If you’ve been reading my articles for long, you probably already know that I love gambling. I enjoy games of chance and games where you can use strategy to improve your chances to win. Most of the time I write about playing casino games, poker, and sports betting, because these are the most common forms of gambling.
While many people play in casinos, poker rooms, and sportsbooks, they’re not your only options. Sometimes I just want to put a few dollars on something and have some fun with my friends. So I put together a list of things I’ve bet on with friends over the years.
The best thing about all of the gambling activities that you can enjoy with friends is that you and your friends get to set the stakes. You can make the stakes low enough that everyone can enjoy the activity without stressing about losing too much money.
1 – Bet On Individual Sporting Events
One of the easiest ways to gamble for fun with your friends is to bet on upcoming sporting events. Most of my friends are sports fans, and it’s always more fun for me to watch a game if I have a few bucks on it.
The best thing about betting on sports with your friends is you can play for any stakes you want.
We always use the lines posted by a popular sportsbook so things are fair, and usually we bet on games that we’re planning to watch anyway. The main advantage of betting with your friends when you bet on sports is that you aren’t charge vig like you get charged when betting with a sportsbook.
While it’s easiest to use against the spread betting, you can also make over/under wagers on games.
2 – Put Together a Friendly Poker Game
I occasionally play in a home poker game that a friend of mine puts together. We play spread limit Texas holdem with everyone anteing $1 before the deal and every bet is between $1 and $5 on each round. Everyone by sin for $50 or $100, and we have a good time playing. No one has to worry about losing too much money, and when players bust out they can buy in again or stop playing.
Like the other fun gambling activities on this list, you can play for smaller stakes and it doesn’t reduce the fun of the game. You can play for pennies, quarters, or dollars.
You can play with coins or cash, but we prefer playing with poker chips. We use $1 and $5 chips because they match the stakes we play for. But you can use chips and have all of them worth the same amount, based on your stakes. If you’re playing for quarters, just make all the chips worth a quarter, no matter what color they are.
I recommend starting with Texas holdem because most people have seen it played on television, but you can play any form of poker everyone agrees to play. I’ve played five card draw, seven card stud, and Omaha in private games. And even though it isn’t poker, I’ve also played in a few home blackjack games for low stakes.
3 – Weekly Pool of Games
This is one of the simplest ways to gamble with friends. It doesn’t require any skill or knowledge so it’s fun for everyone involved. And it doesn’t have to cost much to play. You can use any stakes that everyone agrees to, but somewhere between $1 and $20 is common.
You put together a group of games in the upcoming week that’s evenly divisible by the number of people in the pool. If you have four people in the pool, you pick eight, 12, or 16 games. Each bettor pays the same fee and everyone receives the same number of teams from a blind draw.
At the end of the week the player with the most wins gets the pot. If two bettors have the same number of wins they split the pot.
You can have as many people in the pool as you want, and as I mentioned above you can play for any stakes. The simplest way is to just assign teams and if the team wins the bettor wins the game, but you can also use point spreads published by a popular sportsbook.
This works years round, because there’s always sporting events running. You can go throughout the year using the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, NCAA football, and NCAA basketball.
4 – Euchre
Euchre is a game where four players split into two teams of two and compete for tricks. It’s a trump based game, and only takes a few minutes to learn. It’s not usually associated with gambling.
In high school I played euchre for money a great deal. The stakes are up to the players, and I usually played for $10 a game plus $5 a euchre or $20 a game and $10 a euchre.
I rarely play euchre anymore because my wife insists on being my partner when we play and I’m very competitive. It drives me nuts when she doesn’t use proper strategy, so for the sake of our marriage we don’t play often.
5 – High Low
When I started in college the opportunity to lay euchre for money started drying up. But I found a group of guys playing a new game to me. They called it acey deucy, and this is how it’s played. You can play for any stakes, but we played for quarters. But don’t let the small stakes fool you; I often won $50 or more in a playing session.
Everyone who was playing put a quarter in the pot. Whoever is dealing shuffles a standard deck of cards and places two cards face up in the center of the table. Play goes around the table to the left. Players can bet any amount from a quarter up to the amount in the pot.
You have to bet at least a quarter when it’s your turn to play. You win the bet if the next card falls between the two cards on the table. When you win a bet you take the amount you bet out of the pot. When the third card falls outside the two cards you lose, and put you bet in the pot. If the third card matches one of the first two cards you have to put double your bet into the pot.
Here’s an example of how the game works.
The dealer places a six and a jack on the table. You bet $1 into a pot with $3 in it. If a seven through 10 is the third card, you take back your $1 and collect $1 from the pot. If a two to five or queen to ace is the third card you put you $1 in the pot. If the third card is a six or a jack you put $2 in the pot.
After each hand, the three cards are placed in a discard pile and two more cards are dealt and the next layer to the left bets. This continues until someone wins the entire pot. Then everyone antes again, the deck is shuffled, and play starts with the next player to the left.
We always had two decks of cards, with one in play and the other being shuffled by a second player.
This is a fun game you can play when you have four or more people who want to play, and you don’t have to play for high stakes. You can even play for pennies.
The nest time you get together with a group of friends, try one of the fun gambling activities listed on this page. Make sure everyone understands the rules before you start playing, set the stakes at a level where everyone can play, and have some fun.
Some of these games you can play when you get together, and others you can play on a schedule. It doesn’t matter which game you play or how often you play, as long as everyone has fun and has a chance to win.
A couple of the games listed on this page involve strategy, like euchre, poker, and high low, but betting on sports and doing a weekly betting pool don’t require any skill. A few people are able to bet on sports better than others, but when you use the point spreads it’s usually a break even activity in the long run.