Well by using the 9, 8 & 8, I only have one seat unavailable to deal with. Using 3 tables at 9, 9, & 9, I would have a total of three seats unavailable. Since I only have 24 players in my league, it makes perfect sense to use 3 tables at 9, 8, & 8 with one seat unavailable until we get down to the final 9 players. I then make the seat available to have the final table at 9 players. If the players were inconsistent, then it would make sense to use what you suggested but we have a max of 24 every week.