Poker tables are a much-needed piece of equipment to create a real cardroom atmosphere at home. But, if you browse online for a quality table, you will see prices going close to $1,000, or £800. If you love building stuff, you should definitely make your next project building a DIY poker table using a poker table plan that suits your skill and space requirements.
By doing this yourself, you can make it bespoke and custom. It will have the shape you want, the thickness you want, and will be made from the materials you want.
How To Build a Poker Table
Building a poker table isn’t that hard if you have basic woodworking skills. It’s also much cheaper than paying someone else to build it for you – for a few hundred dollars you can build a table that would cost a thousand or more retail.
Plus it’s a fun project, and a great talking point! It’s a lot easier with two people though, so maybe ask one of your poker buddies to help.
1. Choose a Poker Table Plan
There are numerous free poker table plans available on the internet. Don’t just try to follow this guide – you need a table plan printed out to refer to as you work. This guide is just designed to outline the general steps involved in building your own poker table.
2. Get Your Materials
You want to make sure you have everything you need before you start. You’ll need at least two large sheets of plywood or MDF, screws, bolts, nails, glue, spray adhesive, duct tape, table legs, table felt, foam padding, and vinyl.
3. Get Your Tools
At a minimum you will need a jigsaw, a drill, various drill bits including a Forstner bit, a sander, a stapler, a box knife, a tape measure, a straight edge, a hammer, a pencil, clamps, a router, and saw horses.
4. Cut the First Sheet of Wood
First things you first, you need to cut your plywood to shape from a rectangle into an oval. Use a trammel to mark an arc at each end and then cut to shape with the jigsaw. Sand the edges.
Then you cut the rail. Take the sheet of plywood you just cut and draw another arc at each end. The arc will be as far from the edge as you want your rail to be wide. You connect up the two penciled arcs with straight lines so that you have an oval.
The outer ring will be the base of your rail and the inner oval will be part of the table top. Cut them apart with the jigsaw and sand.
5. Cut the Second Piece of Wood
Now you take your rail base ring and place it on the second piece of wood so that you can trace the outside and round the second sheet’s edges into an oval.
This piece of wood will be separated into the rail top and the rest of the table top. You cut much thinner ring away, leaving a larger oval sheet than the first.
Now you have two rings for the rail – the wide sheet 1 ring and the narrow sheet 2 ring.
You also have two ovals for the table top – the larger sheet 1 oval, and the smaller sheet 2 oval.
6. Gluing and Screwing
Take the larger oval (sheet 2) and glue the smaller oval on top of it so that it’s exactly in the center. Then screw it down.
Now to the rail. Take the larger ring (sheet 1) and place it around the top oval so that it sits snugly on the bottom oval – but do not glue or screw it.
Take the narrow ring (sheet 2) and glue it to the top of the sheet 1 ring so that it’s right at the edge. Then screw it down.
Sand the edge of the rail and then use the router to round the edges.
You can then remove the rail from the table top. You now have a rail and a table top.
7. Bolting the Rail
Turn the table top over so that the smaller oval is on the bottom. Sand the edges.
Turn over your rail and place in on the table top so that the thinner ring is on the bottom. It should hook over the table top edge.
Clamp it in place and drill eight equally spaced holes through both the rail and table-top. Use the Forstner bit to make the top of the hole big enough for the bolt head so that it does not poke above the surface of the rail.
Remove the rail and glue bolts into each of the holes. You then drill the holes in the table-top with a 1/12 inch bit to expand them for the bolts.
8. Foam, Felt & Legs
Attach the foam to the top of the table-top with spray adhesive. Then cut the excess material away so that it’s the same shape as the table-top.
Roll out your speed-cloth or felt on a soft, clean surface like carpet so it’s face-down. Place your table top face-down onto the speed-cloth. Staple the cloth to underside of the table top, onto the outer rim rather than the small oval. Trim away the excess cloth, and cut the cloth away from the bolt holes you drilled in the last step.
Now is a good time to affix your table legs. Screw them at each end. You should now be able to stand your table up. You only need to finish and affix the rail.
9. Finishing the Rail
Cut out an oval of foam that’s at least 2” bigger than the rail on each side – but don’t worry too much about accuracy because you’ll be cutting this down further. Stick the foam oval to the top of the rail, and then cut the foam so it’s 2” bigger than the outer edge of the rail and 1” bigger than the inner edge.
Place the rail foam-side down onto the sheet of vinyl. Staple the vinyl tightly to the outside of the foam ring and trim off the excess. Then cut away a 5” oval from the vinyl in the middle in of the ring. Make relief cuts about 2” from the inner edge and then fold it over and staple it to the inside of the rail. Cut away any excess vinyl.
You should now have the fully upholstered rail.
10. Affixing the Rail
Take the upholstered rail and place it down on the table-top so that the bolts pass through the holes. Then just tighten nuts on the bottom to fix it into place.
Voila – you have your very own poker table!
Hopefully, you manage to build that ideal homemade poker table and enjoyed a few games on it. It’s a very satisfying project to lead to completion as long as you remember to use recommended materials, high-quality wood, and think about how you’ll store and maintain it.