How to Organize an Awesome Poker Night at Home

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For many who enjoy poker, playing a game with friends or family members is a great way of spending an evening. During the pandemic, it seems like many games have been put on hold, or have been held in an online casino. Although playing online against friends is fun, it is nothing compared to playing with others in person. 

A lot of poker players take turns on who hosts a poker night, and if it’s your turn to host the event, you can do a lot of things to make it a memorable evening. Although going to a traditional casino might be an option for some people, you will have to abide by the casinos rules and regulations. By hosting your own poker night at home, you’re in charge. 

What Equipment Do You Need?

The most important thing that you need for a poker night is cards. Although having cards might sound obvious for a poker night, making sure you get the right type of cards is important. There are a lot of cheap cards available that get damaged very easily. For poker, it’s probably best if you invest in a waterproof deck. This way, if someone was to spill a drink on the cards you can still use them. If one card was to get damaged, it can ruin the entire night. Players will know what the damaged card is without having to look at the front of it, so make sure you have at least one backup deck close by. 

If you don’t have a set of poker chips, you should consider purchasing one. If you are expecting a lot of people to play, think about buying a set with lots of chips so you don’t run out. However, you don’t need to have proper playing chips to enjoy a game. As an alternative you could use items like bottle tops or matches, but most players prefer to play with proper chips. 

The size of the table you use depends on how many people are playing poker. If you have a rounded table, use it, but if you don’t, it’s not the end of the world. If you don’t have a poker mat you should consider using a table cloth so the cards don’t slip when the dealer is delegating the cards to each player. 

The Rules

A big problem with playing poker with family members and friends outside of a casino is that some players have different rules. Consider printing off the official rules of the game, and before the game begins it might be a good idea to explain to each player the rules in your home. At the end of the day, you are the host! When it comes to poker, especially if there is alcohol involved and a large amount of cash at stake, people might become confrontational during the game, so explaining everything at the start helps reduce the chances of people arguing. The host should establish the following rules before the game starts:

  • How much does it cost for each member to buy-in to the game?
  • Can players re-buy, and if they can, how much is the re-buy, and how many chips will they get?
  • Can a player re-buy at any stage of the game or only for a certain time?
  • What is the value of each of the chips?
  • How will you decide who deals first?
  • What are the different blind structures?
  • What are the payouts? 

Going through all these details will help your guests understand all the rules. If some of your guests decide to change the rules before the first hand is dealt, then everybody should be made aware of the changes. 

How will I keep my guests entertained?

There are lots of things you should consider to make your guests feel welcome such as the following:

  • Provide alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages: If some of your guests like to have a beer, don’t forget to put some in the fridge hours before the game begins. This way the beers will be nice and cold by the time the game starts. If you have friends that don’t enjoy drinking booze, consider making some alcohol-free cocktails
  • Music: To create a nice poker atmosphere in your home, it might be a good idea to prepare some music before the event. Although you can stream music online if you have a lot of people coming to your poker night, lots of them might want to use the WiFi, which may slow down your connection. Consider making a playlist that you can play offline. This way you won’t have to worry about a sluggish connection affecting the music. If you are using a wireless Bluetooth speaker, don’t forget to fully charge the device before your guests arrive.
  • Food: You don’t want to prepare a three-course meal in the middle of a poker session, but most guests will appreciate a selection of snacks. If time isn’t on your side, consider ordering a pizza for your guests. 
  • Television and video gaming: Keep in mind that players who run out of chips might not be allowed to buy-back, so you might want to provide those who are knocked out with other entertainment. Showing a movie might distract players from their game, so putting on a sports channel on the television might be a good idea. If you have a gaming console, those who are eliminated might want to play a game if they are not interested in watching the rest of the poker. 
  • Covid-19 safety gear: To help reduce the spread of Covid-19, you can provide your guests with face masks and hand gel

Conclusion

Poker is a fun game, and by creating a warm, fun atmosphere, you and your guests are bound to have a lot of fun. Expect people to show up late, so don’t be upset if the game doesn’t start on time. If you want to make sure the games don’t go on for too long, make sure you set a timer. Setting a timer not only helps the game go faster, but it will encourage players to gamble.