Everyone loves a good home game. I had the good fortune of playing in some of the most fun and juiciest home games over the years. My first regular home game occurred during college in Atlanta. I spent the summer after graduation living in my fraternity house. A couple of friends lived off campus and they hosted a poker game every night in a tiny apartment. We'd drink cheap beer, smoke cheaper weed, listen to Grateful Dead bootlegs, and fling around plastic chips around the kitchen table. Sometimes the games were so popular, a second table was added and the late comers gathered around the coffee table in the living room, where Smooth the three-legged cat often hung out under the table. The game always started out as low stakes, but by the end of the night, things escalated from fun to crazy. It's always between the hours of 2am and 6am where massive fortunes were won and loss. We kept a Post-It pad handy for IOUs.
When I lived in Seattle in the late 1990s, I played poker at the Trout House. Members of the acid-jazz band, Kilgore Trout, lived in a funky house in Fremont. They'd practice in the basement and host poker games in the kitchen every Monday night like clockwork. When guys in the band finished with practice, they'd join the game. When the and went on tour, they still left a key for us to continue to weekly poker tradition. During that time, "Rounders" came out in theaters. Everyone in the home game saw it and we quickly added Texas Hold'em to the mix.
I lived in NYC during the time of the glorious online poker boom and the Moneymaker Days. I played every Monday at the Blue Parrot, not too far from Madison Square Garden. It was a lawyers game that I got invited to because of the popularity of Tao of Poker blog. All of the guys went to law school together, but had been scattered throughout various law firms in the city. It was a fun game because the players were very good at multiple games and variations. Plus, they all had deep pockets and loved to binge drink. Lot of them were under tremendous stress, so Monday nights were away for them to blow off steam while playing cards in a cramped kitchen in a skyscraper.
After my Vegas days, I relocated to San Francisco. I moved into a hip Victorian, where my roommate and her brother hosted a weekly home game. She called it "The Ice Palace" because it was always freezing inside the apartment. We'd have two tables every Monday nights with ample wine flowing and California's finest local produce smoked at copious rates. The stakes started out 25 cents/50 cents but by Midnight, it'd get down to one table and play like a $2/$5 game. The participants were a true dichotomy of San Francisco in the 2010s. You had a mixed bag of tech dorks, hippies, hipsters, Burners, drag queen performers, musicians, chefs, bartenders, writers, chemists, and ultra degens. It's also the game that had the most amount of women playing out of any other home game I attended.
My current local home game in California headed online at PokerStars during the pandemic. Everyone had no choice but to play. We experienced what so many other poker enthusiasts had to go through. Everyone missed the fun and weekly action, but pivoted to a virtual version. Sure, it's not the same, but at least it game everyone an outlet to play.
It's been almost four months since many poker players headed into lockdowns and quarantine. Many of them had to give up playing poker with friends and family, but PokerStars Home Games became very popular during the pandemic. Over 300,000 new Home Games were added across the world.
With a high volume of new players, so too came a flood of complaints. All of them were valid, but PokerStars finally switched up some functions to give Home Games more access and more variety.
Prior to the change, you could only access Home Games via desktop. Now there's availability to play via PokerStars app on Android and iOS (you might have to wait a little bit depending on which market you live in... but it's coming to Apple products).
There's also opportunities to take apart in the new PKO craze. Yes, you can add progressive knockouts to Home Games. It's a great way to increase smack talking and induce action.
PokerStars also tweaked the length of tournaments. They added Hyper-Turbo blinds for quickies (3 mins), in addition to Turbo (5 mins), Normal (10 mins), and Slow (15 mins).
The Home Games also changed the Late Registration function. Instead of ten minutes, its been expanded to six levels. Now you can act like a big time pro and show up a few levels late.
Oh and did you want to experiment with some new games? How about Short Deck? Home Games added new options such as 5-Card Omaha, 6-Card Omaha, 6+ Hold'em (aka Short Deck), Showtime Hold'em, Split Hold'em and Fusion.
For more details, check out PokerStars Blog.
Sign up for PokerStars Home Games today!