Home poker games come in all shapes and sizes. There are as many style variants as there are hosts. Some games are just a few friends getting together to play some cash Hold’Em. Others can look more like a mini-tournament series: a group congregating monthly to create what is essentially a WSOP satellite. Similarly, home games can stick religiously to a single poker variant, such as Hold’Em or Omaha, or offer a “dealer’s choice” with a wide variety of games played on any given night.
There are many resources on the web for those considering starting their own home poker game. We thought we’d share some that we’ve found to be the most helpful.
Advice for Starting a Home Poker Game
First, there are a number of articles which will help you get started:
The Essential Home Game Checklist: A downloadable guide offered by CardsChat that answers such essential questions as where you could host your game, who to invite, and what equipment you will need.
Hosting a Home Game – This article, found among Advanced Poker Training’s instructional articles, shares a set of rules that can serve as a basic bedrock for your home game – whether cash or tournament style. Edicts such as “don’t touch anyone else’s stack” may seem obvious, but if you post them over your home game table, everyone will know the ground rules.
Hosting a Poker Tournament – Another piece by APT founder Steve Blay offers advice specific to the tournament format. There are again a set of rules that you can use as-is or amend for your format. Sharing and posting the final set of rules prior to your tournament will help avoid a lot of arguments.
Poker Variations – If you’re looking for new poker variants to play at your home game, this index is incredibly comprehensive. And if the variations listed here do note sate your hunger for poker possibilities, there are links to further variation resources at the bottom of the list.
Resources for Poker Home Games
Hosting the Perfect Poker Game at Home – CardsChat’s excellent tournament resource allows you to enter your payout structure, number of players, blind levels, and number of starting chips. It will then calculate the tournament prize pool, chip stacks, and blind structures for you.
Poker Timer – This is a poker tournament timer that you can set up for home games. The app allows you to set your blind structure and level times and then will serve as your official tournament clock.
Poker Cards – Good cards are essential for an ongoing game. If you cheap out with shabby paper cards, you’ll be replacing decks faster than you can open them. Copag and DaVinci both make good sets of plastic cards that will hold up to repeated use.
Poker Chips – You’ll also need a good set of chips (i.e. not the plastic ones found in discount retail stores). There are several solid chip sets on the market. At the simple end, you can buy a good set on Amazon. Fat Cat offers 500 clay chips with a dealer button in a steel case for under $40. We’ve found these to work well in our own home. At the other extreme, you can design custom chips and get your very own branded set.
Gorilla Gaming Tables – If you want to go all-in on your home poker game, you can always lay out the cash for your own poker table. Gorilla Gaming has some beautiful tables. They may be a bit pricey, but they are gorgeous. Other options would be to buy a table topper (a table with no legs) or find a used table for your game.
Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been hosting a home poker game for a while and wanting to up your game, these resources will give you a good boost.
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