If you're like us, you like to hold a home poker tournament every once in a while. My friends and I have been doing this for a few years, and have become used to using a computer or laptop as a blind clock, and to keep up with game and player statistics.

A friend and I have been wanting to re-cover a used table he'd been given several months ago. A few weeks ago, while thinking about where in the "Poker Room" the blind clock computer was going to go, I was struck by the crazy idea of just putting it in the middle of the table. It seemed ridiculous at first, but the more we thought about it, the more we realized it had to be done.

This Instructable is going to go through the overall process we went through to re-cover the table, but focus primarily on the steps we took to mount the LCD right smack in the middle of our poker table.

Step 1: Decide what materials you want to use...

We started out with a used table top that needed to be recovered, so we got to skip a few steps.

But a good resource to check out is Home Poker Tourney, with several examples that will take you all the way from designing a table and what type of wood to use to a completed table. Of course, none of them have put an LCD in one yet...

You also need to choose the type of foams you'll use for the padded rail and under the table surface. We went with Your Auto Trim.com as a supplier, with the following choices...

Padded rail foam...

Play area foam...

There are, of course, several choices for these, but you have to find choices that work for you.

We like the play area to be pretty firm, and since our LCD will have a border of solid edging, too soft of a foam would end up providing a visible lip.

For the cloth and rail vinyl, we went with Sadler and Carter

The cloth we chose is Black Suited Speed Cloth...

And the vinyl is...

The website only has black vinyl listed, but in the store we were able to get the color we wanted ordered. It's called "WHI-2123 Luggage"...

If you're in the DFW area, these guys treated us great and made the effort to order the color of vinyl we wanted. Plus, we were impatient and didn't want to wait for it to ship after it came in.

Also, there's a few items you'll need specifically for this type of crazy idea.

- A length of 5/32in by 1 1/4in PVC Lattice board, or something similar, thin and wide.

- A small section of 1/2in MDF board or something else that can be used as the shelf under the LCD.

Four 4in long machine screws or bolts, and the nuts and washers to go on them, as well as 4 wing nuts to use for adjustment.

Power Tools used:
- Drill (and a selection of drill bits)
- Staple Gun (Get one BEFORE trying to cover a table like this)
- Jigsaw (Helps to have a sharp blade, and one intended for the material you'll be cutting)

Hand Tools used and misused:
- Hammer
- Screwdriver
- Wrench (for the nuts on the adjustment shelf)
- Sanding block (and sandpaper, for cleaning up rough cuts)
- Utility knifes (Sharp blades are a requirement)
- Exacto Knife
- Various rulers, tape measures, and a Carpenter's Square

And lastly, you'll need some spray on adhesive. The brand and type don't matter as much as following the directions on the can.
Brilliant job, well done. I'm not a poker player but appreciate your effort on this!
Hey Jason,<br> Haven't been on this site for a while, but I thought I pass on that I did finish my poker table using some of your ideas. Along with the capacitive touch sensitive screen,&nbsp; I also have an in table shuffler, led lighting under cup holders and rail, custom chairs, poker chip drawer, speakers, custom logo/silk screening and slide out micro tables..&nbsp; I have had a lot of compliments and people lining up to have me build one for them.&nbsp; We use it all the time and with tournament director the game runs really smooth and dealing is quick.
oh wow.. the coveted &quot;in-table-shuffler&quot;. We've pondered that idea many times, but when we investigated it, we never found it to be financially viable. Do you have a link to the one that you bought? or was it 2nd-hand? <br> <br>Overall the table is amazing, definitely an upgrade over what we originally put together. The original table shown in the instructable above is still in use, although the PC used for it has recently began to die, leaving us without a live screen for now. At this point I'm left wondering whether I should spend the time to get the PC going again (and upgrade to TD3), or design an entirely new setup to fit my current needs. <br> <br>If I'm ever in the Toronto area, I'll have to call you up to join in on a game.
amcq, Here is the link for the shuffler: <a href="http://www.shuffletech.com/" rel="nofollow">http://www.shuffletech.com/</a><br> I researched and found this was the only decent one that worked well and somewhat robust, although not cheap. Professional ones, a lot of them are leased out at the casino's believe it or not, lol, Thanks for the compliments. Love how the whole poker table/system came out. We play at least once a month with a group and everyone loves the setup too! You are most welcome to come by for a game, just let me know.
One more of the screen and shuffler
Here are the pics
hey what about making a touchscreen panel on top and having a virtaul poker game
great idea! i love it!
interesting idea!
Hey jason! Is there any way you could post a tutorial or if possible just send me a template of how you set up your display on tournament dicrector?I already have the software and I am almost done building my brother a table for Christmas and the last thing i need to do is customize the software and I can't figure it out! :( Thanks <br>
are you using &quot;Tournament Director&quot; ? if so can you share your template?? Thanks
We are using Tournament Director, it's actually what inspired us to create the table. I've sent you a PM... -- jason
Awesome. would it be too much to ask for the template for td? I would really apreciate it. I made a table with pinhole cameras and would like to add the lcd screen it looks awesome. If you can thanks
YES! Finally Instructablers using proper macro pictures! :D Sweet table setup!
would it not be more useful to put some smaller little lcds in the table so its more functional
Jason, can I get a copy of your TD layout? Have you posted it to the TD forum/templates? If so can you provide a link? If you haven't posted it plese PM me and I'll give you my email. TYI
For touchscreens, a wacom tablet or something similar might be the ideal setup. If you remove the touchscreen element(resistive/capacitive layers) and just use the display and the wacom system, you could have a screen that only responds to a stylus with the receiving element in it. Actually, thinking about it, if you just buy a cheap tablet that has a pen, you could place the tablet under the table, behind the LCD screen itself. Assuming the combined thickness of the glass and lcd screen isn't too great, it could just function as a pass-through stylus system. Getting the alignment right may be a problem, but other than that, it seems viable and somewhat safer than a resistive/capacitive screen. I think jixor mentioned something like this, but I didn't see anything regarding the tablet part of his post. How thick is the LCD panel itself?
Hey Jason,<br/>Ordered the monitor the monitor today, soI'll let you know how it goes. <br/><br/>I put a little plug-in for you over at Tournament Director Forums to give you due credit and again thanks for sharing your idea and process. Here's the link:<br/><br/><a rel="nofollow" href="http://thetournamentdirector.net/forums/index.php?topic=1863.0">http://thetournamentdirector.net/forums/index.php?topic=1863.0</a><br/>
Je1330, or anyone who has experience with Tournament Director....<br/>I am building a table right now and I am wondering if it is worth while to spend extra to put say a 15 LCD touch screen in the center <br/><a rel="nofollow" href="http://solutions.3m.com/wps/portal/3M/en_US/3MTouchSystems/TS/Solutions/TouchMonitors/C1500SS/">(3M&#8482; MicroTouch&#8482; Display C1500SS Enclosure Monitor)</a><br/>as opposed to a regular screen. I am thinking in conjunction with Windows 7, Tournament Director, and actual practical usage during a game. <br/><br/>I know there are issues with accidental touching of the screen, but I am sure that is just a software mod that implemented to prevent accidents - there always is something put into place just in case.<br/>Anyway, any further insight into this issue would be great.<br/><br/>Bottom line, based on software experience, would this be a great idea and your reason why? <br/>
Q-Prof, I think it comes down to your preference, which I take it from the question is towards the touch screen :) So, looking at those they're in the $400 to $500 range, and I would imagine there will certainly be some extra things involved such as a mod or program within windows to maybe lock the screen cell-phone style, or maybe make input only possible when one finger is held in say the bottom corner and another used for the actual input. If you're capable of creating the software for it, then by all means GO FOR IT! Because, yes, that would be completely cool. Now, in addition to the cool factor, you would also be getting rid of the mouse and keyboard. Even though the one's we're using are both RF, they're still annoying, to the point that 2 years later one of our players still complains about the mouse not belonging on the poker table :) But they aren't really that bad, and if you don't have the budget or the skills to use the touchscreen, they are clearly the easiest and most cost effective choice. There's also that the touch screen will have to be flush with the table, without a protective layer of glass on top. And you'll need to be realistic in the fact that no matter how much you and your players respect the effort and the investment you've put into making the table, something will eventually happen to that screen if you regularly use that table. Ours has been hit a few times (mostly by us proving that you CAN drop chips onto it without issue) but the glass hasn't had an issue yet. Other than needing to be cleaned regularly. But, this also made me look at the two main types of touchscreens, which I'd known about before but had to use the old wikipedia refresher course. The one you've linked to is a capacitive screen, and it seems they will not work with something that is non-conductive. And maybe, just maybe, that means there wouldn't be any software mods needed??? An iPhone uses a capacitive screen, if you have one, I think it's time to see if a poker chip, or your specific poker chip, will activate the screen??? IF NOT, it's possible that no matter how many poker chips you have laying on it or sliding across, they might not even affect the screen!!! If that's the case, no question, using the screen would be amazing in the table, as long as it doesn't become damaged. I wonder if you can find any data on the useful life of the screen, or a review from real world usage. Maybe you can find somewhere in which the use of the screen is a close enough match to the constant touching and beating it would receive in the table? I'm excited Q-Prof, this could be great! -- jason
Hey Jason, Thanks for responding in detail, wow your insight is exceptionally helpful. I just needed a little push over the fence to go for the touch screen as it does cost more, but would be a nice touch. A lot of these screens are made to take a beating as they are made for retail cash registers and similar. Like you say - as long as it doesn't get damaged. It has a 16 ms response which shouldn't be a problem for what we need it for, capacitives are brighter than resistive, and angle of view is 75 degrees from looking at it straight on from horizontal and vertical. With Windows 7 coming out, and more supporting software system and application support, I am not to worried about software mods too much, as I am sure there will be enough options to work from. You mentioned that a poker chip may not set it off, which is my first also, but of course when someone goes to grab it, that is when issues may come up. I think this is where as you have suggested, that there be some sort of screen-lock to temporarily disable screen touching activity or similar. Not sure if you have seen the latest James Bond movie, but the British intelligence office had a nice touch screen table/couputer set-up. Anyway, I look forward to trying this out and see how it goes. I am probably a little a head of most, for actually putting one in for this purpose, but when Windows 7 becomes mainstream, touch screens will probably also be a lot more common and cheaper. As far as starting this whole poker/screen option, well the credit goes to you. Well done Jason.
No problem at all, I look forward to seeing it! You'll have created only the third one that we know of, and we made the first two, lol :) -- jason
Oh, an in specific relation to running the Tournament Director software with a touchscreen, the only things you need are mouse/keyboard input, so if you had an onscreen keyboard, you would not have an issue. -- jason
The table looks great. However I think I would have rebuilt the table and just bought one of the ProDealer Buttons to uses. The ProDealer Buttons has wireless communication in them and the LCD screen does not.
if u were to sell this u could make some great money
I have an interesting idea. Rather than using an lcd you could use a tablet pc. If you used thin pvc or maybe quite thin sheet of glass to protect the screen the stylus should still work through that. Alternatively there is that system for making a touch screen that works with pressure sensors, but I don't know anything about it. I think you should consider adding lighting and maybe even hack the peltiers out of usb beverage coolers and place them under the felt for keeping your scotch nice and chilled without using too much ice.
Ha, drink coolers instead of cup holders, that's nice. Technology has to progress to a point where we could chill something without producing condensation though, mosture and cards are never a good combo, LoL. For the touchscreen, we thought about that too, but with chips flying across the table, there would need to be a way to disable the 'touch' part except for when you intended to make a change, otherwise simply moving the pot to the middle could pause the clock. Could be a real pain... Thanks for the cooler idea though, maybe one set inside the bottom of a normal cupholder.... mmmm.... -- jason
A capacitive touch screen I believe is what it is called and would do the trick. just like in the iPhones/iTouch. AWESOME PROJECT! Mount a shuffle tech while you are at it too ;-D
To clarify what jixor said, with a tablet PC you use a digitizer pen. The computer only responds to the digitizer's input. This prevents accidental taps and swipes that would occur with a capacitive or resistive touchscreen. Tell me this, though, how is the viewing angle for the LCD? Can all players see it from their seats? I am considering building a hidden-screen arcade table and I've been considering using a CRT instead of LCD because of this issue. Your thoughts?
Ah, you addressed this below. Disregard the question.
Hey, I love the table. Classy combination of rail and felt colours. Well done. My only question (so far, as I haven't started construction of my own yet) is where I might find instructions for building the wooden rail itself. I know yours came from the existing table, but if I were building from scratch, any ideas on how to find out what is involved in making the rail? Thanks
If worried about the large LCD or you just MUST SPLASH THE POT! ;-D Possibly use multiple optimus mini 3 keyboards around the table. I'm not sure how they would integrate into TD, but i'm sure we could figure something out. Basically use more, smaller screens and move them away from the center of the table.
Pressure sensor at each seat to detect a 'check' would be awesome. Along with speakers, or an LED at each seat to notify players of their turn. Also, RFID all the chips for a automatic bet/raise calculation. That is to be for a designated spot on the table to place chips into. I'm not sure how 'regulation' or 'newb' this is in the world of poker since you can tell these are the type of things you get when playing online. I've only played in real life very few. SIIICK PROJECT!
Hi, Did you made the instructable for the finish of the bottom of the table because I still wondering how do you to put the controls of the lcd in the table.
HA, mmm, well we haven't actually done that part yet. The LCD controls are still hanging off the side, but they're out of the way, and the computer sits in the corner and is connected with extended cables to the LCD. Finishing up the bottom is 'on the list' of things to do :) -- jason
Hi Do you know what software is used on the LCD in your picture?
We use &quot;The Tournament Director&quot; from Corey Cooper. It's absolutely amazing, and absolutely required for implementing something such as our table above.<br/><a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.thetournamentdirector.net/">http://www.thetournamentdirector.net/</a><br/>
Hi i was just wondering I built an LCD into a table, but it is really hard to see what is displayed on the monitor. Is the monitor made to have a higher viewing angle? Any help would be appreciated Thanks Great Instructable by the way!
Well, our LCD is actually brighter when viewed from the top than from the bottom, so we have the same issue. I guess the 'verticle viewing angle' isn't centered exactly, or is biased to the top. What we've done is flip the display so that it's actually upside down in relation to the way it would be viewed normally, but works for where the operator is positioned. I'd just suggest maybe sitting up a little higher or leaning in closer, either one actually has a dramatic affect on the look of the LCD... I'd love to see your table btw, do you have an pics of it? -- jason
This is a great idea, especially with the introduction of wireless HDMI now.
This is a great idea and you make the table look fully professional. It might be cool to one day take the new larger(Paper Thin), flat screens and cover the table. Maybe even write a program for the dealer to set the pot and count every time the pot is increased and by what amount. Ideas, Ideas, Ideas... alas only ideas. Heck, if you made a big one and programmed it, you could patten it and Las Vegas would be calling your name, but then again, none of us could build it.
Someone ran with that idea.. check out pokertek.com. I saw the story on CNBC about them a few weeks ago.
Agreed, this will be one of the first uses I come up with once "paintable displays" are affordable on the market.
where's the computer located
We had thought about building an enclosure on the underside of the table, or just mounting the MB and other components suspended from the table, but have not done so yet. We probably won't go that far actually, though. When you get 10ppl around the table leg and knee space starts to become very valuable. What we've actually done is install long power and data cables for the LCD and a cord cover which lets the desktop PC sit over against the wall in the corner. Speakers are there as well, and a wireless keyboard and mouse allow full use of the system. Free's up all that valuable real estate under there so that we can have more ppl to take money from. -- jason
Thanks guys, glad you like the project. We're actually in the process right now of building v1.5 with a friend. He's gone with a 19in widescreen LCD, but we're not removing the case from it. Can't wait to finish it, I'll put up a pic when we're done. -- jason
wonderful instructable. much room for taking it your own way too, great!
No cup, or chip holders? Just kidding. Awesome job guys. Fantastic Idea.
Can you please tell me where you got the 4 sided clock program? Pretty Please!!!!!

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