Hosting a Poker Game or Tournament at Home: Calculating the Poker Chips, Blinds, Time and Number of Players
The biggest mistake that home hosts of poker games make is not planning their games well enough. Having a posted set of rules can help to keep things calm during a dispute and knowing how the chips will be distributed saves time and aggravation when guests arrive. Blinds can be calculated to make the game last for an approximate amount of time, helping to avoid boredom with a long, arduous game.
The best way to avoid possible confrontation is to clearly post all rules. Create a list of common rules, such as winning hand progression, how pots are split, if there is a time limit per turn and who keeps the time, and other rules that might be questioned during play. Clearly posting these rules allows each player to view them and know what is expected early on which will minimize confusion later.
Distribution of Chips
If there will be a set number of chips and they are going to be distributed evenly amongst the players, determining approximately how many players are going to be in the game and calculating how many of each chip the players will be getting will save time and confusion later.
To do this the host will add up the number of chips that he has for each denomination and divide each by the number of players to see how many chips of each denomination each player should get. If he does not have a firm confirmation of the number of players, it is best to calculate out a few scenarios and write them down to refer to later. So if the host is expecting between eight to ten players, he could divide the number of chips in each denomination by eight, nine, and ten, writing down his results. When the guests arrive and the number is confirmed, he will then simply refer to his notes for the appropriate number of players.
Blinds can be calculated out to help keep the game limited to an approximate time. In theory, if a game has 15 levels of blinds, the game should last between three and four hours with blinds going up every 15 minutes. If blinds are set to go up every 20 minutes, the play can last approximately five or six hours.
To calculate how much the blinds should be, the total amount of chips that will be issued to each person should be equal to the amount of the final big blind. So if each player is to receive 2,000 in chips, the final big blind would be 2,000. The little blind is always half of the amount of the big blind. So the final blind in this game would be 1,000/2,000.
To determine the first blind, the total number of starting chips should be divided by either 50 or 100. If there are players that are new to the game, starting the blinds off lower is beneficial. This allows newer players to get to learn the game without risking too much, easing them into the play. So in this example, 2,000 starting chips divided by 100 equals a starting big blind of 20. So the first blind would be 10/20.
Once the first and last blinds are calculated, the others can be distributed fairly evenly in 13 levels for a total of 15 steps/levels in all. So for this example a 10/20 blind would then step up to a 15/30 blind then to a 20/40 blind, increasing incrementally until there are 15 levels of blinds in all, ending with the 1,000/2,000 blind.
Remembering to allow time for occasional breaks in game play for people to get up and stretch their legs will be appreciated by your guests. Poker tournaments can be long and a host that remembers that everyone is there to have fun will be most successful.