Asking for one time donations...

EricMichael

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I am going to start up my home game -2 table 20 player cap- from SCRATCH in mid-June or the beginning of July. I will be purchasing everything for my game from the ground up. The one thing I've learned from other ventures (non-poker related) I have embarked on, is to take my time, do my research, and make the decisions that will have the biggest positive effect on whatever I'm attempting to accomplish. The decisions I make now will ultimately shape how my game runs for years to come.

Included in this process, as you all know is everything from tables, chairs, cards, and chips to the space and weather or not to have snacks and drinks. I'm leaning more towards a "Pot Luck" approach and have everyone bring something to share except alcohol; that's a BYOB scenario. Smokers and non Smokers and where to allow them to smoke at my house etc. It seen like a new factor pops up as my planning continues.

The majority of the players will consist of family, a few friends and mostly co-workers. I already have a list of 30 potential players who've been chomping at the bit to play. I'm sure some of these people will inevitably bring a player or two who I don't know, swelling that number potentially to 40 through the rotation. The majority of us are active or retired Law Enforcement and Firefighters and need that sense of camaraderie we've lost over the past few years.

With that said, for those of you who have started your own home games, did you ask for any donations from your players to recoup some of your initial investment back? I thought it might be acceptable to ask each new player for a one time donation to offset the initial investment of what looks to be upwards of $1500+.

What do you believe the pros, cons and overall ramifications are of this approach? I plan on running a tournament/cash game format and loath the idea of collecting a rake.

Any thoughts and opinions are welcome.

Cheers!
 

Blaster

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There have been other similar threads over the years, and I believe the consensus was in those , and will be here, that you shouldn't ask people/players/guests to buy, or help buy your table, chips, basement remodel, etc for you ..
Chipping in for game night food, etc is a different matter .
 

FDLmold

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Don't ask for anything. As host, to firmly run your game, once in a while you might have to play the "my house, my table, my chips, my game, my rules" card, which you can only do if that's 100% true. Being able to control the game, who's in it, when it plays, and also never having to travel to play, is worth quite a lot.
 

EricMichael

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There have been other similar threads over the years, and I believe the consensus was in those , and will be here, that you shouldn't ask people/players/guests to buy, or help buy your table, chips, basement remodel, etc for you ..
Chipping in for game night food, etc is a different matter .
That's all I need to know. I was leary to do so and don't mind front the cost, but your guidance makes perfect sense.
 

TheDuke

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Personally, I never asked for any kind of donation for the decisions I've made to invest in my poker gear. My perspective being that it was decision to buy this stuff so it's my cost to bear.

On the flip side, I'd be annoyed if one of the hosts at a game I attend asked for donations to offset the cost of his/her stuff. It's off-putting enough that I'd probably stop attending.
 

Goldfish

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Don’t do it For all the above reasons, plus those that contribute will feel entitled to a seat Every time you host a game. For any number of reasons, you may not want to invite a particular player To a particular game. Now on to more important matters..... I have hosted for a long time now, and one thing that I have learned is that poker players are like squirrels....... messy nasty squirrels. when dealing with squirrels you need to take some precautions - below are a few, I am sure other hosts have more:

1. Have multiple trash cans strategically placed all over the poker room. If a squirrel can’t see a trash can and easily get to it, the trash is going on the floor or stuffed on any surface just waiting to tip over.
2. Snacks. You need to buy the small independent bags of snacks or individually wrapped candy. If u buy the big bags the squirrels will stick their grubby nasty little paws in every bag and will open every new bag they see even if there is a open bag sitting in plain view. And for God sake no food like Cheetos. That orange shit will be on everything Including your table, chairs, chips and cards.
3. Food. Forget pot luck. give the squirrels only simple food that can easily be eaten with minimal mess and that doesn’t smell like ass. If u leave it to the squirrels they will bring over all kinds of messy smelly stuff that will stink up ur poker room for a week. Explain that you are not a restaurant. But u don’t want people to starve. Pizza and salad works well. Chinese food is a disaster.
4. Drinks. Setting aside alcohol, for drinks I have found that the best is the small plastic bottles. They have caps that can be screwed on to minimize spills and they reduce wasted drink. 1 gallon bottles and cups - a complete mess waiting to happen.
4. The bathroom. First u need to tell all the squirrels to take a dump at home before they come over. It is amazing that you need to tell people that, but remember they are squirrels. U need to remind them Or else multiple people will ask why you don’t have reading material in the bathroom. Second, have Lots of toilet paper and a plunger handy Cause squirrels don’t listen to anything you say.
5. STFU. have a pattle sign ready that says STFU. so when you get dumb questions/requests like - next time can u get organic unsalted almonds instead of the salted kind, or do u think u could move the tv from that wall to this wall - you can just hold up the sign. Squirrels will be squirrels.

hope this helps. Gotta be prepared. Welcome to hosting.
 

Josh Kifer

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So, i wouldn't ask for donations for table and chips, those are my items. I did for a while do a "yearly taxes" of five bucks per player to get 4-6 replacement decks every year, but since the group buy I did, I really don't need decks anymore. I do not provide any food or drinks, but we meet weekly so it's not really needed.

The funny thing is, naturally a winner or weekly player will toss me a few bucks or bring food for everyone. It kinda works itself out.

Honestly, ya don't need food and BYOB to have a great time. I couldn't afford to do it weekly if I had to toss in cash for the event, but after table, chips, and cards.... There really isn't any expenses....
 

ChipFinderSK

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Don’t do it For all the above reasons, plus those that contribute will feel entitled to a seat Every time you host a game. For any number of reasons, you may not want to invite a particular player To a particular game. Now on to more important matters..... I have hosted for a long time now, and one thing that I have learned is that poker players are like squirrels....... messy nasty squirrels. when dealing with squirrels you need to take some precautions - below are a few, I am sure other hosts have more:

1. Have multiple trash cans strategically placed all over the poker room. If a squirrel can’t see a trash can and easily get to it, the trash is going on the floor or stuffed on any surface just waiting to tip over.
2. Snacks. You need to buy the small independent bags of snacks or individually wrapped candy. If u buy the big bags the squirrels will stick their grubby nasty little paws in every bag and will open every new bag they see even if there is a open bag sitting in plain view. And for God sake no food like Cheetos. That orange shit will be on everything Including your table, chairs, chips and cards.
3. Food. Forget pot luck. give the squirrels only simple food that can easily be eaten with minimal mess and that doesn’t smell like ass. If u leave it to the squirrels they will bring over all kinds of messy smelly stuff that will stink up ur poker room for a week. Explain that you are not a restaurant. But u don’t want people to starve. Pizza and salad works well. Chinese food is a disaster.
4. Drinks. Setting aside alcohol, for drinks I have found that the best is the small plastic bottles. They have caps that can be screwed on to minimize spills and they reduce wasted drink. 1 gallon bottles and cups - a complete mess waiting to happen.
4. The bathroom. First u need to tell all the squirrels to take a dump at home before they come over. It is amazing that you need to tell people that, but remember they are squirrels. U need to remind them Or else multiple people will ask why you don’t have reading material in the bathroom. Second, have Lots of toilet paper and a plunger handy Cause squirrels don’t listen to anything you say.
5. STFU. have a pattle sign ready that says STFU. so when you get dumb questions/requests like - next time can u get organic unsalted almonds instead of the salted kind, or do u think u could move the tv from that wall to this wall - you can just hold up the sign. Squirrels will be squirrels.

hope this helps. Gotta be prepared. Welcome to hosting.
So treat the players like I treat my elementary-school-aged kids; got it :tup:
 

Dugthefish

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When I was just getting my game going, a lot of players used to bitch about my hard metal folding chairs. It was what I had, so it was what we used. After months of complaining, I finally told the core group members if they wanted more comfortable chairs they were gonna have to help pay for them. We were playing .25-.25 at the time, $30 buy ins, and I certainly couldn't afford to drop a couple hundred dollars on new chairs.

I put out a tip jar, and every week for a couple of months the big winners would throw a couple bucks in. Finally there was enough to purchase 10 nice new cushioned banquet chairs. Still use them to this day.

FWIW
 

EricMichael

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Guys/Girls/Non-Gender Conforming sorts....

Thank you for ALL your feedback, all of which I find extremely enlightening and will use to shape my game going forward. As I said, I'm not sure of the proper etiquette when starting a home game so the wealth of knowledge, experience and overall commonsense I'm getting is invaluable.

Especially the information from @Goldfish... Tons of information I would have completely overlooked.

This is a great community and I'm glad I have all of you to keep me in check!

Cheers!
 

Chawks45

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did you ask for any donations from your players to recoup some of your initial investment back?
Absolutely not. I invested in the table, chips, cards, chairs, etc., for me. The pleasure of hosting -- which includes food, bottled water, soda and other snacks -- is also on me, while the atmosphere and game are for my guests, who BYOB.

Some have offered to contribute money for the food and drinks over the years, but I never accept their kind offers. All I expect is for them to show up and have a good time.
 

Goldfish

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Don’t do it For all the above reasons, plus those that contribute will feel entitled to a seat Every time you host a game. For any number of reasons, you may not want to invite a particular player To a particular game. Now on to more important matters..... I have hosted for a long time now, and one thing that I have learned is that poker players are like squirrels....... messy nasty squirrels. when dealing with squirrels you need to take some precautions - below are a few, I am sure other hosts have more:

1. Have multiple trash cans strategically placed all over the poker room. If a squirrel can’t see a trash can and easily get to it, the trash is going on the floor or stuffed on any surface just waiting to tip over.
2. Snacks. You need to buy the small independent bags of snacks or individually wrapped candy. If u buy the big bags the squirrels will stick their grubby nasty little paws in every bag and will open every new bag they see even if there is a open bag sitting in plain view. And for God sake no food like Cheetos. That orange shit will be on everything Including your table, chairs, chips and cards.
3. Food. Forget pot luck. give the squirrels only simple food that can easily be eaten with minimal mess and that doesn’t smell like ass. If u leave it to the squirrels they will bring over all kinds of messy smelly stuff that will stink up ur poker room for a week. Explain that you are not a restaurant. But u don’t want people to starve. Pizza and salad works well. Chinese food is a disaster.
4. Drinks. Setting aside alcohol, for drinks I have found that the best is the small plastic bottles. They have caps that can be screwed on to minimize spills and they reduce wasted drink. 1 gallon bottles and cups - a complete mess waiting to happen.
4. The bathroom. First u need to tell all the squirrels to take a dump at home before they come over. It is amazing that you need to tell people that, but remember they are squirrels. U need to remind them Or else multiple people will ask why you don’t have reading material in the bathroom. Second, have Lots of toilet paper and a plunger handy Cause squirrels don’t listen to anything you say.
5. STFU. have a pattle sign ready that says STFU. so when you get dumb questions/requests like - next time can u get organic unsalted almonds instead of the salted kind, or do u think u could move the tv from that wall to this wall - you can just hold up the sign. Squirrels will be squirrels.

hope this helps. Gotta be prepared. Welcome to hosting.
While I was mostly kidding with that response, the points made are intended to be truly helpful. The pic below is a sample of what I clean up after a game. The trash can is literally 15 feet from this mess...... flipping squirrels. Notice though most of the food and drink containers are sealable and easily cleaned up ....... individual salad containers, heavy plates, small soda bottles.......comes from years of experience... just sayin. Hahahaha.
B8F857FA-3D38-4288-9CA4-6D95D4DDC8E9.jpeg
 

Rieguy

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While I was mostly kidding with that response, the points made are intended to be truly helpful. The pic below is a sample of what I clean up after a game. The trash can is literally 15 feet from this mess...... flipping squirrels. Notice though most of the food and drink containers are sealable and easily cleaned up ....... individual salad containers, heavy plates, small soda bottles.......comes from years of experience... just sayin. Hahahaha.
View attachment 698496

Okay, but what's in the bucket? Restroom has to be close enough for that not to be needed.
 

Goldfish

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Okay, but what's in the bucket? Restroom has to be close enough for that not to be needed.
Hahahaha. Never can be too prepared......hahaha. Actually that bucket holds ping pong balls for beer pong. Gotta have plan b in case poker doesn’t work out.
 

David O

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I have never asked for a donation and most of my players are good people. They even help with cleanup. I guess it depends on what kind f people you would invite into your home.

David
 

Josh Kifer

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While I was mostly kidding with that response, the points made are intended to be truly helpful. The pic below is a sample of what I clean up after a game. The trash can is literally 15 feet from this mess...... flipping squirrels. Notice though most of the food and drink containers are sealable and easily cleaned up ....... individual salad containers, heavy plates, small soda bottles.......comes from years of experience... just sayin. Hahahaha.
View attachment 698496
Honestly, what you said was dead on. I deal with all items weekly. I've never had so many people stuff beer cans into a bathroom trashcan and think it's a great idea....
 

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No donations for equipment generally. My crew joke that they never need to buy poker chips because I have a lot of nice ones already. Bastards.

We aren't poker room/club though and just a group of friends. We generally rotate bringing stuff though I guess I always bring something (snacks, beer, wine, liquor). Since I generally send out the coordination texts I will sometimes ask for items. For example, last time I asked someone to bring a case of bottled water since we generally drink the bottled water that the hosting house has. Ended up having 3 different people bring full cases or half cases of water. Other items we ask for are snacks and some loose coordination of alcohol.

At the end of night whoever is left helps clean up some before we load up and head home.

The poker table we play on is 13 years old and needed a new surface badly. We discussed during a game and everyone said they would be happy to chip in for materials so we did that. This is much easier and reasonable to do when your group is close friends, but with a larger group it is much more difficult to do without someone being disgruntled about it. Donations for food/drinks is pretty common though.
 
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I am going to start up my home game -2 table 20 player cap- from SCRATCH in mid-June or the beginning of July. I will be purchasing everything for my game from the ground up. The one thing I've learned from other ventures (non-poker related) I have embarked on, is to take my time, do my research, and make the decisions that will have the biggest positive effect on whatever I'm attempting to accomplish. The decisions I make now will ultimately shape how my game runs for years to come.

Included in this process, as you all know is everything from tables, chairs, cards, and chips to the space and weather or not to have snacks and drinks. I'm leaning more towards a "Pot Luck" approach and have everyone bring something to share except alcohol; that's a BYOB scenario. Smokers and non Smokers and where to allow them to smoke at my house etc. It seen like a new factor pops up as my planning continues.

The majority of the players will consist of family, a few friends and mostly co-workers. I already have a list of 30 potential players who've been chomping at the bit to play. I'm sure some of these people will inevitably bring a player or two who I don't know, swelling that number potentially to 40 through the rotation. The majority of us are active or retired Law Enforcement and Firefighters and need that sense of camaraderie we've lost over the past few years.

With that said, for those of you who have started your own home games, did you ask for any donations from your players to recoup some of your initial investment back? I thought it might be acceptable to ask each new player for a one time donation to offset the initial investment of what looks to be upwards of $1500+.

What do you believe the pros, cons and overall ramifications are of this approach? I plan on running a tournament/cash game format and loath the idea of collecting a rake.

Any thoughts and opinions are welcome.

Cheers!
I've been hosting for years, and here is what I have discovered.

1. Pot luck is a great idea. Everybody bring a little something. For special gatherings, I make dogs, burgers, or pulled pork and others bring the sides.

2. I have an open bar policy. At first my wife thought I was nuts, but what you will find is that if you surround yourself with the right people, they will gift you more alcohol than you know what to do with :) Also, most people BYOB or bring their preferred alcohol so it's available when they come over.

3. Smokers: be sure you have a place for them to dispose of butts. If not, they will flick them into your yard, which will piss your wife off when she finds her dog chewing on them...LOL. I use 1.75L empty alcohol bottles filled half way with water. Also, remind people NOT to smoke by the door. When they suck down their cigarette and rush back in, half the smoke enters the house.

4. I never collect or accept any money for anything I provide. People offer, but if you host a regular game (especially in VA where I live), you run the risk of being flagged as an illegal gambling operation.

Most importantly....ENJOY!! Many of my peeps are previous military, and like you, we longed for the camaraderie that we had in the military.
 

longflop

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I have an open bar policy. At first my wife thought I was nuts, but what you will find is that if you surround yourself with the right people, they will gift you more alcohol than you know what to do with :) Also, most people BYOB or bring their preferred alcohol so it's available when they come over.
I do the same exact thing. I will ususally throw a 30pack of light beer in a cooler and set my whole bar out. By the end of the night, the cooler is somehow fuller than when it started. People don't bring liquor as much, but I've got more than I can drink by myself and I like sharing.
 

Chawks45

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Many of my peeps are previous military, and like you, we longed for the camaraderie that we had in the military.

Whether in garrison, the field or downrange, troops from all branches of service and cards during downtime are part of a time-honored military tradition, indeed.

Get a hot dog roller!

How did the thread go 23 posts before the greatest home game invention was mentioned? Second the recommendation for the hot dog roller. You and your players won't be disappointed with this investment, @EricMichael.

Here's a link to 18 glorious pages of hot dog roller pr0n.
 
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Serious question. Is it possible to have hotdogs off the roller which have that snap as if they were cooked on a flat top grill or fire grill?
I know this is going to be sacrilegious, but I actually opted NOT to get a hotdog roller due to them drying out as the night goes on (which is the experience I have had at my buddy's house).

Instead, I went with a 3 section buffet server. I grill the hotdogs and burgers, add a smidge of water to the buffet server, and put the dogs and burgers in their own section of the server when they are done grilling. I typically put pulled pork into the 3rd section. They keep warm and fresh all night long.

Screen Shot 2021-05-13 at 4.14.08 PM.png
 

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I know this is going to be sacrilegious, but I actually opted NOT to get a hotdog roller due to them drying out as the night goes on (which is the experience I have had at my buddy's house).

Instead, I went with a 3 section buffet server. I grill the hotdogs and burgers, add a smidge of water to the buffet server, and put the dogs and burgers in their own section of the server when they are done grilling. I typically put pulled pork into the 3rd section. They keep warm and fresh all night long.

View attachment 698794
I've always considered getting one of those but never have. We grill a lot here and putting them into that buffet server afterwards would be ideal to keep food warm. Also looking forward to using it more later this year as we hopefully see family and friends more often now.
 
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