How to Host the Perfect Poker Home Game: Who to Invite

For our seventh article in the How to Host the Perfect Poker Home Game we’ll look who you actually want to invite to your game and what you can expect from each demographic.

These are a few of the basic groups that you can choose, or choose not, to invite to your home game. If we have to add a personal note, take a lot of time to think about your invite list closely. It can make or break how much fun you have.

Who to Invite to Your Home Poker Game

Best Buds

Gavin Smith & Joe Sebok
Spider-Man is everyone's best bud.

This is your bread and butter. You want to invite your closest friends because you know they are trustworthy and good people to be around.

You can call them up on short notice and fill out your game if you need.


  • It’s way better bluffing someone you’ve known for years
  • Even if they dominate you at the table you may get a free drink out of it later
  • Ability to taunt your friends for years to come


  • They’re probably going to borrow money
  • They may not leave
  • They’re pretty damn offensive


Dan Skolovy
Never trust co-workers who wear sunglasses.

Co-workers are a great source for fodder at the poker table because you know they make money!

Putting the word out in an office is a good way to build your game quickly.


  • You know where your opponents work so collecting is easy
  • Poker can be a bonding experience
  • You’ll all be equally tired at work the next day


  • Bluffing your superior out of a $100 pot could make things interesting the next day
  • Things get awkward when crazy Phil from accounting suggests everyone put their next paycheck on the line
  • Bill Lumbergh keeps reminding you about your TPS reports

Members of the Opposite Sex

This is a tricky one. If it’s an all-guys game it sounds great to get a couple good looking women in on the game. The thing is it can change the dynamic considerably.

Sara Jean Underwood
Sara Underwood is always invited to our home games.

Remember you’re not going to look very attractive to a member of the opposite sex if you bluff them out of a $100 pot and dive onto the table to perform a chip backstroke.

Conversely ladies’ poker nights work very well and sometimes women feel more comfortable just playing with other females. Proceed with caution.


  • Game tends to be more civil
  • Your home game could conceivably double in size
  • The game is usually more relaxed and fun


  • Game tends to be more civil
  • Sleeping on the couch for check-raising your wife/significant other sucks
  • If you’re a guy, losing a massive pot to a girl who had “double kings” might hurt your ego
  • In the poker game of life, women are the rake

Professional Poker Players

Phil Hellmuth
Brings his own Dom Perignon.

Poker pros are a long shot, of course, and will arguably destroy the game for everyone else.

On the plus side you have a shot at getting your game televised!


  • Good story to tell all your friends


  • You will lose all your money
  • Several pros keep nagging you for a buffet comp
  • Phil Hellmuth keeps referring to you as an “idiot from Northern Europe”
  • They’ll convince you to “play with the pros” then simply take all the money on the table and wait for the DOJ to come for it

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