Poker is timeless and exciting — exactly the kind of game that can keep you on the edge of your seat even if you’re just watching. But even though poker is typically a zero-sum game where you can win big money in official tournaments, you can still participate for fun in comfort of your home.
Poker can be a fun way to switch up your hangouts and doesn’t require much other than some cards, poker chips, and enthusiastic players. And more to the point, even if you’re not willing to any lose money and just want to enjoy the activity, you can still set up a game that feels professional without the need for high stakes. So without further ado, here’s what you need to set up a professional-like poker game at home.
Laying down the essentials
For home tournaments, the first things that you’ll need are a table and some playing cards. You’ll need some good-quality cards such as the one manufactured by Maverick and Tally-Ho. You’ll also need a good, wide surface that everyone can play on comfortably without everyone be too close together. Preferably, the table also needs to be big enough to accommodate groups of 6-8 players, which is the typical number for single-table tournaments. Ideally it needs to be a table that’s at least 44 x 92 inches big.
You can add a professional timer that can keep track of when the blinds go up or when a rebuy period ends as a centerpiece.
Bringing out the poker chips
There’s no industry standard when it comes to poker chips or poker chip values, but a lot of casinos apply the same colors. For instance, white chips equal $1, followed by red at $5, blue, brown, or orange at $10, green at $25, and black at $100, with more colors signifying higher values. It all depends on what’s the most suitable for the game you and your friends are going to play and your initial stake.
Choosing your variation
The most popular type of poker that we commonly see is Texas Hold’em. This is a variation of poker where each player is dealt two hole cards, followed by a dealer revealing five community cards. The player with the strongest hand wins the game. These are the most commonly understood mechanics for poker, but you could also choose to play other variations like Omaha and Seven Card Stud.
Setting the rules
Setting up the buy-ins, structure, and blinds are standard in poker, but a lot of them can depend on whether you’re willing to play with real money or not. Your buy-ins are determined by how much money players are willing to pay — not too high or too low. You’ll also need to determine whether your structure will allow for rebuys, or whether players will be eliminated once they run out of chips. Your blinds structure determines how quickly the value of blinds changes and by how much, and it all depends on how quickly you want your game to last.
When it comes to setting up a poker game at home, the most important thing is to have fun. Assess what your guests’ expectations are for playing — whether they’re here for a chance to win some money, to learn the game, or to simply have fun — and enjoy setting the game up accordingly.
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