I have a home poker tournament that has grown beyond a single table (currently at 2 tables). I'm looking to understand how often I should balance the tables. E.g. if there is a 2 person discrepancy should I immediately balance the tables after that hand? What's a good rule of thumb?

When balancing, my understanding is that the most common practice is that the person who would be the next one to have the big blind gets moved and is placed at the other table at the open spot closest to the big blind at that table. Is there value to that method over for example moving small stack or big stack or some other rule? I have a friend who always moves the small stack so as to keep the "chips at the table" as even as possible.



Usually, the way this is done in live tournaments is that tables are broken when the players at one table can fill up the empty spots in the remaining tables. This will work for balancing if you have a lot of tables, for example if 9 tables were missing a person and one table was full (9-max) you could break the full table to make 9 full tables. If you are at 2-3 tables, I would adjust this to making sure there isnt a difference of 2 or more people at any table. If there is, then move a person from the larger table to the smaller table until you can join the tables together. This should only happen a few times, depending on how fast players at each table are being knocked out.

As far as choosing who gets moved, I am not sure how this is done. I can however confirm that its not done by moving the smallest stack normally. The total number of chips in the tournament wont change if there is no new entries, so having more or less chips at a table doesn't really change much. Explain it to your friend in this way: if there are a lot of short stacks at one table, then they will get knocked out faster than the players at the other table and new players will join the short stacked table with more chips, evening things out.


You should keep the tables balanced as near as possible. Meaning if you can move a player to balance the table you should do so ASAP.

I have seen a couple of ways to decide which player moves.

One is to high card for the player, not my favorite because it takes a little time and a player can get drawn badly, like off the button and into the blinds.

The better way and the one that is most common is to take the player that will get the next blind and move them. It is quick and easy, and the player getting moved never gets moved badly as far as position goes.

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