When the big stars turn out for a fight night in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, do you think they turn up for the fight and then go home? Of course not, they make a night of it! Dinner, drinks, and a hand or two of poker at one of the big casinos is in order.
It might be easier to find a poker game in Vegas than anywhere else, but you can always throw your own poker night. Hosting a viewing party that’s an all-out event is a bit more work than just watching the fight, but it makes it an occasion.
Anyone can plan a party, but there are a lot of other details to consider when hosting a poker night. It can be easy to overlook things like making sure you have enough chips or knowing what the house rules on buy-ins and rebuys are. Here is a detailed guide to all the technical details of hosting a poker night.
Have a schedule…
Sometimes it seems like you can go weeks without there being an interesting fight and then other times there are so many fights in a single weekend that you can barely keep track of them, let alone watch them all.
This means that you’ll need to plan your poker night around the fight you want to watch, you won’t be able to pick a night to play poker and just hope that the fight will be on.
Have a look at the undercard before you make your plans. There might be some great potential fights buried there that you’ll miss if you only tune in in time for the title fight.
At the recent Gervonta Davis v Isaac Cruz LBA Lightweight title fight, for example, there were multiple high calibre fights. Sebastian Fundora faced Sergio Garcia in a super welterweight match while featherweights Eduardo Ramirez and Miguel Marriaga opened the night.
…But be flexible
Promoters will always try to convince you that their fight will be the fight of the year, it’ll go all ten rounds and end in a knockout before the final bell. Boxing fans know that this is very rarely the reality.
Sometimes the best fights end in a dramatic knockout in the first round. Sometimes a hyped fight is really an overhyped fight that feels like it will never end.
The Mike Tyson v Michael Spinks title unification match on 27 June 1988 is a classic example of a fight that generated a huge amount of interest and ended in a flash. The meeting between the two heavyweights lasted only 91 seconds, with only 10 punches landing between the two of them.
All this means is that you need to be flexible when planning out how your night will go. There are ways to plan around this uncertainty. One option is to play a few hands before the big fight and then come back to the cards after the fight.
Dress the part
Attending a fight in Vegas is a great chance for stars and professional athletes to get dressed up and show off their finery. Your guests don’t have to be as decked out as Jinkee Pacquiao was at the Manny Pacquiao v Yordenis Ugas fight.
Getting dressed up isn’t necessary, but it makes the night feel more like a special event. It really sets the tone for the night if everyone is looking their best and feeling their best too. Since high roller poker is also associated with getting all dressed up, it fits both activities.
Food and drinks
A lot of the time, the food we associate with a poker night is a big bowl of crisps, some nuts, and maybe a pizza or two. If you want to throw a classy fight night viewing party and poker night, it’s a good idea to step the food up a notch or two to match the event.
You don’t have to go all out with wine and canapés (though of course you can!) but small bites rather than a full sit-down meal is a good idea. This allows people to move around and to eat when they’re hungry, rather than having to wait for the fight to end or for a set break in the poker.
Crostini are a great middle ground. They’re essentially small pieces of toast with toppings. They can be as simple as a bit of mozzarella and a slice of tomato or as elaborate as citrus pesto with goat cheese and roasted asparagus. Since they all use the same base, they’re easy to make in batches and great for a group.
As for drinks, it’s best to have a variety on hand. Rather than trying to have a theme with the drinks, just keep a well-stocked bar. A few types of beers, a few different spirits and mixers and maybe a bottle or two of something sparkling should be more than enough.
Boxing and poker are two of the most iconic sporting pastimes in the Western world. Combining the two is a great way to have a classy and fun night that everyone can enjoy.