Cheap Entertainment Frugality

Cheap Entertainment: Poker Night

cheap entertainment, cheap games, playing poker


I looked at my cards, and confidently pushed a small stack of chips to the middle of the table. My opponent flipped his cards and smiled.

His full house beat my two pairs.

I’m not in Las Vegas, or even in a local casino. It’s poker night and I’m in my neighbor’s basement with a group of friends.  We’ve held poker night for the last year and a half, and has been an inexpensive way for a group of friends to get together for a night of fun.

We’ve tried two different formats, starting with the tournament style, but after a few months the disadvantages caused us to try something a little different. We moved to the continuous play format which is working much better for our particular group.

Tournament Style:

Each player pays in an agree upon amount (we chose $10), and in return receives a stack of chips. You play until one player has all the chips, the winner taking the entire money pot.


  • Players know the buy in amount, and can budget the money for poker night.
  • We usually have six to eight players, so the winner takes home a large pot.


  • Only one winner per game. We usually can only fit two games in per evening.
  • Once a player is out, they can only watch until the next game starts, which could be a long time.
  • Players cannot leave in the middle of the game
  • Players that show up late have to wait until the next game

Continuous Play:

Each chip color is assigned a specific value, and players buy the value of chips of their choosing. We don’t require any specific amount, but most players start out with $20 of chips. We start playing, and keep dealing hands until the last players decide to call it a night. Players can buy in and cash out at any time.


  • More than one person can go home winning money
  • Players that lose all their chips can buy more and keep playing.
  • Players can cash out and leave when they want to go home, or when they’ve lost as much as they’re willing to lose.
  • Players that show up later can buy their chips and jump in the next hand.


  • There’s no one “big winner.”

We have a poker night once a month, and it’s something I always look forward to. I bring a snack to share, and a $20 bill. Some nights I leave a winner, and some nights I don’t. But I know that at most a great night with the guys will cost me $20. (And it’s a lot less riskier than, say, online casinos which you could play here)

Not bad at all.

Have you ever had a poker night?


Brought to you courtesy of Brock

About the author

Brock Kernin


  • @Daisy – Money certainly doesn’t have to be involved. The only reason we do it is because even if the money is not that much, it totally changes the way people bet and makes the game more interesting. Glad to know there are other poker players out there!

  • We used to do this after Jaycee meetings. We had to put a cap on the buy-ins and finally stop playing. Some would get too belligerent after losing money.

    Ours was a bad situation, but I do miss getting together and having a night of hold ’em every so often.

  • @Dan Ugh, I guess that’s the price you pay for having some very competitive people. I played with a guy like that once….one minute he was saying that the best part of playing poker with friends was watching a game, having a good time and just “guys being guys” time. Next minute he’s cursing up a storm because he lost a big hand. Not. Invited. again.

Leave a Comment