Team PokerStars Pro Jake Cody knows all about a hosting a top night of poker. Since he burst onto the poker circuit in 2010 he’s become one of the world’s top professional poker players. So who better to tell us his top ten ways to have a great Lads Night In.
1) Quality cards: The cards you use are the most important part of the game. Invest in a good set of cards that can hold up to wear and tear. Or, sign up to Lads Night In and get a PokerStars set of cards as part of your pack. What are you waiting for?
2) A ‘chipping’ good investment: While you can use just about anything to replicate poker chips (cash is obvious but there's matchsticks, skittles, you name it), a decent chip set isn’t very expensive these days and can be picked up online or even at a local supermarket. They might become your lucky chips...
3) Get a good table: Ok, so I’m not expecting you all to have a poker table at your house, but you’ll be surprised how easily you can can turn any folding table or dining table into a poker-playing paradise. Cover it with a slick tablecloth or a poker felt to make dealing even easier.
4) Planning is everything: Before your mates arrive, separate your chips into stacks that are the equivalent of each buy-in and decide on the type of game beforehand. There are two types of poker home games: a ‘sit and go tournament’ or a ‘cash game’. Also decide if you are playing Texas Hold’em or maybe mixing it up with other formats, like Omaha.
5) The first rule of Lads Night In... actually, what are the rules?: You know how some people ask you to take off your shoes when you go to their house? Well just like everyone has house rules, every Lads Night In game can have its own rules too. It’s up to you to make sure your guests know the rules you play by before the first cards are dealt.
6) No Lads Night In is complete without snacks and drinks: Even if your mates say they’ll bring the drinks, we’ve all got friends who’ll forget to bring anything for themselves! So make sure you have some decent refreshments (beer, soft drinks, crisps, fruit – whatever suits you and your mates). Pizza usually goes down well for me and my friends, so schedule a break for everyone to tuck into some food after a couple of hours of poker.
7) Make the most of your Lads Night In: Put something on the TV, play some music, have a games console... anything else you can think of away from the poker game. People might want to take a break and chill, settle a poker grudge match over a game of FIFA or stick on the Rugby World Cup.
8) Play the music and TV game: Everyone has different TV and music tastes. So if you can’t agree on what to listen to, the winner of the hand at the start of each hour will get to choose the music for the next hour and take control of the TV. I just hope your mates have a good taste in music!
9) It’s all down to you: Your guests will be counting on you to hold their cash. Ultimately, any accounting mistakes will fall to you so be very careful when dealing with money. Keep all buy-ins separated from your own money and write down how much everyone is in for.
10) Make sure fun times are had: Poker can bring out the true competitor in you, so playing for too high stakes can take away the fun aspect. Make sure everyone in the game is comfortable with the stakes and keep the game fun for everyone.