "cut card" that goes on the bottom of the deck. This is used so that people can't see the bottom card when someone shuffles. Basically, all you have to do is tape the two Jokers together. Make it so they face each other. The result is a "card" that's double the thickness of the rest of the cards, which is perfect for using as the cut card.


Choose a buy-in amount that makes sense. $20 is a pretty common buy-in level for many poker games, since most people can fork out twenty bucks for multiple hours of entertainment.

If you'd like to "up the stakes"-- without making the buy-in too high-- just make it a tournament that allows re-buys. That will increase the final purse considerably. And no one will go home wondering how they're going to pay for next month's rent.


I like to start everyone off with $1,000 in chips. This number is high enough to have multiple chip denominations. but low enough to not get confusing. But of course, it's up to you.

Count out the chips BEFORE everyone gets to your house. and consider putting each set into a Ziploc baggy. This is a common-sense way to prevent cheating.

Here's one way to break up the chips:

1 green $500 chip

2 black $100 chips 8 white $25 chips 5 blue $10 chips 10 red $5 chips

Of course, the exact colors and combinations don't matter.

The one thing that DOES matter is that you keep your chip starting amounts and your colors the SAME from game to game. That way players who frequently attend your tournaments don't get confused.

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