Everyone loves to play in a home game. The camaraderie of sitting with your mates, often over a few cold drinks, is how many of us began playing poker, from the hopeful amateur to the world-renowned champion. But how do you bring that feeling to a multi-table tournament or online grind on partypoker? We take a look at a few ways you can carry the atmosphere of a home game wherever you play.

1. Last Longers

We all love to be one-up on our friends. The school playground was where we spent some of the best days of our lives, after all. There are very few places to get the better of your friends that are more enjoyable that at the poker felt, though. One of the most popular ways to do this is to bet that you’ll last longer than them in a specific tournament. Wagering a few bucks each and the eventual ‘last man standing’ collecting the pool is often a source of hilarity that lasts long after the tournament itself. Indeed, several high-profile tours have worked the friendly ‘last longer’ into a key element of their marketing. But we’d also recommend trying this last longer challenge online. Maybe you can set up a prop bet alongside it (more on this in a moment) as it can help you play to your virtual peak rather than fall into the traps you might make if you were playing without knowing that your friend is watching your every move.

2. Prop Bets

Proposition bets are some of the most fun you can have in poker, whether it is railing them or taking part yourself. Some of the best stories in the game come about because of ludicrous prop bets. Whether it is players betting that they could cycle across America (we see you Sam Abernathy and Dan Bilzerian) or punting that they could tread water, stay awake or complete sports challenges, poker players love to gamble. From physical challenges to mental ones, the notion of a prop bet is to gamble that you can complete a challenge (or proposition) and bet against your friend or friends to this effect. The sky really is the limit with this fun game on the fringes of the actual game of poker. Unlock your inner daredevil!

3. Endurance Challenges

Time and poker go together like strawberries and cream or the four-bet and the fold. Endurance is a poker natural, with many live tournaments lasting over 12 hours these days. Time at the online felt is no less challenging, with many sessions lasting from mid-afternoon until well into the small hours. From the cash game challenge that got silly and saw Phil Laak muck the winning hand on the river, to marathons online that have seen online professionals spend days without sleep, humans (OK, poker players) have always loved to stretch the boundaries of their endurance. Just make sure that you’re well fed and watered if you want to come out on top, and take care of your body either side of any endurance challenge.

playing poker

Poker can sometimes be a game of endurance

4. Selling/Buying Action

While entering poker tournaments is probably the most fun you can have, there are inevitable downswings and upswings to playing a busy schedule – it’s called variance, after all. One way to minimise the money you spend on expenses and give your friends a fun sweat for some reflective glory is to sell pieces of your action. Professionals do it all the time, of course, but there is plenty of excitement to be had in buying 10% of your friends tournament entry if you’re unable to play, for example. Likewise, should a friend contribute 10% to your buy-in, it’s a proud moment to be able to repay that faith in your ability with interest when you hand over 10% of your winnings from that tournament! Some of the biggest tournament wins of all time came when players sold pieces of their action.

5. Swaps

Swapping a percentage of your entry into a tournament is similar yet at the same time very different from buying and selling action. You ideally want to be swapping pieces of your action with players who are better than you, but it also helps if they’re friends. When you swap a percentage, you agree to pay out an amount i.e. 10% of your winnings and your friend(s) agree the same. It’s a welcome buffer from the pain of bubbling a tournament, but also allows banter to fly around if two of you make a deep run and are both competing to see how much they’ll be paying the other out upon the conclusion of your combined efforts.

6. Rankings

If you think it’s only players at the top of the Global Poker Index who wonder how highly they’re rated in the poker industry, you couldn’t be more wrong. The Hendon Mob is the world’s biggest database and it’s now run by the GPI team. Via the Hendon Mob database, you can look up your ranking in the country of your origin, as well as your city, so if you’re out at a ranking tournament in Ireland such as the Grand Prix Poker Tour stop in Cork later in February, or sitting down to the latest leg of the monthly DTD200 in Nottingham, you can see exactly where you and your friends rank. Turning each tournament into an excuse to gain ground on your favourite rivals couldn’t be more fun!

Come and join the party (and feel free to bring your friends)

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