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Please help me tagging this questions appropriately

Most of the time if I have to cancel a tournament which is a home game (me, friends, and many unknown people who agreed with the mechanics we use), due to an external reason that prevents us to continue the tournament somehow (say: its too late, the police is coming [unlikely, but say], someone got deadly sick, an earthquake [not unlikely considering I live in Quito, Ecuador] blah blah blah imagine any reason that would make you all actually cancel a tournament)...

We agree a certain mechanic, depending on the stage of the tournament and the mood of the people. Say: refunding the whole tournament entries, or killing-and-ranking players based on their current chips stacks.

Despite how good or bad ideas are these, since we agree them among all the people, we apply them with no problem. BUT THIS IS IN HOME GAMES.

My question goes to the point when I'd like to organise an ONLINE game (say, programming a server). I don't know the users there, and not necessarily I'd expect to know me and EXPECT what I'd do if, for some administrative reason, I have to cancel a tournament (I don't know why would I want that, but let's imagine something occurs which forces me to - perhaps a bug or an unrecoverable server condition (or management, somehow) could force a tournament close!!).

So my question goes in two parts:

  1. Is there any reason you could consider to actually ABORT / CLOSE / Definitely INTERRUPT a tournament without it reaching its natural end?

  2. What is a good (I mean: EXPECTED) practice to do when you close a tournament? I know I can define my own ruling when I have to close a tournament, but I'd like to know whether is there a well-known practice ONLINE players expect when that phenomenon occurs when they are playing such tournament.

  • Does a chip have monetary value in the virtual home game? – paparazzo Apr 17 '18 at 21:42
  • It may. I haven't decided yet. However, I'd like to also care about this topic just for the sake of knowledge / curiosity. But I'd like to find a consistent approach for my software. – Luis Masuelli Apr 18 '18 at 3:42
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  1. The only reason (that I can think of) to abort an online tournament would be technical issues. Because it is online, everyone is responsible for their own physical environment because they could be playing from anywhere in the world. Depending on how long the technical issues take to resolve, you could maybe pause the tournament and resume it at a later time. I think in most cases though, technical issues would force the tournament to come to an abrupt end.

  2. A fair thing to do when closing a tournament would be to simply split up the prize pool evenly among all of the remaining players. I have never heard of an online tournament being closed for any reason, but if one ever was, this seems to me like the only fair option. It also would be appropriate for the host of the tournament to maybe pass out something like tournament tickets (along with their slice of the prize pool) to all of the players that were affected by the outage. This would serve as an apology for wasting their time with a tournament that was unable to run to completion.

I do not think there is an expectation for what is to be done if an online tournament abruptly ends, but that is my opinion on what is fair.

  • I like this one. My plan is to read the most suggestions I can regarding this delicated topic. – Luis Masuelli Apr 17 '18 at 21:22
  • Have +1 meanwhile :). – Luis Masuelli Apr 17 '18 at 21:22
  • What is you definition of evenly? – paparazzo Apr 17 '18 at 21:40
  • divide the prize pool by number of remaining players and give that amount to each player @paparazzo. I think this is more fair than giving it out according to chip stack just because there is no way of knowing what will happen in the future. if there is 100 players left, everyone technically finishes in 100th place. that is just my opinion though – Clarko Apr 17 '18 at 22:29
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Use Independent Chip Model (ICM) as that is what it is designed to do. Convert tournament players stacks in chips into their money equity. You need to use recursion to program it. You could also just use stack size and it won't be far off from ICM. For sure someone with 1 million chips should get more than someone with 100 chips.

At the end of each hand write to disk so you can make things right.

A cloud based server does (statistically) not go down.

As far as human error need to be sure you are playing the game correctly. It is not easy with moving the button, betting, and side pots. In a tournament need to move tables. Then you have BOTS - protect against a BOT is some serious coding.

As far as real money. You would need to clear that with your local gaming commission. If there is no money there is no damages so you can (should) not be sued.

I have a REST based server I am working on that I will host in Azure. If I open source it I will let you know. I plan to NOT take in money for chips. Play a random table for free. For a fee can play private games. If a private game wants to agree to a monetary value of a chip and handle that separately that is up to them. If the server goes down there is a hand history on disk (for a fee). I will let you know when it is active. I want users on this site to help me test it out.

  • I'd be up for testing – Raymond Timmermans Apr 18 '18 at 8:40
  • "Then you have BOTS - protect against a BOT is some serious coding" That will be damn hard. Good to know about ICM (it is a new concept to me). – Luis Masuelli Apr 18 '18 at 15:06
  • For your particular implementation, give me the url and I'd be for testing any day at night – Luis Masuelli Apr 18 '18 at 15:07
  • It is not up. I still am not even done with betting. It is more complex than I gave it credit. – paparazzo Apr 18 '18 at 15:10
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It should never happen that an online tournament has to be aborted. People lose trust and will never come back. You should do everything in your power to prevent such things. However if this happens you can proceed as follows: put the tournament on stop and try to get everything back up asap. If downtime is less than one, maybe two hours this is acceptable. This occurred on pokerstars a couple of years ago. If you cannot fix the problem fast enough you should pay the remaining people out according to their chips and to get some trust back by giving them some free tournament tickets.

  • I know it should not happen. My question is mainly academical. However, humans are not perfect. I cannot say I'll be completely bug-free in my code or that I'll build robust software a priori. I must bear with the possibility that an abnormal unrecoverable termination may occur, and be ready for that in the terms of best practices. Hence my question. – Luis Masuelli Apr 18 '18 at 3:45

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