the uninitiated, it might be handy to keep a cheat-sheet around,
in plain view, so folks can be sure they know what beats what, and
don’t stay with a handful of red, thinking it’s a flush! One
handy site to get the ‘lay of the land’ (as the host, you will
be expected to know these things) is free-poker-rules.com/rules.html.
Be aware, however, most online poker sites are intended for online
gambling or downloadable software, not to teach you how to play it
at home with actual people and cards. For this, there’s always Hoyle’s
Rules of Games, a very popular reference to card gaming rules
and tips. I have a feeling many a well-worn paperback copy live on
in used bookstores, libraries, and online booksellers worldwide.
Poker and beer go hand in hand. If you’ve stocked up on any
seasonal brews this winter, this is a prime time to share. Good
non-alcoholic options may include energy drinks or cola,
especially if you’re aiming for a marathon gambling session.
Pretzels and chips are
common card-game eats, but I always get cranky if my cards get
slippery with chip grease. Plus, that fare is so predictable.
Avoid the food-on-cards problem by serving little foods on
toothpicks. Tableside trays make sure nothing clutters up the
playing surface, and that no one has to get up to get anything.
And “stuff stuffed with stuff”— yummies people can
pop into their mouths without making a fuss or disrupting
play—will be eaten long before one lucky player cleans out the
pockets of everyone else at the table.
Stuffed with Stuff (3 options)
Cheese-Stuffed Tomatoes Mash
¼ lb. bleu cheese and thin it with 1 cup sour cream. Add a
medium-sized grated onion and 1 teaspoon freshly-ground
black pepper. Stuff into cherry tomatoes or pile onto
scooped tomato wedges.
with Red Caviar Thin
down a packet of Neuchatel or cream cheese with heavy cream.
Beat in red caviar to taste. Add a dash of lemon juice and
stuff into celery stalks cut to 2 inch pieces.
Stuffed Eggs Hard
cook a dozen eggs (about 12 minutes). Cool, shell, and cut
lengthwise. Exhume the yolks and set the whites aside.
With the yolks, add 4 Tbsps. of mayonnaise, 1 tsp. of
mustard, 1 tsp. chopped chives and 1 Tbsp. chopped parsley.
Add salt if you think it’s needed. Heap the yellow mixture
into the whites and garnish with paprika. Chill.