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Over the course of the night, cards will get scuffed or otherwise marked during play. This makes it easy for a player to cheat by memorizing the dirty cards. To prevent this, you should always keep a spare deck or two on hand to switch to when necessary. It’s probably a good idea to choose decks of differing colors so no card shark can try to stack the deck. It might also be a good idea to have two decks in play at once. As one player deals, the next player in line can shuffle the other deck in preparation for the next hand. This can save a lot of time if you decide this is what you want to do.


Playing with small change, matchsticks or even peanuts is something that many of us have done at some time in our playing past. Poker chips are so much easier and cleaner to use, and bring a crisp air of authenticity with them. Nowadays, they’re extremely easy to find in retail stores, as well as online. They’re a good investment for any poker player thinking to playTexas Holdem poker at home. They come in a variety of styles from the cheapest plastic to clay surrounding a metal chip, which is more like at real-world casinos. Prices range from very cheap to custom-made chips at $1.25 a chip.

One of the house rules that will need to be set at home, is whether a player may leave mid-game and cash in his or her chips, or whether play must continue until only one player holds all the chips.

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At home, you can set any value you desire to any color of chip. For reference, know that casinos commonly color their chips like this:












If you purchase, say, 300 chips, you might allocate them to 100 white, 150 red and 50 black. If 500, then 200 white, 200 red, 100 green, 50 blue and 50 black.
When thinking about how to apportion chips to each player, one model could be like this:

With a 25 cent ante/blind/minimum bet, set that as the lowest chip.

If you set a $20 buy-in, give out 30 white chips worth 25 cents each, 15 red chips worth 50 cents each and five black chips worth a dollar each.

Sell chips to the players at those values, then set aside enough extra chips of each denomination so the players may purchase more during the course of play (rebuy).

A convenient ratio for the relative value of chips, if you’re only using three colors, might be 1:2:4 or 1:2:5. Medium and large values need to be some multiple of the smallest bet or ante. Though this may seem a little confusing at first, it quickly becomes clear and everything balances out well.

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If you really want to impress your friends, instead of just sitting down at the kitchen table to play, set up a poker table with a felt top. The cheapest way to do this is with a felt table cloth, which you can find online for as low as $10. Or you can spend a bit more money and buy a folding table cover to place on top of your kitchen or dining room table. Once unfolded, it has a felt top and depending on the style you buy, some have additional features, such as cup holders and place to put your chips in front of each player. If you have even more money to spend and you have space in your house for it, an actual poker table is the ultimate for your home poker game experience. You can buy fold-up tables that are easy to store, as well as tables whose top can be flipped over between the poker table top, and a regular dinning table top. This is a good option for people who want the authenticity of a poker table, but who don’t have the room in their home for two tables.

There is a great range in price in poker tables, which is reflected in the diverse selection of quality and features available (such as a poker table with a built-in refrigerator). No matter what type of poker table top you buy, you’ll be sure to get a number of favorable oohs and aahs!


A dealer button represents the theoretical place of the dealer in games where there is only one dealer, such as at a casino. If you decide to only have one dealer at your home game, you need an object to put in front of the person who is in the dealer position. This can be anything, from a Hot Wheels car, to a clothes peg, to a buck knife (OK, maybe don’t use a knife, but a former American president used to play with one and that’s where the expression “the buck stops here” came from). You can also use a dealer button (either buy one or make one yourself with one of your chips by writing ‘Dealer Button’ on both sides with a felt marker). In most home games, though, the players take turns dealing, in which case, a dealer button is not necessary.

In addition to these poker supplies, you should also have food on hand for when the players get the munchies (plus poker can be tiring, so food is essential to keeping your players’ energy levels up), and drinks to serve. See our page on food & drinks for a more detailed explanation.

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And in addition to supplies that you’ll need to host a successful home game, you need the skills to play the game well! If you’re not playing poker online already, now’s a perfect time to sign up and start practicing before your poker night! PokerStars is a fantastic site for players of all abilities, and they have free tables to play on, which is perfect for people new to poker whom need to learn the how to play Texas Holdem. For average players, playing lots of hands at PokerStars will help them understand the nuances of the game in much less time than it would strictly playing home games or in casino cardrooms.

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