Over the years, I’ve been blessed to have been part of several top-notch home poker games. However, I’ve also attended many others that were not all that great. In this blog, I’ll provide you with four tips you can use to help make your home poker game smooth and successful. By following these, you’ll be sure you’re running an excellent poker game night for you and your guests.
1 – Provide Snacks
I don’t know about you, but I’m a fat kid when it comes to snacks. I’m continually grazing for good eats, and this is true even when I’m playing cards. One of the things which helps make a home game excellent is when a host provides some light snacks for the players.
While this isn’t a requirement, it’s always a nice touch. By providing some light snacks, your players will be less likely to be distracted by hunger during the game. Due to the length of time most home poker games can run, it’s vital to allow your guests the chance to refresh themselves with some nutrition and hydration. Also, this lessens the likelihood of one of your players calling in a food delivery, which is sure to interrupt the game for a bit.
It’s your call if you’d like to pay for these items yourself or do a small collection or rake to help cover some or all of your costs. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be super expensive for you to provide snacks for your guests. Check out the list of suggested snacks below to get an idea for a starting point for your next home game.
2 – Determine Your Starting Chip Stacks and Blind Structure
Moving on, the next point you should consider when running a home poker game is the starting chip stacks and the blind structure. By having these sorted out before your guests arrive, it will help save time. Also, if you plan to host the game regularly, the attending players will always know what to expect.
One of the things which drives me crazy during poker night is when I show up and things are not sorted out yet regarding how many chips we’ll start with and how the blind structure will function. I can’t tell you how many countless hours I’ve seen wasted while the group of players chats about things among themselves until something is finally decided. As the host, your goal should be to have this all determined before anyone sets foot into your home.
Regarding the starting chip stacks, it’s your call as the host to determine what you’d like to do. Traditionally, most home games I’ve attended have a starting stack that’s equal to 100x the big blind. For example, if you start with 1,000 chips, you’d start with 5/10 as your small and big blinds, respectively.
If you’re a fan of a deeper stack tournament, consider the possibility of doing a starting chip stack that represents 200x the big blind. Keep in mind, deep stack tournaments can take much longer to complete than a traditional one. To learn about how your strategy will differ depending on which starting stack structure you settle on, check out this guide to blind structure games.
Once you’ve got the starting chip stacks sorted out, you then need to determine the blind structure. For this, there are two things to account for. First, you need to determine how often the blinds will go up. Secondly, you need to decide how much blinds will rise when it’s time for them to change.
For most home games, I’d suggest considering blinds to change roughly every 10 minutes. From my experience, this tends to be the sweet spot that keeps things from feeling too fast or too slow. However, you may need to adjust this a bit based on the size of your starting chip stacks. A good idea is to solicit the feedback of your guests at the end of the game to see what they thought about the blind timing.
Finally, your last step is to determine how much blinds increase each level. There are several ways you can go about this. One of the easiest ways is to have the blinds double each time. For example, it could be 50/100, 100/200, 200/400, and so on. Again, it’s a great idea to asks your guests their opinion at the end of a game to see if you should consider making tweaks before hosting your next home poker game.
3 – Display the Blind Timing Clock
Up next, another tip to help you have a successful and smooth poker game night is for you to display the blind timer clock. Using this, you’ll be able to help the attendees of your game know what the current blind is and when it will go up next. Also, some poker blind timers also showcase the number of players, rebuys, and more.
Depending on your playing style, having easy access to a visible blind clock can be essential. Without one, it’s common to be surprised when the next blind level is announced as you’ve lost track of where things were.
However, with a blind clock, all players can be as informed as they’d like. This is especially critical at home poker games with rebuy options for a set amount of time. Also, blind timers that display the number of players left can help you determine how aggressive you should be as the bubble approaches. In short, there’s tons of goodness all players can gain by showcasing a visible blind timer during your home game.
The easiest way to display your blind timing clock is to use a television. Thanks to its large screen, it should make it simple for everyone in your home game to view it whenever they need to. Even if you need to temporarily move a television into the area where your home game takes place, it’s worth it to provide your players with access to this information. If a TV isn’t an option, consider using a laptop or tablet instead. While it’s not ideal, these still provide players with some visibility into the blind timer.
If you don’t already have a poker blind timer, there are lots of options out there. You can check out different app stores to find various options. One of my personal favorites is the Free Poker Clock. While it’s basic, it gets the job done, and it’s free!
4 – Establish Consistent House Rules
Lastly, the other thing you need to do to run a smooth and successful home poker game is to establish clear and consistent house rules. By doing this, you won’t leave your guests guessing. There’s a slew of different things for you to take into consideration in this area. Below, I’ve listed out some of the more common things you’ll need to sort out.
Misdeals: What should a table do if there’s a misdeal?
Prize Chops: Can players in the money decide to chop the pot, or must everything be played out until there’s a clear winner?
Rebuys: Will you offer rebuys for your home game? If so, how long can players rebuy for?
Exposed Cards: What should be done if a card is accidentally exposed?
Acting Out of Turn: What happens if a player acts out of turn before someone else?
Balancing Tables: How will you balance things out as the number of remaining players decreases?
If you need a refresher on the rules of different types of poker, or other details relating to the game you plan to host, check out the link below. Here, you can brush up on everything you may need to know to create clear and consistent rules for your home poker game.
Hopefully, you’ve found some good ideas in this blog to help you run a successful and smooth poker night. If you enjoyed what you found here, but are looking for more details on the game itself, don’t miss this complete guide to poker page.
There, you can find all kinds of additional information to help you perfect your home game into one your friends will love. Thanks for stopping by, and best of luck with all of the future home poker games you host!
Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for GamblingSites.org since early 2016. ...
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