Exactly how enjoyable the next poker game you organise will come down to you and you alone. Like it or not, putting things together with absolute perfection is a job that requires forethought and plenty of planning. You can always throw things together at the last minute, but bear in mind that we are talking about the perfect poker game, right here.
On the plus side, it doesn’t have to be particularly difficult to organise and orchestrate. It’s simply a case of taking into account the most important contributory elements that build the perfect poker experience at home – all of which are entirely in your hands.
So if you’re thinking of organising a game in the near future, here’s a quick rundown of 10 important rules and guidelines to follow:
- The Right People
First of all, you can’t expect to organise a perfect poker night without the perfect people. This is where things get a little on the tricky side, as somebody who is usually an absolute must when it comes to sports events and drinking games might not be the best choice for a poker game. The simple fact of the matter is that some people are cut out for these kinds of things and other people aren’t. You don’t want to run the risk of offending or alienating anybody unnecessarily, but bear in mind that not everyone you know makes the ideal candidate for that perfect poker game.
- Book a Date
Be sure to plan the evening far enough in advance to give absolutely nobody any leeway when it comes to excuses for not turning up. Get them to check their schedules, plans and be sure to check yourself if there is anything that may prove problematic. Only set the date when everyone you have invited is fully happy with it.
- The Right Equipment
You can’t expect your perfect poker evening to be taken seriously if you are dealing with the kind of equipment that you clearly paid £4.99 for at a local convenience store. Likewise, you need to think extremely carefully about the surface upon which the game will be played, which can and will make a huge difference. These days, it’s possible to pick up an absolutely outstanding poker set that will serve you proudly for years for no more than about £20. If you don’t, the whole thing will feel like amateur hour from start to finish.
- Food and Drink
It’s entirely up to you how elaborate or otherwise you go with the food and drink you provide, but it’s always best to err on the side of simplicity. For obvious reasons, focus on finger foods and the kinds of things that can be eaten cold throughout the night. As for drinks, there’s absolutely no shame in implementing a BYOB policy, but at least make sure you have a bit standing by for emergencies in case one or more tight-fisted sods turn up empty-handed. A nice bottle of premium bourbon for later in the evening also never fails to go down a treat.
- No Spouses
No partners in general, for that matter. Whether you’re looking to set up an all-male or all-female poker evening, the one thing you absolutely don’t want to get in the way is the inevitable domestics. Emotions always play a role in everything when your significant other is in the vicinity, meaning that in this particular instance you want to keep and the hell out of the vicinity. Just be sure to ask nicely in advance, rather than making demands.
- Establish Rules
Rather than simply assuming everybody knows what’s happening, clearly communicate any rules you intend to play by, before getting started. This could be minimum or maximum bets, whether a straight flush beats a royal flush and so on and so forth. Just make sure everyone is on the same page, before getting started.
In addition, ensure that everybody knows exactly when the next bathroom break will be coming up, in order to help preventing the game descending into chaos. It could be as simple as stating that after every fourth hand, a quick break will be taken for bathroom and refreshment purposes. This will hopefully avoid unnecessary disruptions at the most inconvenient moments.
- Etiquette and Manners
The best way of either losing friends permanently or gaining a reputation as a grade-A ***-hole is to be incredibly smug and impolite after cleaning out one or more of your friends. Likewise, things can head exactly the same way if you are the kind of sore loser who throws a tantrum at the slightest setback and blames anything and everything for your own shortcomings. Etiquette and manners go a long way – even if you are playing with your closest friends. In fact, especially so.
- Background Noise
Things can quickly get extremely boring if there is absolutely no background noise whatsoever to break the silence. However, it’s important to be aware of the fact that music that could potentially be in any way distracting or irritating should be left entirely out of the equation. Likewise, it’s a good idea to avoid putting on music television channels whether videos themselves could and probably will distract one or more players throughout the night. It’s all about simple, sensible and non-intrusive background music, nothing more and nothing less.
- Courtesy Calls
Last but not least, if anything went particularly wrong for one or more players during the game, you might want to think about making a few courtesy calls the next day. Things always look different in a different light and it’s worth remembering that things may have been said out of context in the heat of the moment. It’s actually comparatively rare for everyone to leave a poker night feeling absolutely fantastic about everything that happened – getting friendly the next day can help ensure everyone is convinced to give it another go at some point in the future.
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