Puggywug's Heads Up NLHE Open Tournament

I have put some thought into this previously, so I have some idea of how to run it. Here’s what I’m proposing.

  1. Sign up period: Starts now through Friday, 9/7/2020. This will give players plenty of time to become aware of the tournament. Players who wish to participate should comment below with the words “I’m in”, and nothing more. I will then add you to the list of participants, and send you a Friendship request, which you must accept in order that we can send mail messages to each other.

  2. On Saturday, 9/8, I will announce the list of participants and First Round of matchups in this forum thread, and message the participants directly of the matchups. The First Round will then commence beginning Sunday, 9/9, and run through 9/15. Subsequent rounds will start the following week, or as soon as all matches ordained for the previous round have been played.

  3. It is up to each participant to initiate communications with their opponent to coordinate a time to meet and play their match. I strongly suggest sending each other Friendship invites and use the messaging system, rather than clogging up this forum with communiques. Be aware that you may not be in the same time zone as your opponent, and make sure you know what time you’re really supposed to play.

  4. The tournament will be a round-robin style affair where every participant will play a Match consisting of 3 games against each other. Once the round-robin series has completed, the player who has the most tournament game wins will be the winner.

  5. Each game played must be reported to me so that I can record it in the official recordkeeping spreadsheet. It is the winner’s responsibility to report the game once it is completed.

  6. To be reported, you must take the Tournament ID from the Lobby page and message it to me. I will verify that the game was played at the correct time and in the correct format, between the correct participants.

  7. To count as an official game in the tournament, the game MUST:

  • Be played during the week for the round it was supposed to have been played.
  • Be played on replaypoker.com
  • Be played at a 2-seat SNG NLHE table.
  1. You may play all three games at any time that you both agree to during the week of the round. You can play 3 tables simultaneously if you wish. Or you can play 3 games back to back. Or you can arrange for a schedule to meet at three separate times throughout the week.

  2. Since the tournament results are calculated based on games won rather than tournament points, players are free to negotiate whatever stakes they wish to play at as well as the time they play. To keep it simple for the indecisive, I suggest a default 10k buy-in per game, but if you’re two high-rollers and want to run it up to 1M per game to make it interesting, or if you want to play for lesser stakes, as long as the two players involved both agree to it, it’s fine and will count as an official game, as long as it meets all the other criteria.

  3. If you agree to a playing time and your opponent no-shows, try to reschedule and play the game during the week of the round. If you do not play all three games, both players will forfeit their unplayed games, resulting in 0 wins recorded.

  4. If you agree to a playing time, and one player sits down and has their appointment hijacked by a random player sitting down at the table before the designated opponent has sat in, play that game as normal; it will not count as a tournament game, and you will need to start a game with your tournament opponent as soon as you are able to both sit in at a table together.

  5. To avoid the above, I suggest opening up the Lobby of an empty 2-seat SNG, and use the chat to announce your presence and the purpose for the table. Wait for both players to appear and say something in the SNG Lobby chat, and once you’re both there, buy in and sit at the table. If a random player shows up and pays to sit in the game, leave the lobby and open a new empty lobby.

  6. Depending on the number of people who show interest in this initial tournament, it may take many weeks to run a full round-robin. Therefore, while I am trying to be generous and accomodate everyone by playing one round per week, it’d be great if we could get the rounds finished faster than that. So if possible, try to schedule your games early in the week, play them, and report them to me as soon as you are able. Once all matches for the round have been completed, I will announce the results and the matchups for the second round.

  7. We’ll continue to play as many rounds as necessary until all players have matched up against each other for one best-of-3-game matches.

  8. Overall tournament winner will be the player with the most games won. Standings will be published in a Google Sheets spreadsheet and announced in this thread.

  9. If you don’t like these rules, I’m open to feedback and making adjustments, but in the interest of getting things off the ground, these will be the rules for the first PWHUNLHEOT.

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I’m so happy that you love my idea so much to make a tournament; thank you so much for taking action! I am definitely in and I can’t wait. However, the only feedback that I have is that when I was thinking of tournaments I think there should be some actual playfoffs involved instead of just round-robin play as I think it will make it more exciting. We could do both round robin and playoffs or just do one and done, I don’t know which one people would prefer but if we did just playoffs I think it would make the tournament much quicker and easier to complete. Otherwise this idea sound awesome. Thanks again Puggywug! I’m in.

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I had similar thoughts about the tournament format, but I opted to go with round-robin for this as I wouldn’t have a good way to set up a bracket style tournament, as I have no information to do a proper seeding matchup.

I also thought about doing some kind of hybrid, where the losers from the first round go to a loser-bracket and we do a double-elimination thing, culminating in the winner of the loser’s bracket going HU against the winner of the winners bracket.

But in the interest of keeping things simple and fair, I decided against doing that, at least this time. I think it’s more fair to give everyone who’s “in” a crack at everyone else. Doing so takes away any arguments about one player having a softer schedule than another.

A downside of a round-robin format is that it does mean more games played and thus will take longer to resolve. But hey, playing more poker games can’t be a bad thing, can it?

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Unfortunately the edit window for the parent post has expired; I mis-read my calendar, and 9/7/2020 is not a Friday. The actual registration deadline will be Friday 9/11/2020, with Round One commencing Saturday, 9/12/2020.

Likewise, the Tournament Rules as proposed in the parent post are subject to revision for clarity, but I cannot edit the post any longer; so the Official Tournament Rules are found on the Tournament Spreadsheet.

I haven’t really been on the FORUMs much lately. Im keen to join. I’ve read your post and the basics sound good. I would prefer to play at 10K stakes mostly, and up to 50K if opponents want.


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I agree with this. TBH I really would like this to be an SnG MTT knock out format.

Maybe there is an option to make the top 4 players enter a play off knock out format at the end of the round robin.

For the time being this basic format is a good start.


Cool, you’re on the list. Welcome aboard, @DogsOfWar. This brings us to 7 players.

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Kool. I’ll try n keep up with this post. Was thinking of adding something to my profile RE this HU Tournament. I havent played any SnGs in a while, but if i get back to it would like to spread the word n get a good group together.

I hope if this gets enough interest this could become a HU MTT competition.

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I’ve thought about this proposal\project a lot. The concept/idea of the best of 3 or round robin is something I never would have thought of and was initially neutrally undecided on. After further thought I think its a great idea. The best of 3 or round robin format should reduce variance and increase the chances of the better player winning more often.

Overall great ideas from everyone. I hope more interest is shown, and further developments happen.


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Thanks for saying so. This was an idea that I’d had on the shelf for a while, and so I’d put some pretty deep thought into it long before WATCHOUT8 posted his thread about it. I’m looking forward to seeing how it runs in practice; hopefully if everyone does their part, it’ll be a great tournament.

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It is a great idea and thank you for the initiative!

Will international players also be welcome and what start times do you have in mind to consider the time zone differences of players not based in the US?

@Lifesong, we’ve played each other a few times, and I think you’d do well in this tournament if you decide to join us.

International players are absolutely welcome; the individual matches will be negotiated between the players involved, who will need to figure out a time when they are able to play. The full rules for the tournament explain this, but succintly, each round of the tournament, I’ll notify the players of their next matchup, and then you’ll need to message each other and work out a time to play your 3 games. You’ll need to establish the meeting time, accounting for time zone differences, and make sure to keep your appointments. As long as you can reasonably do that, feel free to register.

@puggywug Thanks again for organising. As a side note I would suggest players all use the same clock or time zone for easy of organising games. I currently have my laptop set to RP default time, but happy to change to any suggested time zone. I don’t remember what the time zone is called. There are world time apps you can install on phone or laptop too.

If someone has a better idea then great. I think time zones and organising games could be a small obstacle.

This might be useful for people in different time zones to set their game times:

Thought I would add my 2cents here. I’m wondering if a qualification round is in order next time. I’m ok & prepared to lose 500K and then call it quits. At some point a players need to concede, wave the white flag & surrender - walk away.

I’ll play up to 50K HU. I have meet players I want to invite. I think a qualification round is due in the future or next time. I can easily afford to lose 500K but some players have less than 2M bankroll.

I know some players like goat will only play 50K or more. Qualifications seem like a good idea for the future.

@DogsOfWar, I’ve got you for 50k, and if anyone else wants to meet you at those stakes, more power to you both.

I would encourage everyone to take this first run at the tournament as an experiment, for fun, while also trying their best to win as many chips as they can and win the tournament. I have no problem dropping down to lower stakes so that everyone can participate in a full round-robin regardless of their bankroll.

As it’s the first time we’re running this event, I had no idea how many players would be interested, and wanted/needed to make the barriers to entry as low as possible, in order to be able to accomodate any player who had interest in joining me.

My two biggest fears about the event were that: 1) No one would want to participate, and it wouldn’t happen; and 2) So many people would register that it would become a major undertaking and I would struggle with coordinating everyone. A close 3) was that we’d get players to sign up, but no one would read the instructions, and it would devolve into chaos as no one understood what they were supposed to do.

So far, I think we’re right on target with a good number of players for this. I was hoping to get around 8-12, and we can still take more, I’ll as many comers as are willing to participate, up to the Sept 11 registration deadline. But I kindof hope we keep it right around where we are for this time.

For a next run of this event, as long as we have players who want to have another go, I’ll probably be willing to have another one. But as for future changes, I’m reserving judgment, but will be observing as much as possible, and I think depending on how this first one goes, I might agree with you that some kind of qualifier might be in order. I want to see how things go and then make adjustments based on what I see.

I might just as well enjoy letting someone else try running a similar event their own way, if someone has an idea they’d like to try.

Tomorrow I will be announcing our first round matchups for the tournament.

Our registered players are currently:


Goatsoup had to bow out of the tournament due to a schedule conflict.

Registration is still open through 11:59pm tonight, Eastern Time. If you wish to register, reply below with “I’m in” and send a friendship request to all participants.

I hope everyone has already taken the time to send each other friendship requests so that we can proceed to set up our game times quickly once the matches are announced.

Good luck in the games.

Roster Update: @jazzbythebay had to bow out of the tournament due to scheduling concerns. We now have 7 players registered for the tournament.

Since this is the first time I’ve tried to run this, I’m expecting to learn a lot. I also expect to need to make adjustments from time to time when I see something not working as well as I had hoped.

Adjustments/Lessons Learned:

Match scheduling:

I wanted to maximize the tournament’s flexibility by allowing participants to set up their own times for their matches with their designated weekly opponent.

I [probably] underestimated how difficult it would be for people to simply contact each other and establish when they are available to play their match games.

First, in order to coordinate with your opponnet, you need to be able to message each other. I instructed registered players to establish “friend” connections with one another, but to date I haven’t heard from anyone confirming that they have done so, so I am left in the dark, not knowing whether everyone who is registered for the tournament is able to send everyone else messages. This makes me nervous that we’re not communicating effectively, or at all. Are we all “friends” yet? Please say yes!

Second, in order to schedule a time for you to meet with your opponent, you need to establish when you are not available.

I should have recognized earlier that it would be helpful to gather this information from everyone well ahead of time, and publish it in one place, so that you don’t need to spend a round of messaging back and forth just trying to establish when you are available to play for each new opponent.

In an attempt to rectify this, I messaged everyone earlier today to ask them to provide me with the best times for them to play, and any times when they are unable to play. As this information comes in, I will add it to the spreadsheet. It’s my hope this will help participants to schedule their times to play their weekly opponent. Please reply to your messages, so I know that you’ve read them, and that you’ve done anything that the message asked of you.

Third, I’m starting to think it would have been better to be slightly more regimented with our times, and provide “recommended” time slots, much as I did with providing a recommended buy-in stakes for the matches.

The responses I’ve gotten so far about player availability haven’t been all that helpful. Wanting to be helpful, people are responding with “I’m pretty flexible, so whenever works.”

While this flexibility is greatly appreciated, we’d still prefer to have a more focused idea of when it would be best for you to play. This could be the times you’re typically online playing on the site anyway, less any obligations you have for other leagues you may be committed to. This is a situation where being more specific, to narrow down to a specific time when you and your opponent can both meet, is most helpful.

Fourth, it’s tough to communicate succinctly. Impossible, I say!

I was very thorough in designing the tournament, but in order to convey this design, it required a lot of writing, and therefore a lot of reading on your part. I wanted to keep everything as simple as possible, but I also recognized that I needed to anticipate potential problems and come up with solutions that would avoid them. This made things complicated, and that needed to be written down and communicated. There’s simply no other way to do things, so far as I can see.

I have no idea how much anyone else has read of the tournament rules, but obviously the more that there is written, the less likely everyone is to take the time to read all of it, understand it, and retain it.

Keeping things as simple as possible is an art, and not easy. If I don’t take the time to explain everything completely, then people will be left wondering about questions that I’ve probably also considered, but didn’t take the time to explain. If I take the time to explain them, people will be overwhelmed by the amount of reading, and not bother to do the reading, and then still have questions.

In any case, it does seem that some of you didn’t have all the details when you registered, and this meant that a few players ended up canceling after they had initially indicated that they were “in”. It’s fine, no harm done, really, but the reasons given in both cases had to do with scheduling/availability. Which makes little sense to me, because I deliberately designed the tournament structure to be maximally flexible to accomodate everyone’s schedule! I’m not blaming anyone; it’s simply not realistic to expect everyone to read every last word I write. Even if most of you did, the was I set this up really depended on 100% of you doing that, and that’s just not a realistic expectation.


Lesson learned: It’s easier to announce a fixed time and let people decide whether they can commit to it or not, than it is to say “get together with your opponent of the week, and pick a time”. Even though this is less flexible.

The analogy goes something like this: If you know the bus stops at the corner at 2:08 pm every day, you can count on the schedule, and always catch that bus. If you have to talk to a guy you barely know about when he’ll pick you up at the corner, you go back and forth endlessly saying “well, when’s good for you?” “Whenever.” “OK when?” “What kind of car do you drive?” “How do I know you won’t kill me?” And then you end up taking way longer to get to where you’re going.

Accordingly, once I have received everyone’s preferred times to play, when I announce your matchups, I will also include a recommended time to play. The intent for this is to save you the work of having to decide this time together. If the time I recommend doesn’t work for you, you can still communicate with each other and pick a time that does work. So it’s just as flexible as ever, but now with a little more structure that will hopefully help keep things running smoothly.



@BRICK52 vs. @pokerrick

@puggywug vs bye

@waidus vs. @DogsOfWar

Please contact each other and arrange a time to play your three games. Please play all three games at your earliest availability, and have the winner report the Tournament ID and results to puggywug by private message for official recordkeeping.

If we all complete our Round One games ahead of time, I will announce the Round Two matches early.

I will be taking the first bye week so I should be more available to respond to messages and assist in resolving any problems that may come up.

Have a great first week!

I sent my available times to pokerrick .I hope we get this going. Lets do it !

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