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How to Set up a Great Poker Home Game

August 18 admin
How to Set up a Great Poker Home Game

Poker home games are a great way to get social with your friends!

So what do you need to host and setup the best poker home game ever?

  • Setup a time and place and let everyone know where it is and what time the game starts
  • Make sure you have comfy chairs, chips, snacks & drinks for your guests. People like to feel comfortable when they play.
  • Basic poker gear: A table, 2 decks of cards (keeps the game moving faster), dealer button & a timer if you are playing tourneys (for blind increases)
  • Define the type of poker you are playing. Make sure everyone knows your house rules if you have any changes.
  • Define the stakes before you start the game. Is it tourney style or is it cash?
  • Have fun!

Now some real world experience tips that are entertaining and that you might want to hear…

Grab a dining room or coffee table, make shift chairs, and coins as actual poker chips.

Walla…you have a poker game. That was one of my first poker games I hosted…true story. Eventually moved up to buying one of those Blackjack/Poker table tops on Craigslist for a bargain price of $10. Score! Used the table top, til I lent it to a friend who never returned it back…haha. No biggie. Already had an exquisite poker table in mind that I wanted to buy from my poker winnings. It was constructed of maple wood with a circular top doubling as a dining room table when flipped over. Came with four exquisite leather chairs, beautiful black felt, chip tray, and drink holder. Most expensive table I’ve seen around.

The poker setup

Private poker games run the gamut from ghetto fabulous to elaborate set ups from penthouses to an underground venue with an actual bar set up, waitress, bouncer, cameras, gentleman’s entertainment, masseuses, and complimentary food. As I progressed inside the poker world this was what I became accustomed to. I moved on to bigger and bigger games starting with pennies to $5 – $10 sit n go, $1-$2 limit, to $2-5 nlhe, $3-6 nlhe, $5-10 nlhe, $10-$25 nlhe, and topping out at $25-$50 no limit Texas Holde Em. Absolutely exhilarating for a recreational player.

Poker house rules.

I’ve encountered interesting house rules where any card flipped over whether it’s the first or very last card was an entire re-deal or Mississippi straddles where the last straddle gets the option, to the infamous 2-7 payout bonus. The 2-7 bonus would range anywhere from 50cents to $40. The latter if you showdown to the river otherwise it would be $20 paid out from each player on the table. Personally I loathe the 2-7 payout because it changes the dynamic of the game. I’ve seen some pretty hilarious situations where an unintended bluffer with 2-7 ended up winning a huge pot with a pair of 2’s and I’ve also seen 2-7 with two pair getting counterfeited in an even larger pot. Another risked his entire $2k bankroll going all in pre-flop just to win the bonus. Gamblers are a sick breed. Pros play for significantly more, but for an average house game it’s a pretty decent sized pot.

Booze, Drinks & Such…

This should be in it’s own category. If it’s a house game with friends a couple of beers is fine. When it comes to shots and hard liquor all bets are off especially when you’re inviting friends of friends, acquaintances, and strangers. Money and booze simply don’t mix. Even best of friends get into heated arguments over the most trivial things.


Personally seen people do rails, pop pills, but the most common is to roll a joint and blaze. In fact I think this is advantageous to some players. For one it helps them concentrate and the residual smoke effects the non-smokers. Personally know some players who play better while high. It’s all in the mind.

Difference between house games, casino, and underground private games.

A lot of players choose to play in home games due to the comfortable and lax environment. More privacy. Not having to deal with drunken or loud players is another. Overall it’s the social aspect that matters to most players who want to play in the comfort of their own home.

Poker home games are meant to be fun!

So last but not least, invite people you want to hang out with… not just those that you want to take all their money! Unless of course, if that is the reason why you wanted to host a game in the first place. Good luck, may the cards be with you.


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