How to Hold Poker Tournaments

5th October 2021

hand of poker cards

Due to lockdown restrictions, casinos have been closed, meaning searches for online poker have boomed in the past year. Well, now that social distancing rules are relaxing and the world is slowly returning to normal, you might be thinking of hosting a poker night at home with your mates. Are you wondering what you need to host the perfect tournament? What snacks and drinks should you get in? And, what rules should be followed to ensure the game runs smoothly? Carry on reading to find out everything you need to know to host a poker night to remember.


The Set Up

Deck of Cards

You can get by with one deck of cards, but it is recommended to have two or three. It’s beneficial to have an extra deck to have one as backup shuffled and ready to go. Another extra deck comes in handy in case any cards get damaged or lost during the game. 

Higher quality plastic cards are better than paper cards, as these often become misshapen after a few games. If you want to push the boat out, a card shuffler will take away shuffling stress and look great on your table.



It would be best to get numbered chips to ensure a smooth-running game; less experienced poker players can get confused with blank chips. Chips that come with a case are not only more practical, but they make your poker set-up look professional—a great centrepiece for your man cave.

How Many Chips Do I Need?

If you have around ten players, you need about 500 chips, so at least 30-40 chips for each player. If possible, 50-100 chips for each player is even better. To work out how many chips you need, check out this online poker chip calculator.


There are options for every budget. If you want to keep things low cost, you can get felt layouts that can be laid on any flat surface. If you want something to feel more professional, get your hands on a poker table that will truly elevate the mood in your man cave.



The amount of people you invite depends on what poker game you are playing. If you’re playing Texas Hold’em, aim for 6-10 players. If you are going to play seven-card stud, you can’t have more than seven players. Make sure you invite people you trust and are comfortable sitting with for possibly hours on end!

The House Rules

Setting house rules and making sure all players are aware of these is an essential part of a poker night. These should include rules about the game itself, like how many chips each player has, whether a player can buy back in if they go out, penalties for playing out of turn.

Once you’ve set the game rules, you should set etiquette rules. Decide whether players are allowed mobile phones at the table, are sunglasses permitted, and maybe how serious the game is. If you want some further ideas for house rules, check out this list.


The Playlist

Music can set the tone of the night. Don’t rely on conversation to fill the silence, as poker takes a lot of concentration, so the chatting might be minimal at times. Opt for whatever you and your mates will enjoy, but going for some Jazz sets the scene. Create a playlist that will last for hours, just in case your game runs long. You don’t want to end up sitting in silence!


The Game

There are hundreds of different poker games, some more fun than others, some a lot more serious. Here’s the basic outline of some games for you to try out.


Seven Card Stud

This used to be the poker game of choice for professionals before Texas Hold’em took over in popularity. This game differs from others as you can see several cards in your opponents’ hands! Seven card stud uses standard poker hand ratings. A royal flush is the best hand. The rounds are slightly different from other forms of poker, and antes are used instead of blinds.



This game is pretty different from more traditional poker variants. The aim of the game is to have the lowest-ranked hand, rather than the highest! This variant is becoming increasingly popular. It’s a fun, exciting game that makes a change from the usual way of playing.


Five Card Draw

This is probably one of the most simple variants of poker. This is often the game most people learn. There is less strategy involved than other games, making it an excellent option for a bit of fun gambling with friends. This is a great way to learn for beginners before moving onto more complex variants.

The Food and Drink


If you want the atmosphere and vibe of a poker tournament, get a bottle of whiskey in. When you’ve got your jazz music playing, sipping a whisky on the rocks, you’ll never have felt classier. Another option that might be more to everyone’s taste is to get the beers in. If you really want to impress, get a beer tap. With this, your man cave will feel like a professional casino.



You don’t want anything too messy. If everyone’s eating chicken wings, you’ll end up with greasy chips and cards. Opt for snacks like pretzels, crisps and dips. If you want something more filling, you can’t go wrong with just ordering a takeaway in. Everyone will be happy with this, as you can get a variety to please everyone.


Have you now got some ideas to hold the most memorable poker night to impress your mates? If you have any questions regarding your man cave or poker equipment, contact us here at The Man Cave Project, we’re more than happy to help.