The smallest details matter in a high-stakes game as nerve-racking as Texas Hold’em. From the tell on another player’s face to the pace at which you play, being able to outsmart and out-compete your opponent requires complete mastery of the poker table.
So when you’re shopping for a poker table for sale, it’s the little details you can’t overlook. Whether it’s the softness of the rails or the quality of the chips, every detail impacts your game experience.
One factor that truly separates a high-quality poker table from a cheap one you can buy on Amazon is the type of felt used. While sometimes overlooked, your poker table felt will influence everything from the appearance and durability of your table to the speed at which cards can be drawn across its surface.
Whether shopping for a new table or upgrading the felt on an existing one, we’ve prepared this guide to help you choose the right table felt for your poker table.
The Importance of Poker Table Felt
You should not neglect the playing surface when shopping for a poker table. With several styles and types to choose from, your poker table felt will influence lots of gameplay factors, including:
- The appearance of your table
- The ability to slide cards smoothly
- The durability of your table
Generally, you will be able to feel the quality of a casino-style felt, such as velveteen or speed cloth, because it will be smoother, there won't be any ridges, and the felt will be more resilient to wear.
While you might not care too much about the gameplay, if you pick a poker table with flimsy felt, you risk getting a few stains along the way.
For this reason, finding a waterproof or stain-proof table against beer and coffee spills can save you money on reupholstering your table in the long run. Furthermore, spills can penetrate the wooden materials underneath and cause additional damage you must pay to replace.
That’s why we’ve outlined a few of the most common types of poker table felt below and some tips to help you find a table with the best felt for you.
7 Types of Poker Table Felt
Following are the seven main types of poker table felt, and the ups and downs of each.
1. Poker Table Cloth
This standard poker table cloth is commonly found on lower-priced poker tables for beginners and people on a budget. This cloth typically only comes in green color and features a thick surface that allows for decent card action and is easy to install, whether it’s on a solid or folding poker table.
However, the negatives of this felt include poor durability, susceptibility to stains, and an untidy appearance that increases with age. For example, this cloth is a magnet for dust/lint collection because of its abrasive surface material. As a result, after one long night of poker, you’ll instantly notice this cloth start to deteriorate.
On the opposite end of the spectrum lies velveteen, which boasts an elegant look and feel. Card action will glide smoothly on velveteen, and this fabric is significantly more durable and rip-resistant than ordinary poker cloth.
The main drawback of velveteen is that it is not truly water-resistant. However, velveteen won't stretch and degrade like ordinary poker table cloth or collect lint after gameplay. In fact, this fabric could last a lifetime if properly cared for and free from drinks on its surface.
3. Suited Speed Cloth
Suited speed cloth is made from 100% polyester and treated with a waterproofing agent that makes it impervious to stains and spills. This cloth is often considered casino cloth because it’s preferred by professionals and offers that silky smooth glide that players enjoy so much. In addition, this cloth is easier to install than many other fabrics and offers a fairly affordable option.
This cloth is also often found on high-end poker tables, including professional oval or octagon poker tables, because it can stand up to wear and deliver that amazing game experience at large tournaments.
4. Billiard Cloth
Billiard cloth is an acceptable alternative to upholster your poker table if you’re looking for new cloth. Most billiard cloth consists of an 80/20 rayon to nylon blend or wool to nylon blend. These materials are highly durable, water-resistant, and even include that signature green color found on poker and pool tables.
5. Viscose Felt
Viscose felt is a heavy-duty felt made from 100% viscose felt that’s more durable than ordinary poker table cloth and more resistant to water. While not commonly found on poker tables, this felt can be used for custom tables looking for new felt at an affordable price.
6. Nylon Velvet
Nylon velvet felt comes with durable nylon fabric mixed with other materials to give it a durable and soft surface. This table felt may be on the more expensive side but offers that soft and smooth glide that players desire, making it an excellent option for your home table.
7. Padded Table Felt
This last option is more of a standalone felt that can be attached to the ends of a regular dining room table. Unfortunately, this cloth is not water-resistant or stain-resistant and features a rough surface not very conducive to sliding or playing games at a fast pace.
However, this cloth is extraordinarily cheap, easy to install, and a suitable option for playing a poker game without an actual table.
Which Poker Table Felt is the Best
Generally, suited speed cloth and velveteen are considered the two best poker table fabrics for a professional-style or luxury poker dining table. These felt card tables offer that signature smooth and soft surface players desire and are often durable enough to stand up to lots of use without tearing or collecting lint.
However, speed cloth is fully waterproof, while velveteen may not be.
Additionally, you could also use a high-quality fabric with a soft 80/20 wool and nylon blends, such as billiard cloth or nylon velvet, for just as good of a game experience as speed cloth or velveteen.
Understanding the differences in poker table fabric will help you purchase the best poker table for your home.
So whether you’re searching for a round or oval poker table, always check out what type of felt, rails, cupholders, and designs they use. This way, you can save money on repairs and ensure your poker table retains its appearance for a lifetime's worth of games.