Whether you’re a bachelor looking to save some dough by spending a night in or you’re a married man seeking some much-needed time with your pals to blow off some steam, a weekly poker game could provide you with the opportunity for fun, frugality, and fraternizing with friends in the comfort of your own home. But if you’re going to run a successful poker game that draws your buddies back weekly, there are a few policies you’ll want to observe in order to make sure everyone has a good time and behaves responsibly. Here are some standard practices to put into play.

First and foremost, make your game with the guys by invitation only. This means no wives, girlfriends, or other relations stopping by, calling, or otherwise intruding (except in emergency situations, of course). Half the fun of a poker game is getting away from the stresses of work and home in order to unwind and enjoy the company of friends. Everyone needs time for this sort of activity, and grown men are no exception. In order to be a healthy and happy adult, it’s imperative that you devote time to personal interests and your own friends, free of the complications inherent to bringing outsiders into the fold. It may not sound very appealing to significant others, but your home life is going to be a lot happier when you spend a little time away from it. So set up a game room and negotiate for a distraction-free zone once a week. And check cell phones at the door.

Next comes setting the mood, so to speak, and that means having proper equipment and supplies. You don’t necessarily need a felted card table to make the game, but you should have a table large enough to accommodate cards, chips, and so on for each player, as well as comfortable chairs since you might be sitting for a while. From there, you’ll want to pick up a few decks of cards and plenty of chips to go around. You could think about additional entertainment options, such as a stereo for music or a TV to play any sporting events that might be on, but you may or may not want distractions of this nature. And of course, it’s a good idea to stock up on sodas, snacks, beers, stogies, or whatever else the guys like to nosh on and partake of while playing poker.

It’s also important to set the ground rules ahead of time. This means setting buy-ins and limits for betting as necessary. And if you’re playing for real money, instead of just faking it with plastic chips, make sure everyone shows up with cash so they don’t end up overspending and getting into trouble. You don’t want your buddies going home broke following a friendly poker game, so you might also want to disallow betting things other than money like jewelry, weapons, car keys, and house deeds, just for example. You should also work out a weekly day and time that works for everyone’s schedule. And set a no drinking and driving rule. You can set up places for friends to crash, appoint a weekly DD, keep a cab company on speed dial, or disallow drinking. The last thing you want is for pals to end up with a DUI (or worse) after leaving your game.

Finally, pick the right group for your game. Just because you have a group of friends that all hang out socially doesn’t mean you have to let every one of them play in your game. You might invite them all to Sycuan Casino, casinos near San Diego, or hotspots in Vegas for a weekend away, but that doesn’t mean you need to include windbags, hotheads, or sore losers in your weekly game. The idea is for everyone to enjoy a fun and relaxing break from daily life. So avoid the drama that is part and parcel of some friends and invite the ones you know will get along.