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.