Home Game Guide: The Secrets to Hosting a Successful Poker Night

Poker Power purple poker chips

We’ve all been there. It’s 10 o’clock the night before Book Club and you’re scrambling to read your book knowing full well you’ll only spend five minutes discussing before moving on to gossip about Karen’s brother-in-law. Want a less stressful and more empowering way to spend time with your friends? Start playing poker

Below is an outline of how to set up a No Limit Texas Hold’em Poker tournament in the comfort of your home. Grab some good snacks and cold drinks, a few friends, and follow along with this guide. 

The Setup – What do you need to get started?


The Stakes – What do you want to play for?

Most tournaments play down to a winner, but also award second- or third- place prizes as well. As a host, consider having a small prize ready for the winner. Bragging rights are a great prize, too!


The Structure – How do you set up the blinds?

Blinds keep the game interesting. In Texas Hold’Em, blinds are mandatory wagers that must be placed into the pot before any cards are dealt. To keep the game moving, blinds increase at regular intervals throughout tournament play. Below is an example of a blinds structure for a tournament with seven people, set to last two and a half hours with 30-minute rounds. Each player would begin with 5,000 chips and the small and big blinds begin at 25/50. 

blind structure for three hour poker tournament

Utilize this handy Blind Structure Calculator for help setting up a blind structure that is custom to your group size, time constraints and chip denomination preference.


The Shuffle – Shuffle Up and Deal. But how?example of chip denominations in poker

Get to know your chips by identifying the denominations and make it clear what the corresponding values are for each color.

Designate someone to be responsible for blind levels by setting a timer for 30 minute intervals. Each time the timer goes off, make sure you announce that the blinds have gone up and increase the small blind and big blind to correspond to your structure sheet.


The Deal – How do we deal out the board?

When we play online, we often don’t notice the use of the burn card. The burn card is dealt off the top of the deck between each street (streets are the flop, turn, and river) and discarded. The term comes from the idea that you are removing the card from the deck, as though you were literally “burning it up” so it no longer exists. Once the action preflop closes and we are ready for the flop, the dealer should “burn a card” face down into the muck (discarded cards), and then deal the flop face up. This is also done again before the turn is dealt and again before the river is dealt. There should be a total of three burn cards every time a hand makes it to the river.


Struggling? Consider taking one of our Virtual Classes

Here at Poker Power we know learning poker can be a bit intimidating. We also know poker isn’t a game women are often found playing recreationally, but it should be! The benefits of playing poker are vast and can translate to everyday life skills. We’re on a mission to empower one million women by teaching them how to play poker and we would love to teach you and your friends.

Read ‘em and reap  

Join the newsletter for fresh perspectives that'll change your whole game.