A 2011 survey by the online home-improvement site servicemagic.com prediced that the popularity of specialty rooms, such as the "man cave," will continue to rise among American homeowners. "Man cave," "man bonus room," "manland," or "manchuary," ---- whatever you call it, game rooms are a hot trend in housing. Rooms dedicated to the man of the house are springing up garages, attics, basements, and spare rooms across the country.
Although some man caves are little more than a corner of the garage outfitted with a TV, couch and refrigerator, they are all designed to be a fun place for getting the guys together. When two or more men gather they like to watch sports, play poker, play video games, and drink beer. With the popularity of poker at an all-time high, the ultimate man cave is outfitted with all the essential equipment for hosting poker at home. Home poker rooms often include big-screen TVs and wet bars, but the focal point is the poker table.
Poker Room Furniture
A professional poker table adds flair and keeps things neat, since most tables have marked spaces for chips and cards and even drink holders. Professional poker tables are just like the tables in the casino, often they have a dealer's area, padded rails, and upholstered playing surfaces. When seated, players arms lean on a poker table all night long, so a padded table rail will make playing poker at home more comfortable. Some poker tables designed for home games have dual purpose tops that convert from dining table to poker table, which doubles the use you will get from the table.
Professional style poker tables range in price from $439 for folding leg tables like the V5 Series Specialized, up to $1699 for modern style furniture poker tables like the Helmsley, and beyond. Visit your local poker table store to try out a few and see which kind of table will suit your home poker room. A Google search for 'poker table shop' will find the top online poker table dealers, including BBO Poker Tables, which manufactures and sells the V5 Series and the Helmsley among others.
Poker games can last well into the night, so the chairs at a poker table must be comfortable. Chairs should be solid and preferably have a padded seat. Some poker table shops sell chairs that coordinate with the poker tables; the Nighthawk, manufactured by BBO Poker Tables, is sold with optional matching dining chairs or fully upholstered premium lounge chairs. The Helmsley comes with optional matching benches and end chairs to complete the modern rustic style poker table suite. The Helmsley looks like an elegant dining table by day, but when you remove the solid wood dining top it becomes a stylish professional style poker table at night.
Try to allot at least 24 inches of poker table frontage for each player. An 8 foot oval table could comfortably seat 10 players; 4 players on each of the long sides and one on either end. Allowing at least 24 inches of table frontage makes a big difference in player comfort, but adding a couple more inches can be the difference between feeling cramped and not feeling cramped. Comfortable players stay at the table longer - enough said.
Poker Game Supplies
Before you host a home poker game, make sure you have all the essential poker gear so it is a success. You can find the essential poker accessories at your local poker table shop or at any of the online poker stores. For hosting a poker game, you will need the following:
Chips: You will need enough chips on hand for re-buys. Make sure that you have an extra 25% of your chip count reserved for re-buys. A 500-chip set will provide plenty of chips for the typical game of poker at home. Casinos use clay chips, which have a nice weight and feel that adds a touch of class to a home poker game over plastic chips.
Dealer button: If your chip set did not come with one, you will need some sort of dealer button. This is essential to keep track of where the blinds are and to avoid confusion about who is dealing, if you do not have a dedicated dealer in house.
Blinds timer: You will definitely want to invest in some sort of timer. A reliable stopwatch or clock will do but there are other options. A dealer button with a timer built in is affordable and serves a dual purpose. If you want to get fancy, there is software available specifically for poker stakes, a simple Google search for 'poker clock' should point you in the right direction. If you have a computer handy, this is a nice touch to keeping things moving.
Cards: You will need at least 2 decks of cards per poker table. Cards get bent and marked so make sure you have a fresh deck if you need to substitute. Plastic playing cards shuffle well and hold up to hours and hours of play without getting bent or marked. Copag plastic playing cards are the ultimate accessory for your home poker room.
In addition to the poker table, the liquor bar is often the focal point of the room. The ideal bar includes a sink, a refrigerator to keep soda and beer cold, a small freezer for frosty beer mugs, and a coffee maker for those long nights. A Google search for 'wet bar' will find images and websites that will provide endless inspiration for your home wet bar. No poker room or home bar is complete without a kegerator. A kegerator is a refrigerator or freezer that has been modified to hold a keg of beer. There is a tap drilled into the door of the fridge so you can walk up to your kegerator, place your glass under the tap, and let the cold beer flow.
There are two types of lighting, functional and ambient, and the ultimate poker room needs both. You will need overhead lighting above the poker table to illuminate the board cards. A ceiling-mounted pendant lamp is much classier than the bare-bulb-from-the-ceiling look. Another option is cable lighting; strands of cable lighting can be mounted over the table and when the lights are focused directly on the table you get a nice "final table" feeling. Side lighting is also needed to assist in players in seeing the down cards. It is important to invest some time in planning and testing the lighting scheme in your poker room. A well lit poker room has superior ambiance and playability, but a poorly lit game room will play like a dead hand.
Ambient lighting is indirect light that enhances the architecture of the room and creates the mood of your poker room. Simple rope lighting mounted under the bar rail or inset lights that illuminate the bar back will give your room a glow that makes your guests exclaim, "Oooo, shiny." Although not essential for playing poker at home, ambient lighting is the icing that will move your game room to the top section.
Other Poker Room Essentials
No home poker room is complete without a big screen television for watching sports while playing. The television should have surround sound, a DVR (for watching playbacks), and a video game console. If you have the space, a flat screen mounted on several walls with different sporting events playing lends a sports bar feel to your game room. Be sure to provide a comfortable sofa or chairs for players who have moved to Bustotown and railbirds.
Music is essential for setting the mood for your game, so invest in a good stereo or jukebox. If you have the space, you can include a dartboard, shuffle board, slot machine, arcade game, pinball machine, or pool table. Customized signs, crystal barware, and a cigar humidor will add a dash of class to your poker room. A Google search for 'game room accessories' will return lots of sources for items to complete your home poker room.
Need to make your poker room serve double duty? Add a computer and desk and during the day your man cave's secret identity is a mild-mannered home office. Invest in a dual purpose poker table with a dining top and matching chairs and your buttoned-up dining room becomes Monte Carlo by night. The options are only limited by the size of your game room … and your budget.