Many couples have recreational space available in their apartment or home. One of the most highly debated aspects of cohabitation is what to do with these underutilized areas. Even couples with shared hobbies can disagree on what would fit best — from workout equipment to a guest bed.
One common interest is a traditional gaming area, where friends can host events, like poker nights. After all, at-home games and tournaments are a fun, casual way to spend time. Players know one another and are competing for bragging rights more than a big payout. But hosting a game night is usually a bit more involved than kicking back and wishing for an ace.
Most hosts are busy catering to each guest’s expectations related to gear and game specifics, like which type of poker variation will be played, who’s dealing, and chip value. Having access to a poker table simplifies this process, but can also be a sore thumb for those who aren’t a fan of bright green felt.
So what factors are most important when shopping for a card table?
Range of Use
A poker night may be the highest purpose for a card table, but the best option is one that has a range of uses. At its core, a card table can be as simple as a fold-out option from IKEA. It folds up and can store away until poker night rolls around again.
However, consider how a solid table can be used. Usually, it’s feasible to toss a thick cover over the surface and adapt the table for another purpose. This could be a buffet line for a holiday get-together or extra sitting space for a group meal.
Put the Room First
When buying a card table, it’s easy to imagine the best setup possible for guests. As mentioned above, they’ll be looking for something that resembles a class casino arrangement. However, it’s important to consider the room where the table will end up.
In these scenarios, size and shape are important. For example, octagonal tables are popular and versatile. Another aspect to consider is décor — does the table staining match? What sorts of chairs will fit the area, and where can they be stored?
There’s no need to opt for bright green felt, but it is important to consider the playing surface. Cards tend to do better on a softer, textured surface; this makes dealing much easier. Here’s where expertise and dedication come into play.
As mentioned above, a fold-out table will be functional, but a group of seasoned stud vets will prefer a table with appropriate surfacing and possibly even in-table lights. Keep in mind that felt surfacing can be added to standard tables.
Choose a Functional Shape
Here’s where card game expectations are important. Most games, from blackjack to Texas Hold’em to baccarat, require a dealer. This means the table should present a clear option for the dealer to sit on one side and players to surround them in a semi-circle.
For this reason, circular tables tend to perform better and for a wider range of card games. Semi-circle tables are also functional and ideal for card players, while also providing better storage and usage options. For example, a semi-circle table (traditionally used in baccarat) can be pushed against the wall for storage and can be used for setting out dishes during other events.
Those searching for specialized tables will notice that prices can be prohibitive. The baccarat table mentioned above can cost upwards of £3,500 — with transportation not included. One simple way to find a card table that’s high-quality and customized for games is to check out a local flea market or antique store.
Back in the day, many homes had specialized gaming areas where friends could spend an afternoon. Most of these mid-century tables are wooden and are designed in an early modern style, making them truly unique. Card tables rescued from flea markets might need a bit of extra work, from sanding to varnishing, but they’ll be worth the extra attention.