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Help Maintaining Attendance for Poker League

Discussion in 'Home Game General' started by MasterBrewer, May 16, 2013.

  1. MasterBrewer

    MasterBrewer Well-Known Member

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    Hey All -

    Haven't been too active here for a while, but have been consistantly coming and lurking still.

    I was hoping some of you who run or participate in a poker league could weigh in on some issues we are having.

    We run a pretty standard league (i think). 10 monthly tourneys. Buy in is $120 per person per game. $20 comes out of every buy in and is put in a prize pool. Points are awarded based on how you finish every tourney and the top 10 players at the end of the season play in a freeroll for the prize pool.

    We started off the year well... 30 players (our max) for each of the first 3-4 games, but then participation has been steadily falling off every game. Its to the point where game #9 is this Saturday and right now we are only looking at 15 signed up players. The most common complaint I have heard thus far is that "I'm not in the running for the top 10 so I don't want to put $20 of dead money into a tournament". I don't fully understand this because in my eyes this is still a very solid $100 buy in tourney with a good pay-out. Plus the $20 is probably not that much more than a casino would take as a rake for a tourney anyway, which many of these players play in fairly regularly.

    I don't think this is an uncommon issue with poker leagues, but I was wondering if any of you had any experience in combating this. We have a pretty solid base of players (somewhere around 60-70 on the email list) so I'm not really looking for a "get more new players" idea. Some ideas we are throwing around:

    1. Shorten the season to 5 games and have two seasons a year. This way more people will still be "in the hunt" right up until the end of each season.

    2. Expand the freeroll to something like 14 players and have the top 12 go and then draw the final 2 spots from a list of players who weren't in the top 12 but have played in something like 6+ games. I'm not really a fan of this because it feels "unfair" to have 2 players who didn't earn their way in, but I do think some players might play in a tourney or two just to get to the minimum number of games to qualify for the drawing.

    Thoughts?

    Does anyone else have any other ideas or minor tweaks to keep participation in a poker league up?

    Thanks!
     
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  2. K ALL IN 9

    K ALL IN 9 Well-Known Member

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    last christmas i hosted a 3 day tournament and if you pre paid for the next night you received a small chip bonus. i also did on time bonuses and had a bounty. so if i won the first game i would have the bounty the next one. if i won the second one, the bounty doubled for the third, etc. so even if you didnt make the money by the final game there was still a chance that you could make your money back or only lose like $10 through the course of the 3 days
     
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  3. guinness

    guinness Degen Gatekeeper
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    Would you allow players to buyin for $100 with the implication that they are out of the season long prize pool? Once they feel "out of the hunt" they can opt out but not pump any more cash into it. Either that or try to get everyone to give $100 up front for a 5 game season, then they just buyin for $100 during tourney time.

    Or, cash games. :)
     
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  4. MasterBrewer

    MasterBrewer Well-Known Member

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    This idea was thrown around too, but I don't really want to go this route because then where does it stop? What if right at the start of the season someone says "I think I'm only going to make a couple games so I want to only buy in for $100." Or as soon as someone has a bad finish they will start bailing out on the freeroll rather than try to catch up. Then eventually it just feels like the top 10-14 are just playing to divide up each others money in the freeroll.

    I do like the idea of offering up a small bonus amount for prepaying for the next event, and the idea of everyone kicking in up front for the season is an interesting one.

    Thanks guys. Keep them coming!
     
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  5. Couga

    Couga Creativity Alliance

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    Either implement the opt out option or cut the freeroll price in half. $20 is kinda steep.
     
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  6. abby99

    abby99 Admin / Chip Magpie
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    About the only ways I can think of to reduce drop-outs because they no longer wish to contribute dead money is to collect the league fee for the season up front.

    I played in a league once. The common complaint was that league structures are designed so that the people who make the most money during the season make even more money from the league pool. Hard to argue with that logic. Although we dropped the league concept after that one season, we continued to play together. The group eventually morphed into my current home game group, but only three of the original group still play together.

    Another problem with our league season is that people who got off to a slow start stopped playing, but they did come back after we stopped keeping league stats. Nobody likes to be constantly reminded that their results aren't what they'd like to think they are.
     
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  7. MasterBrewer

    MasterBrewer Well-Known Member

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    Is $20 out of $120 too much? Honestly this is the first time I even considered that, but maybe you are right.
     
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  8. Krafticus

    Krafticus Well-Known Member
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    I changed my "league" format, and voila.

    So, my first 2-3 years, I did something similar. We all pre-paid $100/per person for the final free-roll game, and then put in $20 per week for the weekly payouts. The top 8 made the final game, and played for that pre-paid $100/pp. That worked well the first season, but then people didn't want to commit to an entire season, so they didn't want to pre-pay.

    Now, I run a non-commitment "league". I still assign points based on position, but use this crazy formula (found on CT). The points now range from 150 to 5000. The points you get each week add up and will become your starting stack for the final GAME. All people who played during the year (that amassed at least 20 BB) were eligible to play. This got people excited again. The total buy-in was $40, of which $5 was a bounty on each player and $10 went to the final game. This year, I upped the buy-in a little ($50), and I've been getting a great turnout. My 1st 4 games (Jan - April) all had 40+ players. May was slower, as I had about 6-8 sick, so we only had 33. This is the 3rd year I have been doing it this way, and everyone loves it. You can play once, a few times, or every game. Get at least 1000 points/chips, and you can play the final free-roll.

    Last season, the big stack started with 18K in chips. The winner started with 3100. This year, I changed the formula a little to get bigger chip stacks. At this point, not even 1/2 way through, we have 4 players over the 12k chip mark. (normal tourneys are T13k + 2k for being on time).

    I think once you make everyone eligible for the final game, you get interest in a year-long event. Once you start having people mathematically eliminated, there really is less desire to keep grinding it out.

    Hope that helps.

    Mark
     
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    Last edited: May 17, 2013
  9. Couga

    Couga Creativity Alliance

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    When you think of it as a whole, no it isn't that much... However that's not really how I'd think of it. I'd think of it as $100 tournament and then throwing a $20 bill in a pot for later. $20 out of $120 is not a big amount, but a $20 by itself is a decent amount of money.
     
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  10. razuya

    razuya Well-Known Member
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    Krafticus - what is the formula you use for end of season game stacks?
     
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  11. msundiam

    msundiam Well-Known Member

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    We also have a league that is almost exactly like Krafticus with similar scoring.

    The only real difference is that we allow non-league players to play in our regular tournaments.

    For Example:

    If the buy-in was $50 and $10 goes to the final pool, its basically a $40 buy-in tournament.

    We have players that just don't want to commit/participate in the league, so they are allowed to play in the tournament with a $40 buy-in.....but of course can not participate in the Final Tournament.

    In this situation, if the original poster started out with 30 players, he/she can still have 30 players playing every week with only half involved in the league.

    Hope that makes sense?????


     
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  12. Krafticus

    Krafticus Well-Known Member
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    Here is the formula that I use:

    =(ROUND(LOG(($B$1+5)/A5,10)*100,0)*15)*2

    $B$1 is the total number of players, including the rebuy (see below).
    A5 is the rank of the player. This is in excel. I have the same formula in tournament director, and I think $B$1 is "n", and A5 is "r"

    (example from Jan with names removed)
    [​IMG]

    Also, I award 100 bonus points for each knock-out/bounty from the game. (which is why you see them tracked)

    SO,

    Here is what our standings look like though 5 weeks. The rows highlighted in Yellow are those that volunteered to run the tournament that month. They don't play, and as compensation, I reward them the average point total for the top 9 players. The green boxes are rebuy. I allow 1 rebuy total per game.

    [​IMG]

    I once thought about discounting the $10 "fee" from players not interested in the final game, but it was more hassle than anything, especially trying to figure out total fees collected. For payouts, I have a laminated sheet for 20-50 players. I can post that if people are interested. it is based on a $30 tournament buy in.

    Hope that helps.

    Mark
     
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    Last edited: May 17, 2013
  13. Headstone

    Headstone Well-Known Member

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    I have been running a league for about 7 years now.

    The first series started with 6 tournaments and a championship, all game were $20. The next couple of series I added a $2 gross up. The book keeping got tedious and I started adding points in with bonus chips.

    Now the tournaments run from August until June, we play every three weeks with nine points earning tournaments. 10% of every buyin gets withheld for the championship tournament. Buyins range from $40 to $80 with two Omaha tournaments, two bounty tournaments and a big money game. The final points earning tournament is always double points.
    The series champion gets a free roll in the championship & the player with the most series knockouts gets a freeroll. All other players pay $60. Any player accumulating points receives those points in chips, rounded to the nearest 25.

    Early players are also awarded an additional 20 BB to start. Since I implemented this there have been a total of six late players in two years.

    Not that I've crunched numbers but a few players have asked and I will look further, but I believe you could play one $40 tournament, two $60s, the one $80 and a the $50 double point tournament and get into the top 4 no problem.
     
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  14. Krafticus

    Krafticus Well-Known Member
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    Just realized that I made a critical error.

    My $B$1 in the formula should be pointing to $F$2 to get the total # players WITH rebuys. Looks like I need to do some updating this evening..... :embarras:

    either way, you get the point from the sheets posted.

    Mark
     
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  15. JeromyinWV

    JeromyinWV ChipTalk.net Supporter
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    I was just about to say Krafticus sounds like he has his stuff together. I like the way his is set up. I thought about doing the $120 and keep 10 for a bounty and 10 for a end of season tourney. Base starting stacks on percentage of total points of the top 9 and freeroll. If you average 20, that is 2 grand freeroll. Then let the others buy in at the standard starting stack. For example, in a t10000 and player A has 25% of the points of the top, that player would get an additional 2500 in chips, it would be an extra 10, 000 chips divided among the top 9 players giving them s slight advantage and a free roll.
     
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  16. bivey

    bivey ChipTalk.net Supporter
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    I play in a league here that is set up like yours. We have $50 buy in and $20 is taken out. There are 18 events and a final event. To qualify, you must win an event. What ends up happening is repeat winners chop an event for 1st/2nd place money so other player can have seat. There is a $5 add on every night which funds a repeat winner $100 bonus. This helps keep the players with a seat from dropping out until the finale.

    Hope this is helpful.
     
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  17. razuya

    razuya Well-Known Member
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    Yep, going to have a play with this in Excel this weekend. Thanks Mark :)
     
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  18. grandgnu

    grandgnu Well-Known Member

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    As others have already said, the way to remedy this is to permit everyone who's played to compete in the year end championship event, with starting stacks based on the points they've earned throughout the season.

    This way each game they play they earn additional chips for their stack, so there's an incentive to attend regularly.
     
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  19. Trihonda

    Trihonda Well-Known Member

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    Like!

    Another option is to offer a chip bonus for prepayment/enrollment of each game?
     
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  20. BGinGA

    BGinGA Banned

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    One of our local league structures consists of nine monthly T10K NLHE tournaments, followed by free-roll Championship tournament for qualified players (8-player field). There is a small up-front league fee at the start of the season, and a portion of each event's prize pool is withheld for the Championship Tournament payouts.

    To qualify for the Championship, players must finish in the Top 6 in points and have played in at least 50% of the season events, although those players otherwise qualified may pay the Championship rake for the number of events shy of 50%, which is added to the Championship prize pool. (Example; a player who played in only three events but did well and finished in the Top 6 is still eligible, but must pay the rake on the two events he/she is short of 50% participation to the Championship pool.)

    Starting stacks in the Championship are based on accumulated points and bounty chips (Championship stacks typically average 35K, ranging from 18K to 45K in size).

    By far, the most successful tweak made over the past 11 seasons to help keep up late-season interest was to implement a Last Chance Tournament (LCT). Instead of having the top eight players in the point standings qualify for the Championship, now only the top six players are guaranteed a spot. All other players who scored points during the regular season are eligible to play in the Last Chance tournament (same entry as a normal season event), and the top two finishers in the LCT fill out the Championship field of eight players. The starting stacks in the Last Chance Tournament are also based on scored points, and typically range from 6K to 13K.

    Late-season interest now remains high, for four reasons:
    1. Players who have already safely qualified for the Championship Tournament can still score more points/bounties to increase their starting stack size in the Championship.
    2. Players who are currently in 7th place or lower can still score season points to break into the Top 6 and auto-qualify for the Championship Tournament.
    3. Players who have already scored some season points but are unlikely to crack into the Top 6 can still score points/bounties that will increase their starting stack size in the Last Chance Tournament.
    4. Players who have not yet scored ANY season points can still qualify for the LCT by finishing in the top 35% of the field in any remaining event (thereby scoring points), with a shot of still making the Championship Tournament at the end of the season.

    Essentially, no player is mathematically eliminated from winning the Championship Tournament until all nine regular season events AND the Last Chance Tournament have been completed. And although no player who has qualified via the Last Chance has ever won the Championship Tournament, no player who finished first in the regular season (and had the biggest starting stack for the Championship) has ever won it, either. Size doesn't always matter. :wink:

    The local players like the LCT concept a lot.
     
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