Poker nights are a staple seen in numerous films and shows, so it makes sense that, after more than a year of lockdown and social distancing, plenty of people are planning an in-person poker night. It might be their first one ever or just the first one in a long time, but either way, we’ve got some top tips for how to make it a memorable one for you and your friends.
Pick a Specific Game
There are numerous varieties of poker that can be played from home, each with features that make them unique and fun. There isn’t a wrong answer when you are considering which game to play, but we would suggest sticking with one game for the entire night.
Moving between games might add some variety, but it means explaining the rules multiple times and risks people getting confused. We suggest Texas Hold’em as it is one of the most popular varieties of poker and is the game of choice for televised events, but you will know what your table is looking for best.
Set up the Table and Chairs
Not everyone is going to want to invest in a proper poker table unless you plan to host poker night regularly. Fortunately, the last year has taught us all how to make the most of the space we’ve got, so outfitting your dining table for a poker night shouldn’t be a big issue. A green tablecloth and coasters can do the job.
The most important part will be seating. Having a set of comfortable, matching chairs will do more than the most expensive of tables when it comes to making it a good night. Your friends will be sat down for a few hours, so it is important to make sure they are comfortable doing so.
Clarify the Rules and Stakes Ahead of Time
When planning a poker night, make sure everyone knows the rules ahead of time and that you can reference them during the game when needed. You can download a poker hand ranking chart in a matter of seconds (and for free), and have it standing by near the table in case anyone needs to refer to it.
Also, deciding if you’re playing for real money, fake money, or a prize for the person with the most chips at the end of the night will clarify the stakes and keep things as competitive or friendly as you’d like.
Snacks and Drinks are Essential
Just like in a casino, you need to keep your guests watered and fed to keep them at your table for very long. Setting up a self-serve cocktail bar or providing a variety of bar-foods will be more than enough to keep your friends satisfied.
If you want to go that extra mile, you can devise some themed cocktails for the night, but soft drinks will do just as good a job if people don’t feel like drinking. Just make sure to check people’s dietary requirements or allergies ahead of time so there isn’t any awkwardness at the table!