Hosting a poker night at home is a great way to spend time with your buddies and (most importantly) maybe win some cash too.
All you need is a poker table, two decks of cards, chips and a few pals who either know how to play or are willing to learn. Poker might be a pretty tough game to pick up at first, but with a little practice anyone can develop the skills to play a good hand.
Whether you plan to host poker night once a week, every two weeks or each month, you have to make the most of it to give your circle of players a good time — but how do you do that?
Join us as we explore everything you need to know about hosting the perfect poker night at home!
Picking your players
You might find persuading your buddies or co-workers to join you for poker night tougher than you expect if they’ve never played before.
They could stress over feeling embarrassed if they have a bad game, and there’s a real risk they could end up losing their money. Let’s face it: no one wants to look like an amateur and be out of pocket.
Still, they’ll probably have a blast when they’ve been shown the proverbial ropes — here are a few steps you can take to make your poker night more appealing to them:
- Let them know some of your other guests have never played before either, even if that’s not true!
- Invite inexperienced players to come over an hour or so before everyone else, so you can show them how to play
- Don’t pressure anyone to play: just tell them they’re welcome to hang out and watch the rest of you (maybe offer to pay for their booze to up the ante)
- Think about making your first few games just for fun: play with chips instead of real money, so everyone can kick back and focus on fun
Create the right atmosphere
We’ve all seen poker nights in movies: guys sitting at the table in low lighting, drinking beers, smoking cigars and snacking on peanuts or pretzels.
You don’t have to recreate that setting, but it’s essential to create a chilled atmosphere however you can: this helps everyone relax and ease into the gameplay, especially guests who might be nervous.
Set out a few snacks (nuts, pretzels, crisps) and organize the booze (if any). You can supply the drinks yourself or ask people to bring their own (this is best if you’re on a tight budget)!
Your players should be free to drink what they like, but for the full effect try buying alcohol with an air of sophistication, such as fine whiskies and brandies. A bottle of Jim Beam or Jack Daniel’s looks pretty damn cool on any poker table.
Make the rules clear
Before each game of poker, make sure you lay the groundwork to keep everyone on the same page.
- Clarify what type of poker you’re playing — Texas Hold ‘Em etc. — and break down the rules if anyone needs a refresher
- Follow the standard rules to avoid confusion and keep your poker night as simple as possible (you can tweak them as you get more used to the games)
- Cover the buy-in requirements early: settle on a fair amount everyone’s happy with, to start games off on the right foot
- Set firm wagering limits: the last thing you want is for your games to get out of control and for your buddies to get carried away until you’re all in debt to each other!
- Let everyone know how long the night will go on — if you have a firm end-time in sight, you’ll be able to finish games fairly, without rushing
Hosting your own poker night can be as simple and laid back or formal as you like, but whatever your style, follow these tips to make the most of it. Hopefully, it’ll become a regular way to see your pals, pick up some new skills and even win some extra cash too.
Got any tips to share for the perfect poker night? Let us know!
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