One of the best things about gaming is playing with friends. Let’s face it, we love beating our friends at games far more than strangers, don’t we? There is something more satisfying about getting one over a buddy. This extends to most games, including poker.
Online poker is a mainstream activity but it can also be quite daunting for new players to enter. This is particularly true if you don’t know the rules well or lack the fundamental strategies. That’s why it might be better to play with friends at first. Fortunately, you can do this both in person and online. In this article, we’re going to explain what’s needed for private poker games, both online and for home games.
Private Home Games
First things first, let’s explore what’s needed for a home game. These are games that are typically played at someone’s home. The rules are more relaxed here and the stakes are likely to be lower.
The list of items below are 9 essentials for running a home game.
- A table to play. Ideally a poker table but a dining table can work
- Felt to go over the table. This makes sliding cards and chips smoother.
- A poker chipset.
- Playing cards. If you are playing with multiple tables, you’ll need a few decks.
- Home game rules. This can be pretty basic but it helps clear up any misunderstandings. For instance, you may have a rule that it’s only rebuys for the first hour of a tournament.
- Someone to deal. Most home games involve the dealer rotating between the more experienced and quicker shufflers.
- Most poker games run for a few hours minimum so it’s best to be stocked up on snacks and drinks for your players.
- Someone in charge of the cash. Home games will either be cash or tournament format. Either way, you need someone in charge of tournament entry money or cash games when they are switched for chips.
- Printout of the rules. The players at a home game will have wide range of abilities. It’s best to have the rules of the game printed out so it’s easily accessible for players to refer to.
- A clock/timer. This is critically important for tournaments where blinds go up at timed intervals. It’s less necessary for cash games where blinds are static but you don’t want a home game running for days!
Now, we have the essentials covered we can look at another useful tool for live poker home games.
As previously stated, beating friends is one of the most enjoyable things about gaming. Private poker games often run fun leagues to keep track of results. It’s a really fun way to enhance the competition and give bragging rights to players. It also motivates players to return and play again with each other. This is where making use of spreadsheets can be extremely useful. You don’t have to be especially technical to record the results and input on Excel. Poker training sites like Texas Hold’em Questions are big advocates of using spreadsheets to record results.
You can use spreadsheets for any type of private game so don’t worry if you’re only playing online private games. There’s no reason not to use it for them too.
If you’re playing a cash game, you record the winners and losers for the day. As you progress through weeks you can update accordingly. This is less common than a tournament poker league. Instead of ranking players by winnings and losses, you give points assigned to them based on the position they finished. This is a very popular way of tracking who is performing the best. Generally, at the end of a period e.g., a year, the league season is completed and prizes goes to the top positions. See picture below for example of what a week’s results could look like.
Online Private Poker Games
Most major poker sites have recognized the need to satisfy players wanting to play with friends and colleagues. Almost all poker sites in 2023 offer the function to play privately now. The main difference between a private game online and at home is the rake. Most home games don’t charge rake or a fee to play. The fees online are typically around 10% of the tournament buy in or a percentage of each pot, capped at an amount. Online poker sites are not going to just let players create their own games for free but the fees are very reasonable at least.
To run a good online private poker game, you need to ensure players are aware of the start time, the game name and the private password. These features ensure the game runs smoothly and avoid any hassle. They almost always have a password to enter to prevent strangers from joining.
That is pretty much it for private online games. You don’t have to worry about dealers or equipment as it’s all digital. You can make use of the chat feature to exchange banter and you’re not limited by space like at a home game.
That covers private poker games online and at home. A little disclaimer must be said for the attitude and behavior in these games. Remember, players will be of varying calibre and experience. Not everyone is an aspiring professional and some players just want to have fun. With this in mind, the experienced players should make an extra effort not to name call their opponents for poor play.
The tone of a private game should be of good spirit, of comradery, fellowship and friendly competition. If you are only interested in playing high standard poker, you’re best playing for real money at higher stakes online.
As you can see, it’s quite straight forward and easy to run a private poker game. Provided you are all of legal age, are playing low stakes and all know the rules, you can have a great time playing with friends. I hope the information in this article will help you create a poker league in the future.