PokerStars Home Games

PokerStars Home GamesThere’s no poker experience quite like a home game. The crazy play between friends, the banter between hands, the sense of light-hearted competition; these things just aren’t there when you’re grinding tables online.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could reproduce the home game experience on the internet? Wouldn’t it be great if you could combine the convenience of online poker with the sheer fun of a private game?

Now you can.

PokerStars recently introduced a new feature, Home Games, into its poker software. Through Home Games, you can set up your own private poker club–or a few different private poker clubs–that only you and invited guests can join. This makes it easy to host private games as often as you’d like, all without leaving your computer chair.

The best part about Home Games is that it’s packed full of options to make your games fun. Whatever your preferred variant of poker, whatever your favourite game structure, and whatever your desired stakes, PokerStars Home Games lets you craft a game exactly as you’d play it offline. You can mix up games from day to day, or schedule the same tournament every week–with Home Games, it’s completely up to you.

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Let’s take a deeper look at some of the features that make Home Games a unique online poker experience.

Privacy and Control

Want to keep the online grinders out of your games? No problem. When you create a Home Games poker club, who plays is completely up to you.

Your club will have its own unique ID number, and you’ll create a password during setup. Without both your club ID and the correct password, it’s impossible for a player to join your private game. No more nits busting up your tables–thankfully!

Inviting your friends to join your club is as simple as handing them the required information. You can do this any way you like–e-mail, Facebook, or in person. It’s super easy for anyone to join your Home Games poker club, as long as you give them the proper details!

Variety and Options

Your Home Games poker club doesn’t have to spread one game all the time. There are so many game options it’ll make your head spin!

From the staple poker games like Holdem to the more esoteric variants like Badugi, you can choose to play almost any poker game imaginable in your private club.

Want to play a cash game? Sure! Short-handed, or full-ring? $25 buy-in or $50? US dollars or Euros? Your choice.

How about a tournament? Right on! How fast would you like the blind levels to move? Buy-in size? Big starting stack, or small? What date and time would you like schedule the tournament for?

The name of the game with Home Games is options; there are so many of them, you’ll never have a boring poker night again!

Just Like a Brick-and-Mortar Home Game

There’s nothing you can’t do in a PokerStars Home Game that you can do in a live home game, except for maybe punching your friend in the arm after a suckout. But that’s not nice anyway, and there’s still a substitute–you can berate your friend in the chat box!

The chat at Home Games tables is not moderated, so go ahead–say whatever you want. In a regular online game, you’d be at risk of your opponents reporting you for saying inappropriate things. But in your private club, it’s anything goes–be as immature, rude, or vile as you’d like! There’s nobody there to stop you, and who knows–you might even put your buddy on tilt!

Simple and FREE

You might think that a feature as useful as Home Games would cost extra. If you think about it, having a private online poker club is essentially like owning your own poker site. How could there be no extra charge for that?!

I’ve got no clue, but I’m not going to complain; starting a Home Games private poker club is absolutely free, and that’s all I need to know.

Thanks to PokerStars home games, hosting a private game on the internet is a cinch. Just download the PokerStars software and sign up for an account. From there, it’s a matter of minutes before your very own private game is up and running on the net.

Setting Up a PokerStars Home Games Poker Club

Ready to start a Home Games private poker club on PokerStars, but don’t know where to start? Don’t worry–it’s simple. You’ll just need to click a few buttons, and your private game will be ready to rock.

If you don’t have the PokerStars software on your computer, you’ll need to download it before setting up your club. Click here to download the client; the transfer shouldn’t take more than a minute.

Next, you need to sign in using your PokerStars player ID and password. Don’t have an account yet? No biggie. It’s a quick and easy process–30 seconds is all you’ll need to get started.

To create an account, open up the “Account” menu at the top of your screen. From there, click “Create Account.” Fill in the required fields, click submit, and you’re ready to go!

By the way, if you’ve never played on PokerStars before, you’re eligible for a $600 bonus on your first deposit. Just enter the PokerStars marketing code PSP11041 when you buy chips for the first time, and collect your free cash! Not bad.

Let’s recap. You’ve downloaded the PokerStars software, and created your player account. Now on to the good stuff–creating your Home Games private poker club!

Creating Your Home Games Poker Club

Step 1

First, click over to the main lobby in the PokerStars client. You should see a tab labelled “Home Games” at the top of the screen.

Home Games in Lobby

Click the tab to go to the Home Games lobby. You will see a box at the top with the heading “My Poker Clubs,” and a box at the bottom with the heading “My Scheduled Games.” This is the control panel from which you’ll access your private club in the future.

Locate the button labelled “Create a Poker Club” on the left-hand side of the screen.

Create A Poker Club

Click the button, and on to the next step!

Step 2

You should now see a pop-up window with the heading “Create a Poker Club.” Here’s where it gets fun–you get to select your club’s name, and choose an invitation code that you’ll hand out to your friends.

Club Name & Invitation Code

Choose a unique name for your club that your friends will understand. Keep it simple and recognizable. That said, you should definitely not give away too much personal information in the name. Stuff like your real name, your address, or your friends’ names are best left off of the internet. Remember, your Home Games club name will be visible to people other than you once you’re all set up.

Your invitation code acts as a password for your club. Choose one that’s hard to guess, so that you don’t end up with unwanted players in your club. Do not use a password you use for another online account as your invitation code. That would be bad news all around.

When you’re all done entering your club info, click through to the next screen.

Step 3

Congratulations, you’re done! Your Home Games poker club should be online and ready to go. If the process went smoothly, you should be looking at a screen like this:

Invite Your Friends To Your Club

You can invite friends to join your poker club by clicking either of the “Share” buttons on this screen. You don’t have to, though. You can invite your friends to play at any time in the future, and in any way you want–all they’ll need is the club ID and the invitation code.

Step 4

Now it’s just a matter of learning your way around the Home Games club interface. Your home screen should look something like this:

Home Games Interface

As you can see, you’ve got tons of options. You can customize your club’s appearance, invite new players, or set up games all from this screen. Don’t be afraid to poke around; the fastest way to learn about your private club is to try out all the features.

Now that you’ve joined PokerStars, created a Home Games poker club, and invited your friends to join, you’re ready to assume the role of poker club manager. Let’s learn a bit more about what that role entails.

Managing Your PokerStars Home Games Poker Club

As a PokerStars Home Games club manager, you’re in complete control of all club happenings. You set the game schedule, you manage the player list, and you control your cardroom’s appearance.

The main thing you’ll be doing as club manager is setting up games. Whenever you and your friends feel the itch to play, you’ll be the one to set up the tables. This is a simple matter of clicking some buttons. The real challenge is deciding what type of poker to play on a given night!

You’ve got two main options in terms of game types: cash games and tournaments. If you’ve ever seen High Stakes Poker on TV, that’s a cash game; it’s basically just an extended round of play with revolving blinds. Tournaments on the other hand are more structured. If you’ve seen the World Series of Poker, you’ve seen a tournament. Players begin with a set amount of chips, and play to elimination; a top percentage of players walk away with prizes.

Let’s see how we can set up either type of game from our Home Games club lobby.

Setting Up a Home Games Cash Game Table

To set up a cash game, click the “Manage Games” tab at the top of your poker club lobby. You’ll see a button on the right-hand side of the lobby labelled “Create a Table…” Click it to pull up the cash game menu.

From here, it’s quite simple. Just enter whatever parameters you feel like to create a custom table. You can choose the poker game type, the pot limit structure, the number of players per table, and your preferred currency. For some types of poker, you can even restrict the amount of time players have to act on their hands by selecting a “Fast” table speed.

You’ve got tons of options, so have fun crafting the exact game you want to play.

Once you’ve set all the game parameters to your liking, you’re ready to breathe life into your Home Games table. Just click “Create Table” at the bottom of the screen, and you’re done.

Your newly created cash game table will now be listed in the “Manage Tables” box. All you need to do is double-click the table name, select a seat, and wait for others to show up!

Setting Up a Home Games Scheduled Tournaments

Some nights, your club members will feel more like a structured competition than a free-flowing game. Tournaments are perfect for times like those.

Setting up a tournament is similar to setting up a cash game. First, click over to the “Manage Games” tab from your club lobby. Then, click the “Create a Tournament…” button. This will open the tournament management dialog, from which you’ll set your tourney paramaters.

You’ve got tons of options when setting up a tournament. You can select any game type, any table size, and any buy-in amount you wish. You can even play irregular tournament types, like rebuys and shootouts.

Before you create a tournament, consider how long you and your club members will want to play for. If you’re in a bit of a rush, set the blind interval setting to a short amount of time. Doing so will decrease the number of hands you play per tournament level, and thus force a more action-packed game.

You’ll notice a checkbox at the bottom of the Home Games tournament settings screen labelled “Count towards club standings.” Keep the box checked if you’d like a particular tournament to count towards your club’s leaderboard standings. The Home Games leaderboard will keep track of which members win and lose in tournaments; this can be a fun way to foster a bit of friendly competition between players (prop bets, anyone?) If you’d rather not play for leaderboard standings, make sure the box is unchecked.

Once you’ve set your Home Games tournament parameters, make sure your game is scheduled to begin at the proper time. If you want a tournament to begin two days from its creation, you can set its start date for two days out. The start date is up to you–but make sure all your club’s members are on the same page. It’s no fun showing up to a tournament only to find you’re playing against yourself.

Click the “Create Tournament” button to finalize your game. Once that’s done, your tournament will be listed in the “Manage Tournaments” box. To join, simply double click the game. The tournament lobby will pop up. Click the “Register” button at the bottom-left hand screen, and you’re good to go.

That’s really all there is to managing a PokerStars Home Games poker club. Just a few clicks of the mouse, and you’ve set up a custom game for you and your friends to enjoy.

If you’re not particularly interested in managing a Home Games club, it shouldn’t be hard to find a friend who will assume the role. In that case, you’ll act simply as a club member. You’ll be invited to play in whatever games the manager creates, and you’ll need to join them in order to play.

Joining a PokerStars Home Games Poker Club

Joining a PokerStars Home Games poker club is much easier than creating and managing one. You just need two pieces of information: the poker club’s ID number and the club’s invitation code. Have the club manager send you these two things, and then follow the steps listed below.

First, click over to the Home Games main lobby. You’ll see a button on the left-hand side of the screen labelled “Join a Poker Club”; click that button. A screen will pop up requesting you to enter the club ID and the invitation code. You’ll also need to enter your name so that the club manager can identify who you are.

Once you’ve filled out the form, click “Join Club” at the bottom of the window. Voila! You’ve joined your Home Games poker club. Once the club manager has approved your registration, you’ll be ready to play a few rounds with your friends.

Your poker club will be listed in the Home Games main lobby under the “My Poker Clubs” heading. All you need to do to access your club is double-click the club name.

To join games set up by the club manager, just click the “Manage Games” tab from the club lobby. Any active games will be listed there. Simply double-click the name of whichever game you want to join and take an empty seat.

Use PokerStars Marketing Code PSP11041

Home Games is exclusive to PokerStars which is the worlds largest online poker site. If you don’t already have a PokerStars account, use the sign-up link below and use 2011 PokerStars Marketing Code PSP11041 in the required field when creating your account. Invite your friends and have fun running your online poker club!