Corporate Teambuilding Blog

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Here’s Why Team Building is an Important Investment

There’s no denying that “team building” has quite a bad rap. When there’s an upcoming team building in the company, people would automatically think about the forced, awkward interactions with co-workers. Also, who could forget about the games? They’re disguised as fun but it isn’t really unless everyone really embraces the whole activity and just make the most out of it. Despite its image of being lame, did you know that putting money aside for team building is actually one of the best investments ever made for your business?  A lot of companies view team building activities as something that adds to unnecessary expenses. However, let’s turn that misconception around today. Before anything else, let’s check the status of your employees. Read each statement below and answer yes to the ones that describe your team well, and no if it doesn’t. The team communicates well with each other. The team focuses on goals and results. The members do their share and contributes to the workload. They team supports one another. The members are diverse and unique in their own way. The team has a good leader. The team is well-organized. The team knows how to have fun. The team complement each other’s skills. The team are in sync when it comes to achieving goals. If you have answered yes to most or all the statements, then congratulations! You have a dream team on your side! Just continue to give importance to your employees by allowing them to have a work-life balance and have regular team building activities to look forward to. On the other hand, if you have answered no to most or all of the statements, maybe you should consider organizing a team building event for your employees. Here are the major reasons why team building events are a good investment and why it should be a regular thing in your company. Strengthens communication Communication must be one of the strongest foundations in every relationship, especially in a business setting. This will help prevent unnecessary issues such as misunderstandings and conflicts — which delay or hinder everyone from reaching a goal. Aside from that, effective communication positively affects performance by exchanging thoughts and ideas, productive brainstorming, and many others. All this will lead to good work and achieving a goal. Establish trust Aside from effective strategic plans and sales to determine a company’s good performance, employees must be able to rely on each other to create a good working dynamic thus doing good work in accomplishing tasks. Trust plays a big role in teamwork and therefore should be one of the highlights in doing some team bonding activities. Lessen conflicts Once everyone had the chance to undergo the team building event, there is a lesser chance of having conflicts among employees as they have built trust and strengthened their communication with each other. Having confidence in the people you work with and being an effective communicator is key to having a good relationship with co-workers. Enhance collaboration Collaboration, or teamwork, is being able to work together with other people in a group towards achieving a goal. Sometimes, having more brains than one is so much better than working alone. This means it’s also better to have all hands on deck for a greater chance of succeeding. During the team building activities, collaboration among the members of the group should be tested and enhanced. People will be encouraged to share ideas, brainstorm how to execute their plan, and  work together to make it happen. Engage employee-company culture It is important to bring employees closer together while embracing the company culture as they grow.  What makes a team work is each individual’s commitment to be involved in the group effort in reaching a goal. In addition to that, highlighting employee engagement and company culture will make each person feel the acceptance and belongingness within the organization. This will make them feel comfortable working thus, accomplishing their tasks and doing a good performance. The Absence of Team Building So what happens when there is no opportunity for your employees to gather around and grow together? There is a higher risk of miscommunication and misunderstanding which may be a result of the lack of team dynamic and trust. Without regular team building activities or outings to look forward to, it will be obvious that the team has no motivation whatsoever in coming to work and in accomplishing their tasks. And instead of going the extra mile, people would just settle for “just right”. Poor teamwork will be evident when presentations aren’t at all substantial and convincing. All these will affect the company’s overall performance and might create a problem in the long run. Through team building, you will have a motivated and goal-driven team with a superb working dynamic and enhanced individual skills. In order to reach big milestones on the way to success, a company must first strengthen the ones that will highly contribute to long-term rewards — the employees and their relationship with each other, the higher ups, and the company in general. That’s where team building comes in and that is why it’s such a great investment. Team Building at Poker Deluxe The most memorable kind of team building event is something that really doesn’t feel like a day in the office despite being around the people you only see at work. One of the best ideas for a team building event is to hold a poker night. The game may be played individually, but it is a game that makes you practice your social ability with other people on the table while enhancing multiple skills that are useful in many aspects of work. It promotes critical thinking, improves observation skills, teaches you to take risks and listen to your gut. Should you want this type of team building event, you have come to the right place! Poker Deluxe will help you organize the best team bonding activity for you and your employees. Rest assured that you it will be an unforgettable day filled with fun and newly acquired or improved skills. Just tap us and let’s work together!

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10 Team Building Activities to End the Financial Year with a Bang

Australia’s End of the Financial Year (EOFY) is fast approaching, and so are the hectic schedules and heavy tasks that it entails. This is the time when people go all out in working to get the business organised and plan how to be better and smarter in the year ahead. There are tasks involving A LOT of numbers such as dealing with taxes, bookkeeping, sales. The Australian financial year, also known as the Australian tax year, runs from the 1st of July to the 30th of June. When the financial year ends, business books are closed, and the company shall report your financial situation to the government. This will determine how much tax you owe. What Happens During the End of the Financial Year? The EOFY is widely known to be one of the busiest and most crucial periods for all businesses in the country. At this point, expect to have long days of completing bookkeeping and tax returns, performance analysis, strategic planning for the new financial year, reviewing the business structure and insurances, and backing up files for security. With all that said, wouldn’t it be just the perfect time to have team building activities for everyone to have a good time before the chaotic period of the year? Photo: rawpixel.com via Pexels Two Goals of Team Building Before you oppose and say that there’s no time for that, let us explain why it is important. For one, it is a good way to motivate and energise the employees before the peak business period. Second, it is also a way of rewarding the whole team for all the hard work they have done to contribute to the past financial year’s success. Check out 10 epic team building activities you can organise for your company! 1. Poker End the financial year with a sophisticated bang and a little gambling! So out of the many team building ideas, why choose poker as a way to build the team? Here’s why: – improves concentration – helps with emotional maturity – strengthens observation skills – tests decision making under pressure – teaches money management Poker may be more of a one-man show than a team building activity, but playing together is a bond in itself. At the end of the day, the point was to have a friendly competition with one another all the while improving individual skill sets as mentioned above. These will help everyone with the upcoming tasks in the busy days ahead. What makes this even better, Poker Deluxe offer corporate poker events to companies like you! We have different packages that cater to your needs to organise a hassle-free party or team building activity in the following locations Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Adelaide and Perth, 2. Gameshow Set up a legit looking gameshow as a party theme. Arrange teams by table, and then start the team building games! This game show theme shall be an interactive live TV game show for everyone. The variety of games will test the players’ time management, teamwork, strategy, task designations, and thinking. Most of all, they will all learn to have fun as well! 3. Outdoor Adventures/Sportsfest This type of activity may be up to you, but several outdoor activities or sports could be done throughout the day so that everyone could experience each part of the activity. Include sports such as Sailing, Bubble Soccer, Paintball, Swimming, Hiking, Volleyball, Camping etc. Playing sports or going on outdoor adventures may be the best idea for team building. It’s about teamwork, strategy, survival, concentration, healthy competition, speed & accuracy, and good decision making under pressure. Surviving and winning is a bonus for sure, but what really matters is how everyone agreed to work together despite the differences and how each one in the team landed a role that contributed to the team’s success. Photo: Cori Rodriguez via Pexels 4. Amazing Race This is considered as one of the leading team building challenges since it covers almost all the skills that people have to use when working with a team. It works for so many types of groups because it tests everyone’s creative, mental and problem-solving tasks. On top of that, it will also test people’s patience in working with people with different personalities, effective communication, and speed & accuracy when getting things done. The Amazing Race is a varied but balanced activity full of fun and challenges. 5. Learning Workshops On a more serious note, if you’re not up for a full on fun team building activity, learning workshops can be the perfect activity that meets halfway in the work & play scale. Some workshop ideas would be Business minded workshops, presentation workshops, or even customer relationship workshops. This team building activity for work is a good opportunity to learn a new skill or improve an existing one! 6. Charity In terms of CSR and connecting with the community, holding a charity event involving everyone is a fulfilling way to spend time off work with the whole team. Not only will this enhance interpersonal relationships with the people outside work, but it will also shine a light on what’s really important in life. Sometimes, we just have to be reminded of what we’re losing when we work too much — which is exactly what will happen in the busy days ahead. Photo: rawpixel.com via Pexels Team Building Benefits Based on the two main goals of a team building discussed in the beginning of this article, take a look at the benefits of having a team building at a crucial time of a business period. ● Before things get intense, a team building activity or outing will bring out the good vibes, thus having a more positive attitude in dealing with the daily strategic meetings and the finalisation of the year’s finances. ● Team building is a great time to prepare their minds of what’s coming ahead mentally. It will allow the team to unwind and freshen up while having fun and working in unison with everyone else. ● While on the topic on clearing the mind, team building will help in opening up to new perspectives thus allowing ideas to enter the brain, providing a different approach for setting goals and strategising creative plans for the upcoming financial year. ● It’s simple, and it strengthens the team built around work and play. Every team building will work on team communication, strategic thinking, problem-solving, and creative planning. It will be fun witnessing everyone open their minds, release their creative juices and effectively communicate with each other. ● In some team building activities, it impacts the community as well. It is just as important to give time dedicated to work, play, and in giving back. It’s a different yet fulfilling way of taking a free day from work. ● Rewarding the team for all their hard work is important because it shows that you value them and you understand that they need this quick break. Well, what do you think? Having just 1-2 days will do you more good than bad, so go for it and give us a call. Should you choose to have Poker Deluxe to celebrate EOFY with you, you’re on your way to having the greatest ending to this financial year!

18 Popular Team Building Activities & Ideas for Team Culture
18 Popular Team Building Activities & Ideas for Team Culture

At work, some days people are highly motivated and very productive. On some days, everyone is just running low on energy due to piles of work leading to burnout. When this happens, it’s to spice things up and have a little fun. Team building activities are a great way to improve team dynamics, communication and boost morale and motivation. If you’re planning to hold a team building activity anytime soon, today’s your lucky day because we got you covered! Check out these 18 popular team building ideas that you can do for your company! Volunteer as a team. Nothing beats a fulfilling outing with the whole gang by serving the community one way or another! It could be a play date with some orphans, supporting a charity, doing a beach cleanup, etc. This team building idea is very doable and at the same time, easy on the budget. Join a group class together. It’s always a good idea to try something new with other people. Join a cooking class, goal setting workshop, self-defense class, dance class, or anything that everyone wants to try out! At the end of the class, do a fun presentation by the group so everyone could showcase what they have learned. Blindfolded food tasting. Test everyone’s fear of the unknown, and trust between co-workers. Each one will have the chance to be fed something they should guess. Just keep in mind certain allergies and health hazards to avoid unnecessary trips to the hospital. Paint the town red together. Nothing beats a fun night full of booze and excitement! Arrange a night where everyone could just loosen up and just drink ‘til they drop. It can be all in one place or you could all just connect remotely probably through an app or a video call. The point of this is to forget about work for just a little while and have fun! Make an effort to get to know everyone. It’s not enough to see the tip of the iceberg. Dig deeper and get to know each member — their interests, hobbies, personalities, goals, other talents and skills. Have a day full of activities where everyone could get to know each other on a deeper level. This will help everyone understand each other more and be a more decent/considerate co-worker. Test everyone’s problem solving and critical thinking skills. One way to do this is to state a problem — anything at all that requires a solution. It can be a riddle, a fictional product, a realistic situation, brain teaser, design problem, etc. Each person should write their ideas and/or solutions in a piece of paper. It will be up to the group if they should share and explain what they wrote or if it will be done voluntarily so as not to pressure others. This will be a good opportunity for everyone to understand how everyone thinks, and to assess who are naturally good at this department. At the same time, it will also act as a training ground for those who need guidance or a little improvement in problem-solving and critical thinking. Have lunch out more frequent. Having lunch together with the rest of the team allows everyone to interact with everyone during a quick break from work. It keeps a friendly relationship in the office stronger since it’s a time where they can bond at work. Make “lunch lotto” a thing in the office. Lunch lotto is a game where everyone gets the chance to win a free lunch outside the office. Write down names in a small piece of paper, and gather it in a bowl. Every week, anyone whose name is drawn out wins a free lunch out courtesy of the company. This fun little game gives everyone something to look forward to every week and keeps them motivated or a little chirpy, especially when they’re stressed. Wouldn’t that be exciting? Workout together. It’s a known fact that working out relieves stress and lightens up the mood, thus making each individual feel better. What more when it’s done together with the people you work with? Exercising with other people are much more fun and engaging anyway so give it a try and witness how it improves everyone’s productivity and energy. Hold a weekly bonding with the team. Let there be a scheduled sit-down session with the whole team. It should be a gadget-free bonding moment with everyone while on a campfire, chill drinking session, or something similar. This should be a time where everyone could just vent out and talk about anything — may it be work-related, projects, deadlines, clarifications, fun and friendly debates, personal matters, etc. Have on-site activities and events in the workplace. To make things interesting in the workplace, have various activities that people would like to be involved in — it can be yoga, pottery, Zumba, painting, photography workshops, etc. This will allow the team to be creative, willing to try new things, relieve stress, and learn something different. Promote employee hobby clubs. Just like in school where there are clubs we could join, it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to have something like that in work as well. Everyone has a hobby — writing, music, dancing, baking, gaming, designing, etc. Having hobby clubs gives people a little break from the intense workload in the office, and lets them focus on something they actually enjoy. Dive into a StrengthsFinder workshop. Sometimes, employees lose themselves due to the amount of work they do every day and forget who they are and what they are good at. Holding a strengths-finder workshop is a very good opportunity to remind everyone of what they are made to do, and highlight their strengths. This will motivate them to work more effectively because they have a clearer mind with a clearer goal to focus on. Hold a sports fest. Have a day dedicated to sports and team building games to enhance everyone’s extracurricular skills, as well as other skills that could be useful at work. On top of that, playing sports and games improves camaraderie between co-workers, enhance teamwork, and evaluate individual strengths and weakness in order to reach a specific goal and succeed. Go on a scavenger hunt. Every scavenger hunt is different, it depends on the organiser to make it creative, witty and challenging! There will be a list of things to find or to do. In order to complete it within a specific timeframe (e.g. 2 hours), the group has to have the guts to do it and to do everything quickly and accurately. If you want a hassle-free scavenger hunt, there are plenty of team building organisers or scavenger hunt planners to help you out! Have a beach day. Sometimes, we all need that beach therapy. It’s always so fun to take a dip in the water and have some fun under the sun with the whole team. While you’re at it, take some cool pics and play some inflatable games like basketball, slides, ball pit, or jousting. Split the team into two and get the playground set up ready. This will engage people in an exciting yet healthy competition among co-workers. Hike and enjoy the view from the top. An alternative to the beach day is to go and be one with nature. Go hiking and camp out on top where you could enjoy the view and have some deep talks or chill music jamming. Make the most out of the relaxation before heading back to the office. Have opposite gender day. Spice things up at work by dressing up as the opposite gender! Rock a cool male or female outfit and be a different person in the office for a day. If you’re feeling a little extra, you can even adopt certain mannerisms and personality traits. It would be so much fun to see everyone get out of their comfort zones and be creative with their one-day-transformation. Play poker together Did you know that playing poker does many good things for our corporate clients? It’s one of the best team building activities for it improves observation, strategic planning, and other individual skills that will be useful at work. Should you choose to play poker as your team building activity, feel free to work with us here at Poker Deluxe! We have several packages you will love. Let’s work together to have a superb and hassle-free team bonding! To make successful team building activities happen, just provide an email list, the space needed for the event, and the details for the participants’ meals. At the end of a session, make sure to hold a debriefing session. Discuss what people have learned, what worked and didn’t work, and share how it can be applied practically, especially at work

Christmas Parties & Work Functions
Christmas Parties & Work Functions

With Christmas now less than 3 months away, it is the time of year when a lot of companies and businesses start to book in for their work Christmas party or break up.  If you or your work are sick of doing the same old thing year after year or are looking for something a bit more exciting and interactive than just dinner and drinks, then Poker Deluxe have the perfect package for you. What better way to celebrate a year’s hard work and reward your employees than with a professionally run poker tournament by the team at Poker Deluxe.  They have been running corporate and team building events Australia wide for more than half a decade and boast a long list of impressive clients they’ve hosted events for, including Toyota, Deloitte, Norman Disney & Young, CFMEU, Coca-Cola, Bendigo Bank, iinet, KPMG and plenty more.  Don’t worry though if you’re not a big business, Poker Deluxe can cater their packages for as little as 5 or 6 people, right up to hundreds. Poker Deluxe will plan and run your event from start to finish, so you can focus on other important things.  All they need to know is a few details about the event and they will take care of the rest.  From organising delivery and set-up of the equipment, to providing professional dealers and tournaments hosts to MC the evening, you won’t have to stress about a thing.  They will even provide a custom engraved glass trophy for the winner and can arrange other prizes too! The team at Poker Deluxe also offer complete flexibility as to where you have your poker night.  They can come to your workplace, a function room, someone’s house, or even provide a venue from one of the 50+ venues they offer packages at Australia wide.  They can even organise the food and drinks if it’s at one of their partnered venues. Not only is a poker tournament a great way to reward your staff, but it’s also an excellent social tool to bring your team closer together and improve workplace productivity.  All whilst having some competitive fun and a few drinks.  You don’t have to be a card shark either to play.  Poker Deluxe’s professional tournament hosts and or dealers all have multiple years’ experience with poker and will run a learn to play table before every event to teach people how to play and go through the rules. So if you are looking for a fun, social, competitive way to reward your employees and get staff talking about the Christmas party for months to come, then a Poker Deluxe function is perfect for you.  Just get in touch with the team by requesting a quote to the right and they will get in touch with you to start planning and customising the right package for you. Or if you’d rather speak to someone directly, you can always call Poker Deluxe on 1300 1 POKER.

Fairy Tale Complete as Poker Amateur Takes Down Aussie Millions Main Event
Fairy Tale Complete as Poker Amateur Takes Down Aussie Millions Main Event

In what will give hope and inspire amateur poker players from all over the world, Shurane Vijayaram outlasted 723 other poker players, including some of the world’s best professionals, to take home the $1.6 million first prize after a gruelling 8 days of play. Shurane only found out he would be playing in the main event one day before it started, having entered a $130 qualifier tournament which he went on to win. That win earned him a seat worth $10,600 in the main event, which he would eventually turn into $1.6 million. Not a bad return. What makes this truly a fairy-tale story is that Shurane has never recorded a cash win previously, making this his first ever professional tournament pay day. He also beat out UK professional Ben Heath in heads up play, with Ben taking home a handy $1 million for second place. Shurane entered the final hand with a commanding 3-1 chip lead but it was his call on the river that many are calling one of the gutsiest calls ever seen for such a large amount of money. Shurane was holding pocket 5’s up against Ben’s K8 off suit, and with the boarding missing them both, running out 6H, 9C, 7S, 3H, QS, Ben bluffed all-in, hoping Shurane would fold. And where any professional player would most likely fold, Shurane had the nerve and confidence to call him down, knowing his hand would only beat a complete bluff, and that is exactly what Ben had. Although Shurane started the hand with a 3-1 chip lead, if Shurane had have called and lost the hand, both players would have had exactly 11 million in chips and it would have been anyone’s tournament from then on. That makes his call that much more impressive! Shurane explained after he’d won that his focus was on his own game and to not be intimidated by more experience players. “I just try to play my best game and not think about people that are really good players…It doesn’t matter who you are, you just have to get the cards” Shurane said. Even if Shurane manages to spend all $1.6 million he won, he will always have the $30,000 custom made diamond encrusted Anton Jewellery bracelet to remember his incredible journey, and victory. It just goes to show that as long as you have a bit of skill, a bit of patience, and a bit of luck, anyone can win! From everyone here at Poker Deluxe, we say congratulation to Shurane Vijayaram, on winning the 2017 Aussie Millions Main Event, and we’ll see you at the tables soon!

Christmas Parties with Poker Deluxe
Christmas Parties with Poker Deluxe

The silly season is fast approaching and what better way to reward your employees and celebrate another successful year than with a fun and social night that also doubles as a great team building event. Poker Deluxe have been organising and running corporate poker events for over 6 years and specialise in creating bespoke packages to suit any business from a small retail shop with 6 employees to multi-national companies with over 250 employees. If you are yet to book your Christmas function or work break up party why not consider Poker Deluxe to host an event for you. They operate in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane, Gold Coast and Perth. They provide absolutely everything you need to ensure an exciting evening and because they do all the work, you can sit back, relax and enjoy the evening with your colleagues. They provide all the equipment you need including casino quality tables, chips and cards, a professional tournament host to set up and run the event, and a range of prizes including a customised glass trophy and movie tickets for the winner. And the best part? Poker Deluxe can come to any location to host your event. Whether it be at your office or shop, or at a venue you have arranged, Poker Deluxe is fully mobile. And not to worry if you don’t have a venue sorted, Poker Deluxe has over 50 venues Australia wide that we work with to ensure we can cater for absolutely any request. Not only is a poker tournament a great way to reward your staff, but it’s also an excellent social tool to bring your team closer together and improve workplace productivity. All whilst having some competitive fun and a few drinks. You don’t have to be a card shark either to play. Poker Deluxe’s professional tournament hosts and or dealers all have multiple years’ experience with poker and will run a learn to play table before every event to teach people how to play and go through the rules. They haven’t done an event yet where people haven’t been able to pick up the rules in less than 15 minutes. So for a fun unique team building Christmas party idea that is more than just drinking at a bar, get in touch with the team at Poker Deluxe and speak to them about how they can create a custom poker event to suit you and your company’s needs. No event is too big or small. For more information, you can contact Poker Deluxe on 1300 1POKER or email [email protected]

New World Series of Poker Champion is Crowned
New World Series of Poker Champion is Crowned

After a nearly 4 month break, the final 9 players at the World Series of Poker Main Event from a field of 6,737 descended on Las Vegas to battle it out to see who could outlast the rest and take home the first prize of over $10 million AUD. After 2 day full days of play, the final table of 9 had been whittled down to just 3. Entering the third and what would be the final day of play, Qui Nguyen was odds-on favourite to take the title with almost 60% of the 336,600,000 chips in play in his possession. Behind Nguyen was Gordon Vayo with 89,000,000 chips and playing the short stack was Cliff Josephy with just 50,000,000 in chips. There was action on the very first hand of the day when Josephy doubled up through Nguyen. Josephy moved all in pre-flop and was called by Nguyen whose A4 off suit was dominated by Josephy’s AQ of diamonds. Josephy made a full house and all of a sudden had 100,000,000 in chips, making the 3 stacks a lot more even. Unfortunately for Josephy, his double up did not go far when he ran into trouble just 4 hands later. Josephy found himself with pocket 2’s and a set on the flop, but was ultimately beaten when he ran into Vayo’s pocket 3’s who had also flopped a set. All the chips were in the middle by the turn and after missing the case 2 on the river, Josephy was left with just 8 big blinds. Despite a couple of handy double ups through Nguyen, Josephy was unable to mount a serious comeback and finished in 3rd place taking home a tidy $4.5 million AUD. After 182 hands to knock out 7 players and get to heads up, it would eventually be a further 182 hands before there was a winner. This set a new record for longest heads up battle in a World Series Main Event, and after nearly 10 hours of gruelling heads up play, we would have a winner. Early on in heads up play, Nguyen’s aggression payed off and he was able to win 7 of the first 9 hands and as a result, took the chip lead and never looked back. After a couple of big hands, Nguyen opened up a 5-1 chip lead over Vayo and continued to bully and pressure Vayo by raising with almost any two cards and forcing Vayo to make tough lay downs with good hands. Vayo did manage to double up a couple of times but it would prove fruitless in the end as Vayo shoved for the final time with J10 spades and was snap called by Nguyen with K10 clubs after raising to 8.5 million on the button. The flop kept it interesting, with Nguyen picking up a pair of Kings but Vayo also giving himself 8 outs in the form of a queen or an eight for a straight. The turn and river were both blanks and after 362 hands at the final table, Nguyen collected the cash, the bracelet, and the bragging rights as the 2016 World Series of Poker Main Event Champion. Vayo still had a profitable day, taking home over $6 million AUD for his 2nd place finish. In what will go down as one of the longest and most memorable final tables in history, Nguyen’s aggression, commitment to pressure, and sometimes unconventional style of poker, paid off and after 10 full days of poker, he outlasted 6,736 of the world’s best poker players to claim the title.

As-we-prepare-for-the-November-Nine
As we prepare for the November Nine. What has the 2016 WSOP taught us?

On July 18th the curtain came down on the World Series of Poker – not the final, final curtain because there’s a certain nine player main event playoff to look forward too in a couple of months, but more of that a little later. So, to go back to the beginning, one of the biggest things that the WSOP 2016 has taught us is that poker is becoming more and more popular. The 107,833 entrants from countries all round the world have shown us that – only the second time that this has topped the 100,000 mark. It’s also a marker showing just how far we’ve come since the tournament started in 1970 when just seven players came at the invitation of mob boss and gambling legend Benny Binion and played for no more than the glory of winning. This year the total prize pot was an astonishing $221,211,336. So what else have we learnt from this year’s tournament? Well for one thing it’s been a record-breaking year in so many ways – there were 15,767 players who scooped cash prizes and the average first prize pot was $555,475. Ben Keeline also broke the record for the biggest single prize in a $500 dollar buy-in event with the $1 million he pocketed in the hotly contested Colossus II event Roland Israelashvili led the way in the number of cashes with a very impressive 13 and no less than three players reached $5 million in career WSOP winnings Brian Rast, Fedor Holz and and Dan Smith with both Holz and Rast picking up coveted bracelets along the way. The tenth person in the history of the WSOP to reach a total of $10 million in World Series winnings was Joe Cada. Women players also enjoyed much deserved success this year with two notable examples being Natasha Barbour and Lisa Meredith. The former had already come third in the $5,000 No Limit Hold’em event taking home a handsome $348,374 when her boyfriend Jason Mercier, this year’s Player of the Year, went down on one knee and asked her to marry him surrounded by cheering players. Meredith, a teacher from Oregon, enjoyed a big result at her first tournament winning $500,000 in the $1,500 Buy-In Millionaire Maker. One of the biggest stories however, is the rise of the satellite entrants. With both Fernando Pons and Griffin Benger making it through to the November Nine via the 888Poker WSOP Main Event qualifier. A huge step up from the 44th achieved by Ghattas Kortas in 2015, and something everyone hopes can be replicated next year. With satellites offering a great opportunity to make the game more accessible to any entrant it allows amateurs to really feel part of the poker community. So now all eyes are on the clash between the nine players who have made it through to the Main Event final table. Led by Cliff Josephy with 74.6 million chips and Qui Nguyen with 67.925 million it promises to be an intriguing event that runs between October 30th and November 1st in the Penn and Teller Theatre in the Rio All Suite Hotel and Casino. As for next year’s WSOP interest is already running high – and who knows, maybe we could be writing about you this time next year.

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End of Financial Year Teambuilding Ideas

It’s nearing the end of another financial year and many companies are looking for new ideas for an end of financial year party. It’s no secret to successful managers that end of financial year parties facilitate team building and improve staff morale, as well as make staff feel more at home and loyal to the company. For those reasons and more, an end of financial year party is something you shouldn’t skip. That said, after a few years of doing the same things they can also begin to feel a bit stale and repetitive. Some of the usual ideas are: Dinner and a few drinks at a local pub or restaurant. These can be fun and can get a little wild. Attending or playing in a sporting event like bowling, mini golf, cricket, rugby or football. Adventure sports like hiking, rafting, and rock climbing. These are all fun a few times, and each option has its pros and cons. But if you are looking for something fun and unique try holding an all-inclusive poker night. Since the aim of an end of year party is to bond and celebrate, a poker night is ideal and achieves both objectives. It creates a spirit of friendly competition and is something which includes everyone in one tournament. Poker Deluxe offers a corporate poker night to fit the bill. The best part is absolutely everything is taken care of, leaving you and your team to sit back, relax, and enjoy the evening. The Poker Deluxe corporate package includes professional dealers who offer a learn-to-play table prior to start. Quality equipment including tables, chips, cards and all the necessary gear, tournament software on laptop or big screen to keep track of the timer, trophies and prizes for winners and runners-up, and 3 hours of non-stop entertainment. They can bring it all to your workplace or even assist with a venue. If doing something a little different that will create memories for staff to talk about until this time next year sounds like your idea of a good end of year party, and you think your team would benefit from a little friendly competition, then check out the Poker Deluxe Corporate events here and speak to one of their friendly team.

Poker Afloat – Poker Cruise
Poker Afloat – Poker Cruise

Poker Afloat is an all-inclusive fun poker cruise operating around Australia. It’s now possible to enjoy live poker tournaments out on the water in some of Australia’s best-loved cities. With catamarans taking up to 130 players out in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane (coming soon), they offer a unique way to enjoy live poker tournaments with a view. Poker Afloat aims to make it an all-in-one event. Tickets can be purchased through Poker Deluxe or on a number of daily deals sites and for only $99 you get real bang for your buck. Your cruise package is inclusive of beer, wine, soft drinks and finger food throughout. Lingerie waitresses are there to cater to players, so they can kick back, relax and enjoy the cruise. The main tournament rewards the final table of 9 players with prizes. The winner received $3500 cash! Secondary prizes include Bali Holiday land packages valued at $1500 and other finalist will receive another ticket onto next month’s cruise to try again. There is a guaranteed $9500 worth of cash and prizes up for grabs in each cruise. For those who get knocked out early there’s also a secondary tournament which can be bought into for $25 on board should you wish to have a second chance. There is a guaranteed Bali Package on offer for the winner of the secondary tournament. New poker players as well as seasoned hands are all welcome with the only requirement being that those attending are 18 years and older. Tournaments are held at dates outlined on the Poker Afloat website www.pokerafloat.com and you can book as an individual or as a group of friends. Those who don’t want to play but still want to go along and support their mates and enjoy the experience are also welcome on Poker Afloat cruises. In order to make sure the tournaments go as smoothly as possible, Poker Afloat teamed up with Poker Deluxe, harnessing their experience and expertise to run the events. Poker Deluxe provide the tables, chips and four experienced hosts make sure that everything runs smoothly, and that all have a great time regardless of whether or not they win the pot. To find out when the next Poker Afloat tournament is being held or to book your ticket, simply contact Poker Deluxe or Poker Afloatfor more information. Places fill up quickly, so get in early for a fun experience.

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Get Back Into the swing of Things in 2016

It’s easy to hit a slump this time of year. The fire is beginning to die down after the New Year, and everybody is settling back into business as usual. A few staff members might even need cheering up as February sets in! Have some new members joined your team and are just beginning to fit in? Is staff morale a bit low and you want to fire everybody up again? Maybe you’re trying to think of an ideal way to entertain some potential business clients and show them a great time? Or maybe you’re just looking for teambuilding ideas to knit an already tight and functional team together even tighter? Poker Deluxe – the Ideal Corporate Social Night Your staff will love our poker packages. Our pro dealers come to a venue of your choice and set everything up. They also understand the ins and outs of the game and can quickly teach those who are new to it. In fact, that’s one of the best things about poker and it’s why everyone will have such a fantastic time – it’s easy to learn and heaps of fun! We offer both a standard ‘gold package’ and a high-rollers ‘deluxe package’ for those who really want to spoil their business clients or team. Corporate Teambuilding at Its Best Corporate teambuilding doesn’t have to be boring. With a corporate poker night, everyone can bond while engaged in one of the oldest and most enjoyable forms of entertainment created by man – playing a good old fashioned game of cards! It’s both competitive and fun. Throw in a few drinks and some delicious food and you have a night everyone will remember and talk about for years! We serve over 500 poker events across Australia annually, and every single one of them is memorable. We take care of everything from A-Z, so you don’t have to do anything except make the initial call and we’ll handle it all from there. If you’re team is hitting a slump, you’ll notice a marked improvement in the days and weeks after we put together an event, and if new members have joined the team, you’ll see them slot right in. Give it a go and you won’t regret it. There’s no better way to keep your teams spirits high as the energy of the New Year begins to wane and they settle in for another year of hard work and achievement! Click here to learn more about what our Poker Deluxe package offers or contact us now.

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Poker is the Perfect Teambuilding Activity

There are too many reasons to name them all, but here are some key factors and ideas as to why companies use team building activities with employees and business partners.  Just a handful, yet valuable, reasons include: Improving communication, boosting morale, motivation, ice breakers to help get to know each other better, learning effective strategies, improving productivity, learning about one’s strengths and weaknesses and many others. Team building activities can be used by any corporate business, large or small, to promote better teamwork in the workplace and build stronger relationships with business partners/customers.  As most business owners to corporate CEO’s and even store managers will tell you, a highly cohesive group displaying strong teamwork qualities is one of the biggest factors that can determine a company’s success or failure. There are four main types of team building activities, which includes: Communication activities, problem solving and/or decision making activities, adaptability and/or planning activities, and activities that focus on building trust. The idea is to perform various activities that are both fun and challenging, and that also have the “side effect” of building teamwork skills that can help improve employee performance and productivity at the office. In this blog post, we’ll look at how a fun and social poker night among colleagues can help develop the skills needed and displayed by highly effective teams.  A simple game of poker, in the right environment, can improve communication, problem solving skills and relationships between business clients, employees and management. Ways In Which Poker Is a Useful Team Building Activity Improving Communication There’s nothing like a fun, friendly and social night of poker over a couple of cold drinks to let one’s defences down and let the general grind of day-to-day work wash away. Poker is a great way for colleagues and business partners to get to know each other in a relaxing environment. Boosting Moral I can’t tell you how many times I’ve witnessed the ‘first-timer’ poker player walk away with the win and bragging rights around the office until the next poker event.  As silly as it might sound, the simple act of winning or even taking chips off colleagues that you might not expect to be able to outwit at the poker table, can give that little boost of confidence and morale to employees around the office. Motivation A night of poker can act as very effective tool for motivating your workforce.  By rewarding your staff with a fun night and the chance to get to know colleagues better, they’re more likely to be happy in their job and have the support of others when completing tasks.  This kind of work environment serves to motivate people to achieve better results Build Trust The simple act of helping a colleague out with rules of poker or perhaps with a decision in a big hand, can go a long way to helping build trust in their colleagues. Ice Breakers As we said before, this relaxed and fun setting lets colleagues and business partners get to know each other without office politics and in ways that everyday work wouldn’t provide. What better ice breaker than winning a big pot off your boss. Learning Effective Strategies Poker is a game of thinking and strategy.  Employees will be constantly creating new strategies to beat their opponents at the felt, all while doing so on the fly. A great quality in any team. Improving Productivity Increased happiness = increased productivity. It’s that simple!  By holding fun and exciting team building activities such as a poker night for your employees, then they’re more likely to be happy and actually be more productive in the long run. Adaptability As a game of poker progresses and chip stacks are lost or won, players are eliminated or moved to another table, a player’s game strategy must adapt and evolve to stay ahead of the pack.  It’s a subconscious decision making process that occurs, but a valuable trait for any company team. As always – ‘May the flop be with you.’

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How to Play Poker for Dummies

As the famous quote goes, “Poker takes a minute to learn and a lifetime to master.” It’s a very easy game to pick up the basics and once you know what you are doing it is a lot of fun! There is always a certain amount of luck involved so anyone can be the winner on the day. Poker Deluxe hosts corporate teambuilding and social poker nights for companies looking to reward their staff or clients with a fun night of entertainment. Usually held on site or in a function venue, coupled with drinks and some nibbles it is always a winning combination. There is a dealer on every table who runs through a 15 minute learn-to-play session prior to the start of the game so everyone is ready for the challenge. Then it is game on! Players try to take all their opponents chips to be the last one standing at which time they are crowned the winner. The winner will receive an engraved glass trophy and a prize, but most importantly will have bragging rights until the next event. You can see a full rundown of how to play poker in our poker school, but here is a summary: The rules are basically the same whether you’re playing at a live casino or a home game, except for home games a dealer must be selected if it’s being self-dealt. Do this by shuffling a standard 52-card deck (no jokers in play) and then deal each player one card face up. The player with the highest card will be the dealer for the first hand and once completed, will pass the deck and dealer button to the player on their left to deal the next hand. Pre-Flop The dealer shuffles a deck of cards and then starting with the player to their immediate left, begins dealing two cards face down to each player. Only deal one card at a time to each player and repeat this process. The player to the dealer’s left is known as the “small blind” (SB) and must make the pre-determined bet (small blind) regardless if they wish to finish playing the hand or not. The player in the “small blind” position is followed by the player to their left, known as the “big blind” bet. If the small blind were 10 poker chips, then the big blind bet would be 20 chips. The player to the left of the ‘big blind’ (BB) is the first player at the table allowed to look at their cards for free and decide if they wish to fold or play. If the player decides to play, they must at least match the big blind amount, known as a “call” or they can “raise” the big blind and increase the bet amount. The rest of the pre-flop betting round continues around the table with each player having to call, raise or fold to the current highest bet. Once the betting returns to the small blind, they now have the chance to either fold, call or raise the highest bet, keep in mind this player has already put some chips into the pot, so in order to call, the small blind must simply add the remaining chips to their forced initial bet. Regardless of the small blinds decision to fold, call or raise, the big blind is next to act. Even if the big blind’s initial forced bet has not been raised by another player in the hand, they still have the option to raise or if no other players have increased the initial big blind bet, then they also have the option to “check” and so no further betting continues for that round. If the big blind does re-raise (increase the highest bet), then action continues around the table as per a normal betting round with those remaining in the hand. If no other players end up calling the highest bet, then the player who placed it automatically wins the pot and no additional cards are dealt. If two or more players don’t fold, then the hand continues to the flop. The Flop Once all of the pre-flop betting has been completed, the dealer then burns (discard to the side) the next card on top of the deck face down. Then the next three cards from the deck are flipped face up in the middle of the table. These cards are known as the community cards and shared by all remaining players to combine with own hole cards to form the best hand. The small blind opens a second round of betting, which proceeds as a regular poker betting round. If the small blind folded pre-flop, then the action would begin with the first player still in the hand and to the left of the small blind. The Turn The dealer burns the top card from the deck and then flips one card only face up in the middle of the table as the fourth community card. The small blind opens a third betting round, which proceeds as a regular betting round. The River Again, the dealer burns the top card from the deck and then flips face up the final card in the middle of the table. The river card is the fifth and final community card. The small blind opens a fourth and final betting round, which proceeds as a regular betting round. Once all betting has completed, the remaining players make their best five card hands using the two cards in their hand and the five community cards. A player can use either one or both of their hole cards with any of the five community cards in order to make the best hand. The player who made the initial raise, and then subsequently called by the rest of the players, is the first to expose their hole cards at the showdown. The player with the best combination of five cards wins the hand. If you are looking for teambuilding ideas and a fun activity for your next social night. Please contact Poker Deluxe for more information.

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Benefits of Corporate Team Building Activities

Corporate team building is all too often pushed aside for another day and can easily be forgotten about altogether. The trouble with that is team building is not only valuable, but a necessary activity for any company trying to attract and retain quality employees. Team building activities and corporate games can be used to celebrate company or individual milestones or to help staff bond and become a strong cohesive team. The company will benefit through increased levels of cooperation among staff of different departments and a feeling of accomplishing a collective goal for the team. Work tasks can become easier if everyone is on the same page and can eliminate competitiveness between colleagues, since everyone is working towards a common goal. Communication Team building exercises can dramatically increase internal communications of company employees in all departments, while also helping to break down perceived barriers between management and staff. A fun, well-organised and well-delivered team building event will do far more to improve the way your employees interact within your organisation; it will carry over into their relationships with customers. Knowledge, skills and techniques can be shared, practiced and improved through team building activities, so colleagues can see how other departments operate. Once every employee understands their associates’ needs, and gains an insight into other departments, then levels of communication will improve immediately. Commitment Commitment to your company, colleagues and corporate goals also improves with regular team building activities or events. Participation is key, because when everyone attends a company team building event, bonding on a personal level between employees occurs, strengthening your company. Team building results in everyone pulling in the same direction. By actually experiencing this feeling through team building activities, your team understands what can be accomplished when everyone pulls together. Collaboration You will see an increase in collaboration among company departments and employees after a successful team -building session. This is due to the new levels of communication flowing within the company and its employees. Barriers to working together will be reduced and obstacles to cooperation will be eliminated. Working together in team building activities helps your departments understand what each person needs from the other members of the company. Culture Your employees will have the opportunity to experience and put into practice the desired office culture during team building events. Through activities your business partners will experience the values of your company and also have the chance to use these values during the team building activity. By using these values with their co-workers, your employees will begin to understand your culture and values and why they’re important for success. Talking about culture is fine but actually experiencing it, makes your office culture a reality. May the flop be with you!