A great way to spend an evening with friends is by playing poker in a comfortable environment at home, away from the hustle and bustle of the Casino.
We know plenty of people who shy away from hosting their own poker games because they feel it's too difficult to arrange. Today we are going to show you how to host your own poker game and the five most important things to consider before you do.
1. How Many Players Will You Have?
Six players is a good starting point for a poker game at home and a comfortable minimum number. You should set a realistic maximum of 10 players unless you plan to run a second table. Just remember if you do have a second table that's a whole other level of babysitting and it is very easy to lose track of your game and end up with unhappy players. Only bite off as much as you can chew and keep the number of players manageable.
2. Tourney Or Cash Game?
We all know the benefits of poker tournaments vs. cash games and what our personal preference is, but your friends may not feel the same. Just because you love 6 tabling low stakes cash games online doesn't automatically mean your friends will want to play a 2/5 game with mandatory button straddles and a hand of PLO once per orbit, or whatever else you might be into.
Consider your audience and scope out what will be best for them and the overall fun factor of the game. It may be best to go for a home poker tournament with relatively small stakes to keep everyone happy. Which brings me to point 3...
3. Choose Your Stakes Wisely
Ensure that you choose stakes that will keep the action fun. Not everyone is a high roller like you. You don't want to put people in a situation where they could lose more money than they can afford.
The best thing to do here is limit losses. You could restrict players to one buyin in a cash game or have a freezeout tourney where players cannot rebuy.
4. Use High Quality Equipment
I can't tell you the number of times I have been to a home game only to find dice chips and paper cards played on a 'poker table' which is nothing more than a dining table with a green cloth thrown over it.
If you're hosting a poker game, do it right. You will want chips with numbers on at the very least and 100% PVC playing cards. I personally recommend Fournier playing cards for the very best experience but Copag and Modiano are two great alternatives.
As for the table, I suggest using a topper so you can store it easily. The best choices are usually the ones that have 'speed cloth' on. They are mostly waterproof, highly durable and provide a great playing surface.
5. Provide Food, Drink and Entertainment
You don't want your fellow players to be uncomfortable and bored, especially those who bust early but still want to hang out. Have a TV close to the table and put a movie on, Rounders is a good shout, alternatively you could put on a major poker event either past or current.
You should decide if you will provide all food and drink, or ask people to bring their own. I think it's preferable to do both and be extra prepared. While the game is running you can also pool together and get food delivery.
Make Yours The Best Game In Town
However you decide to run your home game just remember why you're doing it. You want to have fun in a comfortable environment away from the stress of the cardroom. Keep your players happy and they will come back week after week for years and your game could grow into a great community of aspiring poker players.
Billy Shepherd, Lemons & Sevens