Last Updated on June 10, 2021

In my early 20’s I lived with a flatmate who was obsessed with poker, and so we would play from time to time with our neighbors.

I still like to play every now and again. My maternal grandmother was a big card player so maybe cards is in our genes.

I recently hosted a women’s poker night here in SF now that we are all Covid-19 vaccinated and congregating indoors is becoming a thing again. Here’s some learnings.

Hosting Poker Night for Beginners

Before the game

  • Setup a suitable table and make sure you have enough chairs
  • Work out the number of players and chips ahead of time so you can pre count all the chips and have them ready on the table (Here’s a handy Poker Chip Calculator)
  • Setup a “bar” areas or other space where players can congregate before the game for welcome drinks, and after the game when eliminated
  • Welcome players with a drink and label their glasses – these are the glass labeling pens I use but I think any whiteboard or dry erase markers will work
  • Have food setup (I do cheese and charcuterie boards because they are easy to prepare ahead, and don’t need to stay warm and are yum!)
  • Once it is game time, have players bring a little plate of food to the table with them once the game commences
  • It helps to nominate roles, I had someone in charge of wine refills, someone on water refills, and someone keeping an eye on the blinds timer

During the game

  • Keep the group small if a lot of players are new to the game
  • Play a few rounds without chips and betting first, just to get used to the cards and the hands
  • Print out cheatsheets to poker hands for players to refer to
  • Consider rotating the dealer even if you have a lot of new people, it make help them learn the game quicker

This Reddit post How do I host a successful poker night for people who haven’t played before? also has lots of good tips.

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