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Poker Tables for Christmas
Dec 07, 2005  
2005 Jason Kirk  

Nothing breaks the monotony of playing hour after hour of online poker better than having a group of friends over for a home game. Many people make do with a tablecloth draped over the kitchen table, giving their home games a less-than-ideal atmosphere. Playing around the bare kitchen table is a stopgap measure at best. It's much better to have a felt playing surface worthy of the great game of poker. Luckily there are several other options out there. If you know someone whose home game could use a little dressing up - or if you'd like to make your own game a little closer to Vegas - here's a quick overview of some Christmas-time poker table solutions for anyone who plays poker at home.

The most basic solution is a table topper. These are usually made of wood or a durable plastic, topped with a felt surface in one of many colors, and bounded by spaces designed to hold drinks and poker chips. They range in size from 52" - large enough to cover a standard kitchen table and seat 6 people comfortably - all the way up to 83" - big enough to cover an extended dining room table and hold a full 10 players. Many table toppers are of the fold-up variety, so you'll want to make sure they match the size of your table carefully in order to avoid having them bow and create an uneven playing surface. Table toppers range in price anywhere $50 to $250, depending on the material and size of the topper.

The next step up from a table topper is a folding table. These tables are designed with folding legs for easy storage, meaning you won't have to dedicate an entire room of your house to them. In most other ways they are similar to having a regular poker table. Some are round or octagonal, suitable for seating 6 to 8 players; others are oval-shaped and suitable for a full game of 10 players. You can even find models with a dealer spot and chip tray. Folding tables range in size anywhere from 48" round tables that seat about 6 players comfortably all the way up to 98", replicating the feel of a casino poker table. Something to watch out for is the sturdiness of the table's legs - the cheapest folding table models often have flimsy legs that will wear out over time. Folding tables usually range from about $100 to $400, depending on materials and size.

Finally, you can buy a pedestal-style poker table from plenty of online outlets. These tables are solid pieces of furniture with no folding legs, meaning you'll have to find a permanent place for them in your home. Some of these tables actually double as dining tables, meaning you can simply replace your current table rather than making room for a new one. Most of the models you'll find are very attractive in their looks, coming in a variety of styles. Some are simple, with only a vinyl bumper armrest around the outside and a felt playing surface. Other models add more bells and whistles, like cupholders, chip racks, and wooden racetracks between the armrest and felt. The feel of these tables also varies greatly. Some of the smaller models are intimate and classy, while some of the larger ones mimic the feel of true casino poker tables, complete with a dealer spot and chip tray. You'll also have your choice of padded or wooden armrests and raised or flush playing surfaces. Pedestal tables vary greatly in quality, and their price range reflects this reality. Don't be surprised to find tables running anywhere between $250 and $1500.

If you've chosen a full table instead of a topper, the final ingredient is a set of chairs. Folding chairs are a serviceable option which can vary greatly in quality. Simple metal folding chairs with a wooden seat and cushion are available for $20 to $30. Nicer wooden folding chairs are available with vinyl or upholstery cushions for $40 to $60. If you want to go all out, folding chairs will be out of the question. Many online outlets sell wooden swivel chairs to match the top model wooden tables - but be ready to put out $120 to $200 apiece for these.

Whatever direction you decide to go, and whether your table or topper is for yourself or for a friend, you can't go wrong with moving up a step from the old kitchen table games.


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