This is a basic guide on how to start your own poker room. Many of the details change from state to state. This guide is being written mostly by what is required by the state of Montana for a poker game.
Assuming that it is legal to play poker in your state these are the basics to get started.
Complying with laws/regulations
Building & maintaining a player base
The first thing that is required is that you find a suitable location for your new poker room. This will need to be an establishment that has or can acquire licensing for a live poker game. In searching for a location there are a few things you should consider. If you would like a location with a lot of traffic you are most likely going to have to pay a premium price for the location, on the other hand if you are not worried about how much traffic a location has then it is likely that you will get a location for your card room at a much lower price.
One of the easiest parts of starting a poker room is getting the supplies. The basic supplies you are going to need are a poker table, poker chips and playing cards. You should probably think about investing in some other equipment such as a television since many times being able to watch a sporting event can make or break a poker game at times. If you are wondering where to purchase these items many online stores provide everything you will need at some very reasonable prices.
After you’ve found your location and acquired the supplies you will need it’s time to find some help to run your poker game. You are most likely going to need at least one poker dealer. This is also a major part of your poker game since the quality of a dealer can severely impact the amount of money you make from the rake. Another quality of an experienced dealer is that they can sometimes effect your player base. If a dealer has been dealing in the area for a long period of time it’s likely that they have developed a relationship with other poker players in the area as well and by simply employing certain dealers can bring poker players into your game.
Another type of card room employee that is many times over looked is house players. Almost every successful poker room in the world employs house players of one type or another. The reason for house players is to be able to start a poker game as soon as you get a customer and also to keep your poker game going when it becomes short handed. Many card rooms simply offer to put them into the game for free and split any winnings they may have or pay them an hourly wage.
When looking for a good house player the general rule is that you want them to play tight and not to break any poker players. Their overall purpose is not to win money but to help keep your game going.
Before you open your doors and start running out to get poker players to play in your new poker room you need to make sure that you are complying with all of the regulations. Make sure that you and the location have all of the licensing in order and that all of your employees have the licensing they require to work for you without breaking any laws.
Now that everything is in order you need to start getting poker players to play in your new card room. This can be the most difficult part. One of the easiest things you can do is tell every single person you know that you are operating a poker room and let them know where it is. It’s very important to get the word out because if you have family, friends & associates that enjoy playing poker it’s very likely that they are going to come play in your poker game if they know about it, if they don’t know then they will most likely go to wherever they went to play poker before. It’s not a bad idea to spend some money on other marketing as well such as the newspaper, radio and television advertising.
Once yous start building your clientele it’s important to keep them happy and playing in your poker game. This is the downfall of many card rooms. When the players are in your establishment you need to make sure that they are getting great service at whatever it is they need. If they are hungry you should buy them food, if they want a drink get them a drink, if they want to know what movies are playing call the movie theater and find out for them etc. They should also be waited on in a timely manner to ensure they are happy. When you are in a service industry such as the poker business it’s very important to make sure you provide a better service than the competition.
Another great way to keep your clientele and also help your business is to start a mailing list. Once you have created a good mailing list you will find that it will most likely become your #1 and most effective marketing tool. Even if you need to add incentives to get people to sign up for your mailing list to get it going it should be worth it in the long run. It’s also important not to abuse players contact information as this will most likely annoy them and could even result in them not playing in your poker room.
Overall the poker industry is very competitive and if you do not enjoy the game or other poker players it is probably not the business for you to get into. Although if you enjoy poker, poker players and competing it can be a very enjoyable and lucrative business if you are successful.