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How to Make a Michigan Rummy Board

A simple Michigan Rummy board design
Graphic by Sam Eggleston

A basic Michigan Rummy board is used for playing Michigan Rummy or Tripoley. This board is relatively easy and inexpensive to create.

So you want to play Michigan Rummy, but you don't want to use the cheap boards that are available online? Your best option may be to build your own board which will remain a lasting part of your card game collection.

Michigan Rummy, also known as Tripoley, requires a playing board, cards and chips. The board is actually quite easy to make and you will discover it is a much better quality than the cardboard-style versions that come with most purchased sets.

Get a 20-inch-by-20-inch board (this is adjustable, depending on how large you want your playing surface to be) and a 21-inch-by-21-inch piece of green velvet like that used on typical poker card tables. Using craft glue, attach the velvet to the board, making sure to keep the material tight, and wrap it around the edges. To ensure a snug and lasting fit, feel free to use a staple gun to secure the edges in place. Allow glue to dry.

Take a pizza pan or similarly-sized round object and place it centered on the playing surface. Using a high-quality permanent marker, trace around the pan's edge, creating a circle on the board. Next, small- to medium-size bowl and flip it over in the exact middle of the other circle and repeat the process with the marker, giving you two circles that stand centered on the green velvet.

With the marker, draw a line between the two circles at the exact top and bottom and the left and the right. Then use the marker to make lines exactly between each of those lines, dissecting the two circles as though slicing a pizza. The result should be a open center circle (the one you drew with the bowl) with no lines inside of it and an outer circle (the one you made with the pan) that is divided into eight sections.

Once the marker lines have set and dried, use the marker to write "POT" in the center circle. In the dissected sections, write the following, starting from the bottom right section and going counter clockwise: Jack, Ten, KITTY, King-Queen, 8-9-10 Same Suit, Ace, Queen and King. These represent the sections for scoring in a game of Michigan Rummy and where you will place your cards during game play.

Using the black velvet, cut out a club and a spade symbol. Glue the club in the upper left corner of the board and the space in the bottom right corner. Using the red velvet, cut out a diamond shape, which you will paste in the upper right corner of the board, and then cut out eight hearts. You will paste the first heart in the bottom left corner of the board. You will paste the remaining hearts in the following sections of the board: One heart each in the Jack, Ten, Ace, Queen and King sections and two hearts in the King-Queen section. Let glue dry completely. You board will be ready for use in a game of either Michigan Rummy or Tripoley. For a more advanced version of the board, mount it to a Lazy Susan to allow for easier access from the players around the board.

Things You'll Need:

  • A 20-inch-by-20-inch board
  • 21-inch-by-21-inch piece of green velvet
  • Small square of black velvet
  • Red velvet
  • Craft glue
  • Black permanent marker
  • Scissors
  • Pizza pan
  • Small- to medium-size bowl
  • Staple gun (optional)


Using a high-quality marker will make for less chance of a mess from smearing as they tend to dry quicker and bond better than cheap markers. If you're handy with an iron, you may want to consider heat-press letters instead of writing on the board with the marker. Not so good at making shapes with velvet? Buy an extra pack of playing cards and cut out the suits and glue them onto the board instead.


  • Make sure your glue is dry under the green velvet, or you will end up with wrinkles in your playing surface. Wrap some tape around the edges of your pan and bowl to prevent the marker from staining them when tracing.
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