Without the right poker equipment, home poker games aren't much fun

Poker equipment is more important than the venue of your home poker game. You might live in a house, an apartment, an RV or a cardboard box, but some basics are required for hosting a home poker game.

Beyond these basics, you can elaborate as much as you want. Some people’s home poker games are regular enough to justify buying a full set of Poker Chips at Pokernstuff.com and a table, complete with dealer’s seat. For others, the occasional nature of the home poker game means a cloth over their dining table will suffice.

The chips

PokerStuff.com presents 600 World Poker Tour WPT 10 Gram All Clay Poker Chips

Your choice of chips comes down to budget. Of all Poker Chips at Pokernstuff.com the quality of the chips can make or break a game.

Somehow, chips lend an air of respectability and competence to a home poker game that playing with cash simply does not. Chips are easier to stack and count than cash.

Nominate one (trustworthy!) player to be the banker.

Give him the chips and an envelope to keep players’ buy-ins inside. He should then dole out the chips when players hand over their money.

It’s a good idea to make a note of each player’s name and keep a tally alongside it when they buy in. Players often like to know how much they have lost over the course of the home poker game.

Even plastic chips are better than cash, but try to find a nice set of clay chips. These come in a huge variety of values and quality, and are available from all good poker equipment suppliers. There’s something for all budgets out there.

The table and chairs

Full Size Oval Texas Holdem Poker Table Top Red This is a really important aspect of poker equipment. How you set up the game will make a big difference to the comfort, and thus the enjoyment, of you and your guests. 

If available, a Full Size Oval table Top makes more sense for a casual home poker game. It can be folded and stored, as most people (or their wives or girlfriends...) don't want a poker table in their living room 24/7!

Make sure there are enough chairs for everybody, with extras handy in case of unexpected guests turning up with friends, and that chairs are the right height for the table and comfy enough for a long session. Extra cushions are worth keeping nearby, in case a player is short (or has a low butt ache tolerance!).

The cloth

Pine Green Casino Poker Table Felt 55 x 108 inches You’ll definitely need a cloth. This will protect the cards and other poker equipment at Pokernstuff.com from the hard surface of the table, and also make it easier to peek at your hole cards. On a hard surface, most people will have difficulty lifting slippery plastic cards.

The cloth also protects the table from a long night of snacking, drinking and other wear and tear of home poker games. If you can only rustle up a tablecloth, that is better than nothing, but try to find a quality piece of green baize (the cloth that casinos use to cover their tables). This looks and feels more ‘professional’ and puts players in the mood. Bicycle clips can be used to secure the edges to the table.

You can also buy spongy rubber matting, which adds a layer of bounce to the tabletop, making shuffling and dealing more comfortable. This also helps prevent the cloth from slipping around on the table top.

The cards

Opinions differ on this matter, but most professional dealers prefer KEM plastic playing cards These are super-resilient, can be washed, inside a pair of tights or a string bag, in a machine with your clothes (really) to remove dirt and grease, and won’t easily fold over or bend.

There are different grades to suit all budgets, but the basic Kem ones last for years of casual home poker game sessions. You can even order individual replacement cards if any get damaged.

The dealer button

Tournament Edition Texas Holdem Dealer Button w/ Timer Usually quite cheap, these are available from most gambling supplies stores. It's the token which indicates whose turn it is to deal, and so where the action begins on each round.

But if you're thinking of hosting home poker tournaments and fancy a real treat to give your game the professional look, check out this Tournament Edition Texas Holdem Dealer Button with Timer . A bargain at $12.95, it saves you buying a separate timer for the blind increment levels!

If you can't find a real dealer button, any disc or token will do, so long as it doesn't clash with any of your coloured poker chips.

Lighting and accessories

It’s vital to ensure that your home poker game has a table which is well-illuminated. Eyes will get tired in semi-darkness before too long. Side lighting, like wall or standing lamps, can complement a good, steady overhead source.

Quality Poker gear is expensive: protect your investment. I usually insist on banning food and drink on the poker cloth. This avoids any nasty spills. Provide side tables, ashtrays (if you allow smoking) and plenty of napkins and cloths.

Next time, I’ll show you how to add an extra zing to your poker nights.

Found your poker equipment? Home poker game ready to go? Read on!