If you and your poker buddies are tired of the kitchen table feel, a folding poker table top might just be what you need. I doubt you would play chess on a chessboard drawn on a piece of cardboard with bottle caps for pawns. It just takes something out of the game.
There are felt layouts that you can get but they slide all over and have a crease where they fold unless you have them pressed.
A poker table top brings a more realistic feeling to the game, more like playing at a casino. Since the tops come in various sizes and designs, you have to sort out which is right for your particular need. I will outline the benefits and pitfalls you should think about before you spend anything.
1. Size and shape: If you currently are playing on a kitchen or dining table that is either round or square, and around 48 inches plus/minus 8 inches, you would want to look at the octagon poker table tops. If you are playing on a rectangular or oval table, then you should look at the rectangular or oval shaped table tops. Size selection and what the table top is made of does matter. You should make sure that the foam top you get will not be more than 4 inches longer or wider than the table you are setting it on. A wood top should be able to hang over the edge of the table up to six inches with no major issues. You care because if somebody bumped or otherwise disturbed the table top, your poker chips would be spilled over. This gets old fast.
I would recommend against using a typical card table as a stand for these. Due to the crappy legs on most game tables, the heavy table tops would be to much for them.
Some people find they just don’t have a table that will work so you might want to check out a table that comes with legs like an octagon poker table. Where you have the space you can even use a permanent poker table.
2. Materials: There are 2 basic materials used to make poker table tops. The first are a tops with a foamy type base that weighs and costs the least. Due to their lower weight and easily fit into the trunk of your car, they are great for weekly games where the location changes. They are usually under 20 pounds so the are very portable and they fold up into a nice small size. The issue with them is durability since you will need to replace them more frequently than wooden table tops. They are also a cheaper priced gift for someone who is really a poker nut.
With more durability than foam, the wooden tops are made of 1/2 inch particle board or plywood. Just like poker tables, they also have some premium options such as padding under the felt and cushioned arm rests providing a more casino atmosphere. They are much heavier so are not as easily disturbed during play by people leaning on them or standing up at the table and bumping it.
When the game is at someone elses house I use a foam table top, and the wood one is for the parties I host. It won’t be talked about in this article but I also have a folding poker table.
3. Features: Once you have determined what size, shape, and material your table top should be, the most fun part is to select the colors and designs. A few tops even have formats for other casino games in addition to Texas Holdem. Due to the lower shipping costs foam tops will be cheaper, but they also seem to have the more interesting graphics. With many of the same options as a poker table, the high-end tops are made of wood, felt with pad, and armrest. The felt is better so it is closer to the feel of a casino table.
The padding under the felt makes the premium tops sound and feel more authentic. There is a muted clink sound when the chips splash the pot and they don’t bounce all over the place when they hit the table. The cards slide better on the higher quality felt when you deal too. For those long endurance games, I really have come to appreciate the padded arm rests. If you have the budget for it, a premium top is definitely the way to go, but they can weigh up to 45 pounds so are not as portable as the foam tops.
I hope this article has provided you the information you need to select a folding poker table top that suits your needs whether as a gift or for yourself. Your kitchen table will no longer be an option after playing on one of these. Happy Gaming!