Startup Poker 2.0 games are structured as No-limit Texas Hold’em tournaments, just like the World Series of Poker that you watch on TV.  The regular buyin is just $10, with unlimited rebuys for the first five blind rounds.  At the end of the 5th round, there’s an optional add-on for 1.5x the buyin which gets you a 2x buyin stack.  After that there’s no more buyins and we play down to the winners.

The blinds start out nice and easy (20 mins each) to give everyone plenty of time to hangout and play without the worrying too much about busting out.   After the 5th round, the blinds go up more aggressively so that we can determine the winners and get home at a reasonable hour.

There are $20 bounties on the heads of any sponsors who play and some sponsor optionally offer up additional bounty prizes on their own heads!

100% of all the buyins in the pot are distributed back to the winnng players — there is never any rake or vig paid by any player ever.

Players get chip bonuses for making an announcement about their startup and for bringing $1, $5 and $10 bills for their first buyin.


The only service providers allowed to attend are a select and limited number that sponsor the events — i.e., they buy the food and drink, they rent the tables chairs, they pay for the trophies, the poker chips, the cards, etc., etc., etc.

Startup Poker 2.0 strives to create a sustainable structure that can allow the events to thrive and continue to provide value for startup founders into the future.  Achieving this goal requires resources.  Because there is not “business model” underlying Poker 2.0, leverage service provider sponsor who “get it” is key.

What does “get it” mean?

  • Well regarded in the startup community.
  • Understand that relationships come before sales.
  • Active and interested in genuinely supporting the startup community.

There are lots (and lots) of networking events for the broader startup community. Many of these events are a good way to learn something new, meet some new folks and blow off some steam.  But the signal-to-noise ratio at these events can be very low; and for busy founders and investors, many of these events are just not a good use of there scare and valuable time.  

It’s not uncommon for the ratio of service providers, job seekers, marketers and wantrepreneurs at these events to be as high 50% – 80%.  These are all wonderful people and they are critical to a vibrant startup community.  But the chances of a serious startup entrepreneur making valuable connections under these conditions is remote.

Every Poker 2.0 attendee understand the challenges of the startup founders’ experience and are happy to help their peers — the chances of making valuable connections at a Poker 2.0 are nearly 100%.

Read this to learn more about whether you qualify for an invite and how to apply.

Poker games happen in the offices and homes of countless entrepreneurs and investors in just about every major and minor tech hub in the US.  These games are a lot of fun and the good ones can be a terrific way to build relationships. Poker 2.0 amplifies relationship building in a number of ways. 

  • Poker 2.0 invitees are exclusively startup founders, execs and investors, and members of the core startup community. Participation by service providers is strictly limited to only a few who step up to sponsor the events.  This increases the signal to noise ratio dramatically and makes Poker 2.0 one of the few networking events that make sense for busy startup professionals.
  • Poker 2.0 stakes are kept reasonable… but interesting.  This way, any entrepreneur can participate — from bootstrapper to series C.  While the buyins are relatively small, the tournament structure helps build an interesting pot for the final table players.
  • Poker 2.0 is reliable, regular monthly game. This provides a regular touch point to reconnect with peers.
  • Poker 2.0 brings together 30 – 40 players at each game. This means more opportunities to connect with more peers… and higher probabilities of making valuable connections.
  • Poker 2.0 is a friendly game, suitable for beginners and experts alike.  This means that it’s a great venue to learn the game or to improve your already-sharp skills.