Poker has been a stronghold of guys night in, complete with pizza, beer, and a kitchen full of cigar smoke. The game, however, is becoming a rage. Everyone from celebrities to teenagers is playing it. Its a great way to overcome boring weekends or even weeknights. More people are hosting home games but it doesn’t have to be the stereotypical guys-only event. Set the tone with stylish poker party invitations and consider some these, great poker party ideas for a successful get together.
Poker Party Ideas
THE ABC OF THE GAME: Poker is a game where bets are placed based on the group of cards in your hand. The person with the best hand wins the pot. Its never that simple, of course, and theres more than one way to play. There are several Web sites that explain the different games and teach you the basics. If you are likely to have a group with varying skills the safe bet is “Dealers Choice” which means whoever is dealing the deck chooses the game, and theres more variety. Make sure everyone knows the rules ahead of time. If some don’t, run through at least two hands so they can get the feel of the game.
If youre playing for money (check your local laws first to make sure its legal!), determine a set buy-in amount. Everyone starts with the same number of chips, and when theyre gone, theyre gone. After all, the real fun of poker is trying to win the pot, but you dont want anyone losing their shirt. Keep the buy-in at a comfortable level enough to make the stakes exciting, but no more than your friends would spend on a night out. The idea is to have fun, spend time with friends, and make sure everyone’s eager to come back for more.
Cards Have a couple of decks per table one in play and another shuffled and ready for the next hand to keep the game moving faster. Use brand-new decks of cards, they’re inexpensive, and there’s something really cool about cracking open a fresh deck when you start playing.
Poker chips If you play on a regular basis, you can buy professional grade clay or clay composite poker chips. For a home game, plastic chips are more than adequate. Plan for about 50 to 100 chips per player. Depending on how complicated you want to make the betting, get a two or three colors for different denominations.
Dealer button A dealer marker helps keep track of who holds the deck. You can buy actual dealer buttons, or use something distinctive, like a hat.
Table – Poker night is perfect for a small group, but if youve got lots of friends (and lots of room); you could have a tournament with multiple tables. A good rule is five to nine players per table. You could have an extra table so those who tap out early can still play, sans betting. Alternatively having a nearby couch and TV at the ready will give the “early outs” something to do while waiting for the game to finish.
Green felt is the playing tablecloth fabric of choice, but a red or black tablecloth will work just fine, or you can use a bare table. Make place cards by folding old playing card in half so they stand up, and write your guests names on them with a marker. Make sure there is enough lighting for everyone to clearly see.
POKER NIGHT INVITATION: Send them online or print them out. We’ve got some great designs and ideas for poker invitations.
- Playing card motif – Glue a playing card (or scan an Ace playing card) to the front of a plain invitation and add the words “Do you feel lucky?” Add the party particulars inside (date, location, event hosts, whether or not people need to dress up, RSVP information, etc.). Or, print your invitation on specialty papers with playing card suit.
- Western motif – Burn the edges of parchment-look paper and fold in half. Cover: Create a wanted poster with Uncle Sam saying “We Want You [inside text:] to come to our Poker Nite!” (Include the party particulars/information.)
POKER NIGHT FOOD: Like any party, a poker party means that the host will have to ensure that there are munchies and beverages for everyone. Its important to have some good poker party food ideas so that your shin dig is successful. Food is important at a poker event, as the games can take a very long time and you’ll need to keep everyone fed.
Chips and dip, pretzels, nuts, candies and cheezies, all make for great standard snacks and go well with the drinks being served. They can be served in several small red and black bowls that can be spread about the table for everybody, rather than one large bowl since the middle of the table will either have chips or cards flying by. You can also use heart, diamond, club and spade cookie cutters to make – poker cookies, decorate a cake, or to cut out shapes in cheeses for a cheese and cracker tray.
After all, anyone can hold a poker party; its the details that set yours apart from the rest. Here are a couple of ideas that are a cut above
- Wings. You can buy wings pre-cooked, and all you have to do is heat them up and provide the flavors. If you want to try something that really adds some zing, set out a couple of plates of lemon pepper wings; youll be remembered for it! You can be creative with your appetizer choices but remember that wings of any flavor are messy, and you dont want greasy fingerprints all over your cards and the table.
- Spinach dip. Spinach dip is another standard appetizer that goes over very well at any party as an appy. Served hot with chips or in a sourdough loaf cold, it’ll go quickly. Best of all, spinach dip isn’t greasy so you don’t have to worry about a mess.
Name your dishes any poker or card-related terms, such as Ace, Ante, Straight, Royal, Fold, Blind, Raise, Call, Check, and so on. Its fun to make a menu card with these names.
BEVERAGES: Be sure to have an assortment of beverages available, non alcoholic for the designated drivers, and for those who feel that they would like to be at the top of their game.
Create a signature cocktail and name it a poker term. A version of Long-Island Tea could be called a Full House Cocktail. You could also pick up some interesting cocktails from the web like Blackjack and Millionaire or get really creative and create your own. Here’s “Queen of Diamonds” Cocktail recipe:
Pour three ounces chilled champagne into martini glass. Shake , 1 ounce vodka. 1 ounce triple sec, and 1 ounce pineapple juice with crushed ice and strain into champagne. Sparkles like diamonds! (For a non-alcoholic version, just add an ounce of pineapple juice to 3 ounces ginger ale or clear carbonated soda).
AMBIANCE: Depending on your guests, country music, blues, jazz or classic rock and roll might work. But remember to keep the music down, as most people need to concentrate on their game. Much of the game and the enjoyment of the night come from the interaction between players, and loud music only serves to drown that enjoyment out.
POKER PARTY FAVORS: If you aren’t playing for money then trophies or prizes for the winners would be cute or you can have a “Poker Party Winner” T-shirt printed up and give individual decks of cards or gold-coin candies to other guests.
POKER PARTY ETIQUETTE: Whether you win or lose, you need to make sure you walk out of a room without having made enemies or embarrassed yourself. Overall, don’t taunt other players when you’re up or whine when you’re down – keep your emotions to yourself. After all, it’s just a game.
When playing with friends, your focus should be on playing a relaxed game without being overly competitive. Winning isn’t everything so try not to push friends right to the wall. And remember to make a conscious effort to limit your drinking if you want to win, as the sober player will probably come out on top. Of course, if you’re just there for a good time, throw the rules to the wind and enjoy yourself.