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How to set Up a Poker Game at Home
Use a social game of poker as training for your online competition or just play it for the fun of it.
- Why play poker at home?
- What equipment do I need?
- Setting the ground rules
- Organizing a regular setup
Hosting a regular poker game at home can be beneficial as a training experience before heading into the online poker rooms, or can just be a fun activity to do with a group of friends. This guide will take you through the basics of how to set up a regular poker game in your home.
Why play poker at home?
Aside from the obvious social benefits to just sitting around playing poker with a group of friends, organizing a regular game at home can also be a form of training before hitting the online poker rooms or the tables at the casino.
There are many upsides to having a regular game of poker with the same group of people. Everybody has their own style of play, and playing with the same people can assist you in identifying different moves.
Types of players to look out for within any group include:
- The math-wiz, who can process their probability of winning in an instant (warning: this doesn't necessarily make them unbeatable, it only gives them the aura of being so).
- The aggressive person, who bets big money early in the game to fend away prospective rivals.
- The quiet, unassuming type, who often ends up surprising everyone by winning the lot.
What equipment do I need?
- A deck of cards is obviously the most important thing needed when organizing a game of poker. If there are a lot of players it's handy to have two decks, so that one can be shuffled while the other is being used.
- A full, multi-colored set of chips, taking into account the amount of players present. A set of 300 chips in five different colors, including two decks of cards can be purchased at casino equipment stores; it's a good investment if you're planning regular games.
- Food and drinks: With the average home poker game lasting several hours, some snacks and cold beverages are absolutely essential. If you succeed in running a weekly game you can assign people to bring this - it can be a good idea to get the previous week's winner to buy this.
- A list of rules: Necessary only if group members are new to the game. If you choose to play Texas hold'em - the most popular version of poker in the world today, it would be handy to write up a list beforehand of the order of winning hands (beginning with royal flush, straight flush, four in a row, etc). For more on this check out our article on Texas holdem rules.
- If you're really ambitious you can buy an actual poker table with space for around 10 people. These should cost no more than $300 online or at any large department store.
Setting the ground rules
- A social game can revolve around a tournament style of play, or with set time limits, depending on the wishes of the group. We recommend playing tournament-style Texas hold'em. This is suitable for up to ten players, with competitors knocked out of the tournament when they run out of chips. You can also allow players to buy back into the game, meaning they can continue playing with more chips if they put more money into the pot after being knocked out. Again this should be discussed with the group to see what everyone's preferences are.
- Unless you're a bunch of high-rollers, or the members of a professional sports team on a long road-trip, it's best not to play for too much money. Otherwise the social aspect of the game could fall apart. Plus, in some countries, like the USA, you don't want to get yourself into trouble for breaching gambling laws.
Organizing a regular setup
- Pick a convenient time for everyone, such as a weeknight after work when people don't regularly go out - say Monday or Tuesday.
- Invite a restricted number of people to participate. A suitable number would be 10, meaning if some people can't make it on any given week you should still get at least the minimum five required to make it a decent game. Any more than 10 people and you'll have to split into two tables, which is also possible if you have a large living room and don't have elderly neighbors likely to complain to the police.
- Those invited don't have to be experts, although it's good to organize it so people are at similar levels. If you're a regular online poker player there's no point inviting just novices so you can steal their money, and vice versa. If you're all beginners a regular poker game can be a good way of learning the game together.
Enjoy the experience and be sure to report your experiences with other poker players on our forum.