How To Raise the Stakes in Your Home Game

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You play in a regular home game. It’s a limit dealer’s choice game. You’re crushing the game, as the other guys think poker is just a fun game of luck — and play that way. There’s only one problem. The stakes are really low.

Though they are all fairly successful in their work, and have increased their income tenfold since you all began playing together 15 years earlier, the stakes are the same as they were when you started to play. You know they can afford a bigger game, but you don’t want to make it look like you want to take advantage of the fact that you’re a better player (though that is exactly what you want to do). But with stakes this low, the game is hardly worth your time anymore. What can you do?

Here are a few techniques for raising the stakes of your great home poker game without making it look like you’re raising the stakes. Patience is key for all of these suggestions, as is the idea of raising the stakes gradually (as opposed to introducing sudden changes in the game).

1. Add Betting Rounds
Introduce a couple of new games. They can be exactly like the other dealer’s choice games, except they will have an extra round or two of betting. Here are a couple of examples.

You normally play seven-card stud high-lo. It’s a great poker game for this fairly casual poker crowd because there are usually two winners — the highest hand and the lowest hand — satisfying two players a hand, rather than just one.

The way they all play the game, the “cards speak” after the betting on the last card, and the high splits with the low. You can offer a variation where the players declare whether or not they are going low or going high, using chips or coins in the hand that are revealed after the betting on the last card. That adds a layer of skill to the game — namely, the ability to figure out which way your opponents are likely to declare while disguising your true intentions until you declare. Fair enough.

But you are not introducing this wrinkle just because of this extra level of skill. Rather, you are looking for an opportunity to make extra money with an additional betting round. Read Full