Host Your Own Poker Nights

Living in South Africa, we are very lucky to have the option to braai just about any night of the week. It is a favourite pastime of ours, as well as being one of the best ways to kick back and relax with some friends and a cold beer. However, if your braais and boys nights are getting a little stale and uninspiring, the answer is right here.

Why not host poker nights? Not only is this a great way to keep yourself and your friends entertained and winning some extra pocket money, but it gives you a much needed once-a-week break. They are inexpensive and relatively easy to host once you get the hang of it and figure out all the kinks. You really don’t need to be an expert to enjoy a game of poker among friends, and by the time you know it, you may actually consider yourself quite the player.

Before hosting, or deciding to host poker evenings, it is important to know what you are getting yourself into and what actually goes into hosting them. It isn’t rocket science, but it also isn’t just a bunch of guys rocking up with a deck of cards and a packet of chips. Knowing what is expected before hand will really help in having smooth and enjoyable poker nights.

Plan Ahead

There is nothing worse than your guests rocking up and you have nothing ready. In order to host a game of poker you will need the following items:

A table





Cigars (if you really want to go the extra mile)

Snacks and drinks are debatable. While this is usually provided by the host, having this expense every week can become a bit much. Rather have everyone contribute weekly, or have a different person responsible for these each week. This way it isn’t too expensive for anyone and everyone contributes their fair share.

Know the game you are playing

Now, how can you have a poker evening without knowing how to play poker?

If you know nothing about poker and neither does anyone in your group of friends, here is a quick video to watch on all the basics.

You need to know how to play poker in order to host, and partake, in a poker evening. While the rules at a home based poker evening might be a little more relaxed than a game at the casino, it still has to be fair (and at least resemble a poker game). There are certain ways to play and certain rules to follow in order for the game to run smoothly and well for everyone. As the host, everyone will more than likely look to you for a little bit of poker guidance, so spend time in the days leading up to the first game researching. Play some poker online on one of our great casino sites, or even visit a casino to see how it is really done. This will all boost your confidence when hosting your first poker evening.

Your Equipment

Poker tables are not an absolute necessity. You can make do with any table in your house that is big enough, and simply use a table topper. This way you can avoid your wife complaining about a poker table in the entrance hall. A table topper also means that the venue of the poker evening can be rotated – it doesn’t always have to be at your place. You can pick up a poker set fairly easily, and you will probably be able to find a good second hand set online if you look. A 500 chip set should be enough, and you always have the option to add on if needed. You can break down your chips however you want, for example:

White – R5

Blue – R10

Red – R50

Green – R100

However most home poker games don’t really worry about the monetary value of the chips, as they are buy in based and the winner takes home the total pot at the end of the evening.

Set the rules

One of the most important steps – make sure the rules are clear and agreed upon. You don’t want a poker game to be the end of your friendship. Have a meeting to set the rules as a group and make them very clear, even if this mean writing down the rules on a board and sticking it up during the game, this will avoid any nasty situations later on.

Set the mood

Poker can get intense. Why not calm it down a bit with a bit of jazzy music, setting the tone for a classy event. Throw in some cigars and you and your group will feel like you’re sitting in a VIP casino in good old Las Vegas. Keep it exciting. Why not throw in a little spice and have a different theme each week? By keeping things exciting and fresh, you know that the poker evenings won’t fizzle out too easily. It takes a bit of effort sometimes, but it is worth it.

Closing time

There has to be a set closing time. Otherwise you could keep playing all night while someone tries to win again and again. By setting a cut-off time, you have a definitive winner and everyone can settle down (and keep the wife happy).

Hosting poker nights is a great way to spend quality time with your friends and possibly save money by not going out. It is safe, fun and exciting. Keep things interesting by having different themes, or coincide your poker nights with whiskey or craft beer tastings. Throw in some cigars and what else do you really need? Or keep things super casual, invite your mates over and order some pizza delivery. It is a very flexible activity, and may be the start of a many yearlong weekly or monthly habit for your group of friends.

Rotate responsibilities and it won’t be too difficult for just one person to host or cater for. Everyone can chip in at the beginning to buy the actual poker set.