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GUIDE to POKER TOURNAMENT TIMERS & MANAGERS


 


If you are going to host a home poker tournament, it is an absolute must that you have a reasonable method to time each level. Your timing method does not have to be elaborate, but the kitchen clock or your wrist watch won't do. What are the minimum standards for a "reasonable" method?

A timer should count down time to the second.
A timer should display time to the second.
A timer should have an audible alarm when it has timed out.
The timer must be in plain view of all the players.


 

Poker tournament timers range from simple clocks to very elaborate tournament managers that will determine blind structures, calculate approximate tournament lengths, calculate payouts and more. Your first decision is to identify how many features you want and how much you are willing to pay.


Features of Tournament Timers

 

Poker tournament timers are fairly simple, perform a limited amount of functions and are typically inexpensive.

At the lowest end are simple timers that resemble (or are) a digital kitchen timer. They are small, so can be easily placed on the table. Their functionality is simple: a start/stop button, number keys and a reset button which resets the time to zero. The numbers keys allow you to set the amount of time to count down from. The start/stop button performs just as it is named. It begins and stops the counting of time. If you wish to take a break in the middle of a round, just press the start/stop button to pause and then press it again after the break to resume from the pause point. When it times out there is usually an audible alarm. At the end of each round the timer needs to be reset.

Other available basic timers have incorporated additional features, usually for additional cost. One is a timer in the form of a dealer button. Incorporating the timer into the dealer button keeps it close for observation and hearing the alarm. More sophisticated timers will keep track of blinds and antes as the tournament progresses. Another innovative feature is a separate bet timer. The bet timer can be used to speed play when you wish to call the clock on a player who is taking a long time to make a decision.

Software versions of timers are available for use online or for download, often for free. Just place a laptop computer near the table and you have what you need.


Features of Tournament Managers

 

If you want more than the basic features provided by a timer, you will need to utilize a poker tournament manager.

Tournament managers are products that have the ability to manage virtually every aspect of a tournament, even predicting when it should end. There are two basic versions of tournament managers: hardware based and software based. Both are essentially computers. A hardware based manager is its own separate stand alone piece of electronic equipment. A software based product requires the program to be loaded onto a computer. Either will provide numerous features and function.

The minimum features you should seek for a tournament manager are:
Complete small & big blind schedule
Time in current level
Time remaining in current level
Current blind level
Next blind level amounts
Time until next break
Break countdown timer
Total prize pool
Payout structure

Other features to consider for a tournament manager include:
Customizable blinds structure
Total tournament elapsed time
Total number of players entered
Number of players remaining
Number of re-buys & add-ons
Total chips in play
Average chip stack

Hardware based tournament managers are only available for purchase, usually in the $50 to $100 range. Many software based tournament managers are available for purchase and some provide free versions. Free versions require connection to the provider's website and will often include the running of advertisements. Purchased versions are downloaded onto a computer, so do not require continued connection to the internet and are commercial free.


DIRECTORY

 

These are links to websites with poker tournament timers or tournament managers. Some sites offer free timers, while others have timers for sale. Some sites offer both a simpler version for free and a more complete version for sale. These links are provided to assist you in obtaining product information. To have a site listed in this directory Contact Us.


 

Blind valet.com Free timer, blind scheduler and payout calculator.
DB Dealer.com Dealer button with built-in blind timer.
Home game poker clock.com Free timer.
Pokerclock.net Purchase required.
Poker-clock.com Simple clock version or tournament manager
Poker host pro.com Purchase required.
Poker timer.com Talking timer, free and purchase versions.
That poker clock.com Free, but donations solicited.
The poker timer.com Free timer.
Travis poker timer.com Timer and tournament director.
Treek's poker.net Timer and tournament director.