The table is set, the cards are shuffled and the drinks are chilled. However, it’s WHO you bring to the table that’ll determine the success or failure of your poker night. 


What kind of game are you hosting?

Before you scribble down your guest list be confident in what tone you want to set for your poker night. Is it casual fun amongst friends? Are you looking for some serious action? Is this an opportunity for you to impress or make connections with business associates? The answers to these questions will greatly affect the outcome of your guest list. 

Regardless of what you’re trying to achieve with your poker night, you want to invite individuals who’ll be on board with making the event a success. This means inviting people with similar agendas. Perhaps don’t invite your wreckless college buddy to sit beside your boss for hours on end. Hearing inappropriate stories about your childish antics of previous years will not help you land that promotion. Also, think about leaving out anyone with an explosive temper. Poker has a way of pushing emotional boundaries. While you want excitement in the game, you also want the night to end on a positive note. That won’t be achieved if you have a player throwing a tantrum because the game didn’t go their way. 


Most at-home poker nights consist of friends simply enjoying the game. If this is what you’re envisioning for your get-together then naturally your closest comrades should be there. Still, heed our warning above. While a mixed and colourful group is desirable, avoid inviting anyone who’ll disturb the general flow and enjoyment of the game. Take special consideration to any friends who have issues with alcohol, gambling or poor temperament. This advice can be applied to almost any party but especially to a poker night where tension is expected to peak throughout the many highs and lows of the game

Players of all levels

It’s recommended that everyone you invite have a sound idea of the rules before arriving at your game. While no one expects poker greatness from someone playing their first ever hand, they should at least research the rules and structure of the chosen poker game beforehand. Another alternative is playing free online poker games like KamaGames’ flagship app, Pokerist. If they don’t it could affect the pace of the game and leave experienced players frustrated. 

You also want to be cautious of inviting too many novices. A table of uneasy players too scared to make a move doesn’t make for an exciting game. That said, if you do have new poker players at your table, as the host you have a duty to make them feel welcome. Everyone starts somewhere!

Aggressive Players

While you want to avoid players with a temper, those with an aggressive playing style should be more than welcome at your home game. Why, you ask? Aggressive players will pursue the pot regardless of the starting hand they’re dealt. While it’s not always the soundest strategy for securing a win, it does make for an interesting game. This type of playing also means that they’ll contribute to the pot while spurring other players on. If your table of poker enthusiasts is too timid to really enter the game, an aggressive player can give them the push they need to get invested. What’s more, if they realise that they can win by challenging such a player, this will embolden them to play for higher stakes. 

Big Personalities

Like any party, you want to invite guests with a bit of life in them. A lot of socialising can be done at the poker table so it helps to stock it with people who can hold a conversation. Still, this type of player won’t just liven up the tables, they’ll provide a useful service to the game. By interacting throughout the game, players will have the chance to scope out their competition. Even the slightest of interactions can reveal tells and unearth hidden poker traits. 

Tight Players

If you fill your table with rocks then chances are your poker night will sink in a more infamous fashion than the Titanic. Still, tight players have their place at the table. After all, too many maniacs may make for an eventful game but possibly not a long one. A couple of moderately skilled, tight players with a reasonable knowledge of strategy will be the glue that holds your night together. 

Change your group regularly

The above is an excellent template to follow while brainstorming your potential poker guest list. However, the key to maintaining this balance is to regularly search out new players to add to the mix. If you fail to prepare you will eventually end up with a dwindling guest list as players’ priorities evolve or their schedules change. When you have a list of potential new players to call on, you won’t be in the position of cancelling your game because someone has the flu. Keep a record of people you encounter who may be interested in the game or if you frequent casinos, either online or offline, don’t be afraid to make friends at the table and keep them in mind for your home game. When it comes to building your poker circle you have to be bold enough to make the first move.