Casino Style Poker Party

Professional poker player and event coordinator of Casino Party World, Garret Allen, shares the essentials for a winning poker party – and that’s no bluff.


There are as many ways to host a poker party, from casual to casino style, as there are variations on the game. Whether it’s a get-together for 5 or 50, here’s the deal on how to throw a poker party that’s sure to be all aces.

Whatever your budget or style, every poker party requires five basics, starting with a table. “Whether it is your kitchen table, a game table, or if you happen to have a poker table, something to sit at is a necessity,” Allen says. “That, along with chairs, chips, cards – and of course, people to play!”

Players & the Buy-In
The minimum number of players for any tournament style poker game is usually 5-6; the maximum really only depends on the amount of space and chips available. Splitting a larger group up into tables of 5-10 players, with one deck of cards per table, is usually a safe bet. Using heavier weight clay or composite chips will lend your game more of a ‘Vegas’ feel, but those high-roller chips can be an investment of well over $100 for a set of 500. Regardless of the type of chips you choose, make sure you have enough; 50 to 100 chips per player is a good starting point.

“Let’s say everyone is chipping in $5. If you’re doing a dealer’s choice game, just break up the $5 so that each colored chip is worth a different amount of money. For example, the red chip is worth $.05, the white is worth $.10, and the green chip is worth a quarter,” Allen says. Or, you can simply allot a set number if chips per player and play for a predetermined portion of the pot, according to ranking.

Hiring a Casino Company
If you decide to hire a professional casino party company for your event, your part in setting up will most likely be limited to food and drinks. “A professional company will bring tables, high-quality chips, dealer buttons, an experienced dealer for each table who is knowledgeable of the rules, and a tournament director to oversee the game,” Allen says. “Having a professional dealer also helps the game immensely; it goes a lot faster, which means you can play more hands. Also a dealer is aware of the rules so there is no confusion or any disputes, which can happen a lot of times when poker games are played. Overall, it just gives it a more classy, ‘Las Vegas’ feel.”

For a DIY poker party, make sure you have a dealer button or some distinguishing marker to identify the dealer. The deal should move from player to player, clockwise, with each hand. Start with a couple of practice rounds to warm up any novice players, and make sure everyone is familiar with the rules of the game, which can vary between draw, stud, and community style games like Texas Hold’em. Visit for tips on the game, rules, and variations.

Food & Drinks
When it comes to snacks, think ‘mess-free’. Most poker tables have cup holders for your drinks, but make sure to serve non-greasy food that won’t crumb. Pretzels, peanuts, dry popcorn, and hard candy are always a good bet. Steer clear of any foods that might dribble or that require both hands to eat.

Most importantly, have a good time and don’t take the game too seriously. Keep the buy-in at around the same cost as dinner and a movie; it will ensure that everyone feels like they had a great time and doesn’t feel like they lost too much if they don’t hold the winning hands. So get ready, pull up a chair, and ante up!

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