Introduction on Building Your Own Poker Table
If you've ever been in the market for a high quality poker table you're well aware the cost for even a basic set-up can run you $1,500+. For something customized to your home/space or something truly show-stopping, you're looking at twice that or more. It doesn't have to be that way though. Guest blogger Jeff Kuronen has put together a full step-by-step guide on building your own poker table exclusively for PokerListings.com including images for every step and detailed CAD plans. We think it's the perfect Do-It-Yourself solution to building a great poker table for under $300 - and in a reasonable amount of time. Once you're done, you're all set to host the weekly card game you've always wanted to. For tips on running the perfect home game, check our complete 12-part guide here.
Backstory to How I Got Started
After constantly burning through cheap playing cards while playing poker with my friends I decided to finally invest in some plastic cards.
While scouring the internet for new cards I came across a great local site selling poker supplies. They sell everything from cards to poker tables and building supplies, and it didn’t take long for my search to go from cards to on how to build a poker table.
I quickly found out that a higher quality poker table would cost $1,500 or more. The poker table size, at 3.5’ x 8’, was never going to fit in my small basement and I couldn’t justify spending that much.
So I decided to build one myself. The final dimensions of this diy poker table are 4’ x 6’ and it seats eight people comfortably. About 25 hours and $300 were spent building it.
What You Need to Build Your Own Poker Table
How to build a poker table is quite simple operation but you do need the right materials for it and some spesific tools which make the overall process easier.
- 3-5/8” Hole Saw (You can substitute this with a Dremel and a hole jig as a cheaper option)
- 4” Hole Saw (optional)
- Hole Saw Drill Bit
- Belt Sander or Palm Sander
- Needle-Nose Pliers
- Level for tracing lines
- Exacto Knife
- Screw Driver
- Heavy Duty Stapler
- (2) 4’x8’x 5/8” Sheets of plywood (or depending on the poker table dimensions)
- Wood Screws
- Wood Glue
- (8) ¼”-20 T-Nuts
- (8) ¼”-20 x 2” Lg. Machine Bolts
- (8) ¼” Washers
- Wood Stain
- Fold-away legs
- Pack of 1000 Staples
Straight Poker Supplies (www.StraightPokerSupplies.com)
- (8) Jumbo Cup Holders
- Copag Elite Playing Cards (optional – highly recommended)
Your Auto Trim (www.YourAutoTrim.com)
- (3 yds) Whisper Vinyl
- (3 yds) Poker Speed Cloth (for high quality poker table top)
Foam By Mail (www.FoamByMail.com)
- (6 Ft) 2Lb Charcoal Volara Foam, ¼” x 60”
- (1 Sheet) Lux Regular Foam, 82”x76”x1”
Watch the video below to see how to build a poker table and keep reading the post for the full written-out, step-by-step instructions from the video:
How to Build Your Poker Table
First, I traced out all the cut lines on both sheets of plywood.
After all my cut lines were laid out, I created a jig out of some scrap wood to guide my jigsaw in a perfect circle through the round cuts.
This process went horribly. Do NOT attempt the same thing.
After messing around with it for about an hour I was forced to admit defeat. I took a small break and played online poker before continuing.
I ended up going really slowly with the jigsaw by hand and then sanding the edges smooth with a belt sander. When building a custom poker table, a lot of imperfections will be hidden by the thick foam layer so it doesn’t have to be perfect.
Here’s a picture of the first few finished plywood pieces. These three pieces were all cut from a single plywood sheet.
The next step is gluing and screwing all the rail pieces together, making sure to avoid putting screws in spots where the future cup holders will go.
Screw from the bottom surface of the rail - the custom poker table top surface should be as consistent and smooth as possible. Use wood filler if there are any holes from knots.
There are three layers of plywood in this design to give the rail extra height. The first two assembled layers are shown here upside down – the top surface should be the single plywood piece.
Here’s the bottom view with the third, thinner layer attached.
The bottom layer is used to position the rail on the playing surface.
Next, the two oval plywood sheets are glued and screwed together and the fold-out legs are added.
If you want to stain the underside of the table, you should do it before attaching the legs. I didn’t stain mine because most people won’t see the bottom.
If you want to be a bit fancier install wooden legs instead. I personally needed the portability and this finished table weighs roughly 80lbs. Here’s a quick look at the rough assembly:
Clamp the rough assembly together to drill the holes for the T-nuts. This is done so that the rail can be removed for cleaning or in case something needs to be replaced (potentially the poker speed cloth).
Use a hammer to drive the T-nuts into the rail surface. This needs to be flush; otherwise you may have bumps under your rail.
Once the T-nuts are installed, fasten the assembled rail to the playing surface using the eight machine bolts coupled with the washers.
Drill the 3-5/8” holes for the cup holders while the table is fastened in this assembly.
Here’s a view from the bottom with the holes cut out:
Now the easy part is finished and it’s time to add foam and upholster the rail. Remove the rail assembly from the table.
Lay the 1” foam on the ground, spray the top of the rail with spray adhesive and set the rail on the foam making sure to leave enough room so that you can wrap the foam around the rail.
Leave it like this for an hour with a few heavy objects on top. Make some rough cuts in the foam to make it workable.
Use the spray adhesive again on the sides of the rail and wrap it like shown. You may want to clamp the straight sides using a scrap piece of wood to hold it while it dries.
Do the same for the outside and then trim the excess foam.
You may have to re-apply spray adhesive more than once because it may peel off the rail in a few places.
Cut out the foam where the cup holders are going to be placed. Use a sharp knife.
Next up is the vinyl. Start by stapling one straight edge.
You’re going to need a lot of staples for this step; probably around 400-500.
Your hands may hurt for a few days afterwards from all the stapling but it is well worth the effort.
You can see that the vinyl is not long enough to go to the other side in the picture above.
This may seem to be a problem at first but you will need to stretch the vinyl with all your strength to get it all the way around the other side.
You may want a friend to help you with that to make it easier.
After you staple the straight edges you need to staple the round edges. Start stapling at the middle of the curve.
Make sure you stretch the vinyl to make it as tight as you can. Each new staple should be placed in the middle of the largest unstapled section until you feel as if you have it all secured.
This will most likely require staples to be very close to each other. This is very time consuming and you will want some pliers and a screwdriver to remove staples when sections don’t look right.
Don’t be discouraged here. Take your time with this because this is the most important step to make your table look great.
The vinyl will inevitably bunch up a little here but most should be hidden underneath the table.
The next step is to cut the centre of the vinyl like is shown in the picture below.
Don’t cut too close to the edges at first.
You can always cut more if needed as you test out this process.
Start stapling the straight section first and then work on the curved parts next.
Remember to always pull very hard when stapling.
Like before, on the curved section, each staple should be placed in the middle of the largest unstapled section until you feel as if you have it all secured.
Now it’s time for the most terrifying part of the job - cutting the holes for the cup holders.
Be careful. Cut an “X” shape in the middle of the holes.
Start small as you can always make the cuts larger later. Test out the holes using the cup holders.
If it goes in snugly then you’ve done it right.
Although it’s not shown here and is an optional step, there are thin wood rings that were cut using the 3-5/8” and 4” hole saws assembled together on the hole saw drill bit.
This wood ring helps support the cup holder and keep it level when a heavy drink is placed in it.
Put the wood rings into the rail under the vinyl before putting the cup holders in place. They should slip into the “X” cuts easily.
The hardest part of the poker table plans is now finished! It’s all easy from here on out.
On to the playing surface. Spray the table top with the adhesive and centre the ¼” foam.
You definitely want this foam – don’t skimp here as it adds some give in your table surface that will make playing more comfortable.
Once the foam is attached, cut the excess material off.
Next you need to staple the speed cloth over the table. Center the cloth over the table.
Staple the edges and the cup holder cutouts to secure the cloth.
Trim the excess material around the edges and within the cup holder cutouts.
Attach the rail to the playing surface using the eight machine bolts coupled with the washers from the bottom of the rail and you are done.
It’s time to have a game and a few drinks.
Complete CAD Blueprints for the DIY Poker Table
Click here for the full-size PDF of the CAD plans.
DIY Poker Table - Step-by-Step Instructions
Here you find simple step-by-step instructions on how to build a poker table from start to finish.
1. Rounding the Corners
- Take two sheets of plywood (42” X 84” cut at store). Mark “Sheet A” and “Sheet B”.
- Place Sheet A on sawhorses.
- Measure 21” in from end and mark.
- Measure 21” from side and mark.
- Extend marks to make an X and drive nail into center point.
- Repeat process on other end of Sheet A.
- Take scrap wood and make marks at 1” and 22”.
- Drill holes at marks large enough for nail and tip of pencil to pass through.
- Place first hole in scrap wood over nail.
- Insert pencil through second hole and trace curves.
- Repeat at other end of Sheet A.
- Use jigsaw to cut off corners.
- Use palm sander to smooth curves.
2. Cutting the Rail
- On the scrap wood guide, mark 17” and drill hole.
- Use guide to trace curves 5” from edge of Sheet A.
- Use straight-edge to extend lines along length of sheet.
- Drill hole to start the cut.
- Insert jigsaw blade into pilot hole and begin the cut.
- After 2' of cutting, pause and use scrap wood and clamp to support rail.
- Continue cutting, clamping a second support opposite the first.
- Complete the cut, remove clamps and remove both Sheet A pieces from sawhorses.
3. Cutting Rail Support and Table-Top
- Place Sheet B on sawhorses and use outer piece from Sheet A to trace curves.
- Use jigsaw to cut off corners.
- Measure 21” in from end and mark.
- Measure 21” from side and mark.
- Extend marks to make an X and drive nail into center point.
- Repeat process on other end of Sheet B.
- On scrap wood guide, mark 20.5” and drill hole.
- Trace curves 1.5” from edge of Sheet B and use straight-edge to extend lines.
- Drill hole to start cut and use jigsaw to cut out rail support, clamping supports as before.
4. Glue and Screw Table-Top
- Place inner piece from Sheet B on sawhorses.
- Apply wood glue across surface leaving at least 5” around edge glue-free.
- Place inner piece from Sheet A on Sheet B, measuring 3.5” in on all sides to center.
- Screw down, ensuring all screw heads are flush with or below surface.
5. Glue and Screw Rail
- Place outer piece from Sheet A on table.
- Run bead of glue around outer 1.5”.
- Ensure pieces are matched according to position used to trace curves in step 3.1.
- Place outer piece from Sheet B, aligned with outer edge.
- Screw rail support onto rail, aligning outer edges as you go.
- Use palm sander to remove discrepancies in outer edge.
- Use router and roundover bit to round top and bottom of outer-edge and top inside-edge of rail.
6. Install Machine Bolts in Rail
- Remove rail assembly and flip over table-top.
- Use palm sander to remove material from outer edge of table-top to allow better fit for rail.
- Place rail on table-top and clamp in place.
- Drill eight equally-spaced 3/8” holes through rail and table-top, 2” from inside edge.
- Use forstner bit to remove enough material for bolt head to sit flush with top of rail.
- Remove rail and hammer machine bolts through holes in rail.
- Expand holes in table to 1/2” by drilling new hole with 1/2” bit.
7. Applying Foam to Table-Top
- Ensure space is well-ventilated or use ventilator.
- Ensure table-top is free of dust and debris.
- Place 1/4” foam centered on table-top and weight down one side.
- Roll up foam, apply spray adhesive to table top, unroll foam and press down.
- Remove weight and use adhesive to remaining table/foam.
- Allow recommended time to dry.
- Use knife to cut foam flush with outer edge of table-top.
8. Applying Speed Cloth to Table-Top
- Lay speed cloth face-down on a protected surface (carpet).
- Place table top face-down, centered on speed cloth.
- Starting with straight edges, pull cloth tight and staple to bottom of table-top.
- Trim excess speed cloth.
- Install folding legs.
9. Applying Foam to Rail
- Lay out 1” foam pieces and place rail face-down on foam.
- Trim foam 2” larger than rail on outside and 1" on inside.
- Place rail face-up on table.
- Spray adhesive on top and outer edges of rail and apply 1” foam.
- Cut foam flush with bottom inner and outer edges.
10. Applying Vinyl to Rail
- Lay out vinyl face down on protected surface.
- Place rail foam-side down on vinyl.
- Starting with straight sides, stretch and staple vinyl to bottom of rail support.
- Continue around curved ends.
- Cut out vinyl 5” in from inner edge of rail.
- Make relief cuts in the vinyl starting 2” off inner edge of curves.
- Stretch and staple the vinyl around inside edge of rail.
11. Installing Rail
- Locate bolt holes in table top.
- Place square of duct tape over hole and cut small X in tape, speed cloth and foam for bolt.
- Repeat on undersides of holes.
- Position rail on table-top with bolts passing through holes.
- Install nuts to secure rail to table-top.
Homemade Poker Table - Summary
When making a homemade poker table, the hardest part for me was cutting all the pieces and fitting them to match the exact dimensions. Next was the surface finish, which was very time consuming in order to get that high quality look. Consider using materials you can order from the sites listed on the poker table plans above and you can have that high quality look with a cost lower than cheap poker tables - under $300. Good materials also make the most time-consuming part easier, since they do not tear as easily as some lesser materials. Official poker rules do have certain set dimensions for the poker table size, but in the end my homemade poker table worked perfectly and also upgraded my poker nights exponentially.
Building a poker table is a nice project and very easy, especially now that you have complete poker table plans pdf. However, there were moments, I wished I had extra hand or two while building it. So, if you have friend or two who are eager to do something cool, get them onboard and do it together! That's about it. Just follow the detailed step-by-step instructions, take your time, and soon you will be hosting that perfect poker night or poker tournaments at your own poker table.
how can we get the detailed drawings for fabrication, could you share with us the price so we can transfer the money and get the AutoCAD and pdf files. the reason why I need the AutoCAD files is just to increase the table size since I am looking to do for 10 players
If i want a bigger table .. how can i do it ? I wan 9 seats and a spot for the dealer with a tray !! What wood would i use ? Thanks
Hey David, no reason you can’t use the same materials, just increase your measurements by 15-20% to accommodate 10 people including dealer instead of 8.
is there any way we can get this in a downloadable .pdf?
Afraid not, you could always print it out. But good point for us to keep in mind 🙂
Have you designs for a larger 10-seat table?
Feel free to use this same guide, just increase all measurements by 25%. Let us know how it goes!