Ok, so tonight definitely didn’t go the way I had envisioned it. I was supposed to have a good game that was kind of like a club game. 1/2 NL with no rake and a dedicated dealer (me!). Sounds enticing, no? 15 people signed up for the game, which sounds like more than enough interest to last the whole night, considering I only have one table! But we hit a few snags along the way….
First, two of the players were brand new to the game. What’s worse, they weren’t recommended by our usual word of mouth. I was willing to take the risk, but I was reminded gently by the other players that we would probably have a large-ish (for us) amount of cash in play and having two people walk in essentially off the street was not, shall we say, wise. So I emailed them and politely explained the situation. He and his girlfriend were more than understanding and we will try to get them in on another night when we’re just having tourneys. So that’s one problem solved but we’re now two players down.
Second snag. I sent out an Evite which I thought was clear about what the stakes were going to be. Even though I didn’t explicitly state a 100-300 min/max, I did say we were playing 1/2 and those are pretty standard stakes for those blinds. But at least two of the players who showed up tonight were completely surprised by the stakes. Since a few other players were somewhat skittish as to the stakes, I allowed the table to decide on a maximum, which they put down to 200.
Third snag. And this is the big one. I definitely made it clear on the Evite, and in a follow up email, that I would not be locking up seats for anyone. Even if you were first on the Evite list, your seat would be given away to the first person who showed up at my door. But maybe I wasn’t clear enough. Or maybe, perhaps, I gave a few conflicting signals. I had told a few people on Tuesday that if they called in advance the day of, I would be able to lock them up a seat. What I meant was that if they were on the way and were close by, I would be able to lock them up on the table. I wanted to avoid a situation where somebody got out of the subway, say at Fulton Street, which is about 6 minutes away, and then when they showed up their seat was gone from somebody who had just walked in. But what people got out of my comments was that they could call and lock themselves up a seat. Period. So it was awkward when CK called me to tell me that she and F-Train were getting into a cab. At the time, there were 2 seats open, and I told her that. Unfortunately, for everyone involved, by the time she showed up 30 minutes later, her seats were taken up by Darko and Tom, a new player. CK was under the assumption that I was saving her seats and it put me into a bit of a pickle. I want to be accommodating but to what extent? I want the table to be full, but I don’t want to get in the business of answering the phone during the time that I’m dealing and then having to tell people who are in my apartment already that they can’t sit in an empty seat because someone told me they’re on the way. CK got upset by the turn of events, and even though there were two players who were pretty close to being stacked, she didn’t bother sticking around. Instead, she and F-Train left immediately and hopped a cab back uptown to her place. I called her a little later to tell her that the seats were open again, but by that time she was settled in for the evening. I spent a lot of time apologizing that she didn’t have a good experience. Really, I shouldn’t be apologizing, except for the confusion, but I take people’s reactions to my game very very personally. I am extremely vested in people having a good time. I truly wish I had enough seats for everyone but it’s difficult to accommodate everyone all of the time.
Snag number 4. People didn’t stay very long. The game, which started at 7:15, was over at 10:30. The problem there was that while some people left early, there wasn’t anyone to fill their spots. So when the game fell to 6 players and W wanted to go running, everyone decided that 5 wasn’t enough to play. Blecch.
So the question is, how do I keep a full table running all night. More importantly, how do I keep people filling in the empty spots. What keeps them in my apartment? Yes, I have TV and Backgammon and Scrabble and two computers hooked up to the Internet and Wireless net access too. But they have to want to stay. Maybe this idea of the open-door 1/2 thing just isn’t feasible with one table. At a club, with multiple tables, if too many people show up, they can be assured that a new table will open up soon. But in my home, you just have to wait for people to bust, and that’s no fun.