Originally Posted by Sarge85
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.