How To Host A Home Poker Game
The first thing you should do before you consider hosting a poker game at home is check the local laws in your area. An excellent resource for this is Gambling-Law-US.com for those residing in the United States. Once you're ready, skip down to the section you are interested in.
Getting People Together
Hopefully this is the easy part. Typically, you are going to need somebody to make phone calls and get people together. You'll also need somebody to supply the house, table, chips and food/beverages. These can be the same person or several people, whichever is easiest. Sometimes people will even bring felt table tops just for poker, so tasks can really be split up. If you work at a bar or restaurant, sometimes you can hold free poker tournaments at your business, but again check with your local laws.
Setting Up Tables, Chips, Cards
Somebody in your group will need to acquire poker supplies. Check out our poker supplies section for good ideas on poker chips, cards, tables and dealer buttons. To get an idea of which products suit your situation try our forum section on cards, chips and tables.
Blind Levels and Payout Structures
You should visibly post your tournament's blind levels, payout structures, and rules so that every player (old and new) fully understands the game they are getting into. This will avoid unnecessary conflict in the future. You should also decide how you will handle chipping up.
Whether you're running a friendly home game, or a larger tournament, you'll need to make it clear what style of game you intend to play. Cash game or tournament, Texas holdem or seven card stud, limit or no limit, whether to allow rebuys, add-ons or bounties, other variants, and how to handle buy-ins and fees.
Moving and Seating Players
Moving and seating players can get hectic in a larger tournament, but with a few simple rules you should be able to keep it under control. In a smaller game the emphasis is on fairness by ensuring quick table balancing.
Dealing and Shuffling
Consistent dealing and shuffling procedures can effectively ensure fair and speedy play. Our dealing and shuffling article also talks about dealer buttons and cut cards.