Previously, we discussed the impact your choice of poker chips has on your home game. Now in Part Two, we’ll talk about the furniture element, or the thing that catches the players’ eye immediately upon entry– the table.
The phenomenon poker players like to call the “Poker Boom” has created a whole new industry in this country: custom poker tables. We’re not just talking the typical octagonal table for grandpa and his cigar-smoking buddies…we’re talking everything from portable table top covers, to custom-built Texas Hold-em style casino poker tables.
Nothing makes a player’s home game experience more enjoyable than sidling on up to a nice, soft vinyl rail and a smooth felt surface.
Nothing makes your game more “casino-like” than a good quality table (except for maybe a cocktail waitress or two, but that’s your deal, not mine). Besides the aesthetics involved, the practical implications of a nice felt surface are that your cards won’t slide onto the floor, and they’re easier to pick up without bending the corners.
Just like any other ‘furniture’ purchase, there are options ranging from the cheap and flimsy to the expensive and excessive, and your budget and seriousness about the game will determine which is a best fit for you.
The first option are the table tops. These are the tables of choice for most weekend gamblers, because they don’t take any extra furniture space, they simply fold out and sit on top of your dining table, or a folding table. You can choose octagon or oval. The beauty of the folding top is that stow away nicely in between games. Since most of us don’t have a dedicated poker room, this is the most common way to go.
The second option is a table with folding legs. This table is typically done in a “mass production” type of way… there are no options, it’s just an economically produced, no-frills poker table with folding-table style legs.
The final option, and by far the most costly, is the custom table. You can get them from a factory, or perhaps some guy in your neighborhood builds them in his garage. The beauty of the custom table, is that in most cases, it’s made just for you, and is the most like a casino table you’ll find. Players will want to come back just to play on your custom table. You can choose the felt color, rail style and color, and the options on the race track. The race track is a hard surface between the rail and the felt.
This gives players a place to stack their chips, and can also be outfitted with cupholders to keep the random beer spill from ruining your felt. You’ll pay a lot of money for a custom table, so you need to treat it like furniture. You need a place it can be kept, and be prepared to care for it like you would your living room furniture. If you do this, a custom built table will be home to the best games in the neighborhood for years.
If you’re particularly ambitious and more than a little handy, there are plenty of places across the Internet to find instructions on how to build your own. It takes some carpentry skill, so don’t embark on this journey lightly.
The table you use will make a huge difference in the quality of the game you host. Providing your buddies with a quality felt surface and some casino-style chips will ensure that your game is the one everyone wants to come to, and if you’re lucky they’ll bring some dead money with them as well!
Coming up in Part Three of this series, we’ll look at the difference in the varieties of playing cards out there, and why $15 for a deck of cards isn’t as outrageous as it sounds.