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The guys are coming over in a few hours, and you need tonight to go perfectly. Last’s weekend’s axe-throwing “misadventure” set you back a few points, and almost a few toes.

Everyone knows the least important part of a poker night is the poker.

From the food to the decor, there’s so much to do!

Let’s start with stocking and staging the fridge.

When the guys come over, they’re going to want a drink, fast, and everyone knows to help themselves to whatever is in the refrigerator. This isn’t by any means an exclusive list, but pack that sucker with IPAs. Hazy ones, juicy ones, and ones from the local brewery that is much better at naming beers than brewing them.

No one actually likes IPAs, but odds are none of your friends will admit that. Regardless, feel free to sprinkle in a few stouts and light beers to diversify your holdings. Speaking of which, look up the price of Bitcoin because, somehow, that is still a thing that has to be talked about in any quorum of six or more guys.

Speaking of “the guys,” not every guy at the poker night needs to be a penis-haver.

This is 2020 and ladies can be “the guys” too. That said, there’s a fine line between preparing specialty goods for ladies and treating them like regulars. Beware of condescending to them with hard seltzers, BUT IF YOU MUST, the answer is White Claw. No one likes Truly. Truly is what you’d end up with if Quentin Tarantino wrote for a women character and that character wanted a hard seltzer.

Next, snacks! Big chain store pizzas are so passe.

You need pizzas from that place in town that does wood-fired pies, and tops every one with spicy honey. No one will admit it, but pizza has become merely a vehicle for hot honey and those little pepperonis that look like nipples.

Guac is another must at any poker night.

It is verified currency amongst your millennial friends. Also currency amongst your millennial friends? Venmo! But, unfortunately poker nights require cash. Give your buddies a heads up so they can find an ATM, remember how to use an ATM, and re-familiarize themselves with paper bill denominations. (Lifehack – the numbers are in the corners!)

Don’t forget to stop by town hall and get a temporary license to hold a cash poker game.

Since gambling isn’t yet legal everywhere, you’ll need form 1592-G, which is a green sheet. The last thing you want is for the game to get busted open by the FBI, right when things are getting down to the nitty gritty. Plus, your friends will want to know tonight’s game is government sanctioned and that all applicable federal and state taxes will be surrendered.

Is there a big game on TV tonight?

That’s not a rhetorical question; you should find out. Someone will ask about putting itn on, so get ahead of it and keep the suspicion down that you haven’t been paying attention to the whateverball season. Also, clear the DVR of those Vanderpump Rules episodes you’ve fallen behind on because you were binge-watching The Crown.

Speaking of which, here’s a quick checklist of other items you should hide before people get there: the Snuggie, your Bloomberg 2020 donor mailings, your Accutane prescription, anything that will remind everyone of last week’s axe-throwing mishap, and the squatty potty.

It’s almost poker time! Do you have a table and enough chairs?

Guys love sitting in chairs! You’ll also have to locate and dust off that old silver briefcase of personalized poker chips you got in college and used twice. It doesn’t matter what color the chips are because people will forget 3,000 times, even if you write it down on Post-Its and put them at every seat.

Finally, since Coronavirus is everywhere these days, you’ll need a full hazmat suit for each of your players. Scientists have done wonders with the technology in these things. Individual fingers make shuffling cards viable and holding them manageable.

When everyone has arrived, all hazmat suits are appropriately secured, you’re ready to go! Let’s shuffle up and deal! Ah shit, send someone out to get a deck of cards. Then it’s game on!

Josh Bard

Josh Bard is a guy. A sports guy, an ideas guy, a wise guy, a funny guy, a Boston guy, and sometimes THAT guy. Never been a Guy Fieri guy, though.

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