Playing Casino Holdem at Home

Hosting a casino holdem game at home is a great way to play the game you enjoy while hanging out with your buddies at the same time. It can sure beat the loneliness of playing online, or the overcrowded and smoke filled casinos.

That said, hosting your own casino holdem game can be quite the task. It’s not that it’s hard per se, just that there are a lot of small tasks to complete. But don’t worry, because I’ve put together a casino holdem home game checklist for you to follow below.

Hosting Your Own Casino Holdem Game — Preparation

The preparation stage is where the bulk of the work to be done is. Here is a checklist to keep you on track.

Task #1 – Determine the Buy-In, Rules, Structure, etc

Your first task is to determine all the important details of the game, such as the buy-in, how much can be wagered per hand and whether or not you’ll offer any kind of progressive or side-bet.

Equally important is to figure out how the dealer position will be handled, as that will be the most expensive (and lucrative) part of the game. I suggest that you either designate one person to be the dealer (whoever has the most money), or take turns. Every 25 or 50 hands would probably work well.

In regards to the amount per hand, well, that’s up to what you and your buddies can handle. The casinos do a minimum of $1 online, and $5 live. $1 per hand, and $2 for the call bet means $3 per hand. For a lot of people that’ll be reasonable, as a $100 or $150 bankroll means 35 to 50 hands.

Task #2 – Invite Your Friends

The next task is to call or email all of your friends to let them know about your game. Be sure to let them know the buy-in, whether they need to supply their own food and drinks and the date, time and where your address.

Definitely do this as far in advance as you can (and send a reminder). And as a general rule of thumb, there’s always a no-show or two. So you might want to invite a couple extras to be on the safe side. Worst case scenario is that everyone needs to squeeze in on one table, or you play on two different tables.

Task #3 – Get Your Supplies Together

If you already own extra chairs, a poker table, cards and chips, then you can probably skip this stage.

For everyone else, you’ll need to buy these things. If you have a large enough table and enough chairs you can just use those. Otherwise you might want to visit Wal-Mart or Amazon to pick up a cheap set.

Cards and chips can be purchased at Wal-Mart or a sporting goods store. My suggestion is to make sure you have enough chips for the denominations you plan on using. For example, if you are playing $1 per hand, you’re going to want almost nothing but one color. You might want to get a secondary color so that players can color up or keep the majority of their buy-in in big chips until they need smaller ones. I would also buy 2 decks of cards (instead of one). I’ll explain why in a second.

Don’t forget the food and beer, either!

Hosting Your Own Casino Holdem Game — Game Day

There won’t be nearly as much to do or prepare for on game day. However, there are still a few things you can do that will help the games run smoothly.

Task #1 – Setup the Tables, Food, Rules, etc

Before everyone shows you’ll want to set everything up. This includes the tables, chairs and rules. Although casino holdem is a straightforward game, you’ll want to print up or write out your rules and payouts and tape them to the wall near the table(s) so that everyone can see them. Not everyone will be familiar with how to play casino holdem, the payouts or variations (if any). Having this posted will clear up most disputes quickly.

With everything setup before hand, all people need to do is show up, get their chips and sit down.

Don’t forget to get the food prepared, too, if needed.

Task #2 – Exchange Money

Exchanging money can be a touchy subject. The best thing to do is be as transparent about the process as possible.

For every person that hands you cash, you should write their name down and their buy-in amount. Count out the chips so that both of you can see to ensure there aren’t any discrepancies. Then place the cash in an envelope, tupperware container or safe.

Don’t let anyone else handle the money either. There is less confusion when one person handles the cash, not to mention only one person to blame if money goes missing (you).

Task #3 – Play the Game

This is the fun part — and it should be pretty straightforward. Just play the game according to your rules and setup and it should go smoothly.

To help move the game along and get as many hands in as possible, I suggest using two decks (that I mentioned buying a second ago). When the dealer is dealing the cards, one person should be shuffling the deck used the last hand. That way when the hand is done a new deck is all ready to go.

I would make the person that is next to deal the person who shuffles the cards. That way there is no confusion as to whose job it is, and everyone will get an opportunity to do it.

Task #4 – Game Over & Payouts

Since there is no clear winner in casino holdem, you can play as long or as little as you’d like. One suggestion would be to play as long as it takes for everyone to be dealer once. If each person deals 25 hands, and you have 6 people playing, that’s 150 hands of casino holdem. That’s probably good for a couple hours of entertainment.

Once the game is over you’ll need to exchange money again. Again, take your time with this and record everything. Deal with one player at a time — take their chips, count it out, hand them their cash, ask them to count it and if all is good then cross their name off your list. Do this until everyone is taken care of.

And That’s It! Now Tell Everyone To Get Out!


But that’s all there is to running a home casino holdem game. It does takes a little bit of effort to get going, but to play some casino holdem with your buddies, drink and have fun, it’s more than worth it.

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