How to Set Up a Pool Tournament

Written by rick paulas
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How to Set Up a Pool Tournament
(pool image by Horticulture from

Whether playing in a large pool hall or in a friend's basement, there's nothing quite like a good game of pool. While playing one-on-one is fun, a tournament ups the intensity and allows everyone to get in on the fun and have a stake in the competition. Putting the tournament together is a simple process once you know how to do it.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy


  1. 1

    Decide the type of game that will be played. In most cases, this is a choice between 8-ball and 9-ball. You might want to ask the participants what their preference is.

  2. 2

    Decide how many players will be in the tournament. This is an important step, as it will determine how the rest of the tournament is set up. Any number can play, but ideal tournaments would include between 6 and 10 participants. While you do not necessarily have to have an even number of people participating, it does make the process easier. If you have an odd number of participants, feel free to introduce the concept of round-robin double-elimination, where contestants are eliminated after losing two games.

  3. 3

    Decide what the race is. This is how many wins a person must have before moving onto the next round. Essentially, if the race is two, that means the winner of the round will be determined in a "best of three" contest. In very few cases is the race only one game, since that could result in someone winning the tournament just by being lucky. The more games in the race, the less luck is a factor, meaning that more skilful players will prevail. However, if there is a large number of players, you will want the race to be low so the tournament does not last an extremely long time.

  4. 4

    Set up winnings. This step is optional, as some pool tournaments are just for fun. However, if there is a money prize, this is when you should decide how much the entry fee is and what the winnings should be. In most cases, the top three spots are paid off with the percentage of the winnings with first place getting 65 per cent of the total pot, second place getting 25 per cent and third place receiving 10 per cent. However, the number of spots and the percentages are entirely up to the tournament director.

  5. 5

    Seed the brackets. The final step is setting up how the tournament will be bracketed. In most cases, this will be determined by a random draw, unless seeding is determined in some other way, either by talent level or first-come, first-serve. When seeding, simply draw a bracket with lines for every participant. For example, if there are 16 participants, draw 16 lines for each contestant and then a line connecting every pair of two, since those will be playing each other in the first round. Once a winner is determined in that round (if the race is two, that means the first person with two wins) the loser is eliminated and the winner moves onto the second round and faces another first-round winner. This continues until a winner is determined.

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