Poker is one of the most popular card games on the planet. It’s exciting, easy to get the hang of, and a great opportunity for socialising. On top of all that, a lot of the time there is also the chance for players to win some money.
All these factors make poker the ideal pastime to enjoy during a get together with friends. You may have even hosted a few games yourself in the past, but have you ever thought about doing it at Christmas? And, if you’re sick of charades and festive flicks after this festive period, you might want to try out a poker game for next Christmas’ big gathering.
Why is Poker Ideal for Christmas Gatherings?
You know all the elements that a successful Christmas party needs. Good nibbles, lots of drink options, and festive decorations are essential. After that, you need to think of ways to entertain your guests. Christmas is a magical time for many, but if you do the same things every year it can get a bit monotonous and become dull.
How many times have you found yourself yawning at the prospect of another game of charades, or grown frustrated by the never-ending tediousness of Monopoly? Festive flicks are all well and good, but they don’t really provide much opportunity for nattering away with your gals – unless you want to ruin the movie that is.
If a lot of these things ring true for you, poker could be the ideal antidote at your next party. It doesn’t matter that it’s not a traditional Christmas activity. It ticks the boxes of being sociable and fun at the same time. There’s no set number of players either, so no matter how many people show up, you can always fit them into a game. If there are four or five of you, you could settle for a quiet cash game.
Or if there are ten or more you could organise a tournament which starts on two tables before the players are whittled down. To keep with the Christmassy theme, you can have the holiday jingles on in the background and decorate the poker table with tinsel.
Poker is a Highly Sociable Game – And a Cheap Alternative to a Night Out
Going out for endless Christmas parties in town with your work colleagues, your family, and then your partner’s work colleagues and family can put a significant strain on your budget for the month. Wild spending over the festive period can be fun at the time, but when January comes, you know you’re going to have to be exceptionally frugal.
This is why it’s a good idea to have as many home gatherings as possible and reduce the amount of money spent in bars, nightclubs, and fancy restaurants like the Mamucium in Manchester.
A poker night is arguably a more sociable option than all of these crowded places, where the noise levels are often too high to enable good conversation. When sitting around a poker table there is plenty of opportunity for chin-wagging between hands – although you may choose to keep chatter to a minimum in order to hide your psychological cues from the other players.
Aside from this, it’s a much cheaper alternative to a night out. Poker games at home can be bring your own booze affairs, with shop-bought alcohol always being much cheaper than that found in bars. If you’re the host, you can put out some Christmas nibbles in the middle of the table which are ideal for sharing.
Eating together with friends certainly improves and enhances the social experience, and you could even ask each friend to bring a separate dish. In terms of which poker variant you choose to play, Texas hold’em is the simplest and is played by more people. Other options, though, include 7 card stud and Omaha hi/lo.
There’s no need to think of poker as being a man’s game, despite the fact that a large proportion – around 92 percent – of professional poker players are male. While men may prefer to play the game for its competitive nature and the chance to get one up on their mates, women can use it as a new platform for discussing important matters while having some fun in the process.
It’s a Chance to learn a new Skill with Friends
Poker is one of the world’s fastest growing pastimes. You only have to look at the entrant figures of the World Series of Poker to see how many more people are playing each year. J
Just fifteen years ago, there were only 839 players when Chris Moneymaker won the main event. But last year, when John Cynn emerged victorious, there were 7,874 people competing for the top prize. These numbers have increased thanks to the growing popularity of online poker, and being able to play the game is becoming an increasingly important skill. Indeed, if you learn how to play the game it can open up new avenues for socialising, as mentioned above.
For first-time players, learning how to play poker with friends can be an enjoyable experience. You can choose to play for low or no stakes, and the more seasoned players at the table will be happy to talk through hands with you and give advice on how to act in different situations. Texas hold’em is the simplest form of the game.
Players receive two cards each and then have to make a hand with the five community cards in the middle of the table. Because everyone can see the five cards, there is an element of being able to predict an opponent’s hand.
Poker doesn’t have to be serious, and when you play for low stakes, it can be an excellent form of socialising. In fact, once you get the hang of playing, you may want to replace all other Christmas activities with poker games in the future.