And so we bring to you this article on how to host the perfect poker night; one that your guests will remember for a long time, and will keep them coming back for more. Trust us, it is always better to know what you’re getting into when you decide on such an activity. You don’t want people to leave disappointed and give you the tag of “that guy/girl who hosted that boring “poker” party last time!”
So here we go. The following are some tips to keep in mind when you decide to host a poker home game.
Gotta get them right peeps
You can’t host a poker night without a group. Selecting the right bunch from among your friends is paramount. You CANNOT call over a guy who just got dumped and the guy with whom his girlfriend ran off to the same party. Or that shopaholic friend who always gets a better discount at that brand store than that other shopaholic friend you were gonna call too.
Make sure your group is tolerant of each other and can get along amicably. You do not want awkward altercations or hostile situations at your poker home game. Think about all this and then make a list. And don’t forget, they should have some idea or at least an interest in poker!
It’s a date!
Decide on a date that is suitable to most, if not all, of your intended guests. This is real life, so chances that everyone can make it are lesser than you’d hope. Ask everyone to RSVP your invite so that you can get a head count and then decide whether to bring in replacements. Ask your group to get their pallys too. The more, the merrier.
Also check that it isn’t cricket season, football season or year ending season (for accountants). Make sure that your family can make other plans on that day if you don’t have a separate game room where you can lock yourselves and play. Hence, exam season is also a big no.
Nuts (and bolts!)
To host a poker game, you need to get the basic gear ready. First off, chips (not to eat) and card decks. Please avoid the cheap plastic chips that are, well, cheap. They break. And don’t give a nice impression. Best to order a chip-set online; it’ll come with 2 card decks and dealer button. Then you’re all set on that front.
And now for the table. We agree that getting the whole “green felt with cup holders” and all can be a bit much for casual, fun home games. Turn any big-enough table in your home into a makeshift poker table for the evening. Or get a table top. Perfect props are not needed as long as you have the essentials.
One syllable foods are the best for a poker game. Two syllables, maybe, but nothing elaborate. Chips, dips, nachos, fries, you get the gist. When hosting a poker game, it’s always polite to keep something for your guests to snack on.
As for drinks, ask your guests to bring their favourite bottles or the ingredients for a cocktail. Also make sure that you have something for the designated drivers. Ask your guests to preferably carpool, especially the ones who are planning to drink later.
Who’s the boss?
Make a set of games rules beforehand. This includes etiquettes, bathroom and refreshment breaks, food and drinks on the table, talking during the game and other things like game play, blinds, buy-ins, etc.
Make sure that your players know the rules; keep a reasonable buy-in; ensure that the game is clear to everyone. You don’t want arguments later, or rather, drunk arguments. Make a rule stating when bathroom and food breaks are to be taken, and forbid all players from going near the table or touching the cards and chips at that time. Also, keep a deadline for the game. Because sometimes, some people just don’t want to leave.
Music is the door to every soul. Or, a nice background score for a poker game. It also serves as a great distraction for players sitting out of the hand. Direct them to the CDs and let them go wild choosing what they want to play. It also adds a soothing effect to an otherwise tense game. Play some calming music in the background. And, um, avoid death metal.
It’s always a good practice to call your guests the next day and follow up. Just in case there was some unfortunate friction, especially, then you do not want resentful guests, right? And even otherwise, calling gives the impression that you’re a caring host. So why not make a lasting impression.
Hosting a poker home game at your place takes some amount of planning on your part. It isn’t that difficult though. Just keep the abovementioned tips in mind and be remembered for the rocking poker parties that you throw.