What do you charge for food and drink?

MrWitti

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I always offer the guys free drinks and when I cook as well free food. Sometimes we order from a delivery service and then everyone pays what he orders. But as we started to play more often (every 6 weeks.) the crowd started to give me here and there some money for the drinks and if 1 guy starts the others kind maybe feel the pressure to do the same... We're in a non rotating game so it's always me who invites.
We usually consume for 50$. How do you handle this in your games?
 

xxmurrxx

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Bring your own everything pretty much.
All share snacks they bring, and a collection for pizza if we order

I'd ask for contributions if your always hosting and providing food / drinks or try to set up a schedule where everyone takes turns covering the food for the night.
 

dennis63

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The easiest way to handle this is for each player to bring something, or to order everything and split the bill evenly.

In the United States, laws differ from state to state, but states which allow home games generally don't permit the host to collect any money for food or drink.
 

iblonger

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Our group rotates houses between a couple of us. The host usually takes care of the main dish and everyone brings something to share and of course its BYOB.
 

links_slayer

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I provide 3-4 Papa Murphy's pizzas, white rum, spiced rum, vodka, seagram's, and soda for mixing - and ask for $0 in return. If anyone wants anything else in particular they are free to bring it (drinks, snacks, whatever).
 

MrWitti

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Thanks for feedback. I think the 'bring your own' or 'bring something to share' is maybe the way to go.
I don't mind offering drinks but felt that people don't felt comfortable if they consume without contributing anything to the party.
 

p5woody

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I host a monthly game. I supply everything poker related (house, chips, table, chairs, cards, etc) anything else is bring your own. I will occasionally have some drinks to share and a few snacks but nobody expects it. A few players will normally bring drinks and occasionally they will bring snacks.
 
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Milo013

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For our regular Dealer's Choice game there is no charge for snacks. We only lay out pop and chips, maybe some chicken fingers, so it's no biggie. When we host a tournament I ask for $5.00 (added to the buy-in) to cover "catering". That would entail pop, and things like home-made spring rolls, strombolis, butter tarts, chili, plus whatever might pop into my wife's head for that event. Those are just some examples . . . but no one has EVER brought up the issue after seeing the spread, and those first timers who do are often told (by others) that their $5.00 will GLADLY be covered for them, if the payee can take home the rookie's share of the grub.

As most everyone else has said, adult beverages are up to the individual.
 

Jellyfish

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I did not charge anything. The best is if everyone brings something with him or if you just change places so everyone is the host now and then. It's just fair.
 

turn2

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Agreed, if thier is something specific you want, bring it. I always have bud light and snacks on hand to share though. I never charge anything. I figure i could go to a bar, bowling or go cart racing and spend the same or more doing those things. I just want to have a good time. its worth the $100 a game I spend on food, beer, and buyins to me.
 

Mr. Cheese

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I usually have some snacks on hand and some beer/pop/gatorade. Sometimes people bring things to share and I think I'm going to try and encourage that more in the future.
 

spikeithard

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everyone at my game who is hungry and wants pizza throws in 5 bucks and I order 2 extra large 2 toppers for 24 bucks. Everyone usually gets 3-4 slices for the 5 bucks.. few games ago I bought the pizza on my own accord and just said feel free to leave any donation you want at the end of the night . :)
 

ledge4131

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For our regular Dealer's Choice game there is no charge for snacks. We only lay out pop and chips, maybe some chicken fingers, so it's no biggie. When we host a tournament I ask for $5.00 (added to the buy-in) to cover "catering". That would entail pop, and things like home-made spring rolls, strombolis, butter tarts, chili, plus whatever might pop into my wife's head for that event. Those are just some examples . . . but no one has EVER brought up the issue after seeing the spread, and those first timers who do are often told (by others) that their $5.00 will GLADLY be covered for them, if the payee can take home the rookie's share of the grub.

As most everyone else has said, adult beverages are up to the individual.
We do essentially the same thing, but we have the players contribute to the "Snack Fund" whenever we get together. We have one guy look after the fund, and a week before we get together, my wife gives him a list of food, drinks, and snacks to buy. He drops the groceries off 2 days before we play, and she does the rest. The guys and gals love it! She even does something extra special for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

One game a year I supply the booze on my own dime; usually the last game of the year, but it is strictly BYOB every time we get tougher.
 

onerand

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I don't want to offer any legal advice, but I suggest against charging for food and drinks.

Depending on your state's law, you may be running an illegal casino for profit if you host a game and have people pay money for drinks and snacks. Does this sound ridiculous? Of course it does, but here are examples from South Carolina (also here) and Virginia (where host charged for snacks/sandwiches, got raided by police, and either lost in court or plead guilty.)

No problem if guys get together, decide to order pizza and split the cost - as long as the person who does not want pizza can abstain and not pay. Also ok if you want to donate to the host a few bucks at the end of the night, as long as its optional.

Chances are that nobody will know or care even if you charge your guests for chips- unless you live in South Carolina or similar minded state - but my safe suggestion is BYOB in addition to generosity of the host, or order in on site. Tip of the hat to Krafticus, Bergs, Guinness, and all other generous hosts, too many to name.

Random notes:
Different states have different laws. For example, in WI you can play poker in a bar/public place, as long as the owner does not charge rake or does not require you to purchase anything. I have fond memories of playing for 3 years in the back of Uncle Bob's cigar bar & wet bar in Appleton. Had Uncle Bob required people to buy soda/cigars, whatever, he would be running an illegal casino. Under Virginia law, this is prohibited - a public place can't allow you to play rake free poker.

South Carolina involved a $20 game (or $10, depending on source) with a snack fee. Local police had an undercover guy in the game in order to eventually get low-level misdemeanor convictions and $100 fines. Case went all the way to the state supreme court that upheld the convictions in an insane split decision. Wiki has good summary. Or here

South Carolina police also raided a know game that they had busted before multiple times for fines wit full cooperation. This time they decided on a full-blown raid, 72 year-old host thought it was a robbery and fired some shots got 5 years. Also Here

Virginia case - when the big money restaurant owner copped a plea, the state still retained charges against the single-mom waitress, just for the hell of it, to get a conviction and $3,000 more. Why the dude was charging for sandwiches while hosting a $2,000 buy-in is another matter.

I confess I have never bothered to look up my state's law on this topic. But when I hosted games in Virginia, I did. I end with one of my favorite bits from the criminal code section 18.2-333: "Nothing in this article shall be construed to prevent any contest of speed or skill between men, animals, fowl or vehicles..."
 

Mesnik44

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I host games often (not as often as I want), and the only time I charge anything for food, is to cover costs in which my wife and I incur when serving both lunch and supper for the crew. At those games they usually last 10 hours and go from noon to 10 or later. Also, at those games, we usually serve hot dogs, butter chicken, pulled pork, beef dip, sodas, iced tea, veggies and dip, and potato chips.

When I host a normal game, we serve hot dogs, sodas, and potato chips. We do not charge a dime for that. Others bring donuts, chicken, chinese food, other goodies too.

It is really up to the person and of course the law, on how you handle your situation. For me, if the cops ever came knocking, I'd offer them a donut and send them on their way.
 

MikesDad

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I host games twice per month. I provide snacks, water and soda, no charge. BYOB
I put out a "snack fund" can that gets a few bucks each time and when players cash out, most will round to the nearest $1 or $5 and leave the rest for the snacks.
I'm sure I never recoup my costs, but I don't expect to do so and that's fine. I just like having the guys (and sometimes girls) over for a fun evening.
Haven't tried cooking for anyone yet... the game is in the basement and the grill is on the deck one level up so that makes it a little harder... but someday soon
 

Poker Zombie

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At our event last weekend, I served filet mignon, wrapped in bacon, fused to the beef at the molecular level. Add to that cost waters, sodas, and wine. It takes a remarkable evening for me and Mrs. Zombie just to break even.

However, most of my guests have taken notice, and bring extra stuff as well. At first, it was chips and crackers. Then dips and salsas started appearing. Then hot foods in crock pots. Now we get everything from soda to desserts, with all the sides. When you have so many awesome guests, you don't mind the occasional few that arrive empty handed.

Well, you mind them a little. They are usually the ones complaining about "freeloaders" expecting "handouts" from the government.
 

grandgnu

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I supply Hosmer Mountain Soda (glass bottles) which are about $10-12 per 24-pack. And pickup bottled water on sale at the grocery store. My wife puts out home-baked chocolate chip cookies and we also have chips and dip.

Aside from that, our guests are welcome to bring what they want for themselves or to share, including BYOB. A newcomer to my game won his first time so on his next visit he bought pizza for everyone, which was nice.

We play 7pm-midnight on Friday though, so usually everyone has had a chance to eat supper already.
 

detroitdad

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nothing..........

I host two 20 player Tourney's a year. A cash game every couple of months. Good thing about my area is that we have several guys that are willing to host games.

Tourney:

I order 5-6 pizzas from Hungry Howies (I get a 30% discount). I also provide soda and bottled water. Its BYOB. I usually get about 20-30 bucks from the players donating loot. I don't ask for anything.

Cash:

I will provide soda/water/chips.
 

MrWitti

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Thanks for all the feedback. Always good to see that most handle it the same way.
Homepoker is basically non-existing in Switzerland and therefore I'm very gratful for the thoughts here.
I still stick to my food for free policy as every hobby incurs some costs and I'm happy to spend some $ for my buddies.
So if someone asks I can easily say that they are invited and thats normal.
 

guinness

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I hosted weekly for well over 10 years and used to ask that people bring stuff, but now that I host like 5 times a year I provide everything. Throwing down $75 for pizza, case of waters and a case of beer isn't going to kill me at this rate, plus people tend to throw me red chips ($5) during the game without asking.
 

bergs

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I hosted weekly for well over 10 years and used to ask that people bring stuff, but now that I host like 5 times a year I provide everything. Throwing down $75 for pizza, case of waters and a case of beer isn't going to kill me at this rate, plus people tend to throw me red chips ($5) during the game without asking.
Sometimes I throw Guinness red chips because he plays better than me. Sometimes, I just randomly throw things at him. Don't think for a second that I'm above finding your kids nerf gun and hosing the place down. I won $20 off Trav one night playing nerf gun roulette.

Anyway, I digress.

I host every 6-8 weeks and usually pickup pizzas, salads for the gluten-disabled, and I have an assortment of bottled water, soda, and a kegerator. One of the happy circumstances that evolves from hosting is that I end up with fresh tasty beer left in the kegerator after poker, which goods towards a very good cause (my stomach).
 

Godzilla28

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I buy pizza, fried chicken or burgers for my weekly Wednesday game. And I have a bucket labelled "Food Donation" that is separate from buyins and poker chips. The recommended donation is $5 and I have not had any problems or complaints about that. I provide all soft drinks, drinking water and its BYOB. People like to snack on stuff during the night and its just easier if the host provides it. But in the States, you need to be careful of mixing food money with the poker money. It can get you in some hot water.
 

Trihonda

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I host almost once/month (single table cash games), and twice a year I host a bigger two table tournament (with cash games afterwards).

In the monthly games, what I provide depends on attendance and level of preparation (often these games are spur of the moment).

My standing suggestion is for guests "Bring a six-pack or a snack to share". The gist being, I provide a selection of beverages (beers and soda) and some snacks (chips, cheese, crackers, etc...). I never charge anything. The snacks often get consumed, and more often than not, people will bring a six-pack (and only drink 3-4 beers). This leaves me a nice replenished stock of beers for poker nights (I'm not a huge beer drinker, so people's remaining beers really do survive until the next game). This also provides an amazing and eclectic variety, and beers for those just bringing snacks.

When I have time to plan a poker night well in advance (especially for the big tournaments), I go a bit over-the-top on the food spread. I'll do a huge crock pot of swedish meatballs, cheese/sausage platters, etc... with the spur of the moment games, I'm very laxed on what I provide (bag-o-pretzles and beer).

I also have guests that will pitch in a few bucks at the end of the night for food/beverage expenses (typically when cashing out). It's never expected, but always appreciated.

The only exception to charging for food came during the first MTTD meetup, when my ability to feed 15+ people for 2-3 days (in addition to the other out of pocket expenses) was outside my budget.
 

abby99

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I don't charge anything, although a few of my players will leave me a couple of bucks when cashing out, some will bring beer, and one player has brought homemade cake. I provide chip-and-card-friendly snacks, bottled water, soft drinks, and beer. Sometimes we'll have coffee with Bailey's and whipped cream. :)

If folks are hungry for "real food" we order in and everybody pays for their own.
 

UW85

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Pretty much the same as most others. Bring your own, bring extra to share, don't charge. However for a time I had a jar labeled "Kids College Fund" that sat out and often people would toss a little something in. It was located somewhere a bit out of the way so nobody ever felt obligated. It helped a bit with some of the costs.
 

MrWitti

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With my latest small win I bought one of these Nespresso-Coffee machines.
The gang loves it.
 
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