Whether you are thinking about building a poker table or are just curious about what they are made of, you have come to the right place. I have played on every different type of table imaginable and witnessed them being built many times. So, I put together a detailed list of what materials they are made of.
What are poker tables made of?
- Plywood or Particle Board- For the tabletop and cover
- 2×4 or 4×4 boards- For the legs
- Felt, Velveteen, or Speed Cloth- To cover the playing surface
- Vinyl or Leather- To cover the side railing
- 1″ High-Density Foam- For padding underneath the railing
- 1/4″ Foam- Padding under the playing surface
Now those are just the basic materials. Let’s go through each of them one by one and also cover additional hardware that might be part of the construction of a poker table.
What Poker Tables are Made of
Whether you are building a poker table or just curious as to what they are made of, I’ve got you covered. Let’s start with where the action actually happens in a poker game.
What Is the Tabletop of a Poker Table Made Of?
Almost all poker table construction begins with some form of plywood. – 1 to 3 Sheets are typically required, it depends on the table being made.
- The playing surface- Sometimes people substitute particleboard for this part of the table.
- The base- This is often an optional layer added on using a higher-end wood, like oak, to create an attractive underside to the table.
- The lid- Pine, birch, or oak are the most typical choices for creating a lid on the table.
What Thickness Should the Plywood Be?
The most typical thickness used in building a table is as thick as 3/4″ or as thin as 1/4″ plywood sheets. 5/8″ particle board or MDF is also commonly used.
What Are the Legs of a Poker Table Made Of?
Custom or homemade poker table legs are usually made of wood. However, you can purchase metal table legs that can be installed.
Common, people use pine 2×4 boards, 4×4 posts, or some combination of the two.
What Is the Playing Surface of a Poker Table Made Of?
The playing surface of a poker table is typically made of two layers; an outer cloth layer and a foam later underneath.
The covering of a poker table varies based on a person’s preference. Among the choices are:
This is the most popular type of covering made today. It is typically waterproof and allows the playing cards to smoothly be dealt across the entire table. Most people will want to use this material. It is also very reasonably priced.
Traditionally, this is the most common type of surface used on both pool and poker tables. It is usually made of wool and nylon.
If you prefer the surface to not be “slippery” and not have the cards slide as easily, this is a good choice. However, it is also usually the most expensive surface to purchase.
This type of surface is actually made from cotton. It is a nice alternative if you don’t want to pay for expensive velvet. Most people won’t be able to tell the difference.
Playing Surface Foam
Most people will want their playing surface to be a bit soft. Therefore, builders will add a foam layer underneath the playing surface of a poker table. 1/4″ foam is usually used, sometimes closed-cell.
What Is the Railing of a Poker Table Made Of?
The railing is also made with two layers. The only difference is the type and density of the materials used.
The Railing Cover
The railing cover, or upholstering, is almost always Vinyl. However, some people use leather as a more expensive option.
The Railing Foam
For the railing, you will want a thicker foam. Usually, 1″ high-density foam is best.
Additional Poker Table Options
Here are a few additional options that are commonly installed in poker tables.
You can buy these on Amazon fairly cheaply. I recommend getting aluminum ones over the plastic varieties. They just look much more classy, plastic always comes off as cheap.
Dealer’s Tray or Player Trays
This is handy if you use a dedicated dealer. However, I would strongly advise against installing these in front of players. Most people like to stack their chips and not stick them in these cheesy trays. Besides, there is less room to set your phone, food, or drink. Nothing contributes to spills more than these cheap plastic chip trays.
Dealer Toke Box
If you host a game with a dedicated dealer and want some extra security, you can install a tip/rake/toke box into the table. This is an option that you will only want to invest in if you play high-stakes home games.
What Are Table Mats/Toppers Made Of?
Today, most poker table mats are made from foam covered by speed cloth. However, some of the folding varieties can be constructed from plastic and velveteen. Usually, the materials are cheap and will wear out quickly.
What Tools and Hardware Are Needed to Make a Poker Table?
In this section, I will just list the common tools and hardware that you might need to build your own poker table.
- Wood Screws (1-1/4″ usually)
- Washers (1/4″)
- T-Nuts (1/4″)
- Machine Bolts (1/4″)
- 1/2″ staple gun staples
- Wood Stain
- Wood or Carpenter’s Glue (Like Gorilla Glue)
Typical Tools Needed to Build a Poker Table
- Spade Bit
- Power Drill
- Jig Saw
- Tape Measure
- Staple Gun
- Sanding Block
- A Level
- Exacto Knife
- Spray Adhesive- 3M “77” spray adhesive is highly recommended
- Scotchguard Spray- For waterproofing the cloth
- Polyurethane- To protect the wood from spills
Typical Table Dimensions
If you want to build a casino-sized poker table, they are usually between 92 and 104 inches long and 44 inches wide. The height is often about 30 inches.
Recommended Building Plans
In my opinion, there is no reason to overcomplicate things or go to a huge expense to build a poker table. Here are a few links to plans that match those two criteria:
- Oval 4′ x 6′ Poker Table– Great for smaller games or rooms with limited space.
- Oval 4′ x 8′ Poker Table– A casino-sized poker table for your home games.
- Octagon Poker Table– A popular style table for casual games.
- Round 6-Person Table– This is more complicated, but thought it worth including. This thing will fit anywhere.
Buy a Table Instead?
If you want to find a high-quality table and don’t want to bother trying to build one yourself, I wrote a detailed guide to finding the best poker table for you. Be sure to check it out.
I hope this article gives you some ideas on what type of poker table you may be wanting to build. Let me know if you have any questions or comments below.
What is speed cloth made of? Speed cloth is a teflon-coated fabric, usually polyester.
Why do poker tables have felt? Poker tables have felt so that the playing cards will slide more easily across the surface. There are 3 common types of material used today; Speed Cloth, Traditional Felt, or Velveteen.
How many sides does a poker table have? Most poker tables are oval and thus do not really have sides. However, octagon (8-sided) tables are popular and commonly purchased from retail stores. Casino-style tables are almost always oval.
For more, check out How Much Does It Cost to Refelt a Poker Table? | Cost Analysis.
Jim James has over 15 years of experience playing professionally and is the author of the best-selling book called Automatic Poker. Using a no-nonsense mathematical and logical approach to beating the games, he has won 7 figures at the poker table. Jim is well-known as the world’s leading expert on playing short or mid-stacked poker.
Today, he helps other players demystify what it takes to win money in No-Limit Hold’em and has helped countless people become winning poker players through his Online Poker Academy.