More in Furniture

How to Build a Poker Table

Host friends for food and fun with this dining table that turns into a poker player's paradise with just a flip of the lid

Poker night is the perfect time to catch up with friends and show off a good hand. To provide a handsome game table that's sure to make the guys take your bet—or bluff—more seriously, build a table complete with a felt playing surface, insets for poker chips, and coasters. When the game is over, just fit the lid onto the surface to turn it into a dining table for the rest of the week.

See all the Hammer It Out projects.

Newel post: EverTrue 56-inch stain-grade oak newel post;
Corbels: 9 13/16-inch raw maple corbel;
Stain: Jacobean; minwax.com
Felt: Padded green felt; pokertablematerials.com


Steps // How to Build a Poker Table
1 ×

Overview for How to Build a Poker Table

 
Step One // How to Build a Poker Table

Overview for How to Build a Poker Table

overview for how to build a poker table
Illustration by Doug Adams

Download fun extras including drink and food pairings, to go with this project.

CUT LIST

Lid
½-inch plywood lid: 1 @ 48 by 48 inches. You'll cut off the corners to create an octagon.

Nose and cove molding: You'll miter the ends of 8 pieces at a 22½-degree angle.

Game Table
½-inch plywood table: 1 @ 48 by 48 inches. You'll cut off the corners to create an octagon.

1x2 outer-edge trim: You'll miter the ends of 8 pieces at a 22½-degree angle.

1x2 inner edge trim: You'll miter the ends of 8 pieces at a 22½-degree angle.

½x6 coasters: 8 @ 6¾ inches from straight cut to long point. You'll miter one end at 22½ degrees.

1x4 apron: You'll bevel the ends of 8 pieces at a 22½-degree angle to trim the edges of the table.

1x4 collar: You'll cut 4 pieces to fit around the top of the newel post.

Playing Surface
¾-inch MDF: 1 @ 48 by 48 inches. You'll cut it into a smaller square that will fit inside the length and width of the inner ring, then clip off the corners to create an octagon.

Stand
Newel post: 1 @ 29 inches. You'll cut from the top and bottom to position the tapered profile.

 
2 ×

Mark the plywood game table

 
Step Two // How to Build a Poker Table

Mark the plywood game table

man using ruler to measure poker table
Photo by Ryan Benyi

On the underside of the table, measure and mark the sides 14 inches from each corner. Using a straightedge, draw a line to connect the two marks at each corner.

 
3 ×

Cut the plywood game table and lid

 
Step Three // How to Build a Poker Table

Cut the plywood game table and lid

man using circular saw to make poker table
Photo by Ryan Benyi

Using a circular saw, cut the lines to lop off the corners of the table and create an octagon. Lay the ½-inch plywood for the lid on your work surface with its best side facing down. Place the table on top of the lid; position it so that the uncut sides face the lid corners. Draw the outline of the table on the lid. Remove the table, place a ¾-inch-thick board on edge along the outside of each marked line and trace a second set of lines. This outside ring represents the size the lid needs to be to cover the table once its 1x4 apron is attached. Using a circular saw, cut just outside the outer ring; leave the line to create a slightly larger surface than the table.

 
4 ×

Miter the edge pieces

 
Step Four // How to Build a Poker Table

Miter the edge pieces

man using miter saw to construct poker table
Photo by Ryan Benyi

Lay a length of 1x2 flat on the playing table flush with its edge. Mark the length of the side on the edge of the 1x2. Miter the piece at opposing 22½-degree angles so that the long edge matches the length of the table's side. Clamp the piece in place on the table. Mark and miter the remaining pieces. To keep the 1x2 pieces organized, number each side of the table and the underside of the corresponding piece.

 
5 ×

Install the outer edge

 
Step Five // How to Build a Poker Table

Install the outer edge

man using nail gun to construct poker table
Photo by Ryan Benyi

Apply glue to the underside and ends of the 1x2s. Using a pneumatic nail gun and 1-inch nails, nail through the underside of the table and into each piece to hold it in place.

 
6 ×

Cut and install the coaster blocks

 
Step Six // How to Build a Poker Table

Cut and install the coaster blocks

man installing coaster blocks on poker table
Photo by Ryan Benyi

Miter one end of each ½x6 coaster at a 22½-degree angle. Use a combination square to mark the center point by drawing lines at a 45-degree angle from the corners of the straight-cut end of each piece. Using two clamps, secure the coaster block to a scrap block. Center the hole saw on the crosshair of your two 45-degree marks. Use 150-grit sandpaper to smooth the inside edges of the circular cutout. Repeat to create a total of eight coasters. Place the coasters on the playing table inside the 1x2 edge pieces so that the angled ends line up with a mitered joint and all face the same direction. Nail the coaster in place from the underside of the table using 1-inch nails. Hold the nail gun at a slight angle to prevent any portion of the nail from poking up through the coaster piece.

 
7 ×

Install the inner edge

 
Step Seven // How to Build a Poker Table

Install the inner edge

man installing inner edge of poker table
Photo by Ryan Benyi

Lay a length of 1x2 flat on the table inside the ring of coaster blocks so that the edge of the 1x2 sits against the top edge of a coaster block. Mark the distance between the angled ends of two coasters. Miter the ends of the 1x2 at opposing 22½-degree angles. Lay the piece in place, and mark the remaining pieces until all the pieces of the inner ring are sized. Apply glue to the underside and ends of each piece, set them in place, and nail through the underside of the table to secure them. To help position the nail gun underneath the table, cut a scrap piece of 1x2 to the distance the inner ring sits from the edge of the table and nail it to a second perpendicular block to create a T-shaped spacer. Hook the T on the edge of the table with the stem underneath, and position the nail gun at the end of the stem.

 
8 ×

Attach the apron

 
Step Eight // How to Build a Poker Table

Attach the apron

two men attaching apron on poker table
Photo by Ryan Benyi

Slice ¼-inch spacers off a scrap block using the miter saw, and set them on top of the outer ring of 1x2s. Position a 1x4 against the edge of the table with its top edge flush with the spacers to create a ¼-inch lip. Mark the corners of the table on the top edge of the 1x3. Using a miter saw, bevel the ends of each piece at a 22½-degree angle. Secure the pieces to the edges of the table using wood glue and 1¼-inch nails.

 
9 ×

Mark the playing surface

 
Step Nine // How to Build a Poker Table

Mark the playing surface

two men marking playing surface of poker table
Photo by Ryan Benyi

Measure the inside length and width of the open center space, and subtract ⅛ inch from each measurement to account for the felt. Cut the MDF playing surface to this size. Lay the cut piece centered over the open center space. Mark the joints of the inner ring of 1x2s on the playing surface. Connect the marks on either side of each corner to create a small octagon. Using a circular saw, cut the corners off the playing surface. Label the corresponding side of the playing surface and table. This way, once the felt is wrapped around the playing surface, you'll know which sides align.

 
10 ×

Attach the felt

 
Step Ten // How to Build a Poker Table

Attach the felt

two men attaching felt to poker table
Photo by Ryan Benyi

Coat the underside of the felt and the top of the playing surface with spray adhesive. Allow the adhesive to dry until it feels tacky. Set the playing surface upside down on the center of the felt. Wrap the felt over one edge and secure it in place with a staple. Wrap the felt over the next side, and fold the excess under like gift wrap. Once all the edges are pulled tight and the felt is glued and stapled in place, cut off the excess with utility scissors and set the playing surface aside.

 
11 ×

Assemble and mark the collar

 
Step Eleven // How to Build a Poker Table

Assemble and mark the collar

two men assembling and marking collar on poker table
Photo by Ryan Benyi

Cut two 1x4 boards to the width of the upper part of the newel post. Cut two more 1x4 boards to that width plus an 1½ inches. Apply glue to the ends of the short pieces, and sandwich them between the longer pieces to create a box. Shoot 1¼-inch nails through the long pieces into the ends of the shorter pieces to secure them in place. Center the assembled collar on the underside of the table, and mark its inside and outside perimeters.

 
12 ×

Drill pilot holes

 
Step Twelve // How to Build a Poker Table

Drill pilot holes

man drilling pilot holes on poker table
Photo by Ryan Benyi

Remove the collar and drill three ⅛-inch pilot holes through the table on each side between the perimeter lines.

 
13 ×

Attach the collar

 
Step Thirteen // How to Build a Poker Table

Attach the collar

two men attaching collar to poker table
Photo by Ryan Benyi

Apply glue to the top edge of the collar, and place it on the underside of the table, realigned with your previous marks. Allow the glue to dry until it holds the collar in place—or toenail a few nails around its edge to hold it—and flip the table over. Using a countersink bit, prepare the pilot holes and drive 2-inch screws through the plywood and into the top edges of the collar.

 
14 ×

Cut the stand

 
Step Fourteen // How to Build a Poker Table

Cut the stand

man using miter saw to cut poker table stand
Photo by Ryan Benyi

To position the taper of the newel post about half way between the table and the floor, cut the top and bottom of the post. First mark the cutlines 29 inches apart on all four sides of the post. Place the post on the miter saw, and cut it to size. If your miter saw can't cut the thickness of the entire post, cut part way through, then roll the post to the opposite face to finish the cut. Repeat to cut the second line.

 
15 ×

Drill pilot holes in the feet

 
Step Fifteen // How to Build a Poker Table

Drill pilot holes in the feet

man drilling pilot holes in feet of poker table
Photo by Ryan Benyi

Center the short face of a corbel on the post, flush with its bottom edge. Use a straightedge to mark a registration line on the bottom of the post and corbel. Apply wood glue to the corbel, and set it back in place. Using a pneumatic nail gun, shoot 1¼-inch nails through the edges of the corbel and into the post to help hold it in place. Using a drill/driver fitted with a ⅝-inch paddle bit, drill a 1-inch-deep countersink hole through the base of the corbel and angled toward the post. Angle the drill/driver upward at a steep angle to bore out the hole and create room for the head of the screw. Repeat to create a second countersink hole beside the first.

 
16 ×

Attach the feet

 
Step Sixteen // How to Build a Poker Table

Attach the feet

man attaching feet to poker table
Photo by Ryan Benyi

Drive 6-inch timber screws through the countersink holes and into the corbel and newel post. Repeat Steps 15 and 16 to secure the rest of the corbels to each face of the newel post, one at a time.

 
17 ×

Screw through the collar and into the newel

 
Step Seventeen // How to Build a Poker Table

Screw through the collar and into the newel

men attaching stand to poker table
Photo by Ryan Benyi

Slip the top of the stand into the collar affixed to the underside of the table. Drive 2-inch screws through each side of the collar and into the post.

 
18 ×

Trim the lid

 
Step Eighteen // How to Build a Poker Table

Trim the lid

men trimming the lid of poker table
Photo by Ryan Benyi

Mark lengths of the nose and cove molding along the edges of the plywood lid. Miter the ends of each piece at a 22½-degree angle. Apply glue to the back side and ends of each molding piece and to the edges of the lid. Attach the molding to the lid, flush with its surface, by carefully nailing 1-inch nails through the molding and into the edge of the lid.

 
19 ×

Assemble the finished parts

 
Step Nineteen // How to Build a Poker Table

Assemble the finished parts

men assembling poker table
Photo by Ryan Benyi

Fill the fastener holes and joints with stainable wood filler, and thoroughly sand the entire assembly with 220-grit sandpaper. Wipe on a stain finish; once dry, apply a protective coat of tung oil, wax, or polyurethane. If desired, line the inset of each coaster with adhesive-backed cork. Once the final finish is dry, fit the felt-covered playing surface inside the inner ring of 1x2s, and place the lid on the table.

 
 
 

TV Listings

Find TV Listing for This Old House and Ask This Old House in your area.