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Step 3: Recruiting the players

By Nick Momrick

In the first two articles, I discussed choices for the type of game you’ll run and putting together a set of rules and regulations. The next logical step in starting your own home poker game is recruiting players. After all, you can’t play poker by yourself! This step will be relatively easy, but still requires some prior planning. With poker becoming so popular in the last couple of years, you shouldn’t have any problems finding a good group of people to play.

Before you start asking around for interest, I’d recommend thinking about the types of people you want to invite. Friends and family are a good place to start, but you need to keep in mind the personality of each person. Your home poker game is meant to be fun, so if you invite "Obnoxious Oscar" to play, the experience might not be very enjoyable for everyone else. Basically, you want to make sure everyone in the group will get along. Easy-going people, who want to have a good time, will make your game a successful one.

Once you have a list of people, start contacting them. As you talk to everyone, ask which nights of the week work best and if they know others that might want to play. Keep track of everything as you go along, because it will make it easier to choose your poker night. With today’s busy schedules, players won’t be able to play all of the time and some won’t be able to play at all depending on which night of the week you choose. By asking for other interested parties, you are creating a list of alternates for when these situations come up.

If you choose to use a list of alternates, I suggest having players commit to playing at least four or five days in advance, which will give you plenty of time to find someone to fill in. Although having a list of alternates can be a good thing, it does put more responsibility on your shoulders. Instead, you could choose to put the responsibility on the player who can’t make it to poker night and have them get the alternate. This might mean you’ll end up with an "Obnoxious Oscar" once in awhile, but it’ll be one less thing you have to worry about.

Since you’ll be hosting the poker game, you’ll be stuck with setup and clean up. You’ll be doing enough of the work as it is, so you don’t need to get stuck with a food bill as well. Ask your poker players to bring their own beverages and have everyone take turns providing snacks.

After you get players committed to a date and time, you’re ready to go. Poker night should be enjoyable for everyone involved because you’ve taken the extra time to prepare. All that’s left now is to “shuffle up and deal!” In the next article, I’ll discuss some things to give your home poker game that special look and feel.

Continue with step 4: Creating a special poker atmosphere

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