Published on
Update on

Poker is one of the most popular social games in existence, and lots of people love it for that reason. Playing poker at a casino is fun, but are you interested in setting up your own home poker games that you can play with your friends and family?

This article is all about giving you some pointers on how to go about it. As you will come to find, it is often not as complicated as many people would imagine. In fact, by the time you are done reading this guide, you will easily do so, and then you and your opponents can battle it out to see which one of you is the best poker player.

Let’s get started.

One of the most common questions I came across when doing some research for this guide is ‘are home poker games illegal in the United States?‘ The simple answer is no.

‘are home poker games illegal in the United States?The simple answer is no.

Even though the Gambling Act 2005 restricts some forms of poker to licensed casinos, this only applies to commercial high-stakes poker. Private poker games in homes or private venues are not illegal, so long as the players themselves are the ones benefiting from the games. There is no need for any special licenses if no house rake is involved.

Image of Friends around a Table playing poker

Still, there are, of course, some social responsibilities that you will need to pay attention to when organizing your home poker games. So long as no disturbances are being caused by the social game you intend to run, you will be good to go.

What Will You Need?

To organize a home poker game, you will need some essential stuff before you get started. Players and the venue (space and furniture) are the core of the game, but that is not all you have to pay attention to. Some of the other things that you will need to get will include:

  1. Poker Table/Gaming Surface
  2. Playing Cards
  3. Poker Chips
  4. A Dealer Button
  5. Money Box
  6. A Timer
  7. Table Positions
  8. Food & Drink

A Poker Table/Gaming Surface

A gaming surface does not necessarily have to be an actual poker table, but if you can get one, you should simply because it will go a long way in enhancing the gambling experience. There is also the option of purchasing just the poker table felt as a mat—either way, the playing surface needs to be level and very stable.

Image of Poker Table Felt

Playing Cards

This will be among the first things you will need to get since you cannot play poker without them. A single deck would be sufficient, but having spare decks is best. If you’re wondering how many cards are in a deck for a poker game, a standard 52 card set is typically used.

Image of Poker Deck - Playing Cards

Poker Chips

A lot of things can substitute for poker chips – coins and notes included. However, nothing quite comes close to the thrill of playing with chips. Thankfully, there are many great poker chips sets that you can purchase from as low as $10.

Image of Poker Chip Set

A Dealer Button

Many things can be used to represent a dealer button, but having one is certainly bound to make the experience feel a lot more like playing in an actual casino. Alternatively, if you don’t have one, you can use another object to replace it, such as a cardholder.

Image of Dealer Button

Money Box

This is to keep all the buy-ins and chips secure and in one place. You don’t want to lose track of the poker pot and how much is in it.

Image of DIY money box for home poker games

A Timer

It will be up to you to time the levels during your home poker sessions, and this is why you will need a timer. For this, a watch, a phone, or a cooking timer will work just fine if you don’t have a special timer.

Image of phone timer for home poker games

Table Positions

When it comes to how to sit around the table you can pick from a Full Ring or Shorthand style. If you are unsure about table positions we cover it all in this guide.

Food & Drinks

To spice it all up, you can have food and drinks ready. This will probably already be covered if you are playing at home. You can always order more if the need arises.

Types of Home Poker Games

There are lots of ways to play poker, and you will need to set up the game differently depending on the variation of the game that you will be playing. For your home poker game, there are some games that will be harder to set up unless you are willing to go the extra mile. However, for most poker games, the following games will probably offer you the best gaming experiences:

  1. Texas Hold’em
  2. 7-Card Stud
  3. Omaha

1. Texas Hold’em

This is one of the most popular variants of poker in existence, which makes it the perfect option for your home poker game, especially because all of the players will likely already be familiar with it. Moreover, it is relatively easy to learn, meaning that even the newest players can pick it up after a few rounds.

2. 7-Card Stud

For a long time, this was the most popular variant of poker both in homes and casinos across the world. It is a perfect option if you and your friends or family want to enjoy some classic poker game action. Moreover, it is a reasonably challenging game, but this makes it a great way to spend time learning the game with family and friends.

3. Omaha

Omaha is a super-exciting variant of poker that is derived from Texas Hold’em. This is particularly great for when you want to spice things up during your home poker game. It is not only just as exciting to play, but it also takes things a notch higher. Many players often prefer it because it is so action-packed that it will have players sitting at the edges of their seats.

Basic Poker Etiquette Tips

When it comes to etiquette, you will need to ensure that you and your fellow poker players lay down some special rules of your own to make everything runs smoothly. For instance, poker games can get pretty heated, so it is important to ensure that everyone stays emotionally aware. Everyone should be respectful to other players—no need to create enemies while at the tables. Most times, there will be alcoholic drinks involved, so it is also important to ensure that no one gets carried away.

In essence, basic human decency is a massive part of running a fun and memorable poker game. Also, do not forget to have a good time – after all, that is the goal of organizing such sessions.


This guide is all about preparing you for what to expect when it comes to hosting your own home poker games. Once you have everything set up all you need to do is to get in touch with the people you will be playing with. It is important to also get their opinions and recommendations regarding ways of making the poker experience even better for everyone. Happy gaming!