Run a smoother, smarter tournament at your place and make everyone feel like a high roller.

STACK THE DECK

Shoot for five to seven players. That’s enough to bring action to every hand without being overwhelming. And choose a buy-in that’s high enough to keep the game interesting, but not so high that it scares people away.

STAGE LIKE VEGAS

Host the game in a private room – not the living room or kitchen, where there are distractions. Keep the lights low, and forgo the TV in the background in favor of some upbeat music. If players feel comfortable, they’ll throw in more chips and have more fun. Hosting often? Elevate your game and pick up a specialised table at wantitall.co.za.

NAME THE GAME

Play Texas Hold ’em (for rules, go to Pokertips.org/rules/texas.php). The buy-in should give players 40 to 60 chips. Allow re-buys once after an hour of play (at the same value of the buy-in), and up the blinds 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 and distance it about four meters from the poker table to prevent mindless eating. Discourage cellphone use.

BET ON THE SIDE

Consider running a 7/2 pool: guys who want to participate 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.