Setting Up Your Own Poker Game At Home

So, you’ve been getting the hang of this poker thing, reading all the tips and articles, practicing in the freerolls, maybe even making a couple of bucks here and there. Now it’s time to show off your newfound skills to all of your friends and co-workers. You want to put together a home game. Before you just call up your buddies and tell your co-workers to drop by this Friday for some cards and beer, take a look at some helpful tips I’ve put together to make it a success for everyone, even the losers. To make things go off without a hitch, we have to answer these big questions to help get things in order. But if you want to play casino online, check this website

Helpful tips

What sort of game schedule are you setting up: weekly, monthly, or a one-time event? This makes a difference in what day of the week you will want to play your game. If this is only a one-time deal, Friday or Saturday will work out just fine. If it’s going to be a regular thing, weekly or monthly, you have to be considerate of the significant others in your player’s life. Weekends are meant for family time, but not just any day of the week will work. Find out what sorts of events or activities may create conflicts and schedule the day accordingly. Tuesdays and Wednesdays usually work best for these. 

What is the game going to be like? I’m not just talking about Hold’em or Stud, Omaha or Draw, but are you playing a straight-up cash game or putting together little sit-and-go type tournaments? Ask the group you’re putting together as you pass out the invites. Once you have a consensus, find out all the rules. You can find them on the Internet or pick up a copy of Doyle’s Rules of the Game from your local bookstore and have a reasonable foundation to settle any arguments that are sure to rise. Before any play gets started everyone should know that those rules are the law for settling disputes. I also recommend avoiding ‘Dealers Choice’ games unless everyone is a competent and experienced player and dealer. 

If you’re putting together a ring game, set your buy-in and stake limits. There’s nothing worse than that guy who still lives at home with the parents coming in with all his free cash and overbuying all the working stiffs. When playing straight up for cash, I recommend using the cash instead of a chipset, unless you have an unusual chipset that no one is likely to bring in ‘free chip’ duplicates of. And I discourage allowing someone to put their ‘gold’ watch in the pot, cash only (who knows if it’s really gold, and your friend will be bugging you all the time by asking what time is it?’ until he’s able to afford a new watch). I would also recommend hitting the bank for some small bills (or change if you’re playing penny ante) so you can avoid having to keep little IOUs when someone doesn’t have less than a fiver. Besides, getting those 100 ones will make your bankroll look all the fatter (and have the bank teller thinking you’re hitting the gentleman’s clubs). 

If you are putting together a tournament, set the tournament rules. Everything from how you decide who is seated where to what happens to the button if someone is knocked out in the early positions (I recommend the dead button as trying to remember the big-big, small-small-big can be confusing, especially when booze is involved). If you have a laptop or a computer in the room in which you will be playing, I highly recommend downloading a tournament tool from the Internet. You can get them rather cheap and they will take care of everything from blind structure to payouts with just a few clicks and no one will have to remember to re-set the timer. Some of the high-end versions can even take care of seating assignment and re-assignment for breaking tables (if you have that many people). 

Speaking of players, how big of a game are you playing? I recommend having at least six players for any game you want to play, any less and you’ll find you’re playing poker style bingo more than anything else. There are a few other things to consider here as well, are you really going to try and get 25 players into your one-bedroom apartment? You better move the furniture out and hit the rental stores for a lot of folding chairs. Have adequate room for everyone to play in comfort (and a chair to sit in). 

And have enough chips for everyone if you’re going to be using them, not the snacks (but that helps, too) but your equipment. Don’t go crazy with all the different colors of chips; keep it simple with two or three. I even make a sign for everyone to see, ‘Whites = 1, Reds = 5, Blacks = 25’ to save confusion. The number of chips to have will depend on your blind structure, but with a 3 color set of 50 low, 25 mid, and 25 high, it works out pretty good as a per player number (100 chips per player that is). If you do have a large number of players in the game, get a fourth color to do some end game color-ups, that’s when ‘Green = 100’. Get some dealer buttons if you want, but you could always use those coasters that no one else seems to be using, and don’t try to look all cool with those ‘small blind, big blind, missed blind’ chips, there’s no need for them here. 

Also, set your time accordingly. If it’s Wednesday night and you have 20 players coming in for the game, don’t start at 10:00 unless you all have the next day off cause you burned your offices down. If it’s a tournament you’re playing, figure on fifteen minutes of game time per player as an average. I also like to allow for at least two sit-and-go games per poker night, this way everyone gets a second chance in case their cards were cold in the first game. If you’re just playing a ring-style game, give it at least 3 hours to really allow everyone to feel like they got their money worth. 

What type of players are you inviting? Are they novices or fanatics, sharks or fish? While everyone’s skill level will be slightly different, don’t invite over a fish to your shark tank, as he will hate you for it (and probably steal the lawn ornaments as he leaves broke and dejected an hour later). You will want to keep things fairly even at the skill level for everyone’s enjoyment. Not only what type of player, but also what types of people are coming over? Smokers? Drinkers? Vegetarians? You’re playing host first and foremost so be considerate of the people you invite and be prepared, they will respect you (and your property) for it. If there’s no smoking in your new basement game room, make it easy for the smokers to find the garage (and an ashtray to use there) and schedule for those smokers’ breaks. If you’re ordering the pizzas, avoid the anchovies and be a good host. If you have an open bar, have a place for that guy that always gets trashed to sleep it off. 

Is everyone at your game acquaintances, or a friend of a friend who knew someone? Keep your regular game members close and ask to bring in new players. If you’re putting on the big all-day event, get everyone there with enough time to get to know everyone (say it starts at noon, but plan it as 12:30 or 1:00, that and we all know Bob is always 15 minutes late). In either case, make sure that everyone you invite knows whether they can bring a friend along or not and that they should tell you ahead of time so you can be prepared. 

So you accidentally invited over a complete newbie and he rode over with the chip leader, be prepared with some side activities. 

Get out the X-box, and a few games that are quick play (avoid the Madden if you plan on having another game later on). My game room has a poker slot machine I picked up at a game room store, a great way to spend a little time waiting for the next bust out. That and I’ll set up a small table and a set of chips for the eliminated to play a little side game on while they wait. Sometimes I’ll even have another ‘host house’ a small blackjack/21 game (and usually make a couple of bucks for herself). 

As a last note, remember that you are the host first and playing poker second. Be prepared and keep the guests happy. If you do this, your friends will be more than happy to come over and lose some more money to you, again. If you would like to play casino online, look here