It can be hard to buy a gift for a poker player if you don’t play the game yourself. What you might see as a nice gift could be useless to them. There are so many books on the market nowadays that they are also becomingly increasingly difficult purchases for your poker playing friend, especially if your own knowledge on the game is limited. Not only do you have to try and purchase a book your friend hasn’t already got, but then you also have to ask yourself these questions:
Does your friend play Limit or No Limit?
Do they play Hold’em, Omaha, Stud or many other variations?
Are they a cash game specialist or tournament player?
Do they primarily play Sit ‘n’ Goes or Multi Table Tournaments?
Are they ready for the advanced reading of Sklansky, or are they more suited to Harrington?
If you’re shrugging your shoulders at the questions above, you really shouldn’t be deciding which poker books to buy as a gift, unless your friend happens to have an Amazon Wishlist with what they want actually specified.
There are questions you probably can answer though, and these may help in your quest for a nice gift.
Do they play online or live – or perhaps both?
Do they often have friends around to their own house to play?
Do they play for fun, or are they a serious student of the game looking to advance and make money?
Knowing the answers to these questions will enable you to find a gift that your poker playing friend will enjoy and make use of, instead of a gift they may be disappointed with and which would end up on eBay within a month.
The items below are varied to suit online and live players; amateurs and those wishing to become more; novelty and serious; and also to suit various budgets.
Price: $14.95 – $29.50
From: www.copagcards.com & www.kem.com
Game type: Live play – Home Games
A couple of packs of plastic playing cards are a great addition to any home game, and are extremely affordable – especially for the length of time they will last. Kem cards are renowned for being the best in the world, so the ability to buy two packs for less than $30 makes for a great stocking filler.
Copags are very high in quality and also a great bargain at half the price of the Kems. As these sets are made out of plastic they will last a hundred times longer than normal paper based cards. No longer will they get dog-eared or creased when you bend them. An added bonus is that plastic cards are washable so a simple spray and wipe will keep them clean and germ free for many a home game.
The Tournament Director Software
Game type: Live play – Home Games
If your friend hosts poker tournaments at home, this great piece of software will allow them to add a great professional air to their poker nights. The Poker Director can be left running on a laptop whilst the game is in progress and will automatically keep track of blind levels throughout the game. Every time a player busts out of the tournament simply let the software know and it the average chip stacks will automatically update, and tables will be adjusted.
This software is especially useful if the same people play each other on a weekly basis, as it will keep a record of past successes or losses, allowing you to run a league or season of poker with ease.
Poker Tracker Software
Price: $55 – $144
Game type: Online play
Poker Tracker is great software for online players to be able to keep track of their, and their opponents, game. This software supports the major poker clients, so you don’t have to worry if you don’t know where your friend plays poker online. By importing and analysing the hands played, whoever you buy this for will be able to establishes the weakness in their game and allow them to become a better all-round player.
Custom Card Guard
Price: $28 – $50
Game type: Live play
Pokerguard.com offer great quality customised card guards. For the uninitiated, a card guard is an item that you place on top of your cards during a live game so that the other players and the dealer know they are still in play…meaning there is no risk of cards being mucked by accident. They’re not necessary in a game, but many people use them and though you can use anything you like, these are one ounce of pure silver and are guaranteed to add class to their game – especially if it’s unique to them.
Price: $99 initial fee, plus $24 per month
Game type: Online play (primarily)
CardRunners.com is a website dedicated to offering video tutorials from many of the best young poker players in the world. A subscription to this site is a great gift to anyone looking to advance in the game, as they get to watch the best players in action and listen to their thought processes as the professionals actually play their game.
Although this may not be the cheapest poker related gift you can buy, imagine the value in helping your loved one turn into a high stakes cash player and having you to thank for it. You’ll surely be treated to gifts galore as thanks to such a great present.
What not to buy!
If you don’t play poker you may think that any poker related gift will do…but this simply isn’t true – and here are two products that you will not be thanked for.
1) Poker for Dummies (DVD) – this item is only suitable for absolute beginners. Anyone who plays poker enough to be classed as your ‘poker playing friend’ does not need this as a gift, so don’t waste your money on it.
2) Automatic Card Shuffler – Wishing to add a touch of class to the home games of your poker playing friend? If so, stick to something such as the plastic cards mentioned above, and give this item a wide berth. You’ll need to run cards through it several times to get a decent shuffle, it’s loud, it interferes with the television and it’s really no substitute for using your hands which is probably just as quick. Avoid at all costs.