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Cigar 101

How to Host a Virtual Herf

Shane K. K's picture

Shane K.

One of the biggest reasons cigar lovers are drawn to cigars is camaraderie. We love to kick back and appreciate a good cigar in the company of our pals. As the pandemic has gripped our nation and any sense of normalcy over the past months, our instincts to get together have been interrupted in a big way. The closure of cigar shops, lounges, bars, and the cancelation of cigar events hasn’t been easy. Most of us have had to smoke alone in the confines of a man cave or backyard. Let’s look on the bright side though. Cigar lovers are resilient.

We’ve been enjoying our beloved cigars despite the sweeping implementation of smoking bans, egregious taxes, and restrictions over the past two decades. And until this virus dilemma passes, we’ve got a new tool at our disposal: the virtual herf. It’s not the same as hanging out over a bonfire or a cooler full of beer, but it’s a decent remedy for smoking solo. Plus, you can smoke with pals you’d normally have to catch a plane to see. The virtual herf is catching on. Here’s what you need to know to host or join a virtual herf and have a cigar with your buddies just like old times – or as close as we can get for now.

Download a Video Conferencing App

The number of video conferencing apps available has exploded recently. Many apps are free but will offer access to advanced features with a paid subscription. Everyone who wants to join a virtual herf will need to download the same app, but not everyone needs to subscribe.

The list of options is a bit daunting. Most of us are familiar with FaceTime, Zoom, Google Meet, and Skype. There are dozens more to choose, like Instagram Live, Webex Meet, BlueJeans, GoToMeeting, and more. Some are geared for professionals who are working from home. Others are more basic. Most are pretty easy to use. Explore the video conferencing options available. Check with your pals and see which ones they like the most. You can always download a few different apps and delete the ones you don’t like. Many apps offer free trials too.

Send an Invite to Your Buddies

For most apps, the process to initiate a video conference is very simple. Sign up for the service or for a trial. Tell your friends to download the same app you’re using to host the conference. Through the app, you’ll send an invitation out to the guys you want to join your herf.

Invitations are sent via text or email. The participants will receive a link in the text or email you send out and they simply need to click on it to launch the app and join the video conference. Your participants may need to tweak a few setting in the app to enable video and audio access on the phone or device they’re using. The process is straightforward.

Set Your Laptop or Smartphone in a Comfortable Position

Get your device situated so your pals can easily see and hear you. If you’re dialing in with your smartphone, consider using a phone mount. It’s easier to communicate when your phone is stationary and positioned at a comfortable angle. Choose a location with minimal background noise or disruption.

If you’re hosting a herf with several individuals, it may be best to use your laptop or desktop computer. A bigger screen makes it easier to see multiple participants at the same time. Many apps automatically toggle back and forth between the participants who are speaking if you’re using a smaller screen.

Check Your Wi-Fi or Cell Signal

Make sure you’ve got reliable Wi-Fi access or a strong cell signal. If your signal comes in and out, your video stream will pause and freeze, which can be frustrating when you’ve in the middle of telling a funny story. If you’re using your phone on a cellular network, be aware of any data limits your plan carries. It’s easy to blast through your data limit on a video call.

Choose a Good Cigar

Most importantly, pick out a good cigar! If it’s been a while since you’ve been able to hang out with your buddies, smoke something special to celebrate. Ashton ESG, Padron 1964 Anniversary, and La Aroma de Cuba Noblesse are great cigars to smoke when you’re kicking off a herf. And since you’re smoking virtually, there’s no obligation to pass out something from the top shelf of your humidor to all the attendees.

Be Courteous of Your Pals

You never know who you might meet at a herf even if it’s a virtual event. If you’re not the host and you’re an invitee, you’ll probably bump into some folks you don’t know. Be courteous and don’t monopolize the screen time. Kick back and listen to what everyone has to say. It’s a huge relief to smoke with like-minded cigar lovers again. It’s also cool to hear what’s going on across the country from other aficionados. Cigar lovers share a natural bond. We’re great at sticking together through thick and thin!

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