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Everyone prepares differently to play poker. Some do the bare minimum while others show up looking like they are ready to go camping for the weekend. Today, we will talk about those that choose to bring a “goodie bag” to the poker table.

These bags vary from player to player. Some bring items in a fanny pack while others will bring a backpack with items for use at the table. What items should a player bring with them when they play poker and what items should they leave at home? Continue reading for our list.

Keep it Simple

There’s no need to go overboard when bringing items to the table. Keep things simple when you go out to play poker. Below are a few common items you can put in your goodie bag when you travel to the casino.

Card Protector – Since you are required to protect your hand at all times, bring some form of card protector to the table. This can be any type of small item ranging from a poker chip to a small picture of your kids or spouse. You may want to bring a unique item with you to use as a conversation starter.

Snacks – If you are a player that loses focus when you’re hungry, bring some light snacks with you to the table. You will save money over buying snacks at the casino. This is also wise for those of you with blood sugar issues.

iPhone / iPad / iPod – These devices can serve multiple purposes. If the casino allows you to surf the web at the table, you can update your social media accounts, surf the web or even play online poker from the table. Most use these devices to play music to tune out the other players.

Hand Sanitizer / Wipes – Anyone that plays live poker knows that the poker table isn’t exactly a germ-free environment. Ever played at a casino where the chips hadn’t been cleaned properly and it felt like you had a film of crud on your hands? Hand sanitizer is great to help prevent the spread of sickness and clean up when things are less than sanitary.

Money for Prop Bets / Last Longer – Poker players love to gamble, especially on themselves. If you like to make prop bets during the game or like to make last longer bets, make sure you bring some extra cash or casino chips to the table.

Beverages – We recommend that you stick with bringing your own beverages to the table to save money. Often, you can bring your own beverage to the table and save money in the long run. For example, a 20 oz soda will probably cost you $2 in the vending machine. Getting the equivalent amount of soda from a cocktail server will probably cost you $5 or more in tips. One exception to this rule would be if you can get free booze at the table.

Use Common Sense

There’s no reason to bring a backpack full of items to the poker table. You aren’t going on Safari or backpacking through America, so there’s no need to pack as if you are. With that in mind, there are several items that you definitely should never bring to the poker room. We’ve listed a few below.

Poker Strategy Books – Unless you want to telegraph to your buddies that your a newbie, you might want to leave your strategy books at home. There is a time and game to read up on the game. Doing so in the middle of a session is not that time.

Drugs – For obvious reasons, you don’t want to bring illegal drugs to the table. You are asking to be 86’d from the event and maybe even the property. Jeff Madsen found this out the hard way at the WSOP a few years back. He brought weed to a PLO event in order to “bet pot,” and got booted from the event.

Read More:

Keep Drug Testing Out of Poker

Playing Poker Under the Influence, Part Two: Illegal Outlets

Weapons – For the same reason as drugs, leave your weapons at home. Most casinos have a no weapons policy and in most cases, this even extends to something as simple as a pocket knife. Security should be the only people in a poker room with a weapon.

Gerbils (or other pets) – With the exception of service animals, most casinos have a no pets policy. Even if your pet is well behaved, that doesn’t mean someone at the table isn’t allergic. We know you love your pets, but they will be at home to give you love after the session.

Read More: The Behavior of Gerbils Helps Spot Regulars at the Poker Table


What Are You Must Have Items?

What did you think of our list? Did we miss anything? What are some items that you like to bring to the poker table for a long session? Have you ever seen someone bring an item to the table that has left you scratching your head?

Leave a comment below and tell us about it. Also, give us a shout on Twitter or on Facebook.

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James Guill

James Guill began his poker career in 2006, spending two years traveling the US tournament circuit. Since 2008, he has covered the game extensively for some of the biggest names in the industry. When not writing about the latest poker news, he can be found hunting for antique treasures in Central Virginia.