Poker Night

From PhiSigmaPiWiki

Event Type: Poker Night

Amount Raised: $400-$1000

Startup Cost: $50 + Prize Money (Anywhere from $100 to $300, plus second and third place prizes)

Time required: 2 weeks (planning), 2 weeks (flyering), 5-6 hours (event)

Resources required: rooms, tables, and dealers

Materials required: flyers, cards, poker chips, and refreshments

Event Summary: Raise money by hosting a poker tournament, charging for an entry fee, re-buys, and refreshments


Step 1: Find a large room or multiple rooms with tables and enough space for all of your players. Place should be well lit and quiet. Some poker players are very picky about the environment.

Step 2: Find a day that is not in conflict with a holiday or such to the extend you think local poker players will also attend similar events. I.e., Most of the time, Ballet doesn't conflict with poker night. Monday Night Football might.

Step 3: Develop a sound system for eliminating the players. The system that seemed most sound is consolidation of the tables until there is a winner. When in doubt, follow the "World Series of Poker" style so at least no one can compliant.

Step 4: Start flyering at least two weeks in advance. Use media such as to publicize the event. Have early signups pay at a discount entrance fee to ensure attendance to event. Attendees should write down their name as it appears on their ID for check-in purposes. Have signups include email to keep a record of the all of the attendees so that you can invite them to later events.

  • Notes: Chalking on the sidewalks also also works. Engineering buildings makes good targets because many engineers play poker, plus fliers are more likely to stay up there longer.

Step 5: Set up the room 1.5 ~ 2 hours in advance. Move tables and chairs into positions such that there is the least possbility of cheating. Players should always have their back toward the center of the room so they cannot see other player's hand at other tables. Chips should be divided into the buy in values. I.e., divide chips into $10 piles so as a player check in, you can directly hand him/her a stack instead of sorting it right there. This improves the efficiency of check in.

Step 6: Seat players at different tables. If someone came with their friends, make sure they are seated separately. This minimize the possibility of cheating. After everyone is seated, announce the rules of the game and when blinds will be raised. Write these down on somewhere visible.

Step 7: At each table there should be ground rules that are stated at the beginning. Each table can have slightly different rules, but they need to be stated directly before a player begins to play. Also, there should be a dealer and a "shuffler" at each table with two decks of cards. This way players can play more games in a given time instead of having to wait for the dealer to shuffle after every round.

  • Notes: In general, players prefer to have nice cards and nice chips. So try to use as professional cards + chips as possible. Cards should always be new. Chips can be reused. Plastic chips should be avoided as they feel cheap.

Step 8: As the game progress and players are eliminated. Ask players if they want to continue playing at the table with less player or if they prefer to move to a table with more players. The purpose of Poker Night should be to give as a pleasant experinces to the poker players as possible and earn money from them buying re-buys and drinks/snacks.

Steps 9: Consolidate tables when there are less than five or six players per table. When consolidating tables, try to put players with similar level of chips together. I.e., if there is a big player with a lot of chip, put him in a table where there are at least a few big players so that player can't push everyone out in the first few rounds. Similarly, don't put a player with very few chips at a table where everyone is a big roller. As this is going on, continue to announce blinds and times.

Step 10: For rebuy-ins. They are usually the same price as buy-in or 1/2 of buy-in. Whatever is fine as long as it is constant for everyone. However, rebuy-ins that are larger than the initial buy in should be avoided. Players can only rebuy-in if they have ran out of chips. This is to avoid a player buying in whenever he/she needs more chips and fairness to other players.

Step 11: Final tables. Usually, food and snacks are provided to the final table for free just to be nice. A new dealer and set of cards is also used for the final table just to be fair to everyone.

Step 12: Pictures, Pictures, Pictures. Try to have pictures of the winners (first, second, third place) with big checks for publicity purposes.

Step 13: Clean up, always. Count money, person who sold the tickets should not be the person who counts the money. Accounts should be kept as accurate as possible so the money and buy-ins, rebuy-ins, snacks should match up within 5% of each other.

Contributors: Jason Xu (DO), Albert Cheng (DO)

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