Hi-Tech Tournaments

It's time for PoolSynergy again!   This month's topic is about our ideal tournament and is being hosted by Mike Fieldhammer, the Billiard Coach.  I highly suggest you cruise on over to Mike's post to see all of the other perspectives on what makes for an exceptional tournament.

So, I'm a software developer by trade and I've been working on a side  project for quite some time now that allows people to challenge each  other to games of real life pool using their cellphone.  I already have support for tournaments built into the site and have ran a handful of tournaments, the largest two being a 21 player double elimination and a 39 player single elimination.

I've been planning on cutting back on my league play in favor of personally directing some weekly tournaments here in San Francisco.  My goal is to make these tournaments as much fun for as many players as possible and continue to refine the site along the way.

With that in mind, here's my plan so far...

1. Online Bracket History - Every tournament I run will have the full bracket saved online so that you can go back and view all of your past matches.

2. Instant Updates - Along the same lines as having the bracket history, every match will be instantly updated on the website in case you get stuck late at the office or something, you'll still get to follow along with the action in real-time.  You can even leave comments on the games to root your friends on (or to talk a little smack.)

3. Online Leaderboards - Every game that you play in one of my tournaments will count on a global online leaderboard as well as a leaderboard specific to the venue where the game took place.  I'm using a version of the ELO rating system which was developed to rank chess players.  Every player starts out with a rating of 1500.  When two players compete, points are transferred from the losing player to the winner.  The amount of points transferred depends on their ratings.  The higher rated player risks more points to win less while the lower rated player risks less to win more.

4. Progressive Break Pot - I was thinking about running a calcutta based on past experiences I've had in some tournaments back in Detroit but then I read about an awesome sounding break pot on Melinda's PoolJourney blog.  I'm planning on incorporating this break pot almost verbatim.  Basically you'll get to buy as many $1 raffle tickets as you want and the chosen player will get one chance to break a 9ball rack.  As long as they make a ball on the break, they'll get 1/9th of the total pot for every ball that they legally sink after the break. Everything else carries over to the next week's pot.

5. Venue Provided Incentives - I'm going to talk to the bar owners to see what they can throw in to get players excited.  Something along the lines of one free drink per player or maybe something added to the pot once a month.  (Players would have to play in at least one tournament earlier in the month to qualify for the bonus.)

Please leave a comment if you have any feedback or ideas (or if you live near SF and would like to play in the tournaments.)  I really want to make these tournaments successful and I'm hoping that introducing some technology into our favorite pastime will make for a great experience for everyone involved.

If you happen to own a "pool bar" or a tournament director yourself, I would love to talk to you.  Besides tournaments, pool hall and bar owners can use the site to give their regular players a venue-specific leaderboard to challenge each other on.  The best part is that no computer is needed to send and accept challenges, everything can be done through simple text messages.