With the World Series of Poker 2017 right around the corner, the worldwide poker buzz is sure to spike as fans of the game get in the mood. Watching slick poker players like Qui Nguyen and Joe Mckeehen throwing stacks of chips into the mix pre-flop is enough to get anyone’s adrenaline pumping. And while many players will get their fix online after seeing these intense psychological battles, it would be far more enjoyable to organize a game with friends and emulate the top tables at the Las Vegas tournament. So how can you make your home poker game the best?

A Good Setup

Do not skimp on getting hold of a top-notch poker table and a heavy set of clunky poker chips. If you want to recreate the World Series of Poker you need to hear chips clicking constantly as you and your friends mimic the big boys with tricks like the “chip twirl” and the “shuffle” (see video above). When the chips inevitably fall all over the place you want them to do so with a soft thud on the pristine felt surface of your specialist table. Oh, and make sure it has drinks holders – pros don’t spill drinks all over the place.

Lighting, Music and Refreshments

An ambient setting probably isn’t too high on your list when setting up a poker night, but adjusting the lighting and music correctly can work to your advantage. Research from 888poker has found that by dimming the lights you can encourage immoral behavior such as bluffing. You are obviously the only one privy to this information so you can wait for the strong hands and punish the risk-takers. You can play music with lyrics to distract your friends, and also ply them with more alcoholic beverages than yourself to really gain the upper hand.

Adjust Your Playing Style

The home poker game is going to be a lot different to playing online or watching the pros on TV. In those settings the most patient players often prevail, and outright bluffs are frequently stamped on and punished. When playing with your friends, though, people will be a lot looser. If you are playing for fairly low stakes or even for fun, it makes it a lot easier for people to take risks. For this reason, as soon as you get a sniff of a good hand it is a wise idea to bet big and try to make your opponents fold early.

Allow Rebuys for a Limited Time

Allowing rebuys will also encourage risky behavior but it can substantially increase the prize pool. Therefore, you should allow rebuys but for a limited time only. You could let people buy back in for the first two hours, for example. If you can play sensibly while others are throwing their chips away knowing they can rebuy, you can gradually build your stack nicely.

A home poker game is a bit of fun and a great opportunity to socialize, but there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be playing to win. Take it easy on the drink, dim the lights, and rake in the chips.