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How to Run a Family Pool Tournament

How to Run a Family Pool Tournament

Feb 9, 2020

A pool tournament is a great way to bring together friends and family for several hours of competitive fun. However, setting up a tournament isn’t something you’ll want to leave to the last minute. To maximize enjoyment for you and your guests, you should plan out your billiards tournament beforehand and ensure that it’s as inclusive and accommodating as possible.

Determine What Game You're Playing & How Many Will Play

Standard eight-ball is the most popular and familiar pool game. However, depending on the preferences of you and your guests, you might opt for a different game type, such as snooker or ten-ball. These game types can increase or decrease the difficulty of play by modifying key rules.


Before you start your pool tournament, you'll need to find an even amount of players — between 8-16. Be mindful of how many players you include in the tournament, as the more there are, the longer the tournament will take. You can reduce the total tournament time by using more than one table and allowing matches to occur simultaneously. However, simultaneous play will be limited by how many  pool tables are available. If you want to accommodate a larger group, younger players, or unequal skill levels, consider splitting the group into teams of two. Playing doubles can shorten your overall tournament time and help even out any unfair discrepancies in age or skill level.

Tournament Setup

Set up your brackets by pairing opponents with one another in a progressive fashion. In a knockout or elimination billiards tournament, winners progress to the next bracket, while a loser is eliminated. This system will gradually whittle down your player pool to just two players, who will both compete for the winning title.

If you'd like to make your pool tournaments more forgiving or if you have younger players, you might want to consider a double-elimination tournament. This tournament style allows each competitor a single loss, instead of being removed from the game. Losers enter a loser's bracket, whose winner will eventually face the main bracket’s winner.

Once you’ve decided on a suitable bracket style, print out your arrangement or draw it on a large surface, such as a whiteboard. This way, you and your guests will be able to track and visualize your tournament as it progresses.

Man playing billiards near plants

Choose the Ideal Pool Table & Game Room

Pool tournaments require lots of floor space due to the sheer number of players. Whether you're hosting the tournament at home or at a local venue, make sure that you and your players will be well-accommodated.

Billiards Table & Quality

Ensure that your pool table is high-quality and durable. A  professional-grade billiard table will support round-after-round of intense play, while a lesser-quality table might rip, tear, or affect the accuracy of shots.

If younger or shorter players are participating in your billiards tournament, consider lowering your pool table or providing a small step ladder. This way, they’ll be able to play comfortably.

Food & Beverages

Since players will inevitably have some downtime, stock your game room with snacks, foods, and beverages. If you're hosting a pool tournament at a local venue, discuss your food and beverage options ahead of time with venue staff and owners.


If you’re hosting your tournament at home, your family members will undoubtedly appreciate having comfortable furniture to sit on while the tournament progresses. The average pool tournament can take several or more hours, so make sure you’ve furnished your game space with  bar stools, sofas, and other high-quality game room furniture to keep your guests happy.

Game On!

On the day of play, set some time aside to prepare for the pool tournament. Make sure you have a suitable number of cues, ball racks, cue chalk, and other desirable  billiard accessories.

Appoint an overseeing judge to monitor the games and ensure all rules are followed. An ideal judge might be you or someone else with a solid understanding of the tournament’s rules. If you have multiple games taking place simultaneously, you might want to appoint two or more judges so that each game has a dedicated judge and can be monitored effectively.

Create the Perfect Billiards Tournament with Sawyer Twain

From  classic billiards tables to ball racks and game room furniture, Sawyer Twain provides all the equipment you’ll need to host a thrilling family pool tournament. Explore our diverse selection of products from leading brands today and get free shipping on dozens of items!