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How To Host A Successful Poker Night With Your Friends

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Poker is enormously popular, with countless poker events held in casinos across the world. One of the great things about poker is that having a home game is an ideal way of spending an evening with your friends – so long as the host knows what they’re doing!

From getting the ambiance just right, to putting a game administrator in place, here’s how you can bring the excitement of casino poker to your front room…

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Start by getting the ambiance just right

Poker has long been known for creating an atmosphere. In TV and film, there are scenes of smoke-filled rooms, dimly lit surroundings, and players capped with visors. While your home game with friends may not be as decadent as Hollywood films, part of the fun is getting the ambiance just right.

Some of the simple things you need to do to set the right vibe for your poker night with friends include:

  • Snacks: Chips and dips are a great option, but pick whatever your friends want
  • Music: Something that’s not too involved, so that you can keep focused on the game
  • Table: Having a quality baize allows for smooth gameplay
  • Drinks: Whether alcoholic or non-alcoholic, you’ll need plenty of liquid refreshments!
  • Enough room: If you’re all bunched-up there’s a risk you’ll see each other’s cards

Know what type of poker you’re playing

One of the best reasons to have a poker night is that there are so many different variants of poker. But what this means is that you need to make a decision on which type of poker you’re going to play.

Think about what type of game you want:

  • Simple and fast-paced: Texas hold’em is ideal
  • Mid-paced and thoughtful: Seven-card stud is a great shout
  • Slow and complex: Omaha hi-lo is perfect

Have a clear understanding of the rules of poker

When deciding which type of poker you’re going to play, one of the most important things to consider is how well your friends know the rules – if they’re experts with a keen understanding of how to play a range of games then you’re fine. However, if they’re first-time players you might want to consider picking a simple game that’s easy to teach.

Like all card games, rules are important in poker. While playing a home game of poker should be about having fun, it really loses a lot of the enjoyment factor if you spend half your time reminding people how to play! Of course, begin by making sure your friends know the rules, but a top tip is to have a description of the hand values on the table.

Make sure there is game administration

Alongside making sure your friends know the rules of the game you’re playing, one of the keys to a successful poker night is having a game administrator. Why? Because it keeps the game running smoothly.

If you’ve gambled in a live casino you’ll appreciate the importance of a committed game administrator – for example, I’ve played poker free rollers where another player looks after the running of the game.

While this can be fine, because they’re normal gamblers they can quickly lose interest and the game descends into chaos. Whereas, I’ve played dealer involved-games like blackjack which run smoothly, quickly, and effortlessly, meaning all I needed to do was focus on my cards.

It will be tedious being the game administrator for the whole evening, so I recommend you have a few different people who assume the role – in my own games the dealer takes on this role, so it shifts with each hand. The key things that the game administrator needs to do are:

  • Make sure players know when they have to act
  • Ensure people post their blinds
  • Enforce the minimum bets when people are gambling

Having a home poker game is a great way to spend your evening. You can play at a variety of paces and win some money while socializing with friends. Now that you know how to host a successful poker night, why not have a game this weekend – it’s what I’ll be doing!

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