Hosting The Perfect Poker Home Game


There are a number of casinos in the Santa Fe, New Mexico area where you can play cards for cash, but hosting a poker game in the privacy of your own home can be a fun way to entertain and challenge your friends at one of America's greatest pastimes and games of skill.

Strictly speaking, New Mexico Criminal Law states that even behind closed doors social gambling is illegal, and anyone who does so can be charged with a petty misdemeanor. That said, as long as you don't charge a fee to get in the door, or rake money from the pots to make a profit or cover expenses, nobody is going to get arrested for playing for fun with friends.

However, if you're going to host a home game, there is a right way and a wrong way to do it.

Be Equipped

Like most hobbies, you have to equip yourself the right way. In poker, that starts with the right surface to play on.

Your dining room or kitchen table is likely too slippery to play cards on, but even if you don't want to invest in a professional-quality custom poker table complete with aluminum cup holders and the kind of felt you find at high-end gambling establishments, there are options.

In fact, there are a number of portable poker tables, table tops, poker felts and poker-designed tablecloths that will do just fine.

Poker is played with chips, and while the flimsy blue and red plastic ones you might find at a dollar store might seem like the best option, they are not. Clay or ceramic chips are used at the casinos, and if you're going to do the home game thing right, picking up a set is a must. There are a ton on the market, including custom sets where you can display your own picture or any logo you choose.

Finally, you need cards. The dollar store sells cardboard cards, but again, these are not the best option. Casinos use plastic playing cards because they're hard to mark, bend, or destroy and they're not as expensive as one might think. Since it'll allow you to always have one shuffled and ready for the next hand, it's a good idea to buy two decks for the game, just make sure they're two different colors to avoid confusion.

Set Up The Rules

You're going to have to decide whether you want to play cash games or tournaments.

Cash-game style poker games allow players to jump in and out of the game as they choose, but tournaments offer the best opportunity to grab a little glory and earn some bragging rights.

In cash games you set the blinds and antes to an affordable level for the players in the game and stick to them. For tournaments you select an affordable buy-in level and can follow a tournament structure with escalating blind levels that will move things on to a winner as quick as you want it to. There are any number of tournament structures you can follow published online and free tournament clock software you can use to help manage things.


Finally, you're going to have to pick a game and play by the rules that govern it. The Texas Hold'em they play on TV is the most popular poker format, but it isn't the only one.

Check out this complete list of a dozen different variants and all the rules the games entail before choosing which one to play. You may event want to play a mix of them all.

The Spread

Once you've got the right equipment and set the rules, the final key to hosting a great home game is a little food and drink. Having great options in this area can help elevate the game into a really enjoyable evening with your friends.

Try a few new local craft beers, have some whiskey on hand, and make sure there's enough drinking water for everybody. Some good coffee is a must as well, especially as the intensity of the action picks up and your friends enjoy the competition into the wee hours of the night.

Finally, serve some great snacks and food, preferably the kind you eat with a knife and a fork or a spoon instead of your hands. Getting grease all over those new chips and cards make them pretty hard to hold on to.

More interesting and useful articles from the world of poker you can read in our blog. Also search for poker clubs in the country or city, get to know about upcoming poker tournaments or cash games at portal.

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