It’s Saturday evening and you’re engaging in an embittered debate in your own brain. Should you go out and make an effort to socialise with your friends by fighting your way through crowded, sweaty bars? Or, should you change into your pyjamas and find and watch yet another true crime documentary on Netflix?
Fortunately your options aren’t limited to those two choices, there is a way that you can actually get the best of both worlds. Head to the shop to pick up some cheap booze and cards. Open up a group chat on Whatsapp and invite your friends round for a Saturday night home poker game.
Need some tips to make your evening a success? Fortunately you’ve come to the right place, we’ve got you covered from game logistics to ideas to keep things fun.
What You’ll Need
Essentially all you need for a poker night is two decks of cards and a group of friends, but if you want to have an authentic experience you’re going to need…
Green Felt: This addition will transform your kitchen table into the real deal, not only will it be an aesthetic boost but it will also help your gameplay too. You can pick one up for the price of a cocktail on Amazon.
Chips: If you’ve played in a spontaneous poker game at home you’ll be accustomed to using all sorts of household items as chips. If you want the full experience, invest in some chips, preferably some heavy ones for that realistic casino feel.
Double Deck: You’re going to need two decks of cards for your poker evening so invest in a double deck. Go for one with plastic cards rather than the cheaper paper ones as they won’t slide off the table. Plastic cards won’t be so easy to bend or fold too which should stop your friends from purposely damaging cards to mark them for later hands!
Timer: We all have that one friend that takes the game way too seriously and ends up spoiling the fun. Get yourself an authentic poker timer or simply use the app on your phone to make sure that no-one is wasting time during hands.
Pick up the aforementioned essentials if you want to transform your kitchen or dining room into a lifelike recreation of a casino room
What To Play
This next part all depends on you and your friends’ budget, temperament and needs. If you’re looking to have as much fun as possible why not try out a Texas Hold ‘em Sit and Go?
Every player pays the exact same buy-in at the beginning with the winnings shared out amongst the last 3 or 2 players at the table. If you lose a hand, you’re out, it’s as simple as that.
This type of game avoids the possibility of getting bogged down in attritional hands and also stops your slightly wealthier friends from bossing the table. Because of the cut and thrust nature of Sit and Go, an entire tournament between 6 to 10 players usually only last an hour.
If you are intent on a longer evening of cards you can opt for a traditional cash game, but do introduce limits. You should all agree beforehand how much you ideally want to spend and put a cap on it to keep the game fun. There’s no point playing above your or your friends’ financial means, although equally, your limit doesn’t want to be so low that people won’t take the game seriously, there’s a fine balance to be had.
Prize Pots & Blinds
If you’re playing a Sit and Go game you need to work out the prize pots beforehand to keep everything fair. The safest option is to follow the 50-30-20 rule with the winner scooping half of the prize money, the runner up grabbing 30% and third place taking home 20%.
For cash games you’ll want to discuss the blinds beforehand. Whilst this is obviously dependent on your collective budgets, it would be wise to keep the blinds fairly high. This way you can ensure a fast-paced game and discourage people from folding their way through the entire evening.
If you want to get the full-on casino experience you might consider paying someone to come around and professionally deal for you. If not you can share the duties out amongst one another for the duration.
Sit and Go games give you the chance for a bit of consistency though if you agree that the first person to be eliminated will deal for the rest of the game. The person dealing does need to be experienced and trustworthy though to keep the game flowing and reduce the risk of arguments flaring up.
Finally you need to remember to have fun. These people at your house are presumably your friends and you have known them for some time. Therefore you’re going to need to adopt a slightly more laid-back approach than you would in a regular casino or online poker game.
Don’t bully people with your bets, don’t fall out over each other’s betting styles and don’t get over protective of your money. Of course a home poker night is an opportunity to win money, but it’s also an opportunity to socialise with your friends and enjoy each other’s company.