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shorticus

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Now that I'm back hosting a game a little more regular, I was thinking about this. As I was going through my preparation for my game on Friday, I was thinking about ways to make the pre-game prep easier. I was wondering if you all would share your thoughts. As hosts, we all know there's a lot that goes into prepping for a game (cooking, cleaning, etc.). I'm wondering what items (if any) help streamline the pre-game prep. Please include anything that is cost effective or a time saver.

For me, the main item I want to purchase is an ice maker. I'm constantly buying ice because my ice maker in my fridge can't handle the how much ice is consumed on game night.
 

Dodger

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If you have a featured cocktail, you can pre-mix in a large batch, so all you have to do is pour and garnish. Huge time saver.
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Tourney or cash - you can pre-set starting stacks. For cash games, just set up stacks with the min buy-in and add chips (if needed) as guys show and buy-in.
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shorticus

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I find the Uber Eats app my biggest time saver.
I did red beans and rice for Friday's game. Put the red beans in the slow cooker Thursday night and all I have to do is add sausage about an hour or 2 before game time and cook rice. I was able to feed my entire group for ~20 bucks
 

Venturalvn

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I don't bother with starting stacks for cash games. Not really a point when people may buy in for different amounts and show up at different times. Also people are rebuying all night for different amounts. Kinda pointless.

Hot dog dollar, beer fridge/kegerator, and ice machine with ready glasses have improved our game greatly.

I added a cash register to my bar this weekend to make tournament buy ins and cash buy in/out more efficient, and man it saved me a lot of work.
 

MrBoosh

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Now that I'm back hosting a game a little more regular, I was thinking about this. As I was going through my preparation for my game on Friday, I was thinking about ways to make the pre-game prep easier. I was wondering if you all would share your thoughts. As hosts, we all know there's a lot that goes into prepping for a game (cooking, cleaning, etc.). I'm wondering what items (if any) help streamline the pre-game prep. Please include anything that is cost effective or a time saver.

For me, the main item I want to purchase is an ice maker. I'm constantly buying ice because my ice maker in my fridge can't handle the how much ice is consumed on game night.

The best ice maker you can buy is the Opal. It started out as a kickstarter but now GE has purchased them. It is a pellet ice machine. The absolute best!!! Forget the hot dog rollers!!! Pellet ice machines are where it's at!!!!

Here is a crappy picture of mine.

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They are not cheap but once you have tasted the sweet frozen pellets of the gods there is no turning back to any inferior ice machines ever again.

Amazon runs small sales on them a couple times a year usually during prime day or something similar. If you have a large Amazon return warehouse in your area they may get a large amount of these and you may be able to get a deal on one that way.
 

card_shart

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When I was running our old home tournament, we had a few different things running before poker night:

1) Rotate bringing food. We were lucky to have some excellent cooks and green thumbs with gardens. We had no shortage of amazing sandwiches, veggies, and snacks that were definitely healthier than most of what I would have brought if it was just up to me...

2) In theory we would rotate bringing beer, but we had some generous guys and we'd always have a good selection of beverages,

3) I would set up starting stacks and a couple of rebuy stacks on a separate table, I owned the 500 chip set (not so great clay set from Amazon, which I'm on this forum to fix...) and was responsible for that. Saved a lot of time because the few times I didn't if we had been drinking the counting/having someone check/doing the math would get a little tedious.

4) I think the ice machine would be a real lifesaver. We were lucky to have a fairly small ground and someone would usually bring a bag or two of ice. If I get another game going at home, I'm definitely investing in one of those.

5) Besides drinking, some of the other vices we had available were vape battery chargers, some cigars/cigar cutters, some hand-rolled cigarettes if I was feeling extra generous, lighters, etc., just in case someone forgot or wanted to partake.

6) We had a print copy of Robert's Rules printed out with the most common issues highlighted. We didn't have any house rules, but I did have explain a couple of times that blinds can re-raise, check raising is allowed, etc...

Probably not much help since I have a lot less experience running these than most people on here, but I hope it helps someone.
 

Taghkanic

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The best ice maker you can buy is the Opal. It started out as a kickstarter but now GE has purchased them. It is a pellet ice machine. The absolute best!!! Forget the hot dog rollers!!! Pellet ice machines are where it's at!!!!

Here is a crappy picture of mine.

View attachment 963984

They are not cheap but once you have tasted the sweet frozen pellets of the gods there is no turning back to any inferior ice machines ever again.

Amazon runs small sales on them a couple times a year usually during prime day or something similar. If you have a large Amazon return warehouse in your area they may get a large amount of these and you may be able to get a deal on one that way.

Do these have a water reservoir to make the ice, or do they require a hookup to a water line?
 

MrBoosh

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Do these have a water reservoir to make the ice, or do they require a hookup to a water line?
They have a reservoir so they don't have to be next to a water source. There is a larger reservoir available now that is optional that can sit beside the ice maker. It is worth it if you have the space for it. I use only distilled water in mine. You can find them all over Facebook marketplace for much cheaper than buying it straight from GE or Amazon.
 

MatB

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You joke my but my friends back east demanded special toilet paper for games.

@MatB demonstrated why to me one night when he put our normal TP over my chips and I could see the chips perfectly.

I have the soft stuff for October, no worries.

It should be illegal to even sell single ply toilet paper.
 

Irish

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I don't have much in terms of cost savings, but these items here have definitely been the biggest +EV in terms of saving time and headaches:
  1. Urinal in the basement. This is #1 and it's not even close. Dudes piss on the floor, plain and simple. The single biggest complaint I had from my wife regarding poker nights was the state of the bathroom (which in my case was on the main floor and is our primary bathroom in the house). As part of my basement renovations, I added a urinal to the laundry room. No more issues as 95% of the time everyone uses the urinal now instead of going upstairs to the main bathroom. And it's 10 times easier to clean the day after - a little toilet bowl cleaner and a quick mopping and you're done. Happy wife.
  2. Hot dog roller - this is worth it's weight in gold. It's quick and easy to set up, relatively easy to clean, and takes 2 minutes to reload during a game if needed. It makes providing food really easy.
  3. Airpot for coffee. For years I had one of those Mr Coffee things just for the basement for games. They work, and you can somewhat set them up prior to the game, but you have to remember to hit "brew" when the game starts, they can be kind of messy to pour, they give off heat, need to be plugged in and they turn off after an hour or so. Now I brew a pot or 2 an hour in advance, pour into the airpot and it stays hot the entire game. Shit, if there's enough left it's often hot enough for my morning coffee the next day for cleanup.
Great thread, I've been meaning to start something similar for a few months now to see what other hosting tips and tricks folks have. I'm curious as to how long it takes others to set up / clean up on a given poker night (knowing full well that it probably varies drastically based on the type of game, number of players and amenities offered). It probably takes me 2 to 3 hours on each end for a standard tourney (2 tables, 12-16 guys) plus any food shopping time.
 

timinater

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  • Pre-register/pay for tournaments - Email money transfer is ubiquitous in Canada, and most bank accounts offer it for no fee. Players can pay in advance and lock up their seat.
  • Honour Bar - We had at one point designated someone to bring beer each week, but that got onerous. Now I made up some beer tokens and just keep the fridge stocked and people chip in that way.
  • Checklist - Easy way to make sure you've got everything setup is to have a list and work through it.
 

Schmendr1ck

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I'm curious as to how long it takes others to set up / clean up on a given poker night (knowing full well that it probably varies drastically based on the type of game, number of players and amenities offered). It probably takes me 2 to 3 hours on each end for a standard tourney (2 tables, 12-16 guys) plus any food shopping time.
Generally, I host a single table cash game with light snacks and drinks.

It probably takes me an hour for shopping, an hour for setup, and anywhere from 1-4 hours for cleaning depending on the state of my poker room and the rest of the house. Poker night is a good excuse to get the kids to help give the house a deeper cleaning than normal. Usually they spend about 10-15 minutes per day doing the absolute minimum housework they can get away with. :rolleyes:

Cleanup the next day isn't that bad. It takes about an hour or so to get rid of trash and recycling, take dirty glasses to the kitchen, touch up the bathrooms, do a quick wipedown of the bar and tables, and put chips, cards, and chairs away. Sometimes I put away the table too, other times I leave it out, either because I'm lazy or I plan to use it for something else that week.
 
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