5 Great Ways to Increase Poker Participation

Let's face it, most home poker games are face with a dwindling player count from time to time. Whether your home game is just starting out and is in need of a good core group or your veteran game is slowly losing players each week, below are five tips that should help you boost your poker player participation.

  1. Pick the Right Group
    Sometimes some players just won't fit well with your regular poker group. Some players may be looking for a very strict, serious game while others look for a more relaxed, casual game. You may also have some people that just plain don't get along with others in the group. You may have to "cut the fat" and sacrifice the few for the sake of the many. Don't be rude about it, but next time you invite people, maybe you "forget" to invite a player so that everybody else is happier.

  2. Find a Hospitable Host
    Choosing the right places to hold your home games is definitely one of the more important decisions you'll have to make. You'll want to factor in the distance the location is for potential players, the accomodations, and availability. If you hold it at a player's home, you'll also want to make sure it doesn't put them out too much. If possible, you may want to rotate locations so that it's fair for everyone.

  3. Upgrade to a League
    As mentioned in a previous post, by structuring your home poker games into a full blown poker league, you can add incentive to help keep existing players coming back while enticing new blood to give it a shot. Players will love seeing where they stand and will know that missing a game means missing out on an opportunity for some league points.

  4. Supplies, Supplies, Supplies
    Remember, not all poker chips are created equal! It's amazing how much of a difference quality poker chips and a passable felt poker table can make in your home games. If you're still playing with plastic poker chips, it's time for you to get a grown up set.

  5. Awards and Prizes
    Once you have a league set up, you can add fun poker awards and prizes that will give players something to shoot for. Sometimes fighting for the top spot in a league isn't enough incentive, throw in a cool trophy or maybe even some extra cash and players will do their best to make every game.

Of course, the biggest key is to make sure everybody is having fun. Once they are, word of mouth will spread and you'll have players asking if they can bring more and more people each week. If you hit most of the major points above, you should be well on your way to a thriving home poker game.

Take Your League to the Next Level with Awards and Prizes

Poker TrophyWinning money is obviously the main draw to a home poker game, but you can add extra incentive by throwing in some awards and prizes for various achievements. By using free web software like Home Poker System you can track all sorts of stats like points, players eliminated, and more. If you structure your league to have seasons you can give out specific awards and prizes at the end for various accomplishments.
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Add Spice to Your Home Games - Create a League

Looking for a way to add some spice to your home poker games? Maybe turning your home games into your very own poker league is just what you need. Sound like a lot of work? Fear not! There's plenty of free software out there that'll help you create and manage your poker league.

For instance, Home Poker System is a free website that allows you to track your league online quickly and easily. Ok, so I actually created that site myself, but it really is 100% free so you have nothing to lose trying it out for yourself.

After creating your league, you're able to create seasons, schedule games, add players, and report results. The system will track everone's progress for you while providing detailed stats such as wins, losses, placing, money earned/lost, points, players eliminated, and much more.

By tracking your home games in a league format (with a leaderboard, detailed stats, and game history), you'll add more fun and excitement to your home poker games. When players are playing for points and a #1 standing along with the money, you'll give players much more to brag about while also giving everybody much more incentive to not miss any games. When people can see a history of past games and comment on the results, every win and loss will mean that much more to people.

Leagues may not be the best route for all home games, but why not register and find out if it works for you. You really have nothing to lose.

Speed Up Your Game By Doubling Your Decks

Sometimes you may feel your home game dragging along. This may be due to slow shuffling and dealing as amateur card players are generally not very quick dealers.

If you want to speed up your play without dealing with (pardon the pun) a card shuffler, you can add a second deck to your game. Use the player to the left of the dealer to shuffle the cards of the previous hand. When the hand is over, the person shuffling should be done (unless it was a very short hand) and should be ready to deal right away. Continue to pass the used cards to the left of the dealer and you should consistently have a deck ready to deal each time a hand is completed.

8 Snack Ideas that are Surefire Home Game Hits

Home poker games are great excuses to pig out on junk food, but not all snacks are suitable for poker play. I've picked out 8 surefire snacks that will help keep the players playing and not using hunger as an excuse to leave. The key to the list below is that the food is generally mess free and is easy to snack on before, during, and after poker hands.

  1. Tortilla chips
    Unlike potato chips, tortilla chips are much less greasy and should prove to be a much cleaner snack at the poker table. However, many people like dip with their tortilla chips, and that dip adds a potential messy factor.

  2. Pretzels
    Pretzels are great at the poker table because they're clean, easy to pass around, and don't break apart very easily.

  3. Beef sticks and jerky
    If you're looking for something with a little more meat (pardon the pun), jerky and beef sticks should suit you well. They can be a little greasy depending on the kind you get, but they are clean snacks at the poker table and are often an item people don't expect but instantly appreciate.

  4. Cheese and crackers
    Crackers are generally a clean and tasty poker treat. Add cheese and you've got a fairly fancy spread for your poker buddies. You can add other toppings as you see fit (salami, peanut butter, etc.)

  5. Cookies
    Who says you can't have sweets at the poker table? Cookies are great because they don't leave much of a mess, though depending on the type you get, you can get a lot of crums. Cookies like Oreos or other small, solid cookies work best.

  6. Mini candies
    Large candy bars don't work very well since the chocolate can be quite messy. Candy lovers fear not! The bitesize versions of your favorite candy should keep your poker chips clean and your poker pals coming back for more. You can also put Skittles, Reeses Pieces, or M&Ms in a large bowl and pass those around.

  7. Bagel bites
    If you want a more substantial snack at your poker table, bagel bites may just hit the spot. They require some time in the microwave or oven, but these bitesize pizza snacks leave no mess and are enough to satisfy the hungriest of poker players.

  8. Vegetables
    Ok I, personally, am not a fan of vegetables, but many people are and since they are grease free they make for a perfect snacking alternative to the unhealthy junk foods listed above. You don't want vegetables to be the only option, as eating unhealthy junk food is part of the allure of the home game!

The above list is obviously only a small sampling of the possibilities. If you've got some killer poker snack ideas of your own, post them in the comments below so your fellow poker enthusiasts can try them out at their next home games.

Latest Comments
  • skoups: just for somebody else that may stumble across this site and have the same question as Martin, we ha...
  • Francis: It really does make sense to have professional chips. I've played at home games where you used very ...
  • Bryan: Thanks for the advice. I never really though much about the chips when play the game, but I guess it...
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