Poker Nights - Who to Invite?
The best poker nights aren't really about the game, the winnings,
or the cards - they're about friends. It sounds cheesy, but
it's true! Poker is what I call a social substrate - it's
both a reason to get people together and an activity
that's shared by the players. And it's a good one, too - the
activity isn't so consuming that it prevents conversation (like a
movie), but it still allows for a shared experience that generates
its own topics for discussion.
Where am I going with this? Basically, you want to invite
people who you like spending time with. Find a good core
for your poker night - buddies from college, friends from work,
whatever. The core should be good friends, and shoot for
around 5 or 6 of them. They don't have to know each other,
though - poker is a great way to get to know someone, since
(as I said before) it provides close but comfortable
conversation. Also, they don't all have to be male!
Contrary to popular belief, poker works just as well with mixed
genders as it does as a "guys' night." In fact,
girls who come to play often become "one of the guys" -
which, to most people, is one of the greatest compliments a female
Now that you've got a good core, invite some other people -
different new people each week, maybe. It's a good way to
"audition" acquaintances who you may like to become
better friends with. They might be hesitant, saying
something like "I don't really know how to play all that
well" - in that case, it's Beginner's Luck to the
rescue! And it's actually true - when you get a new player
who's not used to the playing styles of the table, that new person
often does better than the experienced players. At
least, that's what tends to happen at my poker nights!
Once you've got your group, send an email - I've found this is the
easiest way to rally the troops. They can see who else is
invited, and reply-to-all so everyone knows the latest on who's
coming, what night works best, etc. Of course, don't send
that email yet - you need to figure out a venue and a date and
time! So let's move on to the Where....