Poker night is fast becoming the great American pastime for grownups. With the burgeoning popularity of online poker, celebrity poker and televised poker tournaments broadcast from locales like Las Vegas and Hawaii, card play is big business and lots of fun. When guys play en masse, it's more than polite entertainment, though. Men take their card games pretty seriously, and there's nothing pretty about it. That includes a heaping pile of testosterone laden "competitive spirit."
For guys, playing poker is as much an exercise in technique as it is about competition. You can see it in the way they wager and watch one another. It's about discovering other players' tells, those involuntary twitches and mannerisms that give their strategies away, but it's also about that indefinable essence of male bonding and masculine style that women just don't get.
Because guys' night poker is serious business, keep the distractions to a minimum. That translates to putting the kids to bed early and keeping the family dog out of harm's way until lights out. It's also a good idea to offer plenty of liquid refreshment and a few snacks that are easy to eat one-handed. We love dedicated poker tables with all the decorator froufrou, but if all you have around is a portable card table (and cards, of course), you're still good to go. Comfortable seating and efficient lighting are also important. Oh, and having poker chips on hand to avoid hassles with cash wagers is a nice touch, too.