Poker night? We’re all in. Check out our pointers for planning one.
Get started by sending an Evite invitation, like the free “Who’s In?” cards-themed invitation below or a premium “Ante Up” poker night invitation. Check out our game night invitation gallery for more designs.
It’s easy to find a home poker kit that includes cards, nice chips and a good playing surface. But if you don’t have one of these fancy kits, take a trip to a fabric store and get a big swatch of green felt to put over your tabletop.
It’s important to make sure you have enough poker chips for all of your guests. You probably can’t get by with less than 35 chips per person — most experts suggest more like 50 to 100 per head. If you don’t mind a mish-mash, ask your guests to bring some extra chips of their own. If you’re playing Texas Hold ‘Em, make sure you have a special chip set aside for the button.
To round out the theme, pick up some casino-themed napkins and plates decorated with images of dice, cards or dollar signs from a party store.
Even if you’re not playing for high stakes, you can still dress the part. Asking guests to come in suits and ties or cocktail dresses makes a simple get-together seem like an event.
You can also go casual and ironic by getting cheap costume armbands and green plastic dealer visors — poker doesn’t have to be super serious.
Playing with some card sharks? If they arrive wearing shirts with billowy sleeves, make sure they roll them up when you play so they can’t hide cards in them.
Texas Hold ‘Em is all the rage, but you can have a great card party with other poker variations: five-card draw, seven-card stud, hi/lo, baseball poker and other make-up-your-own-rules games.
The most important thing when playing poker is to be familiar with the winning hands. Here they are from high to low:
- Royal flush
- Straight flush
- Four of a kind
- Full house
- Three of a kind
- Two pair
- One pair
Too confusing? Just remember that a full house flushes a straight.
Get a pizza delivered for quick sustenance that minimizes card-playing down time. Or put together a simple spread of appetizers. Make your own or get a big box of warm-in-the-oven hors d’oeurves at a warehouse club store. Just keep the food away from the playing table.
If you’re playing poker, you might be thinking martinis are in order. Martinis will make your party upscale for sure (but they do call to mind James Bond, and his game was baccarat). If you’re going to go for some straight liquor, grab a bottle of single-malt scotch. Or, to mix cards and cocktails, consider the classy, old-fashioned cocktail called the Sidecar.
- 2 parts Cognac
- 1 part triple sec
- 1 part freshly squeezed lemon juice
Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker. Add ice. Shake, then strain into a chilled highball glass.
There are many who say that serious cards need to be played without the hazy influence of booze. So for a non-alcoholic alternative, grab some carbonated soda water and mix it up with some Italian syrup.