For those of you who run a friendly home game with people you care about and trust whole-heartedly, throw a corrupting, money-hungry, greed -powered wrench in your goody-twoshoe system. Announce that tomorrow night is Cheat Night!
Cheat Night: (n.) Night in which it is understood by all that no lasting punishments will be issued for foul-play. The rules are as follows: Let all players know beforehand (preferably with 24-hour notice) that a Cheat Night will be held. Proceed with your poker game as normal. If a player catches another player cheating and calls him or her out, the offending player mucks his hand. Each player can call for a card count no more than twice each Cheat Night.
Sooo...is there a point to all this? Yes. The usual player wastes most of their suspicion on Internet card rooms and saves little for in person game play. Your friends likely shift their attention from their cards, to other player’s faces for a read, over to the TV and back again. This exercise gets people looking at the deck, other player’s cards and gets their suspicion running wild. Their healthy suspicion. Cheat Night is a wake up call. It is a call to arms to prepare you for the real world. It gets you thinking like a cheater.
The importance of the 24-hour notice is that it gives your frienemies time to bring their own cold decks, enter uneasy partnerships for collusion and whatever other preperations they see fit. It is important not to get found out because if you have to muck, you loose whatever investment you had in the pot. This also shows why it is important to play for real money. I suggest your usual stakes. The card count rule is important in case you suspect a player of hording cards from past hands. It is also important to limit the amount of times one can confirm a 52 card deck or it would happen every hand.
Poker would cease to be fun if every night became Cheat Night, but if you have an adventurous crowd it could become the most fun night of the year. I do recommend setting up at least two Cheat Nights. Players will get idea from other players and will be considerably better cheats the second night.
A couple tips: Don’t use your best cards as they may get marked. Don’t assume whoever doesn’t get called out for cheating opted out of cheating, it is likely that he or she is the best cheater. If you are dealt a statistically unlikely good hand and are re-raised, consider folding as you were probably the mark for a set deck.