While there is nothing wrong with having a dinner party, sometimes it is nice to plan something more exciting and unique for when friends or family are coming to visit. Perhaps you are hosting a special celebration such as a birthday or maybe you would just like to plan an evening that your guests will not forget, whatever the occasion, a poker party is the perfect theme for a fun-filled event at home.
Poker has long been considered to be more of a male-only event, in the media and on film we often only see men participating in poker tournaments and other casino activities. However, more and more women have been getting involved in poker in recent years, both on a professional level and in private games at home.
This means that it is the ideal game for a glamourous evening with a group of friends or even with the whole family as some weekend entertainment. Before your party, you might want to practice your poker strategy so that you can surprise your guests with your new poker skills on the night.
When putting together the perfect poker party there are few things to consider in the run up to the event, including invitations, dress codes, catering, drinks and decorations. Paying close attention to the finer details will really impress your guests and help to make your event a truly memorable one.
Let’s break down some of the most important aspects of your poker party plan:
When inviting guests round for an evening, people often just send a text, make a phone call or ask their invitees face to face. While there is no problem with doing that, if you really want to grab your friend’s attention and give the impression that this will be a special event, sending a physical invitation in the post is a really nice touch.
If you are feeling creative you can make the invites yourself and print them onto some good quality paper or card. If creating them digitally and are short on time, you could send them via email.
Websites such as Canva are great for designing invitations yourself and have some fun themed templates for you to use for free or at low cost. The invite should include the date and time, location, a reminder to RSVP, dress code and a request for any allergies or dietary requirements.
Listing the dress code is really helpful to your guests and will help them to plan their outfits in advance. If you are going for a James Bond or casino theme you might want to suggest suits and cocktail dresses, or alternatively for a more laid-back evening then smart casual or the ‘jeans and a nice top’ rule will do nicely.
The decor is one of the most important aspects of any party and if you want to create the right atmosphere then you will need to organise supplies in advance. Think about whether you want to wow your guests with glitzy Las Vegas style casino lights and decorations or create more of a toned down poker room vibe.
The main focus of the space should be the poker table. If you are a regular poker player you might already have a full poker set and table at home, if not then a poker table cloth and some cards and chips will be just fine.
If you really want to jazz up your event space then you can purchase poker and casino themed decorations on online party supply websites. Take a look on Pinterest or Instagram for some inspiration beforehand.
Food and drink
Preparing food and drink for a party can be a source of stress for even the most organised party planner. Remember that a poker party is different from a dinner party, your guests won't be expecting a sit down meal but appetisers and finger foods will make a nice touch.
Even if your guests do not have any specific dietary requirements, having a wide variety of options is always a safe bet to cover everyone’s likes and dislikes. For example, a mix of meat, fish and plant based dishes are likely to go down well.
For an extra special party you might want to look for outside catering options, however, you can also find some easy-to-follow recipes online if you are on a budget. Alternatively, if the kitchen isn’t your forte then most supermarkets have snack foods in party serving sizes in their frozen aisle.
In terms of drinks, a poker night is the ideal occasion to try out your cocktail making skills. Plan out your cocktail menu in advance and ask guests to bring along a bottle of liquor if needed.
Many cocktail recipes can also be adapted to make them alcohol free by adding more fruit juice or other soft drink. Supplying mocktails alongside your casino style cocktails will ensure non-drinkers and designated drivers feel included in the fun.
When trying to manage all these finer details in the run up to your poker party, it is easy to forget to plan the main activity - playing poker! Decide in advance which variants of poker you will be playing, most poker players will be familiar with Texas Holdem, but you also try out other games like 7-Card Stud or Omaha Hi-Lo to keep things interesting.
Check with your friends that they actually know how to play poker before the party. If they are new to the game, you might want to provide them with the rules or plan to give them a demonstration on the day.
Most importantly, remember to have fun! Poker parties are meant to be thrilling for all those involved. By taking some time to plan these aspects of your event in advance, you are bound to create an unforgettable evening that your guests will enjoy.