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Design for Fundraisers
The most common structure for a fundraiser tournament would be a re-buy tournament.

The reason for re-buys is to allow players to continue playing even if they bust out in the early part of the game. During a fundraiser you will want to give guests more opportunities to donate as well as have a good time. That's a little hard to do if your guest goes broke in the first round of your four hour poker / casino night! For this reason, re-buys are usually the most popular fundraiser tournaments. Keep in mind that your tournament will be affected by whichever structure you choose to use. Players tend to play conservatively (tight), if they know they cannot re-buy, and will play more aggressive (loose), if they know that they can re-buy if they go broke. You can expect inexperienced players to be more active when given the opportunity to re-buy. At the start of the tournament players will take their seats either by assignment or at random. Players that have paid but do not arrive by start time will have a designated seat and chips. The blinds will be deducted by the dealer accordingly. Players that would like to enter late can do so for the first hour. If you choose to allow add-ons, players can purchase additional chips (as long as they meet the requirements set forth). If a player loses all of their chips they can re-buy for the first hour. At the end of the first hour (typically four blind levels) there will be a break, and at this time players that would like to add-on may for the final time. At this point, if you would like to open the add-ons to everyone, regardless of the chips they have, it is a good way to encourage some final donations from everyone.

From this point on there will be no new players, any players that have not yet showed are disqualified, and there are no more add-ons or re-buys. Any player that loses all of their chips after the first break is out.

The Tournament Director is to consider the best interest of the event and fairness, as top priority in descision making. Unusual circumstances can, on occasion, dictate that the technical interpritation of the rules be set aside, in the interest of fairness. The Tournament Directors descision is final.

The host of the event should make this clear to any and all players in advance of payment.
Timing your event
When planning a fundraiser it is important to consider the timing of the tournament.

Most parties are planned to last four hours or less. If you go over it can cause many problems.

Caterers, halls, restaurant staff, DJ / MC's, bar tenders, and dealers, are all affected It can be costly and chaotic when an event goes overtime.

There are basically four factors that affect the length of the tournament;
  • the players starting amount,
  • if you offer re-buys,
  • the blind levels,
  • and the number of entrants.
You should have a good estimate of the number of entrants. If you have no idea you may book too many tables and dealers, or not enough. Having player pre-register and pay is the best way to insure a seat for every player, and no wasted tables.

One important point to focus on is the blind schedule. This is a predetermined structure of the blind amounts and the time limits at which they will be increased. For fundraisers and private games it should be set accordingly, as it is the only way to control the timing of the tournament. If you have to be finished by a specific time, and the blind levels are too, long you will not be able to finish the tournament. If they are too short, players will be forced out quickly and less likely to re-buy, or participate in the future and may be upset they paid at all. The tournament director should control and adjust the levels accordingly to stay in the time frame. At the beginning of the tournament there should be an "anticipated" schedule, with a clear disclaimer, that it may change, at the discretion of the tournament director and host, based on time restrictions.