How to Host the Perfect Home Game: Beat Your Friends

In our ninth article in How to Host the Perfect Poker Home Game we’ll show you how to actually beat your friends and how to do it diplomatically enough so that they don’t boycott your game for good.

We’ll look at a number of typical home-game player types and the best strategies to use to separate them from their stack. We’ll include a ton of links to the essential strategy content and tell you where and when it’s appropriate to use it. And above all we’ll teach you the subtle art of getting someone to hand over their money and do it with a smile on their face.

Looking for places to play online with a private group?

How to Beat First-Time Poker Players, Noobs, Fish

There’s an old saying that applies particularly well to poker: You can shear a sheep many times but you can skin it only once.

When you identify a player as a complete newcomer, do your best to give them some play for their money.

poker home game

It’s almost guaranteed they’re going to go broke so try put a few good memories in their head to replace the cash that won’t be in their pocket.

Playing fish is easy. Simply value-bet anything resembling a good hand. Second pair is a good hand against a complete newcomer.

They will call down with complete garbage, and raising will only become an option for them when they have a big hand.

Most importantly, be sure to console them with a few sage words when they lose their money.

“We all lose when we were learning,” is a good option. Or the always popular, “You got very unlucky there.”

How to Beat a "Tight Rock"

If you can’t remember seeing a player put money in the pot when they weren’t in the blind, chances are you’re dealing with a tight, rocky player.

This player is 100% focused on their own two cards and chances are their sense of hand-value is completely out of whack.

If they have top pair second kicker they’re afraid of top-top. If they have a straight and there’s a possible flush they’ll shy away from raising.

Don’t give these players an inch. Simply bet and raise them aggressively, until they play back at you.

If they’re calling chances are you’re going to need a top-pair or better hand to win the pot.

How to Beat an Overly-Aggressive Maniac

While less common than the tight rock, the overly-aggressive maniac is someone you need to be on the lookout for because he’s going to provide a lot of the value in your home game.

poker home game

These players always seem to be in the hand. When you’re checking they’re betting, and when you’re betting they’re raising.

Aggressive players can be frustrating because they're always betting and they tend to never let you see any cards for free. It can also be difficult to put them on a hand.

In reality playing against the aggressive maniac is easy.

Just make a hand and let them do the betting for you. Relative hand value goes out the window when you’re dealing with a maniac. In the right spot, bottom pair can be enough to win you a big pot.

How to Beat an Experienced Regular

In this day and age everyone’s got a few friends who take poker seriously.

These are the guys who tell you about “The golden days of partypoker” and sported Full Tilt baseball caps before Black Friday ruined their lives.

Unless you’re up to the challenge of out-maneuvering these talented grinders, there’s only one technique you need to know: Stay away.

Just don’t play against them unless you clearly have the best hand.

Tighten up, especially when you’re out of position, and wait for spots to play pots against the less experienced players at the table.

Practice Online Poker at Micro Stakes

Generally speaking you’re going to see a lot of similarities between micro-stakes online players and home game players, which makes it the perfect place to get some experience.

It’s also the perfect environment to focus in on whatever style of poker you’ll be playing in your home game.

online poker

If you’ve got a one-table tournament style night planned, play a few dozen $1 single-table Sit and Gos.

If it’s going to be a mixed cash game, cycle through the different poker variants now offered by sites like PokerStars.

Another benefit of playing online is that it will force you to classify opponents based on their actions, not their appearance.

Oftentimes players will put on a big show of being a maniac but actually play like Allen Kessler. Or they might try their hardest to appear as cold, calculating rounders when in fact they’re spewy, bad LAG-tards.

Sometimes they’ll even believe their fabricated personas themselves, which makes them even easier to beat. You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover and you shouldn’t judge a poker player by his bravado, or lack thereof.

Don’t make assumptions. Classify your opponents only according to what you’ve seen them do firsthand.

  • Click on the link for reviews of the world’s best online poker rooms.

More on How to Host the Perfect Poker Home Game:

Additional Home Game Tools:

Related Articles

Unibet Poker Open 2023
Unibet Open Bukarest 2023 – Here we go!

Unibet Open Bukarest alkoi pari tuntia sitten, pahoittelut että blogi pääsee vauhtiin myöhässä. Syytetään Lufthansaa, joka onnistui eilen jättämään matkalaukkuni Frankfurtin kentälle. Nyt on laukku saatu tänne Bukarestin Marriottiin ja…

November 30, 2023 | Juhani Tyriseva
Unibet Poker Open 2023
Suomalaisten chip count, Event 1

Ville Mustonen 65K Aleksi Naski 265K Samuli Hietala 330K Jarno Jokiniemi 85K Max Avela 260K Kai Lehto 105K Feras Abid 130K Topi Palenius 95K Atte Franssila 85K Markku Vihavainen 50K…

September 16, 2023 | Juhani Tyriseva
Unibet Poker Open 2023
Voitonjako on selvillä

Ensimmäisen sormuskisan WSOPC Event 1, voitonjako on nyt selvillä. Turnauksen palkintopotti on 183.360€, ja 47 parasta pääsee rahoille. Turnauksen voittaja kuittaa mukavat 38.510€, ja min cash on 1.100€. Tällä hetkellä…

September 16, 2023 | Juhani Tyriseva
WSOP banner
WSOP Schedule 2020

The 2020 World Series of Poker kicks of in Las Vegas on May 27th. With a time frame of more than 7 weeks and 100 tournaments this will be the…

August 21, 2023 | Arved Klöhn
WSOP banner
Pikku tauon jälkeen jatketaan

Pidettiin pieni tauko, nyt peli jatkuu tasolla bb ante 4K, blindit 2K/4K. 111/573 pelaajaa.

July 25, 2023 | Juhani Tyriseva
melvin shroen live reports from The Festival in Nottingham 2023
PokerListings set to do Live Reporting from The Festival Series in Nottingham (13-19 February 2023) 

Melvin Schroen - Live Reporter For the first time in the history of The Festival Series, an event series is being held at the Dusk Till Dawn Pokerclub in Nottingham.…

March 22, 2023 | Melvin Schroen
PokerListings Awards 2022
PokerListings Operator Awards – Winners 2022

Since 2020, we have been awarding the best poker operators and innovators in the poker business with our PokerListings Operator Awards. Every year the operators are nominated and awarded in…

January 11, 2023 | Bjorne Lindberg
Oliver Hutchins Wins the Trophy in the €500K GTD PPC Malta Main Event (€71,000)

Oliver Hutchins Wins 2022 PPC Malta Main Event United Kingdom's Oliver Hutchins won the trophy in the €500,000 guaranteed PPC Malta €550 Main Event for €71,000 after a back and…

April 7, 2022 | Jason Glatzer
All Poker News

Comment on that

Your message is awaiting approval