How to win your Thanksgiving home game

November 22, 2018

Or “if you can’t spot the turkey at the table, it’s you”…

Among the exports from the US there have been some stinkers.

Some still haven’t forgiven the Americans for Jerry Springer, and Light Beer. But then Europe returned fire with Association Football and the Eurovision Song Contest, so we’ll call it even.

One tradition that sadly didn’t cross the Atlantic is Thanksgiving. It’s celebrated across the Union today.

It’s not just because it means a day off work, and a plate full of turkey, although that’s a good place to start. It’s about friends and family, and giving thanks for what we have.

We’d also guess that over the past decades, thanks giving has been a good training ground for countless poker players.

Because once the last of the pumpkin pie has been finished off, and the dishes are cleared away, the dining room table is the perfect place for a game of cards.

And when you’ve grown out of Go Fish and Uno (let’s say some time around your 18th birthday) poker becomes the natural choice.


Today is a day to give thanks, but also to raise the big blind, and fleece your family members (in a nice way)


With this in mind, below you’ll find links to everything you need to get a game under way, and then how to win it.

Because this is poker after all, and you’ll be looking for an edge. One that might bring your brother-in-law back down to earth, and show your grandmother a side of you she might not have seen before.

It should only take about ten minutes.

First though you’re going to need a few things.

• A deck of cards
• Something to use as chips (matches, pennies, sweets, potato chips)
• Something to use as a button
• Assorted family members

First, you’ll need to get everyone up to speed on the rules of Texas Hold’em. You can get that on the PokerStars Schools website.

That link includes how the betting works as well as hand rankings. It also explains what a string raise is, in case you learnt everything you know about poker from old westerns.

But what about that edge?

So, if you’re reading this on your phone perhaps, thinking you could brush up on a few things like position, and good starting hands, before Grandma (tight-aggressive back in her day) begins to shuffle, we can help you there too (although you should look up “karma” immediately after this).

Again, PokerStars Schools has some great articles about basic strategy that’ll easily outfox the opponent who started early on the cocktails. Again, it’s up to you whether you point them to the Schools page.

The rest is up to you.

And if all of this feels too much effort on a full stomach, then Go Fish is still fun. Which is the whole point of this exercise.

Regardless of how your game turns out, have a Happy Thanksgiving.

And let us know who wins on Twitter: @PokerStarsBlog.

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