How to Host the Perfect Poker Home Game is a 13-part series on how to run the superlative poker night for your friends and coworkers.
We’ll cover everything from what game of poker is easiest to play, what hand beats what and even what drinks and food to serve.
Follow this guide and people will be reserving their seat at your table weeks in advance.
For our first article we’re going to take a look at the basic equipment needed to run a poker game.
Quite simply you’re going to need a table, chairs, chips and cards. Chairs are quite self-explanatory and you can use anything you have kicking around the house (or go for Herman-Miller Aerons, we don’t care) but the rest of is where shopping gets fun.
Below is a look at the gear you should buy for your home game, broken down by how much money you want to spend.
Budget Poker Set Up
If you're on a budget just go with the staple. The basic Bicycle playing cards are made from card stock and while they are prone to creasing and wearing down. they’ll get the job done just fine.
Price range: $1-5 for a deck
These aren’t pretty but they’re better than playing with pennies. Your grandparents likely own one of these dinosaurs. They stack together using plastic grooves to make neat stacks. Most serious poker players would scoff at them but they are the rock bottom cheapest way to get a set of chips. If you’re going to have around 10 players you can get by with 500 chips. In other words at least 30-40 chips for each player. 50-100 is even better.
Price range: $10-$20
Technically it’s not a table but if you’ve got a flat surface you can throw down some felt on it and have a somewhat respectable game. Felt helps chips stay in place and keeps them from sliding or rolling too much. You can also start learning to riffle chip stacks like the pros if you have felt on the table.
Total budget home game price:
Legit Poker Set Up
Now we’re talking. Copag Cards are 100% PVC plastic and will last up to 50 times longer than card stock cards. They will also shuffle much easier and deal flawlessly. This the go-to deck for serious games worldwide so you’ll be playing with the same cards the pros use.
Price: $15-$20 for a two deck set
We chose the Da Vinci set but you could really go with any lightweight plastic poker set. They are all essentially the same and come with an aluminum case as well as a dealer button, small and big blinds, dice and cut cards. Either way these are approaching respectable status and you’ll actually be able to perform some chip tricks if you so choose. The Da Vinci chips come with a metal insert for added weight, which gives them a more professional feel.
Your table is likely going to be the most expensive item you purchase for your home game but it also makes the biggest difference. This is a full-size table with room for 10 players. The table also includes high quality casino felt, cup holders and padded armrests. Fortunately it also has folding legs, which makes storing it much easier.
Total legit home game price:
Baller Poker Set Up
Widely considered to be the best cards in the world Kem Cards are 100% Cellulose Acetate Plastic Playing Cards. Exceptionally durable and stylish. It’s not uncommon to find Kem Cards that are 20 years old and still in perfect condition after a quick scrub. You might recognize them from iconic poker movie Rounders.
Price: $20-$30 for a two deck set
500 Paulson National Poker Series Chips with Mahogany Case
Clay poker chips are the best chips on the market. The added weight gives the chips a superior feel and you’ll notice almost all casinos use clay chips exclusively. The WSOP gets its chips from Paulson so they’ll be more than good enough for your home game. Clay chips have the added bonus of wearing in nicely over the year making it easier to riffle. They also come with a sweet case. Rich mahogany for the win.
Note: If you don’t to spend close to a grand on chips you can also find cheaper clay chips in the $150-$500 range.
Get this table and don’t be surprised if a few rich businessmen start showing up looking to play. This is a full on luxury table complete with professional grade construction, marble columns, chrome trim, dealer position and supple padded armrests. We like classic green for the felt but there are a variety of options including burgundy and blue.
Total baller set up price:
More articles on How to Host the Perfect Poker Home Game:
- Part 1: Equipment
- Part 2: Hand Rankings
- Part 3: How to Play
- Part 4: How to Set Up
- Part 5: What to Drink
- Part 6: What to Eat
- Part 7: Who to Invite
- Part 8: Etiquette
- Part 9: How to Beat your Friends
- Part 10: Cheaters
- Part 11: More Games, More Gamble
- Part 12: Odds and Exceptions
- Part 13: Which Hand Wins Calculator