The UK Rules
How to Run a Pub Quiz

Rules for Pub Quizzes: Running a Quiz Night

As a rule pub quizzes and quiz trivia nights take place inside a public house or a bar. This guide explains pub quiz rules and regulations for the modern pub game.

PUB QUIZ RULES: You are on the right page if you want some advice on how to run a pub quiz.

There are several reasons for running a regular quiz in a pub. But, most pub landlords use it as a way to generate repeat and regular trade on the quiet nights.

That said, organising the rules for pub quizzes need to be well coordinated and properly adjudicated.

A well run trivia night is more likely to get customers back to your bar on a regular basis.

So, the big question is how to run a quiz night, set out the rules and regulations, and make it enjoyable at the same time?

Charging an Entry Fee and Offering Prizes

As a general rule it is recommend to set up modest entry fees and be frugal with prize offerings. Charging pricey entry fees can discourage many people from taking part. Offering prizes with high values could encourage 'professional quizzers' to play.

That often ruins the chances of regular customers winning the quiz. There is also an increased chance of cheating when large valuable prizes are on offer.

Many pub quizzes charge £1 entry fee per person (more for charity events and one-offs). A prize fund around £50 is typical for quiz night rules in the United Kingdom.

Note: Some quiz organisers offer bottles of beer, wine, or food vouchers instead of cash prizes. They find it less taxing - like the rules for running a raffle.

Be Consistent with Pub Quiz Format

Regular pub quizzes should be consistent to avoid disappointing returning customers. That applies to the day of the week and entry fees. As a rule, it is best to keep the same question format and team arrangements.

Pub Quiz Rules and Regulations: How to Run a Quiz NightPub Quiz Rules for Teams

Most quiz masters prefer to run a team game format instead of individual players. It tends to get people chatting about the questions and possible answers.

As a rule, this type of pub quiz format creates a more enjoyable as well as a sociable fun evening in the pub.

Keeping things simple but flexible is a good rule of thumb for trivia nights.

Restricting team numbers can be a disadvantage. But imposing an upper limit of 8 to 10 persons per team seems reasonable.

Pub Quiz and Trivia Rules on Questions

The rules for pub quizzes have no set number of trivia questions. Even so, arranging 50 questions seems ideal for a typical pub quiz night format. The quiz master should cater for a variety of knowledge levels. So make sure you include a good range of subjects.

Most quiz and trivia questions include around 20% easy to answer questions. You can balance this by adding 20% difficult to answer questions. This ensures all teams can get a respectable score. It also means the best teams rarely get close to 100% full marks.

Pub Quiz Tip: Including questions from celebrities to science subjects is ideal. A few more that test the players on youth culture and even some classical music will go down well. Adding a picture round always seems to be popular. It requires players to identify or solve puzzles on animals, people, and places.

Note: It is best to prepare at least one 'tie breaker question'. Often, organisers will have a few fun tie breaker questions already prepared. As a rule, the nearest answer to a given question requiring a number as the answer is the best tie-breaker format for this.

Presenting a Trivia Night

You may find it best to start the quiz around 20:30 to 21:00. That should allow a good two hours for a weekly or monthly event. One-off quizzes tend to be a little longer than two hours.

It is usually better for a quiz master to read out the questions. But, some organisers prefer to use questions circulated in printed form. As a rule, a quiz master with personality retains the attention of the players for the evening.

There should be a 10 or 15 minute break mid-way through the presentation. That allows teams or individuals to review their answers, make a trip to the bar, and have a comfort break.

Note: Ensure a PA system gets heard above any background noise in the pub or bar. The quiz master should always read each quiz question twice.

General Regulations and Quiz Night Rules

There are three golden rules for running a pub quiz to make it an enjoyable and successful quiz night:

  1. The correct answer is the one written on the quiz master's answer sheet (even though it might be wrong).
  2. Adhere to rule number one to reduce disputes and potential arguments or confusion.
  3. Enforce a strict rule banning the use of mobile phones and other Wi-Fi devices.

Using Mobile Phones in a Pub Quiz Competition

Using mobile phones and Internet connected mobile devices are a problem for quizzes. But, there are a few measures you can take to discourage players from looking up the answers.

  1. Always inform competitors about the ban on using mobiles. A good method is announcing it before the quiz starts. Even better is to state the ruling on all the pub quiz answer sheets.
  2. Encourage people to report any players they spot cheating the system. The bar staff can also keep an eye on people when they wander around collecting glasses and empties.
  3. Notify anyone caught cheating in a non-confrontational way. The embarrassment is usually enough to make them follow the rules for the rest of the quiz.
  4. There are times when you may prefer not to confront a cheating team. In this case you could announce that you (or the bar staff) have identified a team using a mobile phone. You may choose to ask any cheats not to submit their answer sheet - depending on how strict you run the pub quiz.

Marking Pub Quiz Competitions

There are several ways to arrange pub quiz marking. Often, the best method is using a duplicate answer sheet. The quiz master gets the top copy before announcing the answers. Teams can then use a duplicate copy to mark their own answers.

They add up their final score and hand them in for confirmation. This means the quiz master only needs to check one answer sheet. It would be that of the team claiming to have scored the most points.

Some quiz masters use helpers to make independent marking, often after each round. But, it can be slow and the fun evening may lose some momentum. Even so, using this system enables you to provide an interesting running total. It tends to keep players attentive as the quiz progresses.

Pub Quiz Rules and Regulations: How to Run a Pub Quiz Format