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How To Start a Home Poker Game

Home » How To Start a Home Poker Game

How To Start a Home Poker Game

five friends are playing poker while gathered around a dining table that has been turned into a poker table with a green felt table cover, playing cards and poker chips on it, in the background are hanging lights on the wall

Hosting a poker game at home is a fantastic way to gather friends and enjoy an evening of excitement, strategy and friendly competition. Whether you’re a poker enthusiast or a casual player, organizing a home poker game can create lasting memories. Unlike online poker, it does take some preparation, though. You need to make sure you have the necessary equipment, invite players, establish the rules and stakes and prepare the playing area. In this guide, we’ll walk you through how to set up a poker game at home.

How To Set Up A Poker Game In Style

To kick off an unforgettable home poker game, make sure you have the essential elements for a perfect poker setup in place. Start by creating a casino party atmosphere. Depending on how far you want to take it, you could set up a red carpet entrance, decorate the space with playing card motifs, set up a designated bar area with signature cocktails and provide a variety of casino-inspired snacks. You could even consider hiring a professional dealer to enhance the authentic casino experience. With the right touches, your party could resemble one of those celebrity home poker games attended by players such as Tobey Maguire, Ben Affleck and Leonardo DiCaprio. Whether you go for a “rich and classy” or “tourist in Vegas” event, prepare for an evening of excitement by ensuring to add the elements described as follows.

Suitable Playing Area

aerial shot of an at-home poker table with people gathered around it playing poker, on the table there are poker chips, playing cards, dealer and blind tokens, drinks, cellphones and money

Find a spacious area that can accommodate a home poker table or a large enough surface to accommodate players comfortably. Set the mood with dimmed lighting, creating an intimate and cozy atmosphere.

Poker Table and Chairs

Don’t forget to ensure comfortable seating for your players so they can enjoy hours of poker fun. Invest in a sturdy home poker table or improvise with a suitable alternative. It must be spacious, comfortable and should provide ample room for players to place their cards and chips. Make sure you have enough chairs for all players.

Playing Cards and Poker Chips

A standard deck of 52 playing cards is essential. Consider getting multiple decks for convenience and to prevent delays in case of damaged cards. Arrange a stack of high-quality poker chips by denomination, with higher values on top and lower values at the bottom. Place them within easy reach of each player, creating a visually appealing display that adds an authentic and exciting touch to the game.

Dealer Button and Timer

A dealer button is a marker used to indicate the position of the dealer during each hand in a home poker game. It rotates clockwise around the table, ensuring fair distribution of the dealer’s duties and adding a professional touch to your game. You could also use a smartphone app to manage blind levels and ensure the game progresses smoothly.

Snacks and Drinks

Serve a variety of tasty snacks and refreshing drinks to keep your home poker game enjoyable. Typical snacks for poker night are finger foods such as chips, pretzels and popcorn for easy enjoyment, but there’s no reason why a poker party can’t be a home sushi party at the same time. For drinks, have a selection of beverages such as beer, cocktails, sodas and water to cater to different preferences.


friends gathered around an at-home dining table while playing poker, on the table there are drinks and snacks

Set the mood with background music to enhance the ambiance of your home poker game. Choose a playlist that complements the atmosphere you want to create, whether it’s upbeat and energetic for a lively game or smooth and jazzy for a more relaxed vibe.

Structure the Experience

For a great home poker game, prioritize flexibility and accommodate players’ preferences for stakes, game formats and rules. Determine the buy-in amount and set stakes that align with the comfort levels of your players. This ensures that everyone can participate without feeling excluded by high or low stakes.

Establishing clear rules and etiquette guidelines is also vital. This includes defining betting limits, explaining proper chip handling and emphasizing respectful behavior at the table. By setting these expectations from the beginning, you can promote a harmonious and fair gaming environment.

Decide on the specific poker variant you’ll be playing, whether it’s the popular Texas Hold’em, Omaha or Seven-Card Stud. Communicate this choice to the players well in advance so they have an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the rules. This will contribute to a smoother and more enjoyable game.

Go Big or Go Home

An at-home poker game offers a casual and flexible environment where players can enjoy the game at their own pace, with the emphasis on having fun. On the other hand, an at-home poker tournament takes the excitement up a notch by introducing a structured competition that follows predetermined blind levels, fixed rules and an elimination process, all with the goal of determining a clear winner. For a tournament to be viable, you need at least eight players. Depending on how big you want your tournament to be, you may have to buy more chips. A set of 1,000 chips will easily accommodate a 20-player tournament.

Play Poker Online With Friends at BetMGM

Another way to enjoy poker with your friends is to play online poker. It’s easy to set up – simply register at BetMGM and create a club with our poker software. Choose a name for your club, a password and a description for your friends to see in the club lobby and start playing. At the same time, you’re welcome to explore our cash games and online poker tournaments, which we host on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Get the poker party started at BetMGM!

Entertain your friends with a home poker party! Learn the essentials to create a memorable experience. We share how to set up a home poker game in style.