Friday, March 26, 2010

Fit in a Fun Friday - Poker Night

When my husband and I were in college, we started a poker club. As the President, I found locations to play and organized tournaments. As the Treasurer (irony kicks booty), my husband used the dues to buy refreshments and supplies like decks of cards and poker chips. The tournaments were tons of fun and legal too since gift cards were used as prizes.

That was a ton of fun. Then we graduated, everybody moved away, and poker night faded into the past.

After a few years, we were able to revive the tradition. I called a few friends we knew who enjoyed Texas Hold ‘Em and set up our poker table in the dining room. We still had our own chips and cards from college (not the club sets), so getting ready was easy. We also supplied a few bags of chips and soda, so we were good to go.

We played nickel poker with a max bet of a quarter and 3 raises, so our pots were limited and allowed for a lot of playing time in an evening. Everybody would buy-in for $5 and re-buy once or twice max. We usually started with Texas Hold ‘Em and moved on to general stuff (dealer would name a game). Everybody had lots of fun with a minimal amount of financial pain.

If you might be interested in having your own poker night, here's a little list of what I'd get together:

1.  Cards ($1-$3) - Make sure they aren't marked or too worn.  No, your friends will probably not try to cheat, but it's hard to pretend you don't see a grease stain on an ace...

2.  Poker chips ($10 for a good set on Ebay) - It is way easier than making sure everybody has a good mix of change.

3.  Stable table - I was cleaning sticky poker chips for an hour because I didn't follow this advice.

4.  Group of 6 or less - It’s easier to talk and have fun if everybody doesn’t spread out.

5.  Potluck snacks - If everybody pitches in, it ends up costing less than $5 a person for food.

That's it!  After the initial card and chip investment, we spend $5 - $15 a night for the both of us (food and cruddy hands) and every once in a while, we actually get paid to play.  :-)

What do you think?  Have you had poker nights?  How did they turn out?


  1. Another thing I started doing again a decade after graduating was 'deep' board games like Risk and Settlers of Catan.

    It is amazing how much fun playing a board game with some cool friends and even cooler beers can be.

  2. Monevator, I was thinking the same thing. If poker isn't your thing, just insert whatever game you want. It's usually the company that makes the evening, not necessarily the activity.

  3. Yes, feel free to substitute whatever game you like! We do potluck board game nights too.

    Monevator, you had me at board games and lost me at Settlers of Catan. :-) I love Power Grid, have you played?

  4. I love poker night!

    We do it on regular basis with my club here. It costs each of us $10 - $20 (for the buy-back) and the winner gets 70% of the pool. It's cheap but super fun entertainment. You can tell a lot about someone's attitude towards money when they play poker. I tend to be conservative. Some like to go all in all the time. It's fun to watch.

  5. Bytta, isn't it great?! And you're right, I play much more conservatively than many of our friends...those same friends splurge in other things too way more often than I do.

    Sometimes they win "big" and sometimes they lose "big". I usually only fluctuate up or down $5. As you said, it is fun to watch.