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How to Host a Poker Night

Updated: Jan 8

Poker night is a great way to have some fun and bond with friends. You might even meet new people or use your poker game to make business connections — and, of course, have the chance to win a little money, too. Poker is a classic card game enjoyed by many, and you can make an event of it by adding the right elements like great food, drinks, music and more.

If you're ready to host your own regular poker night, gather your friends and get ready for fun.

8 Poker Night Essentials

Hosting a poker game at home can be fun for you and all of your guests. Check out our poker night ideas for the best poker night yet:

1. Be Sure You Understand the Game

Poker games are great fun, but knowing the ins and outs of the game can seem a little intimidating to new players. If you want to start hosting a poker night, the first step is to make sure you've got at least a basic understanding of the game. Not only will this ensure you know how to play yourself, but you can also help any newbies in the group.

You'll want to know the rules of the game, hand rankings, rules of betting and game etiquette. Beyond the basic rules, there are also many different versions of the game, such as Texas Hold ‘Em and 7-Card Stud. Know the differences between a few of the most popular games and how to play them, so you’re ready for your poker night at home.

2. Establish Some House Rules

Related to understanding the rules of the game is setting some poker night house rules in advance. Certain rules are more of personal preferences, and you and your group can decide these factors in advance. This may include the number of chips to use or if a player is allowed to buy back in. It can also include environmental factors, such as if sunglasses may be worn or if cell phones are allowed on the table. Just make sure the rules are clear in advance so there are no problems later.

3. Invite Players of Similar Abilities and Intensities

Poker is the most fun for all involved when players are evenly matched. Knowing this, decide on the intensity for your game and invite friends with similar abilities and intensities. If the group is a mix of total beginners and experienced high rollers, it may be frustrating for everyone. Most at-home poker games are casual and friendly, but you can choose the tone based on your group's preferences.

If you have any late newcomers to the group, make sure they understand if the game will be friendly, serious or somewhere in the middle.

4. Choose an Ending Time in Advance

Some players could go all night, so you want to pick a time to end the game in advance and ensure all players are aware. This can keep things from dragging on too late and keep the game competitive and fast-paced. It also eliminates any awkwardness about ending the game unexpectedly or letting guests know it's time to go.

You may also want to schedule some break times in advance to let players use the bathroom or grab some snacks without disrupting the game.

5. Provide Quality Snacks

Speaking of snacks, you'll want to have some quality choices available for your poker night. As the host, you may choose to provide everything yourself or ask your friends to contribute and bring something to share. The best foods for poker night are simple finger foods — think chips and dips, crackers, veggies or nuts. If you really want to wow your guests, set out a buffet of warm appetizers as well., and don't forget to include something sweet in the mix like chocolates or cookies.

It's a good idea to have the food on a separate table away from the game to prevent spills and to stay away from saucy, greasy or messy foods to protect your cards from getting sticky. You can also use portable tray tables near the poker table to keep food convenient and the game area mess-free.

6. Serve Up the Right Drinks

Just as with the snacks, you should have plenty of beverages stocked for your perfect poker night. While you can serve up anything you like, certain drinks just go better with poker. Beer is an excellent choice, especially for more casual, friendly poker nights. Ask your friends to contribute by bringing their favorite six-pack or set out a variety of beers for everyone to enjoy. For a classy twist, serve up some classic cocktails like martinis or old-fashioneds.

Have some non-alcoholic options available for anyone who chooses not to imbibe, and always have fresh water available to stay hydrated during the game.

7. Set the Mood

Quality background music can really elevate your poker night experience. Go for a classy, old-fashioned atmosphere and pick a playlist of jazz, big band or classical. You'll feel like you're in an upscale nightclub with these choices! Leave the television off and eliminate other distractions, such as ensuring your game room is clean and free of clutter, and you'll be all set for a fun evening of poker with friends.

8. Have the Right Supplies

You need a few essential supplies to play poker. This includes, of course, cards and chips. Any playing cards should do the trick, but some experienced players prefer certain brands and higher-quality playing cards. Having at least two decks on hand is a good idea to keep the game going. A standard box of chips generally includes four colors, and that should be plenty for any at-home poker night. Just be sure to assign the values of each color before the game.

While you can play poker at the dining table, having a specially designed poker table elevates the whole experience, giving your poker night a more professional feel. You can also up your game with accessories like automatic card shufflers, tournament clocks, and more.

Get Your Poker Table From HB Home

If you're hosting your own poker night and want to bring your game to the next level, consider the Mid-Century Modern Poker Table Set from HB Home. Wow your guests and treat them to a touch of luxury with this gorgeous poker table set, featuring an upholstered playing surface, cupholders and comfortable chairs, all in gorgeous modern styling.

Browse our furniture selection online for more options, like our beautiful wine and spirits cabinets, for the ultimate game room experience. All your friends will want to have poker night at your house from now on!

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