As you might remember, I’m lucky enough to be in a guild with a large concentration of members in the Salt Lake City area. This is great for fostering a sense of community, but it’s even better for party planning. This Saturday, several of my guildmates got together for a structured activity: Poker. The twist? We played for WoW gold! (Shhhh! Don’t tell Blizzard!) I’m so happy with how this event turned out that I’d like to share with you how we did all the planning and structure in case any of you would like to try something similar.
I won’t go into the full details, but here are a few of the highlights from the rules created by Valenna and Mr. Phae:
- Blinds increase every 30 minutes, starting at 1/2 and eventually reaching 50/100 with one blind increase from 10/20 to 25/50 at two and a half hours.
- The players who place fifth through first place receive an increasing percentage of the total payout. In addition, the player with the best hand for the night (who does not also place in 1st-5th place) receives a smaller % of the total payout. The breakdown for payouts is as follows:
- 1st Place: 37% of total gold
- 2nd Place: 24% of total gold
- 3rd Place: 16% of total gold
- 4th place: 11% of total gold
- 5th Place: 7% of total gold
- Best Hand: 5% of total gold
WTT Chips for Gold
To make things more fun, we substituted plastic pirate gold and colored gems for poker chips. You can find packages of plastic gold coins at most party supply stores for around $4/144 coins, and we found craft stores to be a great source for fake gemstones. We bought two bags of gems: one from the mosaic crafts section that are like rhinestones but without a mirrored back and one with clear plastic diamonds about an inch in diameter. The gems came in two sizes and several shapes, so we divided each kind into two denominations. All the "currency" (coins and gems) were collected in a small, wooden treasure chest we found on sale for $6, giving things a polished look when we presented it at the game.
In addition to the gold coins and gemstones, we included special items. We purchased some from the party store where we found the pirate coins, but many were things we had around the house. We created custom tooltips for them printed on heavyweight parchment paper. Mrs. Valenna used an eyelet-punch to insert a metal ring in them so we could attach them to the items with colored string without damaging them. She also rounded off the corners so they wouldn’t get bent up. Below is a slideshow of photos I took during the preparation process:
Each item was worth 100 gold a piece and were offered during the "addon" phase. As a twist and to encourage the total pot size to grow, players could pay 100 gold for two items (essentially doubling their investment). And here were few of my favorite tooltips:
- A wide, copper, chain-link bracelet with small copper coins hanging from it became [General's Mail Legguards of the Tiger] (Female Only)
- A silver and gold pocket watch because [Moroes' Lucky Pocket Watch] with the flavor text, "It’s GARROTIN’ time!"
- A simple, wooden kitchen spoon became [Cookie's Stirring Rod] with the byline, "Used to make Aaaaaughibbrgubugbugrguburgle soup."
- A gold hoop earring that Mr. Phae found on the ground outside our apartment became a [Gold Pirate Earring] with the flavor text, "To err is human, to arrggh, pirate!"
- The plastic cutlass I bought for my pirate costume last Halloween was named [Gladiator's Quickblade]. We added the flavor text, "WELFARE?! Do you know how many Druid/Warrior teams I lost to for this?!"
- A red, stuffed dragon Mr. Phae won for me at the Excalibur casino in Las Vegas became [Crimson Whelpling]. Playing on the well-known in-game video and voicechat, its tooltip was "LEEEEEEEEROY JEEEEEENKINS!!!"
If you need some ideas for your own items and tooltips, you can download a printable Word Document of the ones we created. It should be easy to change the ones we made and add your own.
In summary, here are the denominations we included in the game:
- Coins: 1 gold (we bought around 600 coins)
- Small, colored gemstones: 5 gold
- Large, colored gemstones: 25 gold
- Small diamonds: 50 gold
- Items: 100 gold
- Large diamonds: 200 gold
- Tier tokens: 400 gold
To make this easy to remember, I created a couple of sheets that detailed the value of the different denominations with flat-backed gemstones glued onto the first three categories. The first sheet only included coins and the gemstones excluding the large diamonds. When we revealed the items at 1 hour into the tournament, we replaced that sheet with a full-length one featuring all seven denominations (clipart was used to represent diamonds, items, and tier tokens).
I think that the game went incredibly well. Everyone seemed to get along and have fun (the presence of alcoholic beverage is always helpful in that regard). With nearly twenty players (including a few spouses staked by their husbands or wives — including Mr. Phae), we had to divide into two tables. To make things fair, we drew suits to determine who would be at each table with red cards going to one table and black cards going to the other. An hour into the game, we offered the Item addons and took a half hour break before returning to our tables to resume play. Two hours later, we were down to only ten players (which did not include me) and so condensed to the larger of the two tables with everyone else gathered around to watch. It took about an hour to an hour and a half for the tournament to finish from that point, though I suspect things would have been faster if a certain Night Elf Rogue hadn’t been so intoxicated!
In the end, Valenna placed first, taking home 1924 gold. Mr. Ebene placed third, more than recouping the money I supplied to stake his play. I very nearly won the prize for best hand of the evening (one of only two I actually got to play with my highly conservative strategy), but lost out when the wrong player placed in the top five. Here are a few of my favorite photos from the game:
Click to enlarge or view the full album here.
Next time we do this, I plan on preparing a couple of Bronze Kettle recipes. The initial outlay for all the gaming materials was such that I couldn’t justify spending any more this time around, but I’ve been dying to try out their Moonglow recipe!
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