How to Run a Pool Play Tournament

Updated April 17, 2017

Pool play tournaments are a great way to drum up a bit of extra business if you own a bar. Organise it for a slow night and you could increase your bar takings dramatically. Of course, you don't have to own a bar to organise a pool play tournament. All you need is access to a pool table, willing participants and, most importantly, to clarify the rules before you begin playing.

Find a venue. If you already own a bar with a pool table, problem solved. Otherwise, have a talk with your local pool hall. They will most likely welcome the extra business.

Several weeks ahead of time, put posters up around your chosen venue advertising the fact that you are hosting a pool tournament. Try to organise it for a week night. People are less likely to have made plans during the week.

Decide how much the entry fee is going to be and what time you want the night to start. The entry fee will determine how much of a prize pot you can offer. Do not start the night too late. Pool tournaments have a habit of dragging on, particularly if a lot of people turn up.

Design a play schedule based on your best estimate of how many people are likely to turn up. This can always be altered on the night. The standard approach is to pair off players who then race to reach a certain amount of games against their opponent to progress through to the next round. A race to three games is a good marker if you are expecting between 10 and 16 people.

Make a note of who has paid their entry fee on the night. This saves any arguments later on. It might be worth investing in a stamp if you are running the tournament in a pool hall, as there will be lots of other players milling around.

Clarify which rules you are playing with the players before the tournament starts. Make sure that all players abide by the rules from the start.

Decide what prizes you are going to give out to the winners. This depends entirely on how many people turn up and what the entry fee is. A good marker is to give the top 25 per cent of players prize money. So, if eight players turn up, 1st and 2nd place winners get prizes. If 12 players turn up, 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners get a prize, and so on.

Things You'll Need

  • Pool table
  • Pool cues
  • Chalk
  • Paper
  • Pen
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About the Author

John Jackman has been freelance writing since 2009. His work has been published in the globally distributed magazine "Media & Marketing" and on several industry-leading websites, including Cream, Brand-E and EMMA. Jackman studied English literature and drama at Brunel University in London.