Run a smoother, smarter tournament at your place and make everyone feel like a high roller, whether you’re playing Texas Hold’em, Omaha, 7-Card Stud, S-Card Draw, High/Low Chicago or Follow the Queen.

Naming the game, we leave up to you but use these tips to become a pro and leave your friends reeling and with their pockets empty, provided by Carl. J. Pankowski, President of CJP Gaming and Executive Casino host for Caesars Entertainment in Nevada.

Stack the Deck

Aim for five to seven players, this is enough to bring action to every hand without being overwhelmed. Choose a buy-in that’s high enough to keep the game interesting, but not too high as you do not want to scare people away.

Stage like Vegas

Host the game in a private room-and leave the living room or kitchen for to avoid distractions. Keep the lights low, and forgo the TV in the background in favour of some upbeat music.

If players feel comfortable, they are more likely to throw in more chips and have more fun. Hosting often? Elevate your game and pick up some professional poker gear, like a table top (R449, pokerbroker.co.za)

Name the Game

Playing Texas Hold’Em or Omaha, (Get the rules at, http://www.pokertips.org/rules/texas.php)

The buy-in should give players with 40 to 60 chips, allow re-buys once after every hour of play (at the same value of the buy-in), then up the blinds (The blinds are forced bets posted by players to the left of the dealer button in flop-style poker games. The number of blinds is usually two, but it can range from none to three) every 30 minutes to keep the game moving.

An app like PokerTimer (free on your Iphone) can help you keep track of the game.

Maintain Focus

Distractions make for sloppy poker; take down clocks so no one worries about the time. Stock a side table with beer and snacks but distance it four metres away from the poker table to prevent mindless eating.

DISCOURAGE CELLPHONE USE.

Bet on the Side

Consider running a 7/2 pool: those who want to participate should kick in R50 each. If you win a hand after being dealt a 7 and a 2(the worst duo you can get in Texas Hold’Em), you win the pot.

Flush your friends, royally.

-Alice Paulse