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I'm hosting a poker tournament with 10 people and want it to go on for 3-4 hours. I'm bringing a 500 piece poker set for the event (5 colors). What blind structure should I use for this? In general, is there a formula or software to calculate a good blind structure given a set of chips, number of players and approximate playing time?

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    Did you use the search function? There are quite a few related questions (with answers) such as this one or this one that might be useful. Search for "tournament" and "setup" or something similar and you'll most likely find what you're looking for, rather than repeat the process here again. – Toby Booth Apr 22 '12 at 19:24
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A quick Google search gave me this article called How to Set Up a Poker Blinds Schedule which is a good start for helping you decide your blind structure. The most important factors in how long your tournament will last are what your starting blinds are as percentage of starting chips, how many levels you will have, and how long each level lasts.

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When I first started hosting my own tournaments I tried rolling my own (they didn't work). I tried a few from Home Poker Tourney, that were closer, but still didn't feel right. In the end I've stuck with Foxwoods' blind structure. This setup has let us have games from 5-10 players that last 3-5 hours using 20 minutes per level. It's long enough you don't feel too pressured, but fast enough that we're not playing too long.

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If you know (roughly) how many people you will have and starting stack sizes then you can set calculate he total number of chips that will be in play. If you want the tournament to end in four hours or less then set your blinds so the last 30 minutes are played with no more than 40 BB total in play at the table. Work backwards from there.

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You can calculate blind levels by using this tool: https://pokersoup.com/tool/

For example this is a nice structure:

  1. [+0:00] -- 25 / 50
  2. [+0:15] -- 50 / 100
  3. [+0:30] -- 75 / 150
  4. [+0:45] -- 100 / 200
  5. [+1:00] -- 125 / 250
  6. [+1:15] -- 150 / 300
  7. [+1:30] -- 175 / 350
  8. [+1:45] -- 200 / 400
  9. [+2:00] -- 300 / 600
  10. [+2:15] -- 400 / 800
  11. [+2:30] -- 500 / 1000
  12. [+2:45] -- 600 / 1200
  13. [+3:00] -- 700 / 1400
  14. [+3:15] -- 800 / 1600
  15. [+3:30] -- 1000 / 2000
  16. [+3:45] -- 1500 / 3000
  17. [+4:00] -- 2000 / 4000
  18. [+4:15] -- 3000 / 6000
  19. [+4:30] -- 4000 / 8000
  20. [+4:45] -- 5000 / 10000

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