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How to turn your living room into a poker lounge

The online poker industry has boomed over the past few years, giving rise to celebrity players and pros who have built their millions from in front of their computer screens.

Although the online platform offers convenience to players, it can be lacking in sociabiltity and comfort. If you’re just looking for a fun and a friendly atmosphere, then a home game is guaranteed to tick all the boxes as an alternative night in.

One of the first steps you have to take before setting up your home poker game is to choose when and who you play. Setting a regular playing date, such as every other Friday, allows your friends to know when the next game is scheduled and plan for it accordingly.

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Next make sure that everyone is around the same skill level. If one player at the table has much greater experience than everyone else, it will most likely result in them getting bored and the rest of the competitors getting annoyed. If one of your players clearly stands out as a better poker player, or just gets annoyed when the conversation sways away from the table action, it may be best to suggest they stick to playing in a casino.

Decide which type of poker game you want to play, changing it up every now and again to add some extra interest. Texas Hold’em may be hugely popular, but it can get a little dull after a while. Try to encourage your guests to try different games, such as Stud or Omaha. The rules to these games can be found online at poker sites such as Full Tilt Poker, and you never know, you could find a popular game that really shakes up the evening’s events.

Once you have your players sorted and have decided what and when you are going to play, you should turn your attention to setting up the game.

Using a proper table is a must. You don’t need to have an authentic hexagon felt table to play, but ensuring you have adequate space for all players and a slide able surface will help everyone to really indulge in the action.

Use a quality set of chips and a dealer button too. It is also a good idea to have a timer, so you and your guests know when it’s time to raise the blinds. Electronic card shufflers can really help to speed up the game, especially when you are playing with two or three different decks. If you can’t get your hands on one, then make it a rule that the person to the right of the dealer has an additional deck of cards shuffled and ready to go. This will make sure there is no dull waiting time in between hands.

Finally build up a friendly and relaxed atmosphere. Make sure there are no distractions when you sit down to play. This means asking your family to stay out of the card room for the night. This can sound harsh, but having little ones running in and out of the room can really put your guests off their game.

Speaking of your guests, put on a nice spread to make them feel welcome. Provide a good selection of snacks and beverages, or have a take away menu close to hand. Put on the TV in the background, or have some music playing on a low volume, but make sure these don’t become the focal point of the room. You’re there to play poker after all.