Deciding to host your own poker night can be very daunting indeed. We see poker in movies as something of a reputable experience. You see usually it is a gang/club vibe that brings together the most badass players together and it will all come down to a pinnacle moment of showing your cards, to see who comes out the elite of the opponents. Poker nights bring people together, perfect to combine over a night of drinks and socialising. So as the host, you will need to make sure that the night goes smoothly and everyone is fully entertained-that lies on you!
The best way to ensure that your night goes smoothly and effortlessly, is by taking the tips we have put across for you to incorporate to your big day!
Plan and plan some more
Planning your night cannot be done in one day, that is for sure. You will find that there are so many factors to bring together and harmonise-things that cannot be done in little time. The more time you give yourself the better, as you can make sure to go through a checklist and not miss out anything important to make your night successful.
Other important things to consider is where you will get the food from. Will it be catered, to ease off the responsibility of catering and hosting? Or will you be needing to bring together food and drink components alongside your evening-we know that poker and alcohol go very, very well! Make sure to consider your guests allergies and dietary preferences to ensure they are being attended to completely hand and foot. In addition to this, you will need to consider sending out invitations to all of your guests.
Be it a text send out, or something with more attention to detail, like an invite perhaps? Once you have received all your RSVP’s you will need to ensure the seating matches those of the attendees. These small touches can make the difference from a friend's shindig, to a lavish and thought out event.
Work out your capacity accurately
Sure, we mentioned you need to ensure your guests and players have somewhere to sit. Something else you will need to consider is, do your table games suit and match the amount of guests you have. Most poker tables fit around six people for a standard table. It would be very awkward if you put your guest on a table that already has the maximum capacity. If you have one guest extra that cannot fit anywhere due to your counting, you will need to find an extra 5 guests out of somewhere won't you?
The food that you cater will need to be enough and last up until the earlier hours. Hosting poker nights is definitely no joke as poker games can last up until the late hours of the next day and morning, so keep the drink selections, food and snacks coming all through the night!
Get all the accessories and essentials that you need
Poker accessories are essential if you want your guests to play poker right. For that reason, you will need to make sure that you have all the essentials. So to begin, you will need to make sure to have a good decent poker table to host your guests on-or more then one to cater to as many guests as you have. In addition to this, you will need to make sure that you have the chips to use and play-ones that represent the different amounts that you can play with.
Make sure to avoid the really flimsy ones that have no weight to them, and cannot stack up nicely as you would expect. Also, do not forget to get the cards! You do not want to miss the most important component of the game do you? There are three brands that will cater perfectly for a professional night, yet one we would recommend as the ideal option, the Copag card decks. These have a great feel to them, as professional playing cards should and there is definitely no comparison when you come to compare with regular family playing cards of course.
Pick your game variation in advance
The game variation that you opt for your game night, must be announced before the night of course and preferably on your invitations! This will prepare your guests mentally, so they know what to expect on their game night. The most popular choice is Texas Hold’em, it is the go to for poker tournaments around the world and possibly seen as the most prestigious to include in your poker night.
Ensure that you have decided the buy in date too, with the correct values for each chip within the game, so players know exactly what kind of game aggression they are about to face and play in. You know what they say, if you cannot handle the heat, then do not come into the kitchen! Preferably your guests will purchase their buy ins before coming to the game night, so you would want to provide methods of doing that, be it a transfer or cold cash etc.
Make sure its a friendly vibe
Ensuring that your players are in a happy and relaxed atmosphere is key to a successful night. Of course not all players can handle competition and shy away from any animosity, yet it is your responsibility to calm players and ensure that they are comforted if things do not go so well as they hoped.
The poker night is supposed to create bonds between friends and not create enemies and that will all be down to how well you manage the night and your hosting capabilities. Losing large amounts of money is never easy, yet players should know that. So, reminding your players of the risks that follow from high stakes and gambles should make people think twice before they opt to go further into a game with cash they cannot afford to lose.
Something to remember when you host your night is, do not charge any fees to play in the game. If perhaps you want to handle costs of the whole night, maybe ask each of your guests to bring some food or beverage for the night, to level things out. If you want to make sure of who is bringing what, you can take it up with your guests personally, so you know what to include in your catering of food, snacks etc.
The best poker foods
The best poker foods include buffets with the option of coffee-your guests will be staying up all through the night so it is an important option to have! In addition to this you will need to include different varieties of food cuisines-do not just stick sandwiches on a table and expect that to suffice as dinner. Be more experimentally open to bringing different cuisines that players can just help themselves to on an open buffet. Pizza is also a really simple and easy option to go for.
By ordering when all your guests can agree to eat, will make cleaning away etc. not too bad as it will all be in boxes and paper trays!
Also ensure there is a cooling option for drinks, so players are not served any lukewarm drinks in the process of their gambling. This is very much your time to get creative and make players lick their fingers from how delicious the food actually is!
Extra tip: You could ensure that you include moving trays and racks to move drinks around each table very easily, in addition to stacking up as many drinks and snacks for each table, without having the need for them to get up and go collect their drinks.
Find ways to speed up your gameplay
By making sure to include an automatic card shuffler into your gameplay, you will definitely speed the game up and the night will go at a quicker rate too. In addition to this bring out two decks to each game too. When you opt to shuffle cards yourself it will take longer and you can slip up, as we all do not have the professional momentum that comes with the process. There are automatic card shufflers that can do the shuffling in a few seconds to hasten the gameplay, right in between the turns players take to scoop up their rightful winnings they make in the game.
You could also include a poker clock that will make sure players play their rounds within a 15 minute window. You could find that many games can be played within an hour's time period.
Plan your event consistently
If you want this kind of event to be played consistently, then you could arrange this with your other friends, by taking turns in being hosts. In addition to this, pick one day every month to make the day consistent and one that everyone should be able to fit into their schedule i.e. the last Saturday of every month perhaps?
This will then build even greater hype around the event and you could add more numbers to your favour through the power of mouth.
Pick your entertainment right
Making sure your entertainment is spot on to support your night is key and very, very important. You will need to ensure that the right music is played to accompany your night and really compliment the mood of yourself and your players.
Usually visual entertainment is not advised as you do not want to distract your players, so be smart about your final choices as that will reflect you as a great host overall of course!
The key to ensuring your event flows with success is planning. Great events no matter how big or small, will always depend on the way you organise yourself and take care of the steps building up to the final day. It is essentially you reeling in all the components that make a party perfect, within minimal obstacles. Remember, food, drinks, entertainment, and all poker essentials will ensure that you have made the night as authentic and as entertaining as possible.
Once the first one is in the bag, the second one should come very naturally!