Choosing the Best Cigars to Smoke During Poker Night

A good cigar can take a poker night from great to exceptional. The scent lingering in the air, the rich smoke swirling around the table, the deep flavors paired with drinks – it’s an experience tailor-made for poker nights with the guys. However, not all stogies are created equal. You want a cigar that will burn slowly and evenly during those long poker sessions without needing to be re-lit every other hand. The taste should be bold yet smooth to enjoy during downtime in the game when you can sit back and savor it. And the look of the cigar matters too – you want something that looks refined resting on the ashtray as you ponder your next move. Here’s what to consider when choosing game cigars to smoke during your next poker night.

Cigar Length and Ring Gauge

The shape and size of the cigar will impact your poker smoking experience. A longer cigar, generally Parejo or Double Corona around 6 to 7 inches, will burn for a longer time so you can enjoy it during an extended poker match. The ring gauge (diameter) should be between 44-54 to ensure an even, slow burn. Wider cigars tend to run hot and burn unevenly. A moderate ring gauge provides the ideal firmness and texture for a consistent smoke while you play several hands of poker with your buddies.

Wrapper and Filler

A quality wrapper leaf and blend of filler tobaccos give a cigar its signature flavor, notes, and aroma. For poker night, go for a hearty maduro wrapper leaf that provides sweetness with rich earthy notes. The filler should offer complexity and depth of flavor to keep your palate intrigued but not overwhelmed as you smoke during poker. A mix of Nicaraguan and Dominican long-fillers often achieves the right fullness and balance. The country of origin also affects flavor – Nicaraguan tobacco tends to be bolder while Dominican is more refined.

Brand and Price

You don’t need the most expensive cigars for poker night, but stay away from bargain cigars that are likely to provide an uneven smoking experience. Aim for established mid-range brands like Arturo Fuente, Romeo y Julieta, or Ashton that offer consistently good construction and flavor for the price. Expect to pay around $8 to $15 per cigar to get ideal quality for the poker table. If celebrating a big win, you can always step up to a premium brand like Padrón or Davidoff for special occasion smokes with your poker crew.

Strength Profile

Full-bodied cigars may overpower your palate while you’re focused on the poker games. Look for a medium strength profile that provides rich flavors without being too strong. Cigars labeled as “Mild to Medium” are a good intensity for casual poker nights. Save the “Full Bodied” smokes for when you are more focused on savoring the cigar itself after the game wraps up.

Shape and Vitola

The shape of the cigar affects how it feels in your mouth and how much smoke is produced when puffing during hands of poker. A rounded Parejo shape is ideal. Pointy cigars can feel uncomfortable while playing cards. The Parejo Churchill or Robusto vitolas (sizes) offer the perfect dimensions for poker night. Avoid petite cigars – you don’t want to have to constantly re-light and interrupt the game flow.

Tips for Enjoying Your Cigar at the Poker Table

Once you’ve selected the ideal cigars for poker night, a few tips will help you enjoy them to the fullest during play:

  • Use a double guillotine cutter for a clean cut to maximize smoke.
  • Light with cedar spills rather than a gas lighter to get even lighting.
  • Take your time toasting and lighting the foot to prevent tunneling while focused on the game.
  • Set the cigar safely in a sturdy crystal or stone ashtray when not puffing.
  • Pair your cigar with whiskey, cognac, or amber beer – sip between hands.
  • Let the cigar rest between puffs; no need to continuously smoke during hands.
  • As the cigar burns down, gently touch up the side that tunnels or canoes.

Choosing the right game cigar for poker night is a ritual that enhances the atmosphere and enjoyment of playing with your buddies. Taking a little time to select the perfect size, strength, flavor, and brand makes all the difference. And following proper lighting and enjoyment tips ensures flawless performance from start to finish, just like mastering your poker face. The right cigar becomes part of the game, and makes winning hands just a bit sweeter.

FAQs

Q: What strength of cigar is best for poker night?

A: A cigar with a medium strength profile, often labeled as “mild to medium” or “medium”, is ideal for poker night. This provides rich flavor without being overpowering as you focus on the card game.

Q: How long should a cigar burn for poker night?

A: Choose a longer cigar in the 6 to 7 inch range, often a Parejo or Churchill vitola. This ensures the cigar will burn slowly for 1 hour+ to last through extended poker games.

Q: What cut should be used on the cigar?

A: Use a double guillotine cutter to get a clean cut across the cap. This optimizes air flow for even burning and maximum smoke volume.

Q: What beverage pairings work well with poker cigars?

A: Cigars pair nicely with whiskey, cognac, dark beers, and amber rums during poker night. Sipping these drinks between hands balances the richness.

Q: Should cigars be stored in a humidor for poker night?

A: Yes, keeping cigars at the proper humidity (65-70%) in a humidor ensures they burn and smoke their best during poker games.

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