Hosting a festive poker session? Here’s how to do it right

The period between Christmas and New Year’s is a funny one, isn’t it? It doesn’t have the mad rush of activity that you experience pre-Christmas, but everyone’s still in the mood to have a good time. That’s why it’s the perfect time to host a poker game.

But if you’re new to hosting poker in your home or you’re just a bit rusty, you might be wondering what the best way to go about it is. That’s where our handy guide comes in.

We’ll tell you everything you need to know about how to host a poker game. The only problem is it might go too well and then your pals will look to you to host again next year too!

Practice makes perfect

Before you host your poker game, make a little time to practice yourself. Because, let’s face it, host or not, you’re going to want to come pretty far in this game yourself, right? It’s still poker.

The quickest and easiest way to do that is to play a few hands online in the run-up to your home game. We’d suggest trying out a reliable and slick option like Coral Poker.

And when you’re practicing for your big game, we reckon you should stick to a traditional type game as opposed to a fast-fold or exotic format. Play as similarly to the game you are going to play in your own house to get the most out of your practice session.

How many people should I invite to my poker home game?

Now this is a tricky one. We all have friend politics where we can’t invite one person without inviting about six others. But when you host a poker game, you need to make sure you don’t have too many people on board.

Likewise, the game will be much better if you don’t have too few people taking part too.

The minimum number we’d suggest to invite is four people. And then the maximum to host a poker game would be 10. But for us, six to nine is ideal.

Be prepared

From a high roller tournament in Las Vegas to a few casual cash game hands at home, every single poker game needs certain elements to go off without a hitch.

So make sure you’re set up with these essentials:

  • A table big enough to fit your players around comfortably. Remember, it doesn’t have to be fancy. If your patio furniture is bigger, simply give it a wipe and bring that inside
  • Enough chairs for everyone. Keep this in mind if you’re inviting six or more especially. Again, don’t worry if the chairs don’t match. And don’t be afraid to ask a mate to bring a couple folding chairs. As long as bums are on seats, everyone will be happy enough
  • Poker chips are of course an essential. Don’t have a set? Borrow some off a friend or else invest in your own. If you are buying one, get one with at least 300 chips and try find a solid set of plastic chips. Obviously clay and ceramic feel gorgeous, but they’re expensive and can easily get damaged
  • Dealer, big blind and little blind buttons should all come in your chip set, but double check to see if it’s inside before you start. Otherwise, you can improvise with a homemade token or three!
  • Cards are another obvious one. But we’d suggest making sure you have two sets of cards to keep the game flow moving quickly. If you need to buy some, opt for a slightly more expensive plastic-coated deck of cards, which will last much longer than a cheap deck
  • Timer can be on your phone or an sand timer or anything, but make sure you get into the habit of setting a timer to indicate when you need to raise your blinds (every 10-15 minutes is our preference). No one likes a slow game, so make sure you do this from the start