Families and homeowners across the UK enjoy the majority of their leisure time at weekends. With the typical UK job requiring people to work from Monday to Friday, weekends are traditionally for spending time with friends and family, relaxing and pursuing hobbies.
Having a space or room within the home that is purely for playing xbox games on gold memberships may not be an option for every household. However, a spare room, basement or even just a spare corner of another room can be quickly and easily revamped into a gaming space to make socialising at home more accessible and more fun. One game that can usually be accommodated easily is poker.
Buying a Poker Table
Poker tables can be highly versatile and easy to adjust or remove when not in use, making them ideal for smaller spaces or for areas that are required for different uses at different times. Whether buying a poker table or adapting an existing table to make it more appropriate for games, there are multiple options to choose from.
Most poker tables on the market designed for home use are portable, with legs that fold down so they can be removed and stored flat when not in use. These tables come ready-made with green baize covering, which helps the cards slide easily to each player, and often have marking to determine where each player should sit and hold their cards, as well as where to deal the communal cards.
Making a Poker Table
Making a poker table can be as complex as building a whole rig from scratch, or as simple as investing in some green felt cloth to throw over an existing dining table or gaming table. It is possible to build a professional poker table at home with a plywood lid that means it can be turned into a dining table or art space when not being used for gaming. This is ideal for multi-purpose spaces that can be turned into social gaming areas at weekends and used for other family activities during the week.
Organising Poker Chairs
In many households, the only option for poker chairs will be to gather all the spare chairs in the house together. This is fine for the occasional quick game with friends. However, anyone looking to establish lengthy poker tournaments at home will need to think more carefully about the chairs they have in place as people need to be comfortable and well-spaced if they are to stay the distance. There are a variety of chair styles available that people must be aware of.
Narrow chairs make it easier to space players out at smaller tables. Folding chairs or affordable stacking chairs can work well, although providing cushions can be useful as these are not always the most comfortable of seats. Ideally the chairs should be of a height that is proportional to the table being used, to allow each player to sit with their legs underneath the table and be able to see what is happening in play without having to stretch.
Establishing the Rules
There are many different variants of poker games and a variety of structures for tournaments within each variant. Having clearly established rules before people start to play is essential for running a smooth and enjoyable poker game. For example, the host should choose the variant and ensure everyone knows the rules of how to play Texas Hold’em poker before starting, including whether rebuys are allowed and if so, how long for. The blinds should be set at a reasonable level that allows players to feel confident. A winners’ structure should also be predetermined – does one winner take all, or do the final two or three players split the pot based on position?
Equipment and Accessories
Almost anyone with a deck of cards and some small items that can be used as chips, such as pennies or matchsticks, can organise an impromptu home poker game. However, for anyone who wants to establish a reputation among their social group as a great place to play poker, investing in some decent cards and chips is essential.
Poker chip sets can range from relatively inexpensive to investment-quality and anything in between. Most home players will be able to find a set of fairly decent quality chips for around £20 to £30, which will last a long time even with frequent play. Those that really want to wow their friends have the option of seeking out more expensive but weightier sets more similar to those used in professional casinos. Many chip sets come in a convenient carry case with card decks, blind buttons and other accessories included in the price.
Poker can of course be played with any deck or two of cards but investing in quality decks can improve the gaming experience. Casino-grade cards are 100% plastic, meaning they will not bend, tear or otherwise show damage no matter how often they are used. These are more expensive than regular card playing cards but the durability means they can end up being better value for frequent players.
Setting Up the Space
Poker can be played almost anywhere. However, for a serious game, considering the space before setting it up is essential. If players are entering a tournament and may be expected to sit for hours, they need sufficient leg room and elbow room. Ideally the table should be set up in an area free from through traffic and away from distractions, such as other family members popping in and out or children games playing noisily next door. Easy access to drinks and snacks helps make a lengthy tournament feel more relaxed and allows players opportunities to stretch their legs without having to leave the action.
If you have the mind of an interior designer you can even think about the type of backdrops you want your poker game to be showcased in front of, this can spring to mind a variety of different wallpaper ideas for your room design.