Poker is so popular for a reason – although putting down money on the table is a thrill in itself, gambling with a card game that actually requires skill leads to some incredibly tense moments. It doesn’t even matter if you’re a poker master – a good bluff from a newbie can thwart even a veteran player, making the game approachable for all. It is because of these points that poker has become a mainstay for gaming nights, as it represents not only a good opportunity to beat your mates and win some money, but it represents a great opportunity to socialise and have a laugh (unless your friends are very, very serious about the game). So, how do you organise the perfect poker night? Read on to learn how.

Getting everyone on the same page

Setting the tone for evening is a good first step – let people know if the night is casual, a special occasion – perhaps it’s a buck’s party with a topless waitress in Sydney – or if you’re going to make it a serious affair. Although there’s a good chance that there will be some poker aficionados invited to your poker night, there’s an even better chance (especially if this is your first poker night) that you have some rookies in the room. If this is the case, it’s a good idea to get them up to speed. Although everyone might know the basic gameplay from watching poker tournaments or films about poker, there’s more to poker than the basic rules. These include the betting system, flow of play, and tips related to when to bet and why. To manage this, if there is the possibility that even one of th players might be a bit iffy about the rules, ensure that everyone involved understands hand rankings, the rules and flow of betting, and basic game etiquette so that you can kick off the night without a lengthy and boring rules explanation.

Preparing for the evening

There’s more preparation to be had than just learning the rules. As host, you’ll need to have all the tools necessary to play poker on hand. In addition to the obvious things like poker table, cards and chips, you should be providing snacks for your guests and drinks when you can. Ambience can be further developed with a poker-friendly playlist consisting of jazz and similar music. When you account for all these things, you should be directly thinking of the number of guests that are actually invited – you might have your table, cards and chips, but if you’re inviting 12 people, it might be a much better idea to have two tables being run simultaneously. Another thing to consider should be house rules – although poker as a game won’t change depending on the setting, all of the rules associated with betting and etiquette can, so establish yours before people get too restless.

Enjoy yourself!

After you’ve done all the prep, including familiarising yourself in great detail with the game itself, make sure to enjoy the night – it’s a social occasion, after all! It doesn’t matter if you have a group of sunglass-wearing pros or your mates from work, just ensure everyone is comfortable and has a good understanding of all the house rules before you start playing cards. Also make sure to set reminders, as a poker night is no fun if everyone forgets to turn up!

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