Throughout December, we've been featuring our brand-new ranking of "The Best Golf and Casino Resorts."
Well, if you have plans to visit any of our winners (or any other golf and casino resorts for that matter), here's how to "double down" on the gaming theme and action to make your trip even more memorable and fun...
Get Custom Poker Chips Made
If you have a special trip coming up (annual buddies trip, bachelor party, big birthday, etc.) you can have custom poker chips made to ratchet up significance of the event.
Get a few to use as commemorative ball makers, or a bunch to use for apres golf poker games -- having top-quality chips made is now easier and less expensive than you ever thought possible.
We recently used a website called ChipLab and we were thrilled with the results (see below).
You can use their templates and/or your own artwork to customize your chips -- live, on-screen -- in minutes.
What you get is poker chips that look and feel exactly like the real thing, probably because they are. ChipLab's break and butter is making custom chips for major casinos, the World Poker Tour, and big-time corporate clients.
Using their customization tool is easy and, frankly, fun. Check it out here.
Layer the "Action"
You may already have your favorite on-course betting games (see below), but there are some great add-ons you can play, too, to add interest and intrigue. For example, the game called Snake.
In short, if you three-putt (or worse), you're "holding the snake," and the only way to pass the snake is for another player to three-putt after you.
At the end of the round, the player holding the snake owes the rest of the group a set amount.
To turn up the pressure, you can have the snake penalty increase each time it's passed. There's no better way to become a better short-putter than facing the pressure of the Snake.
Another add-on focusing on putting is called "Three-Putt Poker." Here's how you play:
At the start of the first nine, everyone antes up, say, $5 or $10.
Then, you simply track 3-putts (or worse) and 1-putts. After nine holes, you tally everything up...
For each green someone 3-putts (or worse), they must add, say, $1 or $2 to the pot.
Then, everyone is given one card (for their ante) plus an additional card for every 1-putt they made.
The person with the best poker hand wins the pot. Then you play it again for the second nine holes.
It's a fun and easy way to merge golf with poker.
Traditional Betting Games
Team Match Play (Best-Ball) might be an obvious choice, but that's because it's brilliant in its simplicity.
Two, two-person teams square off for a pre-determined number of holes where the lowest score on a given hole per team "counts." A lot of groups who do this will do a Nassau, with the front nine, back nine and entire 18 up for grabs as distinct matches-within-the-match.
You can spice it up with either optional or compulsory presses (one team can announce the formation of a new match).
One of my favorite forms of this is 6-6-6, where you change partners every six holes. This gives a player who struggles early a chance to turn his or her luck around.
Skins: A famous Thanksgiving Day distraction for lovers of televised golf that fell by the wayside, this is still a fun way to play.
Each hole is worth a given amount, and can only be won by a single player making the lowest score.
If any two players tie with the lowest score, the pot carries over to the next hole.
The stakes can rise in a hurry if there are a handful of halved holes in a row.
To complicate things, you can force a player who wins, say, the 10th hole to "validate" that victory by winning or halving the 11th hole.
The game of Wolf requires a little more accounting than best-ball play, but it's a lot of fun, especially if you're playing as a fivesome.
On the first tee, an order of play is established and then followed for the entire round.
For instance, if playing with five players, if you're Player A, you'll tee off first on holes 1, 6, 11 and 16. On those holes, you'll then have the option to partner up with Player B, C or D after seeing their drives, with the caveat being that you must declare a partnership before the next player has hit.
Once that's done, you'll play that single hole for a set amount. You can elect to "go lone wolf" on a hole, which means that you stand to triple your winnings if you win the hole, or triple your exposure if you lose.
One interesting variant is to force each player to have to go it alone on one hole during the match. Another gives a player chosen as a partner the opportunity to decline the partnership in favor of going it alone for that hole.
The Key to Any On-Course Action
The most important point to remember is that the size of the stakes you play for are far less important than whether you have something -- anything -- on the line.
In high school, we would play matches where the losers would carry the winners' golf bags back to the bus.
Likewise, you can play for a beer or a buck.
The most important thing is bragging rights.
What kinds of things do you do to spice up your golf and gaming vacations? Please share your thoughts or read what others are saying below.