Vinyl for playing surface?

falcon8r

New Member
Joined
Jun 2, 2015
Messages
4
Reaction score
0
Location
USA
Hello. My dad & I have been running a game for about 2 years now and we are looking at making our own poker table toppers. I have been to several sites and have looked at multiple blueprints/ instruction sets for BYO Poker Tables but have yet to find anyone discuss using vinyl for the playing surface. My dad & I went to JoAnn fabrics to look at a few things after I had gone thru and found some materials on Amazon (among others) for the playing surface and he seems convinced that we should use vinyl due to it would be easy to clean when needed. Has anyone built (or seen/played on) a table with vinyl for the playing surface and rail? If so, what was your experience? Any constructive input is welcome
smiley.gif


On a side note, has anyone used 3 loft batting (normally used in quilting) for lining their playing surface?
 

stocky

Full House
Joined
May 6, 2013
Messages
4,293
Reaction score
3,288
Location
The Wall
Personally I wouldn't use vinyl as playing surface ever. I would imagine dealing cards on it would be very difficult.
 

falcon8r

New Member
Joined
Jun 2, 2015
Messages
4
Reaction score
0
Location
USA
That was my first thought as well, but he's convinced it will be fine. That's why I'm hoping someone here has seen or done this before and can tell me about their experience with it...
 

stocky

Full House
Joined
May 6, 2013
Messages
4,293
Reaction score
3,288
Location
The Wall
Honestly showing him might be easier. Buy a thin strip of vinyl and a thin strip of gaming suede or SSC and test how the cards deal on them. If you are planning on making these for resale a little testing will go a long way.
 

stocky

Full House
Joined
May 6, 2013
Messages
4,293
Reaction score
3,288
Location
The Wall
Also suited speed cloth is water proof. Any spills are easily cleaned as the spilled liquid just beads.
 

BGinGA

Royal Flush
Tourney Director
Supporting Member
Joined
Oct 29, 2014
Messages
25,749
Reaction score
39,964
Location
Atlanta
One of the local players has a table with vinyl playing surface. Card glide is fine (almost too fast, really). There are lots worse surfaces, but I still don't like it. Looks/feels cheap.

I've also tried about every trick in the book for playing surface padding. My advice is don't penny-pinch when it comes to padding ~or~ the playing surface material. Go with 1/4" volara foam or 1/4" headliner foam, and get a nice speed-cloth or gaming suede that is designed for the task.
 

Trihonda

Straight Flush
Moderator
Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 23, 2013
Messages
8,316
Reaction score
9,229
Location
Wisconsin
One of the local players has a table with vinyl playing surface. Card glide is fine (almost too fast, really). There are lots worse surfaces, but I still don't like it. Looks/feels cheap.

I've also tried about every trick in the book for playing surface padding. My advice is don't penny-pinch when it comes to padding ~or~ the playing surface material. Go with 1/4" volara foam or 1/4" headliner foam, and get a nice speed-cloth or gaming suede that is designed for the task.

This ^^^^^

Take his advice! Volara foam is the way to go. Headliner if you want cheap. However, at the MTTD 2, I borrowed a table from a buddy who built his table identical to mine (we used the same shop, materials, etc...). With one exception, he used headliner foam. His table's play surface was profoundly "softer"... so much so that that if you rapped the surface, you'd hit the play surface wood easily, and it was hard. With the volara on my table, if you rapped the table with your knuckles, you couldn't "feel" the play surface wood. Much better IMHO.
 

courage

Full House
Joined
Oct 29, 2014
Messages
4,260
Reaction score
6,571
HD foam for me. Volara can potentially get a dent you can't remove (heavy object on poker table, etc).
 

Mental Nomad

Full House
Joined
Nov 7, 2014
Messages
3,640
Reaction score
2,457
Location
NJ - NY/NJ metro area
Vinyl's problem is that it sucks for card handling.

If your vinyl is edge-to-edge, players will struggle to pick up a card. Put a playing card on a hard, flat surface, like a countertop. Now pick it up without sliding it to the edge of the counter. Sucks, right? Everyone at your table will be dealing with that all night long.

In addition, whoever is picking up the cards to shuffle will be slowed down by this... every time.

If you have a racetrack or your vinyl is raised in the center, you can slide them to the edge - but that's extra annoying if you have a lot of chips and/or a crowded table... and if you have padding, you can push down the far end of a card to lift the near end... but it's all PITA, ALL NIGHT LONG. For everyone. And the game is slower as someone fumbles to shuffle because they keep missing the bottom card as they pick up the other half of the deck.

Get a good gaming suede or suited speed cloth - both a water-repellent (practically waterproof) and don't stain easily. I'd rather save money on EVERY other material, except for the surface.

If it makes you feel better, design you table so the rail comes up easily and you can replace the fabric when it's stained. Then you won't worry. And in a few years, you'll be saying, "wow, I never actually had to replace it."

Note: if your players all insist on greasy pizza at the table during the game and half of them have Parkinson's, vinyl may actually be a good idea.
 

jbutler

Royal Flush
Joined
Oct 28, 2014
Messages
10,669
Reaction score
10,635
i've played on tables with just vinyl. looks and feels cheap, but functions fine. if you're looking for a cheap way to surface tables in a messy, spill-prone environment, i would say it would work well. if you're putting together a table in your game room, get SSC or gaming suede.
 

abby99

Full House
Supporting Member
Joined
Apr 25, 2013
Messages
3,821
Reaction score
5,747
Location
In seclusion
Poker tables in casinos are subject to constant abuse from spills, greasy fingers, and whatever else you can but don't want to imagine. If vinyl were a good solution, casinos would probably be using it by now.
 

Bloody Marvelous

3 of a Kind
Joined
Feb 7, 2015
Messages
612
Reaction score
625
Location
Gouda, The Netherlands
If you do get vinyl, make sure that you can easily replace it later on. In other words, construct the table in such a way that the playing surface can be easily reupholstered.

That way you can simply buy a new cloth, and not have to replace the entire table if you don't like the way the vinyl handles.
 

BGinGA

Royal Flush
Tourney Director
Supporting Member
Joined
Oct 29, 2014
Messages
25,749
Reaction score
39,964
Location
Atlanta
Vinyl's problem is that it sucks for card handling.

If your vinyl is edge-to-edge, players will struggle to pick up a card. Put a playing card on a hard, flat surface, like a countertop. Now pick it up without sliding it to the edge of the counter. Sucks, right? Everyone at your table will be dealing with that all night long.

In addition, whoever is picking up the cards to shuffle will be slowed down by this... every time.

^ This is simply not true, unless you are putting vinyl directly over wood with no padding underneath.

Vinyl over foam presents no functional issues, and is comparable to most cloth over foam solutions in terms of card glide, card handling, card shuffling, chip stacking/handling/shuffling, etc. It's just cheap looking, and your sweaty forearms will stick to it under certain conditions.
 

falcon8r

New Member
Joined
Jun 2, 2015
Messages
4
Reaction score
0
Location
USA
Thank you all for your input. Dad & I will be brainstorming and reviewing your comments this evening and then going to get at least some of the materials so we can get started. We hope to have at least two toppers ready by next Friday, but not sure how well work is going to cooperate ;) When we get things completed, I will post pics of the finished and if we do go with vinyl, I will come back after a few games and let you know how it worked for us.
 

falcon8r

New Member
Joined
Jun 2, 2015
Messages
4
Reaction score
0
Location
USA
Ok, so we brainstormed and I think I've convinced him that vinyl for the surface just isn't what we want.

Our table design is most likely to end up being 42" x 96" mostly rectangular with rounded corners (likely 32-36" straight), rather than a standard oval. I have always felt when I was on the end of an oval table that mine and the person next to me's knees were a bit cramped. We have decided to not use a racetrack (due to cost considerations for 3 tables) and to get some Slide Under Plastic Cup Holders by Brybelly (Amazon) that can be placed where needed under the rail.

We are looking at using:

  • 2 sheets of 19/32" RTD Plywood Sheeting from Home Depot for each table, 1 for the rail, 2nd for the playing surface.
  • Stalwart Suited Waterproof Poker Table Cloth (Amazon.com) for the playing surface covering, likely different colors for each table.
  • 1/4" Thick Foam Padding - High Density (FIRM) for the playing surface liner from http://www.yourautotrim.com/1thfopahidef.html which appears to be a high density foam as suggested by courage and RagsPoker. If we use this, would you suggest that I place the fabric side of the foam down onto the plywood or place it up and put the Stalwart directly onto it? It seems that having the two fabrics adjacent might make for a slightly firmer surface for chip stacks, tho I really have no clue.

One other thing I'd like some input on, would using an 8" wide piece of 1" thick foam work for the rail padding instead of using a full sheet? I realize there may be some bunching around the end corners, but due to it being foam and the vinyl being pulled tight, wouldn't that pretty well eliminate any trace? Seems wasteful to use a 108" x 54" sheet of foam to cover a 5" wide rail... What do you do with the cut off foam?

Any thoughts or suggestions regarding these options?
 
Last edited:

courage

Full House
Joined
Oct 29, 2014
Messages
4,260
Reaction score
6,571
Applaud the HD foam choice, I think you'll be delighted. Not sure it matters which side up - I've always installed fabric side down for softer feel.

I'd go full sheet on the rail foam, so much easier to deal with and avoid seams and lines showing thru vinyl. I use the 50 lb weight and save a few bucks.
 

BGinGA

Royal Flush
Tourney Director
Supporting Member
Joined
Oct 29, 2014
Messages
25,749
Reaction score
39,964
Location
Atlanta
Ditto on using the one-piece rail foam -- so much easier to work with, and results are great. I patched together a rail once, using 1" foam strips (8" wide) -- NOT worth the extra hassle, and it's nearly impossible to get looking right. If you go that route (don't do it), you need to make diagonal cuts at foam intersections, and wrap those cuts with a dryer sheet (to help hide seams) prior to adding the vinyl. It will still come out looking a bit lumpy, take longer, and not save a significant amount of $$.

You can use the leftover foam for all sorts of projects: smaller heads-up tables, drink carts, home-made stadium seat cushions, etc.
 
Top Bottom