By Guest Editor, Deborah Crawford
Poker parties are all the rage now. Everyone from celebrities to teenagers is playing poker, particularly Texas Hold’em.
If you want to join in the fun, here’s what you will need to host your own poker party:
Really, all you need are a basic 52-card deck of playing cards, and poker chips or other “betting” currency (pennies, candy, or fake money will work), plus a table to play on.
Décor: Green felt is the playing tablecloth fabric of choice, but a red or black tablecloth will work just fine, or you can use a bare table. Colors are red and black, just like with playing cards. Elements are the heart, diamond, club and spade.
Make place cards from old playing cards. Just fold a card in half so it will stand up, and write your guests names on them with a marker. (If you will have a lot of beginners, a small card printed with “what beats what” is a nice touch.)
Music: You can’t go wrong with jazz greats during your poker party. Blues works, too. Depending on your guests, country music, or classic rock and roll might work.
Menu: Anything you want to serve is fine, but here are some themed suggestions:
“Club” Sandwiches (Sub sandwiches or Po’Boys would work)
“Full House” Pizza
“JackPot” Chili or Beef Stew
“All-In” Potato Salad
Artichoke “Hearts” Dip
“Three of a Kind” Cheese Dip and “Chips”
Name your dishes any poker or card-related terms, such as Ace, Ante, Straight, Royal, Fold, Blind, Raise, Call, Check, and so on. It’s fun to make a menu card with these names.
You can also use heart, diamond, club and spade cookie cutters to make poker cookies, decorate a cake, or to cut out shapes in cheeses for a cheese and cracker tray.
And, use red and black bowls to set out nuts, snack mix and candies during the game.
Create a signature cocktail and name it a poker term. A version of Long-Island Tea could be called a Full House Cocktail. Or get really creative and create your own.
Here’s my “Queen of Diamonds” Cocktail recipe:
Pour three ounces chilled champagne into martini glass. Shake ½ ounce vodka, ½ ounce triple sec, and 1 ounce pineapple juice with crushed ice and strain into champagne. Sparkles like diamonds!
(For a non-alcoholic version, just add an ounce of pineapple juice to 3 ounces ginger ale or clear carbonated soda).
When the game starts to end, serve coffee and dessert.
Party Favors: Trophies or prizes for the winners would be cute and you can pick them up at party supply stores. Or, have a “Poker Party Winner” T-shirt printed up. For guests, give individual decks of cards or gold-coin candies.