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How to Host a Poker Night

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Poker Night Overview

Since The World Series of Poker started airing on television, the popularity of Poker has risen. This has resulted in a number of people hosting poker nights at home as well. However, there are some things that you need to consider if you want to host your own poker night at home.

The To-do List

Pre-planning: Two weeks before Poker Night

A good amount of time is needed in order to prepare all the things needed for the event.

  1. Determine the "When" — part of what makes a successful poker night is choosing the right time for it. You'll find out that some days are better than others. For example, the weekend is really not a great time to host a poker night as it may conflict with other weekend activities. Mondays are usually not the best as it is beginning of the week. Thursdays are perfect for hosting a poker night as it's almost the weekend so you can get everyone in the mood for a fun game.

  2. Choose the "Who" — this is also very important very early on in the planning. Aside from coordinating with the guest's schedule, you also need to pick the right people to play with as poker cannot be played by more than 10 people at a time.

  3. Settle on a budget — although poker night is a small event, preparing a budget means you won't overspend your hard-earned money on a single night of fun.

Planning the Details: One week before Poker Night

After ironing the major details of the event, it's time to get down to the nitty-gritty details of hosting a successful poker night.

  • Confirm guests. Now is the perfect time to call on your invited guests to confirm their presence. This also gives you enough time to invite someone else if your first choice will not be able to make it.

  • Lay down basic rules. Nothing ruins a night of fun than petty fights. So it's always a good practice to just lay down some ground rules such as the monetary limits to prevent any misunderstanding between the players.

  • Prepare the materials. Make sure that you've got enough poker chips for your guest players. The recommendation is at least 35 chips per player. You can always use real money but poker chips just make it more fun and special. Use a new deck of playing cards, as opening a fresh deck of cards adds to the ambience of your poker night. You might also want to have a reserve deck of cards handy.

  • Food. As with any other party, hosting a poker night can last at least 3 hours which means you need to prepare food for guests to munch on while they are playing the game. Light snacks such as chips, vegetable sticks, bread sticks, tortilla chips and salsa, cookies, and mini-sandwiches are perfect for poker nights. Avoid sticky and greasy food as they can mess up your deck of cards.

Poker Night Etiquette and FAQs

Below are some of the most-asked questions about hosting a poker night at home:

How do you keep poker nights fun even if it's considered gambling?
Keep bets and buy-ins low. The best way to gauge this is by thinking of how much you'll spend on a dinner at the restaurant or a night out at the movies. This will ensure that guests will not worry about losing a large amount of money and be able to enjoy the night.

How do you keep poker nights interesting for all participants?
To keep everyone interested in your poker night longer, device a plan to keep guests busy even if they're out of the game already. Don't leave them without anything to do. You can set-up another table where all the "losers" can play together.

Is there a good way to keep the games clean?
To keep games clean and fair all throughout the night make sure that you rotate the dealership. Also, make sure that every player knows the ground rules before starting play.

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