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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?