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Whether you’re an experienced gambler or a novice, a poker night is always great fun. If you haven’t hosted one before, you may be wondering where to start with the planning. While the event is brilliant, organising the evening can be a little stressful, particularly if it’s your first time! Thankfully, we’re here to help. In this article, we explore how to organise a poker night at home.
The Guest List
When planning your poker night, the first thing to decide is who to invite. If possible, try to invite a range of personalities. Having a mixture of different people can mix things up and make the evening even more enjoyable. However, try to make sure everybody will get along. With money on the line, you don’t want the evening to turn from friendly to argumentative. Below, we explore how to create your ideal guest list.
Clients and Colleagues
A poker night is a great opportunity to network and make new friends. However, it’s important to make sure your reputation stays intact if you’re inviting business associates and/or your superiors. With this in mind, it’s even more important to choose your guests wisely. To make a good impression, be ruthless with your guest list. If a certain colleague gets argumentative after a few drinks, consider leaving them off. While you don’t want anybody to feel left out, you also want to make a good impression.
Family and Friends
If you’re unsure about inviting colleagues, keep the event to just friends and family. In this scenario, you’ll be less worried about making a good impression and can concentrate on having fun. However, it’s still important that everybody gets on. When it comes to friends and family, there’s always somebody that’s of concern when alcohol is involved. If somebody is known for becoming offensive or rowdy, consider whether inviting them is the best idea. If not inviting them isn’t an option, speak to them beforehand about keeping their cool. If you’re inviting friends from work, explain that you want to keep your reputation intact. Hopefully, they’ll understand where you’re coming from and keep their emotions under control!
Once you’ve written the guest list, it’s time to send out the invitations. Today, many people throw out a quick invite via social media. If you’re keeping the evening casual, this may work well. However, if you want the event to be more formal, a physical invitation may be better suited. If you’re creative, you may want to hand-craft the invitations. For an authentic feel, why not use a pack of cards? To make space for the details, stick a plain piece of card over one side. If you’d rather use pre-made invites, you can find a range of options online.
Whether you’re sending physical or digital invitations, make sure they contain the relevant information. To avoid confusion, each invite should specify what the evening is about, what game is being played, and any other necessary information, such as the time the evening starts and ends, the buy-in fee, anything they need to bring, whether or not food is being served, if they can bring a plus one, what the dress code is, and the RSVP details.
What You Need
A few weeks before the party, make a list of everything you need. If you want to go all out, a poker night can be costly. However, it doesn’t have to be. If your budget is limited, you don’t need to provide food or drinks. Below, we explore a few different ideas based on your budget.
If you’re trying to save money, keep supplies to a minimum. Thankfully, there aren’t too many necessities for a poker night. All you really need is a venue, a table, a deck of playing cards and some poker chips. If you’re not supplying food or drink, let your guests know beforehand so they can bring their own. Most people will be fine with this, particularly if they understand that you’re trying to keep the cost down. To let your guests know you won’t be supplying alcohol, note ‘BYOB’ on the invitations.
If you’ve got more money to play with, consider adding some extras to the list above. If you don’t want to spend too much money, consider a hot or cold buffet, a small selection of alcohol, and one cigar per guest. If you’re supplying beer, you may like to provide a communal bottle of spirit too.
If your budget is high, consider adding a variety of fine cigars, a wide selection of alcoholic drinks, dinner before the game and finger food later on in the evening.
If you’re looking to go all out, consider adding a 3-course dinner provided by a catering company, a professional dealer, an experienced bartender to make cocktails, waiters to serve food and drinks, and a heated outdoor smoking area.
Whether you’re planning a laid-back evening or a formal wining-and-dining, take note of the tips above to help you organise your poker night. To avoid wasting money, set your budget beforehand. This way, you’ll know what cash you have to play with before getting too invested. If you’re planning to drink alcohol, try to invite guests that will get along. There’s nothing worse than a rowdy drunk ruining the evening, particularly if you’ve put time and money in the preparation. Above all else, gamble responsibly. Before the poker night, set aside the money you need for bills and necessities. Once this has been done, any leftover cash can be spent how you wish.