A poker player's Christmas gift list
As December rolls on and people are no longer mocking others for having their Christmas decorations up, it also means the time to buy presents for friends and family is dwindling. When you factor in shopping and delivery times, the time to think of gift ideas is even less.
So, if your friend, partner, mother, father, brother, sister, son, daughter, uncle, auntie, niece, nephew, colleague or neighbour plays the great game of poker and you need some gift suggestions, you've come to the right place.
Poker trends seem to move in time with technology, fashion and entertainment, and that means a whole batch of new items every year that would make ideal presents come December 25th.
Here's what the PokerStars Blog thinks would be on a poker player's Christmas gift list in 2017.
A laptop means so much more to a poker player than it does to your casual user. After all, for the online guys and girls, this is the tool they use to make money! And when you're grinding multiple tables, the laptop needs to be up to the challenge.
But for those who play both live and online, it also needs to be easily portable, so we'll start with the light MacBooks. The Apple MacBook Air 2017 comes with all-day battery life - ideal for when you find yourself in a Charlie Carrel SCOOP Main Event situation - and with 8GB RAM and 128GB of storage, it has plenty of room for saving hand histories.
Charlie Carrel knows a thing or two about the importance of a good grind station...
While those are at the top of the price scale, you can still find some excellent models for far less. The ACER CB3-431 14" Full HD Chromebook (in silver) has 12-hour battery life, 4GB RAM and 32GB storage, and is ideal for casual poker and streaming video.
For a more colourful laptop, you could go for the HP Stream 14 Inch Intel Celeron. It's moderately priced and comes in purple with 4GB RAM and 32GB storage. If you need a big screen for multi-tabling, the HP Envy 17 has a 17.3" screen, 8GB Ram and 128GB storage, and an excellent display, but you can expect to pay a little more.
Some players find headphones at the poker tables off-putting, while for many players getting through a Day 1 without them is agony. Of course, a good quality pair of headphones is also a necessity for travel and day-to-day use, so they make a brilliant all-round gift.
Bose have long been a leading brand in audio products, so we'll start with their QuietComfort QC35 II Wireless Bluetooth Noise-Cancelling headphones. The over-ear set work with all smartphones and laptops and have Google Assistant built-in, though they can be a little pricey. For a less pricey set, Bose's QuietComfort 3 headphones are still sure to go down well. Both will help you drown out the chatty players - like these guys -- who won't keep shtum.
Sometimes it's good to talk, and sometimes it's good to stick your new headphones in
With Beats by Dre, Sony, JVC, Audio-Technica and more, there are plenty of different brands offering similar quality noise-cancelling headphones. The Audio-Technica ATH-W1000Z set is particularly stylish with a woodgrain finish, while the Sennheiser Momentum set are incredibly comfortable and durable.
If the battery on your phone or laptop is starting to wane, a poker player will need some back-up to make sure they don't end up sitting out at a crucial time in a tournament.
There are plenty of portable chargers and batteries to choose from, at a range of prices. At the cheaper end, a few suggestions would be the Aukey Power Bank, the AmazonBasics Portable External Battery Charger, and the Lumsing 15000mAh Power Bank. All three are available for around $20-$40.
At the higher end, around £70, you could check out the Zendure A8 QC Portable External Battery Charger. It has the biggest capacity, and it can cleverly detect automatically which device you've connected before adjusting its output accordingly to achieve the quickest charging time.
Online Grind Station
When a poker player isn't on the road, they're likely playing online at home. To make your grind easier on the eyes, one or two good quality monitors will make multi-tabling a breeze (at least in terms of having all your tables in view at once!)
The ASUS VG248QE is a 24" monitor that's ideal for all types of gaming, so when you're done with your poker session you can fire up something else. The screens have a 144Hz refresh rate and 1ms response time, and are available online for £200-£250.
The stylish Samsung C32F391 32" LED Curved Monitor is another great shout. Its white exterior makes for an ideal one-monitor set-up, and you can pick one up for a little more than the ASUS.
Poker players, like anyone, enjoy being comfortable while at work. An amazing desk chair would therefore make an excellent Christmas gift.
The X-Rocker Executive is a great shout. it offers great value, and it looks great too with its wood frame and leather-effect seat. Highly adjustable and extremely comfortable, the only issue with this one is getting it wrapped up!
Judging by Andy 'BowieEffect' Wilson's recent success having watched Team PokerStars Pro Online's Lex 'RaSZi' Veldhuis' Thursday Thrill win on a live stream, it's clear that Twitch is becoming one of the key learning tools for any up-and-coming player.
Lex Veldhuis has taken Twitch by storm in 2017. Make sure to tune in during 2018
Yearly subscriptions to Veldhuis and other Team Pro streams including Jaime Staples, Jason Somerville, and Jeff Gross cost $4.99 a month per channel, and if it impacts someone's game like it did Wilson's, it makes for both an excellent stocking filler and a worthwhile investment.
There have been some excellent poker books released this year, while other favourites have been turned into major movies in 2017.
Chris 'moorman1' Moorman - the winningest online tournament player in history - released his second book this summer, simply titled 'Moorman' (D&B Poker). It offers amazing insight into Moorman's career that has seen him rack up more than $7.3 million in winnings on PokerStars alone. He also analyses hands alongside the likes of Team PokerStars Pros Daniel Negreanu, Liv Boeree, Igor Kurganov, Jake Cody and Vanessa Selbst, so it's not only entertaining, but educational too.
Legendary UK player and original Hendon Mob member Barny Boatman contributed his stories to a brilliant new book this year. Anthony Holden and Natalie Galustian's 'He Played For His Wife...And Other Stories' (Simon & Schuster) features poker tales about ghosts at the table, a heads-up with Shakespeare, a high stakes stick-up, and even a hand played on Death Row.
Then there's 'Molly's Game' (William Collins), the fascinating story of high-stakes private game organiser Molly Bloom's experience running some of the biggest games in America behind closed doors for both pros and movie stars. It's now been turned into a film for the silver screen.
What better thing to do after Christmas dinner than set up a home game? Of course, you'll need a quality table set-up and chip set if you're hoping to recreate a PokerStars Championship feel.
If the person you're buying the gift for has space, then a fold away table is ideal. This sturdy Barrington model seats ten players around blue felt and is complete with padded rails and cup holders, while a less expensive model would be the Fat Cat folding table.
Then again, you can never go very far wrong with a nice chipset. If you're in the UK, take a look at Amazon where we've made available our own range of branded merchandise, including a 500 piece chipset which includes clay composite chips, two packs of PVC cards and a dealer button all neatly arranged in a tough travel case. Or for a last minute stocking filler - the PokerStars Mini Chipset complete with our new favourite poker item, miniature clay chips. Both are also available at the Rewards Store, so you'll never be short of ideas.
We hope you've been able to find something to get your poker pal! Have a very merry Christmas.