Poker Articles: Start Poker Nights With The Boys

Rounders, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Boiler Room ; these are the movies that come to mind when we think of poker because after watching them, we wanted to become pros at the card game as well. It's like a requirement of machismo, a vindication of manhood.

On poker night, anything can happen; guys are free to be themselves. It's not about the money, the snacks, or the beer. Okay it's about the money, but it's also a chance to celebrate being the type of man society discourages us from being, if only for a few hours.

What's that? You want to organize a poker night? Perfect. Here's what you have to do to make it happen.

The night Before you can sit down and start dealing the cards, you must set aside a date on which to hold the event. First, it helps if you pick a date when all the guys can attend. If you pick a Monday during football season, the turnout might not be what you expected.

Ask around about an ideal time for your friends. Be willing to move the date around for optimal results, but then again, you may not be able to please everyone.

Once you have everyone's opinion, set a date and stick to it. Friday evenings are perfect for poker night because they allow everyone to wind down after work, and, because they likely don't have to go to the office the next day, the game can last longer.

The players

Although you don't plan on having a frat party, you still need to invite more than just a couple of friends to make the game interesting. I recommend having between four and eight players at the poker table. Also, don't shy away from inviting more people over for entertainment (strippers are great too). As well, extra players can be kept on hand as replacements when other guys get tired, want a break, or go broke and opt to leave. If there's way too many people, and they all want to play poker, why not simply set up two poker tables?

The accessories

Rest assured, playing poker doesn't require as much equipment as hockey or fishing do. What you need, to start, is a few decks of cards. Have at least two decks per table. This way, if some of the cards get damaged, the game can continue without interruption. Then, make sure you have a suitable table to play on. You don't necessarily need a professional felt table; the kitchen table will do just fine. Just make sure you have another good table if there's going to be another game going on. The next thing you need is poker chips. You can always play with bills and coins, but chips make for a better, more authentic game. Lastly, be sure to have ashtrays readily available for the cigar smokers. Oh yeah, I think you should provide your guests with cigars. Come on, what's poker night without cigars?

The food & drink

A party isn't a party without some booze. Close at hand you'll want to have beer, as well as a selection of spirits such as whiskey, cognac and vodka. In addition, because there might be designated drivers or guys who want to take it easy, have some water and soft drinks available. Be sure you have a hefty supply of ice as well.

Since you should never drink on an empty stomach, snacks are mandatory. Time-honored munchies include potato chips, pretzels and peanuts, and you can get creative by serving finger foods like mini pizza bagels, pigs in a blanket, and other original, microwavable hors d'oeuvres.

Whatever you serve, make sure you have plenty of napkins handy. While you likely won't be serving up any messy snacks, it's important that everyone keeps their hands dry and clean when handling the playing cards -- not only can dirty fingers make the cards sticky, but dirty fingers can mark the cards and thus give some players an unfair advantage.