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I would like to automate the following process:

  • I send out invitations to our regular players for a poker tournament with a fixed time and place, along with an RSVP deadline.
  • A player either:

    1. declines the invitation; or
    2. conditionally (*) accepts the invitation; or
    3. does not reply by the deadline, which counts as a decline.
  • If enough players have committed (*) by the deadline to attend the game, a confirmation is sent to each player. Otherwise, a cancellation notice is sent.

(*) A player often has a strong preference for a full or a short table tournament. A player should be asked to specify the minimum tournament field size (alternatively, prize pool) that she would play. These preferences must be collectively taken into account to determine if a game is confirmed or not.

I have tried to manage the logistics using pencil-and-paper, SMS texts, email and Facebook events. Managing player preferences results in a lot of needless back-and-forth, which is a perennial source of grief.

Is there an app out there (web or standalone) that can automatically do this for me?

Here are a few examples as an illustration:

 Player | Game 1 | Game 2 | Game 3 | Game 4
--------+--------+--------+--------+--------
 A      | N      | N      | N      | 2
 B      | N      | N      | 3      | 3
 C      | N      | N      | 3      | 4
 D      | 3      | N      | 4      | 5
 E      | 3      | 3      | 4      | 6
 F      | 3      | 3      | 6      | 7

Game 1 is confirmed (players D, E, F attending). Game 2 is cancelled. Game 3 is confirmed (players B, C, D, E attending). Game 4 is cancelled.

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This seems like a software question and not a poker question! That said, if you get any interesting hands from the games make sure to post them here :) –  Toby Booth Jul 29 '12 at 16:40
    
@TobyBooth: Will do! =) My reason for asking this question is that lately, every time I invite someone, they ask me how many people are coming. Obviously, I don't have this information before everyone commits one way or ther other. I figured enough home game hosts have run into this problem to have come up with an elegant solution, software or otherwise. –  Adeel Zafar Soomro Jul 29 '12 at 17:49

5 Answers 5

I think that with requirements so specific, you won't find any existing software that can fullfill them. You might have to write the software yourself or have someone else write it for you.

I don't want to get into the subject of software development (there are other StackExchange sites for that), but at a first glance creating something like this shouldn't be too difficult (worth maybe just a few days of work).

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I agree, the requirements are specific. When I invite players, they often ask me how many people are coming. Often, they fail to realize that I cannot answer that question until enough people commit. I am looking for a solution that frees me from having to track everything manually. –  Adeel Zafar Soomro Jul 29 '12 at 17:58

Access to the SMS API is fairly restricted on phones. iOS as of 5.0 started allowing limited access but still doesn't allow reading incoming SMSes (privacy concerns) or automatic SMS broadcast from within an app (spam concerns). I believe Android and other smart phones will have similar restrictions for the same reasons. Any other kind of app will need to assume that potential participants have Internet access on their smart phones to acknowledge the game via a web service--that sort of limits the utility of the app.

Having a regular weekly game makes things a lot easier though since everyone will usually plan ahead.

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I use GroupSpaces to manage my home game events, works pretty well. Another group I'm part of uses Meetup.com, a great site but isn't free.

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I'll give GroupSpaces a try. Thanks. –  Adeel Zafar Soomro Aug 1 '12 at 10:05

how about Evite? there you can see how many people said 'yes'. or facebook event?

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I'll give Evite a try. Facebook Event does not work in this situation. Since each player is curious to know how many other players are coming, they do not commit unless enough people do before them. Often, too few people commit and the game gets postponed. Had the players knowledge of either how many people are interested just like them (the maybes), or had no knowledge of this at all and had to write their preference of how many people they'd like to see at the table, I believe it would solve the wait-to-see-how-many-have-committed-first problem. –  Adeel Zafar Soomro Aug 2 '12 at 7:38
    
I have the same problems with my group. Try separating the group in 2 groups, the early birds and that maybe group. that way if enough early birds register, it will attract the wolves. –  Snake Aug 2 '12 at 17:22

Google Docs is great for this. You can setup a form with questions and send out via email. They can reply in-line in email or click a link and fill out online. Looks like a very short survey.

All answers are recorded in an Google Docs "excel" table. From there you can manipulate the data quite easily with typical formulas.

Here's a tutorial. But it's pretty simple to use.

http://www.slideshare.net/mikechui/using-google-docs-for-quality-feedback

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Interesting! I didn't know Google Docs had a Form app. I'll give it a try. Thanks! –  Adeel Zafar Soomro Aug 3 '12 at 20:14

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