How To Host A Charity Poker Tournament

A fun activity that can really get people into donating and getting involved in a good cause is a charity poker night! 

They say that when you go to the casino, the house always wins. Well, when you run a charity poker night, the big winner is your chosen charity/cause! 

There’s a lot to consider, but if you get it all right then you can have a successful, entertaining poker night without needing to go to the casino.

How to organise a profitable poker night

Here are all the things you need to know for organising a profitable poker night for the charity of your choice.

Carefully consider the location of the poker tournament

There are certain rules on where you can host a charity gambling night, but your local community centre or the village pub should both be acceptable venues.

You may even be able to host at a local school and invite parents, which will ensure you have a large venue and lots of attendees!

Contact responsible volunteers who can help to organise the event

Their main responsibilities will involve registering players in the poker tournament and collecting ticket entry fees, someone to host the event (perhaps a DJ or presenter of some kind), people to help with event setup (setting up the poker table, food and drink tables etc).

Ask sponsors to donate prizes

If you plan on hosting a poker evening, contact potential sponsors and prize givers at least a month in advance to ensure that you have everything organised for the day.

Consider asking local restaurants to donate gift vouchers, put together a huge hamper full of food and drink goodies for the raffle prize and ask for ideas for other types of prizes for second and third place as well. 

Equipment and costs for hosting a poker night

There are numerous costs that you may incur when hosting a charity poker night so it’s imperative that you’re aware of how much you need to make in order to break even with purchasing/hiring costs, as well as ensuring you make plenty of profit to give to your charity.

Some equipment you may need for your event:

  • Poker table/cards.
  • Venue hire (sports hall, community centre, local restaurant etc).
  • Food and drink (decide whether you will serve alcohol as you will need to obtain a liquor licence to do so).
  • Fundraising/marketing costs (printing flyers, setting up a website, obtaining raffle prizes).

The best ways to promote a charity poker night

If you’re trying to get people to come and raise some money by playing poker, you need to let people know that your event is happening in the first place!

Here are some of our best ideas for promoting your charity poker night. 

Physical and digital flyers

Flyers are a great method of promotion for any type of charity event, but they can be particularly useful for a poker night. You can hand out the physical fliers at pubs and bars in the area, as well as in shop windows. 

Creating a digital and/or physical flyer will ensure that you create awareness for the event. Make sure you include the following information on the flyer:

  1. Date, time and location of the poker tournament.
  2. Any sponsors of the event.
  3. What you’re raising money for (and how it will be used to help the charity).
  4. Prices for the evening (ticket entry, raffle prices, food and prices).
  5. A brief introduction of what attendees can expect from the event.

Creating a dedicated fundraising website

A dedicated fundraising website is a great way to get the word out about your poker night. The website should include all the details mentioned above for the flyers, plus a few other key things.

You may even want to consider adding an option for people to purchase their ticket entry on the website, so the money can be sent straight to a GoFundMe page. You can also ask for donations through the website if people are unable to attend the poker night. 

How to run a charity poker night

Firstly, you’ll need to pick a poker type, for example; Texas Hold ‘Em, Razz, Seven Card Stud, and then you need to know how to set the tables up correctly for each game. 

How to prize will be awarded to the winner should also be considered; you can do a big announcement at the end of the evening when someone has won the final tournament, or you may want to announce a third, second and first prize as well!

Legalities of fundraising with poker nights

Unfortunately, there are a few legalities you need to keep in mind when fundraising with a poker night; you must ensure that all proceeds made from the poker tournament go to the charity you’re raising money for, remember that non-commercial poker nights can be held without a licence and people under the age of 18 are permitted to partake in poker, bingo and casino events, providing that they’re run as non-commercial gaming events. 

Check out the resources below for more information!,

Raising money with a poker night

Raising money for charity can come with a lot of responsibility and a few concerns, particularly when it comes to the legal issues when hosting a poker night. 

However, with our tips and techniques, you’ll find some great ways to raise money with a poker night including charging for ticket entry to the poker tournament, as well as donations to play other card games throughout the night.

Donation set-up for ticket entry 

One of the easiest ways to raise money on a poker night is by charging an entry cost to participate in the tournament. 

If you’re unsure how to price your tickets, set a target for the minimum amount of money you wish to raise on the evening and then work out how many tickets you’ll need to sell at what price in order to meet your goal. 

For example, if you want to raise a minimum of £250 and you intend to have at least 50 guests attending the poker night, you will need to charge a ticket entry price of £5 per person. 

You could also offer an ‘early bird’ admission price and then charge a higher ticket entry price for admission on the door. 

Host other card game competitions

Alongside having the poker tournament as the main event, you could also host various other card game tournaments throughout the evening as a way to raise even more money for your charity.

Furthermore, you could also host other card games as well as the poker tournament such as baccarat and blackjack for those who don’t like poker or don’t know how to play it. 

Placing bets on who will win the poker tournament

Another inventive and unique way to raise more money is to encourage non-participants to bet on who they think will win the competition. 

Non-gambling related fundraising options

Of course, there are a few issues and obligations you may face when organising a poker night such as the legal responsibility that comes with gambling. Oftentimes, the ‘prize’ for such events cannot be cash and therefore you’ll need to look into non-monetary prizes such as gift vouchers, a hotel stay or a meal at a local restaurant for example. 

Top tips for organising and hosting a poker night

  • Advertise your charity poker night well in advance of the event itself to ensure that enough people turn up on the night.
  • Ask for volunteers and helpers early in the process so that everyone knows their duties and tasks before and on the evening.
  • Consider all the legal and ethical obligations of hosting a poker tournament; no people under 18 to gamble, make sure you have a liquor licence on the premises if you intend to serve alcohol and ensure that you have signs and posters displaying the ‘gamble responsibly’ slogan. 

Further reading for hosting the best poker night!

See below for more advice and tips on hosting a charity poker night.

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