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Old 06-14-2010, 01:48 PM   #1
Sarge85
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How do I nudge them over the edge?

For just about 1 year now, I've maintained a Facebook group page as well as an email list of my poker players.

One thing I've noticed is that I have a small population of people that haven't attended a game yet. I'm a nut for feedback/interaction and I've used Survey Monkey to query what is holding people back.

The response I see generally has to do with just being uncomfortable at the table. My read is that I have a handful of people who want to been seen as a poker player, or really do want to learn - but have some apprehension about taking out some money and putting it on the table. Quite simply - they haven't every played before.

What suggestions does the collective have?

I know the obvious one is to drastically lower the stakes or have a small buy-in tournament, but I'm worried that if I lower the stakes to low - the regulars won't participate - and I don't think I have enough newbies to have strictly a "newcomer" night.

I suppose I could have some sort of "freeroll". I think regulars would come out for a free roll - but then the financial/prize burden would seem to fall on me as a host.

Ultimately this falls down to player recruitment - I feel like I have potential players in the wings - I just need to pop their poker cherry.

Sarge
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Old 06-14-2010, 02:12 PM   #2
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I have a similar problem. I have my fingers in a lot of groups, but my regs are so polished on procedures and comfy in the games, it's hard attracting newbies who aren't already comfortable in similar environments.

I'm considering a newbie-only game too. How many do you really need? Five people plus you in a $20 turbo tourney should do it.

It's a rough balance. If you don't become sophisticated, it's hard keeping a regular game going. If you do, eventually you scare off newbies.

Good luck!
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Old 06-14-2010, 02:16 PM   #3
BlackBlazer
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Re: How do I nudge them over the edge?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sarge85 View Post
The response I see generally has to do with just being uncomfortable at the table. Quite simply - they haven't every played before.
What is your buy-in?

I can tell you pretty much without a doubt it's the buy-in. New players see it as putting a lot of money in and all of a sudden are thrown into a world where people use all kinds of poker "lingo" and talk over their heads about odds and stuff... It can be very intimidating.

I assume these are SnG tourneys? My advice would be to try a low limit cash game. Where they can learn a little cheaper (or so it would seem).

OR

A friend of mine once held a "poker party" night and this brought a lot of new players as well. It was very small stakes poker and lots of people joined in. The attitude was more about fun and having a party excuse really. Women, newbs and regular players all played and had a good time in a much more relaxed environment. All just mainly having a good time and no real strategy. But it opens the forum for new players to learn more, ask questions and not feel so silly. So when they sit down on the night with "guys" it's not so daunting. It was a lot of fun and people ask him all the time when he's having another one.
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Old 06-14-2010, 02:17 PM   #4
Sarge85
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Re: How do I nudge them over the edge?

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Originally Posted by pfapfap View Post
.

It's a rough balance. If you don't become sophisticated, it's hard keeping a regular game going. If you do, eventually you scare off newbies.
A lot of this I think....

Case in point - I had a new player come to the game. I described our group as "pretty laid back - we're about 20 people that just play for a good time"

Well his comment the next day is that our group was "way more serious" than his.

I think the falling out is the difference between "being serious" and "being structured" - I do consider us being fairly laid back - we really are just 20 or so guys/gals having a good time, but at the same time we are pretty laid back. The difference is over the course of 5 years or so, we learned how to run a pretty good game.

By no means do I want to go backwards - I wonder though - is there a way to seem "less serious", but still maintain a good structure?

Sarge
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Old 06-14-2010, 02:49 PM   #5
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Re: How do I nudge them over the edge?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sarge85 View Post
I know the obvious one is to drastically lower the stakes or have a small buy-in tournament, but I'm worried that if I lower the stakes to low - the regulars won't participate - and I don't think I have enough newbies to have strictly a "newcomer" night.
- Friendly, social atmosphere. I emphasize the opportunity for boozing and schmoozing. I will often run a game on a UFC fight night and PPV it on the big screen. I run a game for my birthday party, for the wife's b-day party, for a housewarming... They will play in the game if they're there for a reason other than just the game. This may irritate the regs, but then, if you prefer to have people who focus exclusively on the game...

- Good mix of background music at a reasonable volume - discourage the iPod douches.

- Smaller tourneys with people they know (and people that they know are at a similar skill level).

- Offer an "arrive early if you haven't played before, we'll show you how with no cash on the line" thing. Run a couple of practice hands. Play in these yourself, and play loose in the practice hands.

- I've had some amount of luck running bounty tournaments. It seems that when some of those teetering on the edge see the possibility of taking home some cash even if they're not that great, they are more likely to play. (At our last one, we had 10 runners, 7 of whom took some amount of cash home) In the same vein, re-buy tourneys help too - guys are usually more scared of looking like fools as the first ones out than of losing their money....

- Dedicated dealers. Find a friend who won't play regardless of structure, run them through their paces. There are a number of players who are quite nervous about looking foolish dealing. We've been lucky in that a friend of my wife's enjoys dealing and will do it for free.

- Non-monetary prizes. Give away a copy of HoH vol. 1 to first out.
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Old 06-14-2010, 03:34 PM   #6
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Re: How do I nudge them over the edge?

Talk to some of your regs and explain the value of initiating these new players and getting them into the regular games. Who knows, they might be willing to help out. In their shoes, I would be open to throwing a few bucks into a freeroll prize pool or attending a few games at lower stakes than normal if it meant adding a few new players to the weekly game.
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Old 06-14-2010, 04:59 PM   #7
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Re: How do I nudge them over the edge?

It's possible that your regulars don't want newbies around and the new people get that vibe from them. There might not be much you can do about that -- your regulars just want people who know what they're doing.
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Old 06-14-2010, 05:10 PM   #8
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Re: How do I nudge them over the edge?

Sometimes the problem is being the outsider in a group. The new player isn't in on all the "inside" jokes. Something that might be casual banter between the reg's can look much different to this type of player.

I wouldn't look at a lower stakes game as going backward. I'd look at as a starting point to move forward. I'm sure you can get a regular or two to participate. Preferably a couple of the more personable, friendly regulars who will encourage and interact with the new players making them feel really comfortable.

Before making the assumption that it's the stakes, I think you really need to dig deeper to find out what's holding the new players back. You already have feedback from one player but it's so broad and subjective thats it's really useless.

Also if the reg's know some of these hold outs get them involved in the recruitment.
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Old 06-14-2010, 11:05 PM   #9
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Re: How do I nudge them over the edge?

TRAINING NIGHT!!!!


sheesh
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Old 06-15-2010, 11:51 AM   #10
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Re: How do I nudge them over the edge?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackBlazer View Post
A friend of mine once held a "poker party" night and this brought a lot of new players as well. It was very small stakes poker and lots of people joined in. The attitude was more about fun and having a party excuse really. Women, newbs and regular players all played and had a good time in a much more relaxed environment. All just mainly having a good time and no real strategy. But it opens the forum for new players to learn more, ask questions and not feel so silly. So when they sit down on the night with "guys" it's not so daunting. It was a lot of fun and people ask him all the time when he's having another one.
I don't think this is getting enough love to be honest!

It has 100% worked for me in the past, although I never intended it as a way of recruiting players, we already have a plentiful supply.

I believe it partially worked due to the insane alcohol/party culture with where I live - players felt less intimidated to attend if the $20 they paid coved some food and drinks as well as a cheap poker tourney, but once people started playing, they really enjoyed themselves!! It certainly opened the door for many new players to attend the home games I run...
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Old 06-15-2010, 11:58 AM   #11
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Re: How do I nudge them over the edge?

I'm a member of like 5 poker groups in toronto, but I've never been to any of them.

A few never really message me when a game is going (so I'm assuming none get off the ground) and a few charge just absurd rakes for a 1/2 game (up to $10) + tips.

I usually play much higher than 1/2 but that's just too much money coming off the table each hour to even have a chance. (and it's not like a casino with more players coming)
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Old 06-17-2010, 12:27 AM   #12
JohnnyPrimus
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Re: How do I nudge them over the edge?

In almost every city around here some bar hosts a free tournament that pays out in some form or another. If you want to pass the financial burden of payout, you might make a post suggesting your group get together at whatever bar and enjoy drinks/dinner while you play. New players love this.
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