Going All in on Hosting Poker Night

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The time has come for you to party in a brand new way—poker night at your place. If you’ve never hosted a single thing in your life and don’t know the first thing about poker, you’ve come to the right place. Bringing folks together is fun, people. Bringing them together with poker chips, enthusiasm galore and booze in the comfort of your own home is next level.


First thing’s first. You need a bunch of poker crap you probably don’t have yet. Cards, chips, and a table are kind of it though, so don’t freak out.


Cards make a difference. You can either get plastic coated paper cards or straight up plastic cards. Go with straight plastic. They slide across the table with more of that poker finesse and last months or even years as opposed to paper that’ll last a tournament or two. While you’re at it, get two decks in two different colors so while one deck is in play, another player can shuffle the second deck in preparation because you’re classy and prepared like that.


Like everything else in life, your poker chips are pretty much your personal playground of anything-you-want. You can get authentic reproductions used in famous casinos or have them personalized. Anything goes. This is where you get to show off your personality and style, so you might as well go big and customize them with Baddie Winkle’s face.


You can grab a decent starter poker table online from Walmart for $130, though if you want something fancier, you could be looking at up to $2500 or more. The range is vast, and depending on the depth of your pockets, you can pick and choose at your leisure. Small word of advice—just get something to get you started. Guaranteed your friends aren’t going to judge your supplies – they’re just gonna be stoked there’s beer.


Round up seven of your closest friends, strangers, or stray animals. Assuming you (as the hostess with the mostest) are obviously playing, eight participants is your best bet—it’s also how many slots are on a poker table. Since we’re all addicted to social media – especially those of us who vehemently deny it—create a Facebook event and update and remind your friends/the strays regularly. Schedules are busy and people love reminders. This will also come in handy for weekly reminders. God help your soul if you go rogue and group text everyone. DO NOT.

Next comes the snack brigade. You cannot consider hosting poker until your snack prep game is Vegas-level exciting. Here are some strong contenders:

  • Beer
  • Chips & guac/salsa
  • Pizza or pizza bites if you’re casually fancy
  • A veggie tray if you want to make sure no one comes back
  • Italian stuffed jalapeno bites
  • Peanuts
  • Pastrami
  • Club sandwiches

Don’t be afraid to tell your guests to BYOBS. That’s bring your own beer and snacks, people. Not bring your own bullsh… The more food variants, the better. You’re not slammed with a food bill and they’ll have something they definitely like. Win win.


The thing about poker is that you sort of have to know how to play it. Hand rankings and betting rules exist for a reason and if you’ve never even heard the terms, have fun researching on your smartphone during the party instead of, you know, playing poker. A solid place to start is this Beginner’s Guide over at The Art of Manliness.

If you’re ultra classy, you’ll post tips and guides in that Facebook event group we discussed earlier so you’re not the only poker casanova in the crowd. Everyone wants to have fun and deserves a fair shot, so you might as well ensure the night is a success by sharing some strategy.

Quick and dirty poker tips:

  • Pay attention to who’s on playing good hands and only go up against them
  • Players with lesser chips give you the upper hand
  • Bet strong when you have a good hand
  • Play goes clockwise
  • Go ahead and play some mind games, poker is inherently psychological
  • Call a player’s bluff and risk the reward of taking the pot yourself
  • Take your time and don’t let those brewskies wreck your long game

Your poker nights will be ones to tell the grandkids about. Treat them like that and that’s what they’ll become. You can leave out the one time Teddy got so mad he lost 20 bucks that he choked on a Cheeto and things got tense for a second. Replay the time Jess laughed so hard beer shot out her nose. That story will NEVER GET OLD. And if you need a really solid and wildly swag encrusted set of your first poker duds and don’t know where to turn? The Ammo Can Poker Set should do the trick. Play responsibly and have one HELL of a time doing it.