What home poker supplies will I need to host a game?

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Answered by: Josh, An Expert in the Poker Supplies Needed Category
Hosting your own poker night is a great way to spend time with friends and family. The first step to running a successful game is purchasing the right home poker supplies. In this article, we'll talk about essential items such as cards and chips, as well as useful accessories such as blind buttons and felt tabletops.

It's impossible to play poker without a deck of cards. Casinos and professionally-run cardrooms generally use plastic cards, which are durable and easy to shuffle. Plastic cards can cost upwards of ten dollars per deck and may need to be ordered from specialty retailers. High-quality paper cards are a reasonable alternative; they cost just a few dollars and can be found at most drug stores. However, paper cards are easily damaged (or marked by unscrupulous players), and therefore must be replaced after a few hours of play. After choosing suitable cards for your game, you'll also want to purchase a correctly-sized cut card, which is used to conceal the bottom card in a shuffled deck.

Kitchen-table poker players often use matchsticks, jellybeans, or paperclips for antes and bets. But if your goal is to host a game with an authentic cardroom atmosphere, then you'll have to buy some chips. Spend some time figuring out exactly how many chips you'll need before investing in a set. For tournament-style games, you should have 20-30 chips per player, plus extra high-denomination chips for “coloring up” the low-denomination chips. A flexible tournament set that can accommodate up to ten players is as follows:

- One hundred $25 chips (green)

- One hundred $100 chips (black)

- Fifty $500 chips (blue or purple)

- Fifty $1000 chips (yellow or orange)

Cash-style games require about 40 chips on hand for each player. For example, to comfortably host a typical $1-$2 no-limit Texas Hold 'em game with $200 buy-ins for ten players, you'll need:

- One hundred $1 chips (white)

- Two hundred $5 chips (red)

- One hundred $25 chips (green)

When shopping for poker chips, keep in mind that you can spend anywhere from a few pennies per chip (for cheap plastic) to several dollars per chip (for casino-grade ceramic or compression-molded chips).

It's difficult to handle chips and cards on a hard surface, which is why casinos cover their tables with felt padding. Folding felt-topped poker tables are inexpensive and convenient to store. An even cheaper solution is to cover a regular table with felt-covered panels or neoprene-backed fabric; these products are known as “table-toppers” and can be found in a variety of sizes and colors.

Finally, to allow your game to run smoothly, you may wish to use markers or “buttons” to indicate the dealer, small blind, and big blind positions. Buttons are especially helpful for players who are new to Omaha and Hold 'em. Many poker hosts also make use of “kill” buttons for fixed-limit cash games, “all-in” buttons for no-limit games, and “bounty” markers for tournaments.

With the right cards, chips, and table, you'll be ready to host a terrific poker night. However, even the best home poker supplies aren't enough to ensure a perfect game. Keep in mind that the most important ingredients of any game are the players. Do your best to invite only honest, friendly folks, and remember to feed them well when they show up to play!

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