Arranging a poker night is a great idea to make new friends and have lots of fun. One should, however, also be careful not to embarrass anyone who is new or relatively new to the game.
You should therefore draw up your guest list taking into account how experienced (or not) your guests are. Also make sure you let everyone know well before the time what type of poker game will be played to give newcomers to the game time to study the rules.
To make newbies feel more comfortable you could also set betting limits and open your house an hour or so before the start of the game so they have time to learn the basics of the game with an open hand.
Your next decision is the menu for the evening. Your budget will of course have the final say here, but nevertheless keep in mind the season and once again your guest list. You don’t want to serve a soy bean salad to someone who is allergic to soy!
If your budget is very restricted the bare minimum is a few basic snacks such as popcorn, chips, pretzels and perhaps sweets. Also make sure there’s something non-alcoholic to drink, e.g. soda, water and/or energy drinks. It’s OK to ask your guests beforehand to bring their own alcohol if preferred.
If you want to spend a little more cold and/or hot hors d’oeuvres is a good idea. Also add some wine, beer and other alcoholic drinks if you have. And a single bottle of whisky, brandy or port for everyone to share is a great idea.
Should you have the money and you want to splurge, serve a full dinner before the game starts. Follow this up with hors d’oeuvres and snacks during the game – and keep a nice and interesting surprise for after the game, perhaps a small, exotic dish that will have everyone talking as they drive home.