Throughout the pandemic, various types of games have seen their popularity surge. People have searched eagerly for easy ways to socialize and entertain themselves from home, and games of all kinds have provided solutions. Among these, however, poker has gotten some of the most consistent attention.
Particularly at the height of COVID-19 precautions and lockdowns, there was quite a bit written about the resurgence of online poker. Several prominent platforms reported major spikes in new user registrations, indicating that significant numbers of people were turning to the game either for the first time or the first time in a while. The “Zoom poker game” became a go-to activity as well, spurred on by publicized Hollywood poker gatherings featuring the likes of big-time producer Brian Koppelman and beloved actor Hank Azaria.
Simply put, on decades-old poker sites, in video gatherings among friends, and even in circles of Hollywood stars, the “poker night” came back into fashion. With pandemic conditions having eased up however, there’s no reason for this trend to remain entirely digital. Indeed, public poker rooms and casinos have reopened, and are once again serving large crowds. But even for those who don’t frequent these venues, it’s perfectly reasonable to take the poker trend offline. For this reason, we expect in-person poker nights to be somewhat resurgent moving forward. And by extension, the at-home poker room now makes for an intriguing DIY design project as we head into 2023.
Here are a few tips for how to set up the perfect space where you can take a pandemic card hobby and bring it into your home for some in-person social time.
Pick out a table
Naturally, if you’re looking to go the full DIY route, you can explore ways of crafting your own poker table. This piece is more about a DIY space than individual accessories, however, and ultimately a great table tends to define a poker room.
You have a lot of options when looking to buy a poker table ideal for Texas Hold’em. This will usually be an oval-shaped table, topped with felt (which the cards just glide across). It will often include painted markings directing where cards and chips will go, as well as small indentations for drink glasses and chips. Beyond these features, a high-quality will typically be made of wood or another sturdy material, and will serve as a permanent fixture –– as opposed to fold-up tables or table toppers that, while convenient, do less to define a room.
Choose comfortable chairs
Once you’ve picked out a table, you’ll want to find the right chairs for you and your guests. Traditionally, there’s not a whole lot to poker chairs; they tend to be straight-backed, occasionally on wheels, and ultimately rather ordinary. You can certainly take this approach for your DIY poker room if you like, but there’s also an opportunity to embrace a little bit more comfort for a venue in your own home! Our advice would be to opt for a set of cushioned lounge chairs that match the table and room visually, or to explore companies like TITAN and Logitech that make cozy, versatile chairs for gamers. These are less traditional poker options, but arguably better ones for a home game room.
Stock up on accessories
This won’t affect the look or feel of the room too much, but to set up a functional home poker den, you’ll need to stock up on accessories as well. At the top of the list are poker chips (you can buy a great set for less than $150) and high-quality cards (Bicycle and Theory 11 will sell beautiful packs for $15 or less). Additionally, you might consider ideas like a brand new poker rule book; a dark chalkboard for displaying scores or bets; an automatic card shuffler; or even a small rake for chips. The more items like these you have on and around your poker table, the more professional the games will feel.
Install adjustable lighting
Part of piecing together a great poker room is establishing a sense of atmosphere. And there may not be a better way to do this than to give yourself full control over lighting. Now, to some extent you can accomplish this with thick curtains (if the room gets natural light), dimmable lanterns, and lamps. These days however, another good option is to install adjustable lighting.
The installation of lightbulbs connected to Google, Apple, and Amazon essentially gives you full control over the ambiance of the room. You’ll be able to choose colors, adjust brightness, and even issue directions with your voice. Best of all, you can do all of this more cheaply than you might imagine; smart bulbs can now be had for $15 or less, and last far longer than ordinary bulbs. This means that depending on your setup and how many lights are in the room, you can likely give yourself full control over the poker setting for $100 or so a year. Just imagine playing a game in dim red light late at night, or allowing the winner of each round to choose the lighting for the next!
Organize temperature control
Alongside lighting, you can further gain control over the room’s atmosphere by organizing some form of temperature control. As discussed in a piece from our “Home and Garden” section, some ways to do this are by improving insulation or building in ceiling fans (which, to reiterate, can help to keep cool air away). More similar to the smart lighting idea however, you can also explore smart thermostats, which essentially give you quick and easy control over rooms’ temperatures. Whatever the case, your room will be all the more inviting for lengthy poker sessions if you can ensure it’s never too hot or cold.
Through these simple efforts, you can design a lovely at-home poker room. You won’t be able to wait to invite friends over and turn that online poker game into an in-person gathering.