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Old 04-28-2020, 03:26 AM   #1
Spring Mustachio
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Trying to find the right balance for my poker league rules. Need advice!

I'm just about to wrap up an April quarantine league that I ran for some friends and I plan to run it again in May, but it has become apparent that my system is flawed.

We're using a point based system determined by how people finish each tournament. I wanted to make it so that people could miss games here and there and not be penalized for it by dropping behind in the points. So I made the rules say that everyone had to play a minimum of 8 out of 12 games, and the points would be ranked by average instead of total (50 points in 8 games beats 60 points in 12 games, etc). But what wound up happening is the 1st place person did so well in their first 8 games that they have sat out for the final 4. Smart move and I don't blame them, but I would like to figure out some change I can make to encourage the leader to continue playing next month.

So far my only viable idea is to allow league members to opt out of the standings for any game they want as long as they tell me beforehand. That way they would at least have no reason not to jump in. However, it also allows them to headhunt the people behind them if they so choose which might put a bad taste in peoples mouths. It is also anti-climactic knowing they are just going to sit out until victory towards the end.

A compromise between total points and average points would be to make it their best 8 games are what count and they can play anywhere from 8-12. That would still punish people who can't make every game, but far less so than straight up total points.

I'm wondering what other ideas I might be missing here. Please help me brainstorm.
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Old 04-28-2020, 07:13 AM   #2
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Re: Trying to find the right balance for my poker league rules. Need advice!

If your goal is to make sure the last few games are meaningful and therefore the leader cannot duck them, then make those last few mandatory for standings, or double the point value for standings, or both.
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Old 04-28-2020, 10:00 AM   #3
The Meal
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Re: Trying to find the right balance for my poker league rules. Need advice!

Keeping best 8 of the 12 is my favorite.

Just brainstorming... if you don’t mind a bit of overhead, you could give all players a dozen “point multiplier chips” ranked 1 to 12 and before each game you could have them tell you which one they were using for that tourney. Folks who knew they were going to miss a few games would never spend the 1x 2x 3x or 4x multipliers, but other players would probably use their low Nx mults early on in the season (to keep the big ones for the end if they needed to make up ground). It benefits those who know their schedule and can plan accordingly, but it makes you keep track of things in a spreadsheet (or similar).

Personally, I’d just keep the top 8 results.
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Old 04-29-2020, 02:21 PM   #4
old hand
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Re: Trying to find the right balance for my poker league rules. Need advice!

I would also just go with best 8 out of 12. Easy to understand, way less maintenance for you.

Personally I wouldn't frame it as "a punishment for people who can't make every game," but as a bonus or incentive for people to try and play as many games as they can/want. Nobody likes punishments, but people like rewards. You can mention that you are offering flexibility to people who are unable to commit to every game. And if necessary, you can remind people that all poker leagues rely on people showing up to play the games, so you are incentivising people to keep playing.

All of the above may sound like mere semantics, but reframing the discussion may help if you have to deal with an irritated player or two.

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Old 05-04-2020, 05:19 PM   #5
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Re: Trying to find the right balance for my poker league rules. Need advice!

Yeah, best 8 seems like a winner.

Is there a payout per game, plus end of season bonus? If so, increasing the payout per game should drive players to play.

Is there an end of season tourney, or just standings payouts? If a tourney, bonus chips for games played. Just standings, same idea, bonus winnings for games played (might be tougher to manage).
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Old 05-11-2020, 10:33 PM   #6
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Re: Trying to find the right balance for my poker league rules. Need advice!

Best 8 games would be my choice. This way players would not have to avoide the last few games to protect their points. Make sure you have a good payout for each night
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Old 06-29-2020, 07:34 PM   #7
Join Date: Feb 2016
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Re: Trying to find the right balance for my poker league rules. Need advice!

I have a league with each season being 12 games, top 4 players win a seat to Vegas to play in a $1500 buyin (normally the WSOP Monster Stack). We are starting season #3 in July.

We allow subs, and we only take the best 10 scores out of 12 games. We allow up to one rebuy per game but a rebuy drastically drops your points at that game using the formula below.

Play 12 games a season, must play at least 9 out of 12 games to qualify for grand prizes, season end freeroll, and an equity share from the Vegas winners. if one of the Vegas players cashes, he keeps 60% of the profit, 40% then goes back to all league participants based on participation. This is a good way to keep everyone involved all season even if you dont have a shot at a grand prize when there are only 1 or 2 games left to play.

Each game is $100 per player, 60% saved for season grand prizes (4 Vegas seats), 30% paid out to each months game, 10% saved for a season ending freeroll tourney. We average about 13-16 players per game.

Monthly payouts arent super juicy but in our new season I figured out a way to correct this by doing an optional $50 addon at first break that goes towards the monthly payout. for example, we have 10 players, only $300 would be paid out to top 3 players for that game. So by adding the addon, we substantially increased the monthly payout.

Each $2500 raised, we send a player to Vegas, which has worked out to be 4 players per season so far.

The 10% saved over the course of the season we run a nice freeroll tourney. Usually average about $2000-$3000 for that paying out top 5 players. So players that dont win a Vegas seat still have a chance to win substantial $ in the freeroll and some even join us in Vegas.

The 60% we save for the grand prizes, and send players to play in a $1500 WSOP event. All the leagues players bunk together and save money and have a great time out there. $1500 for the tourney, and $1000 for air, hotel, and spending cash.

Earn points at each game based on this formula which made the most sense to me when researching how to hand out points.

score = SQRT (n * b * b / e) / (f + 1.0)
SQRT the square root of
n the number of participants in the tournament
b the buy-in cost ($) for the tournament
e the player's total expense (buy-in + rebuy)
f the individual player's finish

System Principles:
The higher you finish, the more points you get
Larger tournaments are harder to win than smaller tournaments
Higher buy-in tournaments are taken more seriously than smaller buy-in tournaments
Profitability counts
Point structure mimics payout structure
Encourages participation

ID be happy to answer any questions about this. ITs been a fun league with lots of friends. Only one Sunday a month!
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Old Yesterday, 11:24 PM   #8
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 98
Re: Trying to find the right balance for my poker league rules. Need advice!

Agree with everyone on the best 8 out of 12.... Top 6 in points make the final table for the big payout tourney
. And we have a wildcard game for all the guys outside the final table, winner gets the 7th seat.. It gives even the last place player a chance to make the finals.
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