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Game Room Trend Gains Popularity With Homeowners


Written by: Leanne Rozner, BBO Poker Tables

A 2011 survey by the online home-improvement site servicemagic.com prediced that the popularity of specialty rooms, such as a "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 often 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 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.

Game Room Trend Gains Popularity With Homeowners

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.

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. Try to allot at least 24 inches of table frontage for each player. An 8 foot oval table could comfortably seat 10 players; 4 players on the each of the long sides and one on either end. Allowing at least 24" table frontage makes a big difference in player comfort, adding a couple more inches can be the difference between feeling cramped and not feeling cramped.

Poker Game Supplies

Game Room Trend Gains Popularity With Homeowners

Before you host a home poker game, make sure you have all the essential poker gear so it is a success. 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.

The Bar

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.

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.

The Lighting

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.

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, shiney." Although not essential for playing poker at home, it is the icing that will take your game room to the next level.

Other Poker Room Essentials

Game Room Trend Gains Popularity With Homeowners

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 bust out and guests watching from the rails.

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. 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. The options are only limited by the size of your game room … and your budget.