What Do You Need To Play A Poker Game?

Poker is a simple game with lots of hidden complexity: at the most basic level, all it requires is a deck of cards and maybe some chips. But casinos, and even home games, have a lot of other equipment to make the game feel more elegant and dignified. Here's a full list of the equipment needed to play:

  • Deck of Cards
  • Poker chips
  • Poker table
  • Dealer Button
  • Poker Case
  • Card Protectors
  • Timer
  • Lammers
  • Chip Tray
  • Poker clothing
  • Cocktail (drinks)
  • Casino


A casino is a place where gambling games including poker are played. Some are luxurious adult playgrounds with every amenity you could imagine, others are not. Every casino is different, so know the rules before you sit down, and pay attention: every collection of players is unique.

Poker Decks

Poker uses the standard French deck, which comprises 52 cards split into four groups of 13 cards of a specific suit: clubs, diamonds, hearts, and spades. The cards' suits are differentiated by the symbol associated with each suit. Each suit gets one card of each rank, starting with 2, incremented by one up until 10; after the 10 comes the Jack, Queen, King, and the Ace.

Casinos have an infinite supply of decks at hand and will change them regularly to avoid cards being marked or folded. At home, you should plan to have a few decks on hand, always make sure their backs are a different color, to avoid cards getting shuffled into the wrong deck.

Poker Lammers

Lammers are any button used to indicate something to a specific player or state of play in the game: a missed blind lammer for a player who was away, an on/off lammer for a bounty game, or a 3rd man walking button to indicate how many players have stepped away. Casinos use different lammers for their own specific rules. Home games might consider lammers to indicate any number of rules, for instance, if playing mixed games, a HI/LOW lammer might help players to keep track of what's being dealt.

The Poker Table

Poker can be played on any table, but most casinos have large oval tables with padded edges where players can get comfortable. The tables usually seat 8-10 players, with space for a dealer (usually one of the long edges). Tables designed specifically for poker are usually covered in felt, a soft fabric. The felt can also be written on to indicate where the flop might be dealt, where chips are stacked into a pot, and most importantly a line that indicates where players can keep their chips separate from the pot: some casinos will enforce a rule that any chips that go past that line are considered part of the pot, even if you put them there by accident.

Poker Chips

Casinos almost never let players play with cash: you must buy chips. Plus, come on: they look so cool! Nothing makes a home game feel more like the real thing than a good set of chips. Cheaper ones are plastic, and more expensive ones are made of a clay composite.

While color denomination varies, most casinos use white chips for $1, red for $5, and black for $100, other colors like green, pink, and blue are commonly used as well. Always know the denominations! You might run into cheques: no, not checks, but cheques, a type of chip that is long, like a domino. These are more common in some casinos in Europe, but work the same as chips.

Dealer Button

A dealer button is a white lammer with the word DEALER on it, used to indicate which player is dealing the hand. Casinos use these because one professional dealer deals every hand, but the dealer position still rotates from player to player. Home games might not need a dealer button, but it helps players remember who's in position.

Poker Case

For home games, many chips come in a set that is stored in a case. These cases can be inexpensive aluminum or any sort of fancier material: wood, leather, you name it. What's most important is that they hold all your chips, and maybe have space for a few decks. Some nicer sets also hold things like Dealer buttons, card protectors, and even a few dice, just in case you need more than cards to gamble on.

Card Protectors

Card protectors are any object placed on top of a hand to stop the cards from being accidentally folded. Some players use a stray chip, and others might have any number of lucky charms or knick-knacks to liven up the table: toys, framed photos, dice, or even a silver bullet.

Chip Tray

Casinos will hand players chips in a plastic tray in order to keep them sorted and easy to carry to the table. These aren't necessarily needed for home games, unless someone wants to keep their chips very particularly organized.


Timers are used in tournaments to keep track of when blinds raise. Home games can just use a cell phone, but something more visible to all players is easier to read and more considerate.

Poker clothing

Casinos have dress codes, so know before you go, especially if they have rules about jeans or sleeveless shirts. That said, dress comfortably: poker is a game of patience, and you'll be a lot more patient if you don't feel like your pants are too tight.

Cocktails (drinks)

Many casinos have free drinks, so go ahead and enjoy, but be cautious: loosening up with a beverage might cost you a lot more if you overindulge, and a casino bouncer might get a little rough and tumble if you get too rambunctious. Know your limits! Oh, and do the right thing: tip your server. The drinks might be free, but their time isn't.