Finding a home poker game is not always an easy task. In the early old days, the only public poker room was available in Nevada, California and some parts of Washington State. But with the enormous growth of legal, public poker venues came the demise of home poker games. Why waste the time and vigor organizing a home game when a good poker game is suitably located near you?
Today, finding a good home poker game can be tough. So let me give you some tips to find one.
1. Ask friends, associates, neighbors and family:
Clarify to them you likes to play poker and you are looking for a nice friendly poker game nearby. Keep track of what they say. Don’t turn aside any suggestions they make — even if they say that the stakes are very big or very low because one game may leads to another and one person leads to another.
2. Visit nearby organizations
These can be especially good resources if someone from your initial list of contacts is connected in some way. I found my best game by visiting a Poker Club — the best poker room of Midtown, New York — and just asking if they had regular card games for members. They told me that they had a poker game and runs seven days in a week then gave me the contact information. You also can do the same.
3. Go to the local library
There are often clubs that meet at libraries for card games like bridge. Find out about who organizes them. Check out other non-card games like chess, backgammon, scrabble, or checkers. Organizers of those games may well know of some poker game. I’ve even seen a poker game advertised at the library — it was a discussion group more than a game, but still, it was a starting place.
4. Visit local gathering places
If none of the above pans out, or if you want to track every possible source, you can visit the bars, hotels, motels, restaurants, pool halls, nightclubs, bingo halls, racetracks, or other places that might have some connections for you. I once found a poker game in Atlanta by talking with my desk clerk at the motel at which I was staying. Another time I found a poker game in Nashville by speaking with the woman who seated me at the hotel restaurant. And in Hawaii once I found a poker game by asking the concierge of my resort.
5. Try your personal networks
If you are visiting a city and want to find a game before you arrive, I’ve found that it is helpful to start with your own personal networks. I’m Jewish, so when I wanted a game in Lynchburg, Virginia — a place with no public poker rooms — I called the synagogue. I asked for a service and I asked for a poker game. Believe it or not, they didn’t have a daily service but they put me in touch with a local merchant who knew of a game, and it turned out to be both fun and profitable.
6. Accept invitation no matter how big or small
I once got an invitation to the perfect $5/$5 pot limit game from a guy I met in a game played with a nickel ante. The nickel ante game was a social affair for this guy who played much larger when he wanted serious poker. I met him in the small game, and he brought me to the larger game.
7. Keep track of what you have learned
It’s easy to forget contacts, phone numbers, emails, and the like. So write them down or enter them on the computer and get back to them occasionally to see if they have turned up any useful information.