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Your Players

When you first set up your game you may be happy just to get enough players. For a good game you need at least 5 players, preferably 7 players.

There comes a time however when you begin to examine your players. Doing this early on will save you heartache and money.

The players you want.

  • Reliable
  • Generous
  • Friendly
  • Bad Players

First and foremost you want players that are going to be reliable. If you have a weekly game you want them to respond to your emails or phone calls to let you know they are coming, or at least let you know when they are not coming.

Past general reliability you want them to bring something. If they want free drinks let them go to Atlantic City or Vegas. Being the host can get expensive if you're always providing the chow and drinks.

One guy I knew had a game where he was always cooking for the players. Bar-b-que, hot wings, sandwiches, etc. If you enjoy cooking and want to provide these kind of delicacies I'm not the one to stop you, but spending an extra $20 a week means it puts you about a thousand dollars in the hole before you play one hand.

The same goes for the beer or alcohol. Not that you should have nothing, but there is no need to have everything.

I've been playing for so long, I've got a pretty stocked bar out of it.

You also want players that are friendly. Friendly to the other players, and friendly when they win AND when they lose. You don't want players that are going to throw cards or break things when they lose a big bet.

You also would generally like players you can beat.

My game is composed of a standard complement of 7 guys, with others floating in and out bi-weekly. Out of the 6 guys (I'm #7), 2 are easy to beat, 2 are about my skill level, and two are a challenge.

Knowing this influences the hands I play and how tight or loose I play.

The mix of players makes for a more interesting game. Everyone has gone home a winner more than once, just some go home winners more often.

Players you don't want

  • Cheats
  • Rat Holers
  • Tightwads
  • Dumpster Divers
  • Drunks

It goes without saying you don't want cheaters in your game. This is not to say every once in a while you won't pick up on a card from a sloppy dealer or player holding his cards wrong.

In those cases, it's fair to let the player know to hold his cards better. If it's a habitual problem, your conscience is clear.

Players who mark cards, and other cheats (look here for some good examples) should be asked politely not to come back, or less directly not invited back.

Ratholers are players that constantly take money off the table when they win. They are not in the same league as cheaters but it's not gentlemanly. You want a chance to win back your money if you're down. This is not possible if the money is gone.

In the same category as rat holers are players that leave when they are up (consistently). Sometimes it happens that you need to leave early, and even conceivably when your'e up for the night. But you don't want to get in a situation where you're fifth player leaves at 11pm when he's doubled his money.

Tightwads were touched on earlier in regards to bringing beers or snacks.

I knew one guy who would bring 3 beers with him in a bag, and place them under his seat to drink. You don't have to bring a case, but bringing a six pack is just common courtesy.

Dumpster divers are players who root around the mucked cards to see what other players had. This gives them an insight on how their competition plays and should be discouraged.

You pay to see cards. If all players fold you have no rights to see the winner's hand, even mucked cards.

Drunks are their own special category. You want players who aren't going to slow the game down because they are drunk. You also don't want them leaving your house all lit up like a Christmas tree.

If a player leaves your house drunk and proceeds to hit someone, you might be liable. Don't let them drive drunk.

A Friendly Game

A friendly game is one that follows the rules and can agree on resolutions to problems when they come up.

There may come a day when the cash box is short $20. Being able to resolve such thinks amicably helps make for an enjoyable experience.

I once had an experience in which I was playing a hold'em tournament and we were down to 4 players (only 3 players would end up in the money). Another player and myself went all in. I had more chips than he, so if he lost, he was out of the tournament.

He had a pair or 6's
I had a pair of 9's
The flop came up 2-3-7

The house rule is to burn (discard) a card between each new card/set of cards turned over. The dealer turned over the next card without burning one.

He turned over a 6.
I asked if he has burned a card, the other players at the table said no, and that card should be burned.

I'll see your quarter and raise you a dollar... I'll see your quarter and raise you a dollar...