How to Set Up a Billiards Pool Tournament

Wondering how to set up a pool tournament? Anyone with some time and a little willingness to do some research can put together a respectable tournament.  

Find a Venue
Pool halls or bars with an abundance of tables are always willing to host a pool tournament. A pool tournament is a good way to bring in customers, and bars love them because players buy drinks and food while they're waiting. Make sure to check with your local venue before you start planning, and find out if the venue is willing to stay open late in the event that the tournament takes longer than expected.

Pick a Game
Pool variations throw a wrench into tournament planning. When you're putting together a tournament, think about which variation to play. Find out what games are popular at the venue that will hold the tournament, or ask your players what they would prefer to play. When you advertise, tell players what type of tournament you're running: 8-ball, 9-ball or straight pool.

Elimination Versus Race-Based Tournaments
After you've chosen a game, decide how you're running your tournament: elimination style or a race to a set number of games. If you're running an elimination tournament, put together a pool tournament bracket for players to follow the results. If you're running a race-based tournament, think carefully about the length of the tournament and whether it's possible to reach your designated number of games during the allotted time.

Figure Out the Payout
While some players go to a tournament just for the thrill of winning, most players are there for a very specific reason: money. When you're putting together a pool tournament, think about how you're going to manage the payout. If you charge entry fees for the tournament, it's easy to put together pots for the winners. Some venues are willing to match pots or contribute prizes for the winners, so consult your venue when you're setting the tournament up to see if they'll sweeten the pot.

Advertise, Advertise, Advertise
A pool tournament is no fun if nobody shows up. When you're setting up a pool tournament, make sure you advertise well so you'll get plenty of players. Send out updates to local pool leagues and organizations, and place flyers around your venue. You can also advertise pool tournaments on the Web, either at pool Web sites or at local meet-up and event sites. Be sure that the venue offers plenty of support as well, with flyers and posters advertising the event throughout the establishment at least two weeks ahead of time.

Running the Tournament
Tournament day can be the most challenging part of the event. If you have enough players, the hard work is done; all you have to do is ensure things go smoothly. Keep an eye on all the matches, and have helpers to monitor the matches and settle any disputes. Establish which rules you're using ahead of time, and advise all players of what rule set you're using. It's helpful to post the rules in a place where everyone can see them or to have handouts at each table that detail the rules.

You may want to look into pool tournament software to help you manage the brackets and details, if you plan to run tournaments frequently.

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