With many different types and styles of folding poker tables on the market, which should you choose? This article helps you get the most bang for your buck, and choosing one that is right for you. Considering there are about 30,000 searches a month on Google for the term folding poker table, it should come as no surprise that there are plenty of merchants trying to push some version of this product. The one you invest your hard earned money into should fit your needs and the those of your poker partners, work with the space you have available for it, and not clean out your bank account.
To keep things simple, poker tables can really be broken down into about 4 categories. Poker table tops, fold up poker tables, folding legs poker tables, and furniture poker tables. Of these, the first three can only be considered folding types, where the furniture models are permanent setup, much like a billiard table, and cost several times more, often over $1,000.
Poker Table Tops are the least expensive of all since they do not have legs or a frame to add weight, shipping size, and cost. If you lack a large space for setting up a table, you can unfold one of these and use it right on top your kitchen or dining room table. No extra chairs needed. There are a wide variation in the size, shape, and quality of these tops depending on price. The best, or premium models, are made of solid wood with padding under a relatively high quality felt, giving them a more authentic “muffled” sound when the poker chips hit the pot. They usually also have padded armrests for player comfort during those long tournament games. While the premium table tops generally run in the low $100 dollar range with shipping, the lowest priced tops start in the $40 to $50 range. They are generally made of a foam material, and do not have armrests. They do tend to have very colorful casino type designs including blackjack, craps, or roulette, in addition to poker. Their light weight also makes them ideal for bringing them to a traveling game. Some other features often seen on these are poker chip trays at each player position, and cup holders for your favorite beverage.
Fold Up Poker Tables are the next price range up. These range from about $160 to $250 delivered. They have all the high end features of a solid wood top, padded felt, armrests, and cup holders, but the top folds in half and the legs fold up under each half for storage. The primary advantage of the bi-folding top is the reduced shipping cost since it folds into about half the size of the folding leg tables. Shipping dramatically increases with size and weight. They can also be shipped using UPS or Fedex eliminating the expense of using a trucking company. The other advantage is they can be stored away in a smaller space like a closet. The primary disadvantage is the place where the 2 halves come together when unfolded. If you are not careful when dealing, the cards may catch on the crease and flip over. While personally this does not bother me, some players have told me they do not like the fold and would rather pay the extra for a solid top.
Folding Leg Poker Tables solve the problem. The wood top is one solid piece for a long, smooth playing surface with no obstructions. Unfortunately, this also increases the shipping method and cost, so they tend to run in the high $200 to $400 range. The folding legs still do allow you to store them away but most often by leaning them against a wall, since they are far too large for most closets.
Shapes & Sizes: Folding poker tables come a variety of shapes and sizes depending on your need. An octagon or round table is usually about 48″ across and ideal for smaller playing areas like apartments and kitchens. They tout that they can seat up to 8 players, but they will not be very comfortable since you will be sitting elbow to elbow. I would limit the number of players to about 6. The long oval tables range from 73″ to 96″ long and seat 8 and 10 players respectively, and more comfortably. But consider whether you really have the room to set one of these up, since you are looking at 7 and 8 foot tables, and 3-1/2 to 4 feet wide. Plus you need to have chairs for each of your players.