Having a poker night is one of my favorite ways to spend an evening in – it’s cheap, sociable, challenging, fun, and gives you a chance to win some money!
As a veteran of holding home poker nights, I know what the essentials are for holding a great one. From getting the mood right to having all the correct tools, these are the four things you need for a guys poker night like no other!
Get the right mood
Las Vegas has the glitz, the glamour, and the games, which is why it’s the mecca of gambling. But you don’t need to book a flight to the Nevada desert to get the spirit of Vegas, all you need is to get the right mood at your home poker game.
Setting the mood for your poker night in is simple, you just need to get a few basics right:
● Food: Quick and dirty snacks, such as crisps, are a must. Just make sure you have enough dips for all your guests!
● Drink: It’s not only about having a tipple for everyone, but you also need a place for people’s drinks to rest – if they’re too close to the table they’ll interfere with the game.
● Music: Something that’s not too involved is ideal – my personal pick is Cold Water Music, by Aim.
● Space: You need enough room for all the guys to feel comfortable, so pick an environment that doesn’t squeeze everyone in.
A decision on the game you’re playing
It’s really simple, your poker night will crash and burn if there’s no consensus on the game you’re going to play. This means it’s essential you decide what variant of poker best suits the night you want:
● Want a game that’s easy to play and moves rapidly? Pick Texas hold’em.
● Want something that’s gentle and involved? Opt for seven-card stud.
● Want to gamble methodically and intellectually? Choose Omaha hi-lo.
Once you’ve decided on the type of poker you’re going to play, you need to make a decision on whether it’s going to be a cash or tournament game. The differences between the two can be boiled down to this:
● In a cash game: players can cash out and rebuy at any time.
● In the tournament: you play until you’re out and then you’re out.
A grasp of the rules
While the type of evening you want influences the poker game you choose, a key detail to consider is the rules of the game.
Now, as you’d expect, some types of poker are more complex than others – for example, Texas hold’em can be learned in minutes, while Omaha hi-lo can take a long time to grasp. There are a couple of ways you can get around this:
● Have the hand rankings on the table during the game.
● Give your fellow players an overview of the rules.
If you opt for the former, make sure the hands can be seen by everyone. If you opt for the latter, you might want to send the guys a video by one of poker’s best teachers. My personal pick is Daniel Negreanu.
The appropriate tools
Alongside the atmosphere, one of the best reasons to play poker in a casino is that all of the tools and equipment you need are there for you – cards, chips, baize, and a dealer to keep things in check. To have a poker night that functions like no other, you need to have all these things to hand.
Now, you may be thinking: “I’ll get the cheapest options for each of these things.” This is a mistake, as I’ll explain:
● Cards: Cheap cards bend, meaning that they quickly become useless because people can see other players’ hands.
● Chips: I’m’ talking poker chips here. Lighter ones get lost easier, as they don’t sit as firmly on the table.
● Baize: This is the matt that rests on the table. You want your baize to be slick, but not too slick – if it is the cards will slip off!
● Dealer: Your dealer players a crucial role in your poker night – they keep the game flowing. Make sure your dealer is good at time management and knows how to shuffle!
While there’s plenty of inessentials you need for a guys poker night in, I’ve covered off the things you can’t live without. So, all that’s left is for you to tick off everything I’ve mentioned and arrange a guys poker night like no other!