Pub League Table DIY Project - Advice Needed (1 Viewer)

OzzieJim

High Hand
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Hi guys,

I have been scouring the forum for the better part of a week compiling information for a table diy project. I would really appreciate some input as I have as of this moment 0 table building and almost 0 woodworking experience, but a very handy dad with all the tools and a few carpenter mates.

The goal: 5 x Portable 9 player tables for tournament use to establish side hustle running pub league tournaments. Already have 2-3 venues in line through personal relationships.
The problem: Space! I drive a BMW 3 Series and my partner drives a Mazda 2. For a table to fit in my boot it needs dimensions of 36'x36' or under. I also have about 19' of height to work with. The Mazda is a little more flexible (could fit barringtons) but isn't always an option.
The solution?: Folding tables. 36' Circle is not going to cut it at a circumference of 113 inches. Barringtons in Australia cost about $500 each and folded would still not fit in my boot at approximately 42'x42'x5' and weigh 41kg (90lb). Keeping in mind that the purpose of these tables is function and portability, and that I have a perfectly good 96' table at home for my regular home games, I have dreamed up the following:

My idea:
5 x Tables
Dimensions: 1800mm (71') x 900mm (35.5') in use, folded down the middle like a Barrington for a folded LxW of approximately 35.5' x 35.5' - fits in the boot!. Estimate height/thickness when folded at 150mm or about 6 inches, so would plan for 3 in the boot and 2 in the rear passenger seats.
Est. Weight: 30kg (66lb)
Ply Base: 12mm (1/2 inch) Structural Ply
Rail: 12mm (1/2 inch) Structural Ply - 75mm (3') Wide
Sub-base: 12mm cutout from rail attached underneath for rigidity.
Playing Surface: 6mm (1/4') HDF + SSC
Rail Upholstery: 25mm (1') HDF + Marine Vinyl
Legs: Heavy Duty Steel Folding Legs - Could screw in legs be a potential option?
Hinges: Either one piano hinge or 3-4x hinges mounted to a wood frame underneath the sub-baae.

I estimate I can bang these out for around $470 AUD per table or $320 USD. Keep in mind material costs are higher here and so are pre-made tables. Cost of materials would be roughly the cost of a barrington table.

Now to the advice/questions part (and feel free to chime in on anything I missed):

1. Size: Is it too small for 9 handed?
My napkin math estimates the total perimeter of my oval to be 4627mm or around 182 inches. This gives Perimeter Per Player at 20.2 inches for 9 players or 22.75 for 8 players. It's not exactly roomy but I think it would make do for a 3 hour $20-30 tournament played mostly by recs and university students. For comparison sake this is the equivalent of a 56' round table.

2. Width: Is it too narrow?
The real sticking point for me is the 36' width. Which is also completely non-negotiable. I have tried to capitalise on available space by making the rail 3' so the total playing area should be around 30' - which would be the same as a 42' wide table with a 6' rail. The downside to this is of course the requirement to use slide in or on-table drink holders. Drink carts aren't an option and the point of pub poker is kind of to have a beer or two. Are there any inherent problems with 3' rails? I often see 4' floated as the minimum.

3. Stability/Thickness:
I have tried to reduce weight and folded thickness by opting for 12mm thick ply over 19mm ply. With the sub-base attached the total thickness of the base/playing surface component would be 24mm or about an inch. I am concerned that because of the folding nature of the table this could cause some problems. I am wondering what kind of expert advice could be offered where I can keep weight and thickness to a minimum while not having a totally shoddy playing experience.

Is the sub-base even necessary? Could one 19mm board be enough? What about one 12mm board?

I have also considered upholstering the rail with 12mm foam rather than 25mm to reduce thickness, but I assume once the vinyl is taut it is a negligible difference. Would the feel of the rail be much worse with 1/2' foam? The foam is the most expensive part of the build so this could considerably reduce costs.

4. Hinges
I don't really have any experience here, whats the best way to make the thing fold in half?

5. Effort
Is it worth it or should I just buy a trailer and 5 barringtons?
 
Coming from a customer that does play bar poker, are you getting anything out of this other than satisfaction?

I will say that some of the biggest problem with bar poker is uneven tables. I'm sure that 99% of the players I play with would be happy with an even table with a a topper.
 
There is a pretty substantial element of me wanting to do it
Then your answer is rather simple, even if you have to do something like this:

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Coming from a customer that does play bar poker, are you getting anything out of this other than satisfaction?

I will say that some of the biggest problem with bar poker is uneven tables. I'm sure that 99% of the players I play with would be happy with an even table with a a topper.
Yeah, money. We can legally rake non-casino hosted tournaments (not cash games) here.

Generally speaking the pub leagues around here are $20 ($10 to PP + $10 rake) or $30 ($20+$10) hyper turbos with 1 x rebuy. Often the venue hosting will also sweeten the deal with $5-$10 per player paid to the poker operator for driving business.

Its a pretty egregious rake but generally speaking it's the only public poker available for people so they just do it for fun. The cheapest casino hosted tournament is $175 (150+25) and they only run 3 tournaments total a week. Their cash games are 10%:$15 so essentially anyone wanting to play on a budget is driven to the pub tournies.

I feel kind of bad for perpetuating the cycle of rake but it will fund nicer chips etc. for my home game crew.
 
Yeah, money. We can legally rake non-casino hosted tournaments (not cash games) here.

Generally speaking the pub leagues around here are $20 ($10 to PP + $10 rake) or $30 ($20+$10) hyper turbos with 1 x rebuy. Often the venue hosting will also sweeten the deal with $5-$10 per player paid to the poker operator for driving business.

Its a pretty egregious rake but generally speaking it's the only public poker available for people so they just do it for fun. The cheapest casino hosted tournament is $175 (150+25) and they only run 3 tournaments total a week. Their cash games are 10%:$15 so essentially anyone wanting to play on a budget is driven to the pub tournies.

I feel kind of bad for perpetuating the cycle of rake but it will fund nicer chips etc. for my home game crew.
Ah , do you get 100% of the rake? Spilt with the pub/venue?

If you are going to invest $2500~$5K in tables; presuming 100% rake ; that's $450 per tournament at 45 players each x 3 venues.
That would be $1350 per set of tournament; if you do monthly ones; that's 11 money to ROI. Weekly; would be 11 Weeks~.

I would recommend something off the shelf as you are going to need/want to replace tables in the long run due to wear and tear.
 
Ah , do you get 100% of the rake? Spilt with the pub/venue?

If you are going to invest $2500~$5K in tables; presuming 100% rake ; that's $450 per tournament at 45 players each x 3 venues.
That would be $1350 per set of tournament; if you do monthly ones; that's 11 money to ROI. Weekly; would be 11 Weeks~.

I would recommend something off the shelf as you are going to need/want to replace tables in the long run due to wear and tear.
I think it's pretty unlikely to fill 5 tables but I would want 5 for potential growth/overflow and to run tables 8 handed preferably.

The leagues currently operating work on a franchise model where they give 20% of the rake to the company that handles their marketing etc. Another 10% goes to their end of series prize pools. So their operators are getting about $7 per entry in rake. Many of the franchisees hire TD's to run their events for them so they're making much less.

I'd be putting money into an end of series prize pool but wouldn't have to pay franchise fees and would TD myself. I'd say I could probably get around 20-30 entries per event across three events each week so around $750 before costs, then taking approx $75 for series prize pool. I estimate my chip costs at around $2,000, tables at around $2,500 (either way), cards at around $200 and transportation at around $100/w. I'd probably also do a $500 freeroll for the first game at each venue. So I'd estimate total upfront costs at around $6,500 and ongoing costs at say $150/w (to account for maintanence, replacement, depreciation). I think I can recover my upfront costs in about 13 weeks and then make a profit of around $525 a week assuming it doesn't take off or die miserably on the vine.

That's enough to pay for my annual WSOP trip or to upgrade my own home gear without dipping into my salary. Girlfriend approved.

Worst case scenario I can probably sell the tables for their cost price.
 
Girlfriend approved. Good Job Sir... Great Job.

Do you TD and play? How many weeks have you TDed?

Putting my financial analyst hat on, I'm interested as to why you are investing $2K-$2.5K for chips per table. Is it desire or to beat the competition? Most bar games I play at use Ceramics. Durable and cheap enough to replace. Although at a racked game , I would have serious concerns about potential security with off the shelf ceramics.

Part of the reason I ask is that I anticipate you will lose chips over time and at $10~? a chip that's some serious replacement fee over time.

I would recommend investing in a folding table and some toppers, (use it for final table) as a initial investment and build from there so your initial investment isn't huge. Or if the game is consistent , go with 4 folding tables and buy more if you get consistently more players.

Spend some of the profits/rake back into advertisement. Bring a new player ; here is extra chips/ x$ off your buy in.
 
Girlfriend approved. Good Job Sir... Great Job.

Do you TD and play? How many weeks have you TDed?

Putting my financial analyst hat on, I'm interested as to why you are investing $2K-$2.5K for chips per table. Is it desire or to beat the competition? Most bar games I play at use Ceramics. Durable and cheap enough to replace. Although at a racked game , I would have serious concerns about potential security with off the shelf ceramics.

Part of the reason I ask is that I anticipate you will lose chips over time and at $10~? a chip that's some serious replacement fee over time.

I would recommend investing in a folding table and some toppers, (use it for final table) as a initial investment and build from there so your initial investment isn't huge. Or if the game is consistent , go with 4 folding tables and buy more if you get consistently more players.

Spend some of the profits/rake back into advertisement. Bring a new player ; here is extra chips/ x$ off your buy in.
The chips at $2,000 is for 5,000 chips. Which could handle 20k SS from a T25 base for 45 entries and 45 rebuys and colour up every chip. This would be overkill for a regular game (thinking 5k SS) but would suit a deepstack finale game.

$0.40 a Chip here gets you ABS customs which is what I would use. Domestic ordered custom ceramics run from about $1.50 to $2 a chip and based on my research from vendors here I could get them for around $0.50 plus pretty substantial postage from China.

I haven't started yet beyond the thought bubble/planning process and asking some friends who manage pubs if they would let me run there (who were all extremely receptive to the idea).

I would TD, I have limited experience (single table home games) but apart from making rulings TD software takes care of most things. I would not be playing at these events.
 
The chips at $2,000 is for 5,000 chips. Which could handle 20k SS from a T25 base for 45 entries and 45 rebuys and colour up every chip. This would be overkill for a regular game (thinking 5k SS) but would suit a deepstack finale game.

$0.40 a Chip here gets you ABS customs which is what I would use. Domestic ordered custom ceramics run from about $1.50 to $2 a chip and based on my research from vendors here I could get them for around $0.50 plus pretty substantial postage from China.

I haven't started yet beyond the thought bubble/planning process and asking some friends who manage pubs if they would let me run there (who were all extremely receptive to the idea).

I would TD, I have limited experience (single table home games) but apart from making rulings TD software takes care of most things. I would not be playing at these events.
I would recommend 3-5 table toppers, run the game for a month or two and reassess from there. You will get a better sense of stability and whether if you like TDing. Honestly think it be boring if you didn't play.

Could try and do two game per night, 2 hour turbos. It's what the bar games structures are around here.
 
0.40 should be able to get you fully custom ceramics from China through Tina, which I would take over low to medium quality plastics.

And you don't need anywhere near 5000 chips to cover a 5 table tournament. Half that, maybe.
Yeah doubt that there will be 45 rebuys, but doesn't hurt to have extras right.... :love:
 
I built a table of similar dimensions for my dorm room games in college (I needed a smaller table for the dorm room so I did 3ft by 6ft with a 3 inch rail.)
1. In my experience testing the limits for how many I can fit on a table this size, it is too small for 9-handed. My table, which is nearly identical to the size you are planning to fits 7 comfortably, 8 is tight (almost elbow to elbow), I honestly couldn't imagine trying 9.
2. Proportionally, I love my dorm room table. On paper, you would think 30 inches is not enough playing surface, but it makes it so much more easier to manage the pot as the dealer because everything is in arms reach. The only downside is the pot splashes into chipstacks more frequently than on a larger table.
3&4. I can't really speak to this because my smaller table is one piece and not folding.

I recently purchased and renovated a Barrington and am VERY happy with the result. The felt that it comes with gets the job done, and there are plenty of options as far as toppers. I purchased one of the discounted barringtons and then replaced the felt with speed cloth and cupholders with deeper and wider ones. That being said, I think the table comes fine as is, and is a higher quality than any table I have seen at bigger bar/lodge poker tourneys.

In the context of the side hustle, I would go with a barrington. While the costs are close to the same, don't forget time is money (not only the time that you are spending building the table, but if you buy the Barringtons, you can start running tourneys sooner and making money and recouping startup costs. As rewarding as it would be to build the tables, the juice might not be worth the squeeze if the ultimate goal is side hustle and making money.
 
Are you doing antes? You may want to go with a T100 base setup. Could be easier to manage. If you're doing turbos with a T25 you probably won't have too many levels before you're coloring out the 25s.
 
There is a pretty substantial element of me wanting to do it myself for the satisfaction of it. If there wasn't the folding/hinges element I would be 100% committed to DIY, just unsure how much of an extra headache it will be.
So how about both solutions, build the tables you'd like to use, and pick up a trailer to haul them around.
 
Yeah I am definitely thinking that either barringtons or 84x42 one piece tables are the way to go.

A trailer is about $1,500 new so it’s not totally ridiculous.

This can go in my crazy ideas pile for now. I might eventually make one just to test my ability.
 

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