Setting Up Your Own Home Poker Games

Hosting a poker party requires only a moderate to minimal amount of time and resources. The only necessary items are cards, chips, a table, and a deck of cards. Setup time can be as little as ten minutes. Play time can range from two to ten hours or more, depending on the wishes of the host and guests.

For home poker games, any table will do, as long as it will seat all the guests. Should the number of guests exceed the space on the table, a second or third table can be used. Card tables and poker specific tables are a nice touch, but are not necessary. Tables should be cleaned and placed in an area with enough space to allow guests into and out of their seats.

Chips and cards vary in quality. Heavy chips are nicer to play with, though cheaper, lighter plastic chips work. There should be enough chips for every player in the game. Extra chips and chips of different colors add to the experience. Any deck of 52 cards will work for a poker party. There should be at least one deck for every table. Cards should be checked for stray marks on their back sides. If any marks are present, the deck should be discarded.

The atmosphere for home poker games should be relaxed. A fair amount of light should be used, though excessive brightness can be bothersome. Music or some other ambient sound should be present. A losers' lounge should also be prepared for players who exit the game but who wish to continue to stay at the poker party. A losers' lounge can consist of another table for a smaller side poker game, a television room or a room where darts, pool and the like can be played.

Before the game begins, the rules need to be established. For cash games, the following must be determined before play begins: Type of poker to be played, betting limits, blinds and/or antes. These must also be predetermined for tournament-style poker games. In addition, tournaments must have a pay-out table and a schedule for increased blinds and/or antes. Any house rules should also be explained to guests before play begins.

Theme games may also be played at poker parties. Themes can range from small rule changes, to bounties on players, to required attire. Guests should always be informed of all rules and expectations before they arrive.

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