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.

Chip Counts, Starting Stacks, and Chip Denominations

Previously I posted some information detailing the types of poker chips you can buy. Today I'm going to cover how many chips you should buy, how many different colors (and how many of each color), and how many chips you should start people out with.

First, here's a loose breakdown of the chips you'll need depending on the number of players.

  • 200 poker chips for 2-4 players.

  • 300 poker chips for 4-6 players.

  • 400 poker chips for 6-8 players.

  • 500 poker chips for 8-10 players.

You should start seeing a pattern above. For most tournaments, a good starting stack is about 25-50 poker chips for each player. Obviously no two tournaments are the same, so you'll want to consider your blind schedules as well as the style of play you're looking for. Basically, you want people to feel like they have a good amount of chips, but not too many that stacks get too big too soon as players get eliminated. This could mean starting everybody with 100 chips or more or perhaps as low as 20.
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Not All Poker Chips Are Created Equal

One of the best ways to make your home poker games feel a bit more professional is to make sure you're using casino quality poker chips. While casinos all use different chips, you can be sure they aren't using those cheap plastic ones you played with as a kid. Most casinos use clay, composite, or clay composite chips that usually weigh 9 to 11.5 grams. While these chips will cost you more than those discount plastic chips, you'll definitely see and feel the difference.

Clay chips, while hard, often have a soft feel too them that many players will notice and appreciate immediately. This quality will usually cost you as they are generally the most expensive chip.

Composite poker chips are generally cheaper than clay chips, though they are still a huge step up from the cheap plastic chips. The main difference is in the feel of the composite chips as they are generally much smoother than clay chips. This smooth feel often makes the composite chips harder to pick up than the softer feeling clay chips.

Clay Composite
Clay composite chips are usually soft like clay chips yet nearly as inexpensive as composite chips. The quality varies greatly with these chips so you'll want to test them out before buying.

Size Matters
Like I mentioned above, casinos usually use 9 to 11.5 gram poker chips. The general rule is the heavier the chip, the better. You can get 13 gram chips if you really want to splurge, but I, personally, recommend the 11.5 weight.
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