Excepting perhaps the costume party, surely the most popular theme party is the casino. Despite all the complaints and worries in America regarding the decadence and debauchery associated with gambling, nearly everyone loves a casino night. This setting, too, is ideal for fundraising. Guests are invited to play whatever classic Vegas-like games they wish with some funny money substituting for the real thing. This "cash" can be exchanged for prizes when the "casino" closes. This provides a real feeling of risk and, well, gambling, than just anteing up with meaningless plastic chips. Thanks to a little entertainment, everyone wins: Guests have fun, living-room card sharks get to show off in public, and the school or community or social club has bagged a bunch of bucks.
Now, due to the recent craze in the mass media over poker, the casino night has spun off full-on straight-up poker parties. After all, what's more American than a poker theme party? Hell, it's the only serious card game with origins in the 'States, and visions of cowboys, saloons and Sin City come readily to mind. Perhaps more than ever, too, are poker parties more prevalent at home. Would-be hustlers everywhere scheme to invite over their imagined guppy friends for a poker theme party to pay for (what else?) further poker parties. Not to mention recouping the funds doled out for poker decorations...
What's that? Poker decorations? Yes, these will indeed prove to be necessary bait should you wish to attract the smaller fish. While the serious barracudas need little more than a felt table a deck of fifty-two cards, poker decorations will be expected by those minnows who play once a year or "only for charity." Get out the notebook and start writing a list. You may want to think along the following lines for your fantasy poker parties.
If you want to go Wild West (all the better to distract the weaker with), party outlets have lots of trappings, including faux paneling, barn doors, saloon doors and "wanted" posters. Faux bar supplies are also possible, but at home you're better off serving up real stuff. There's a reason - all the drinks in 'Vegas are free, you know. As for toilet paper resembling greenbacks, the less said the better.
Party supplies for poker parties are pretty traditional. You know the deal: tablecloths (though the proper host will settle only for felt), napkins, cups and such all decorated with chips and ace-high straight flushes are readily available. But one website offers light-up glasses and mugs presumably for the space-bar poker parties of Star Trek: The Next Generation or some such science-fiction poker milieu. (Just don't invite Commander William Riker - he beats everyone.)
Of course, someday the poker craze will be over and poker theme parties will no longer be so widespread. A depressing day for some, to be sure, but keep this in mind. When no longer fashionable, one form of poker will forever survive: Strip Poker. And for that version of the game, as aficionados know, no props are necessary whatsoever.