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Step 1: Choosing between a Tournament or a Ring game

By Nick Momrick

Before you start recruiting players, you'll need to make a couple of decisions and do some research. The first decision to make is whether to play ring games or tournaments. Each choice has its own advantages and disadvantages, but both can be extremely fun.

Ring games typically have a standard betting structure, which most people may not be familiar with. At first, this can be confusing because no-limit tournaments have become so popular, but after a few rounds everyone should get the hang of things. Having a betting structure means that you'll need to decide what limits your games will play. The limits should to be based on the type of people playing and how much everyone can afford.

When playing a ring game, it's a good idea to use dealer's choice. Each player, on their turn to deal, will be able to choose which game they would like to play. Since some people prefer Texas Hold'em and others like 7 Card Stud, dealer's choice accommodates everyone's favorite game. You don't want to allow players to choose any old game though, so it's a good idea to have a list of specific games to choose from. Without a list, you are opening the door for games such as 5 Card Draw with twos, four, and sixes wild, which turns into a game of who can draw the most wild cards. Tournaments have become very popular for home games with all of the success they've had on TV. Most people interesting in playing poker have watched at least one episode of the World Poker Tour or the World Series of Poker, so they're familiar with how No-Limit poker works. Hearing the words, "I'm all in" is entertaining to watch, but being able to say them yourself is exciting.

By running a regular tournament with a buy-in people might feel better knowing they will only be able to lose a set amount of money. Ring games allow players to reach back into their pocket for more. Since you'll be playing with friends and family, the goal is not to make someone go broke. If you choose to run tournaments, you also have the option of starting up a ring game when enough players have been eliminated, giving you the best of both worlds.

When making the choice keep in mind the people you'll be inviting to play. Attempt to choose the situation best suited for the majority of your players. In the next article, I'll go over some rules and regulations that you'll need to establish.

Continue with step 2: Compiling a set of Rules and Regulations

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