What is a Pool Table?
Everyone has probably seen people playing pool or billiards. It was just leisure in the past, but since 1998 billiards has been included into the list of official sports activities. Without going into details about specifics of billiards, we should say that pool is a game that stimulates relaxation and helps people forget about all troubles by concentrating only on the game. In the past, billiards was believed to be the sports of the elite or gentry; if a homeowner had a billiard- or a pool table at home, this person was rightfully treated as a serious and refined individual. This game has traditionally been popular among members of high society and artists as musicians and poets.
It is clear that playing billiards or pool requires a table. There are different types of such tables; their size and construction depend on the type of game they have been designed for. Balls may vary in diameter and weight, cues may differ in length, and drop pockets may be of a different size or be absent at all. Let us take a look at various aspects to be assessed in order to make the right choice of the table for pool or billiards.
If you prefer leisure that is more active and mobile, you should consider tennis tables as an alternative.
What Features to Compare
Experts suggest starting with consideration of the Construction of billiards tables. The main feature of a pool or billiards table is its length. It may vary from 5 feet to 12 feet defining the type and complexity of the game to be played. The most popular types are American Pool, Russian Pyramid, English Snooker, and French Carambol or Carom. The last one is exactly the game played on the table without drop pockets. Others essentially differ only by size of a table and balls to be used. Beginners are usually advised to play pool, because while the balls are 2.25” in diameter, the tables for pool have drop pockets of 4.6” in diameter. And the table itself measure from 5 to 9 feet long. But, at the same time, pool rules are more complicated in comparison to those of Russian Pyramid, for instance. However, it is not prohibited to apply the Russian Pyramid rules when playing the pool. The table for Russian Pyramid may have the size of 8 to 12 feet and drop pockets of approximately 2.8” in diameter; the balls for Russian Pyramid have a diameter of 2.6”. If we look at English Snooker specifics, the drop pockets are 3.4” while the balls are 2.1” in diameter; but the rules of the game are considered to be the most complex. Another important feature is the weight of a billiards table because players frequently lean on it; sometimes they have to sit and even lie on the table, so it has to me manufactured of a heavy and sturdy material.
That is why, having decided on the appropriate construction of the table, you should draw your attention to Materials the table is made of. Formerly, frames of such tables were made of various kinds of natural wood including pine, birch, ash, oak, etc. Today, in order to save costs, manufacturers use veneer or metal, or in most cheap models use some plastic parts instead of wood or veneer. The major part of a billiards or pool table is a playfield and a covering of its surface. Some specialists support an opinion that the best surface material is a slate because it is both hard and flexible. It can sustain the strokes of balls falling from small elevation without causing cracks or dents. The table with a slate surface may have the weight of 530 – 2,865 pounds. Another advantage of the natural slate is that it also absorbs moisture faster than other types of natural stone. But this table surface is preferred by professional players; beginners usually choose lighter and less expensive models made of chipboard, laminated chipboard or MDF. Being of different thickness, these table surfaces are quite sturdy and perfectly suitable for playing a game or two with friends in the evening. The surface is most often covered with a cloth consisting of several components. Usually, the cloth includes wool and nylon, or their versions like felt and polyester. This combination of materials makes up a cloth of the desired rigidity and durability due to the wool or smoothness and elasticity due to the nylon.
It is also worth taking into account Extra Features of pool or billiards tables and a set of Accessories they come with. Extra features mean additional conveniences, which do not directly influence the game, but might be very helpful. These features include a table design, for example. A variety of currently available designs may please any lover of classic or modern style, minimalism as well as ornaments and fringes. The table may have separate drop pockets or a special ball return system for their fast removal. The progress in the sphere of billiard tables is on-going; there is a trend of production of tables combining several playfields for different purposes. For example, these tables may be equipped with extra surfaces for table hockey, soccer or tennis. Such surfaces may be revolving; each side is intended for a particular game. The package content usually includes two cues, a piece of chalk for cue tips, a triangle for balls, and a set of balls. The cue length depends on a table size, a playing room and player’s height; it may vary from 48” to 61”. Most players choose cues according to their height: the best option is a cue, the tip of which reaches the level of your lips while its opposite side is on the floor. The length should also be chosen considering the distance between a wall and a table-side to make a good stroke. Balls included in the sets may have different diameters depending on the type of game: 2.6”, 2.25” or 2.1”. In general, they are made of phenol-aldehyde resin that is almost equally durable as ivory, but a lot cheaper.
Fat Cat Frisco II 7.5'
That's What You Need
We would like to begin this review with a Fat Cat Frisco game table. The table is 7.5 feet long and has a playfield providing you with great playing conditions and more freedom in the game. Drop pockets are of a classical style and perfectly comply with standards of American Pool. Another important feature of a pool table is its weight. The total weight of this Fat Cat table is 286 lbs assuring its proper stability. You might confidently lean on it aiming your stroke. To feel comfortable playing the game we recommend you to place it in the room of 13’ 6” x 17’ 6”, though the larger the premise is the better you will feel. By the way, table legs have hidden levelers to adjust the level and ensure a smooth rolling of a ball. All in all, if you are looking for a perfect pool table, which is neither too large nor too small, has drop pockets of the American Pool standard size and a quality playing surface; this choice will satisfy all your demands.
Table Right from XIX Century
The design of this pool table is rather catchy. The maple frame is varnished in cherry finish and has an astonishing look. The drop pockets have leather inlays, amortizing ball hits and protecting them from denting. There are six of them, all reinforced and decorated with braided strands to embellish the Fat Cat’s classic appearance. The playfield should not be too thin, that is why we liked the thickness of the moisture-resistant MDF Accuslate material it's made of. We have learned that this artificial stone is almost equal to the natural slate, which is used for playfields in the most expensive tables. The playfield surface is 1” thick and our opinion is that it is a proof of durability. As a result, this pool table allows playing pool comfortably for a long time. More importantly, the manufacturer gives a 7-year no-warp warranty for the surface material, so there is no need to worry about it. The surface is covered with hazel-toned wool-blend cloth that complements the table's maple finish. We also liked 18 pearlized diamond-shaped sights inlaid evenly into the table's rails. These sights allow players to align their shot precisely and add to the premium appearance of the table. Your guests will definitely admire its look. All these features reminded us about traditional pool parlors in XIX houses.
The included accessories are two pieces of chalk, a triangle, a cleaning brush and two full-size 57” cues. The cues consist of two parts and might be disassembled for the easy transportation and storage. And, as usual, accessories include one set of 2.25” billiard balls in a classical color.
History of Billiards
Nobody knows the exact date the game of billiards was mentioned for the first time. It is only known, that it is as ancient as chess and came originally from Asia. Archives evidence that the first billiard table was made in 1469 by the master Henrique Devigne. Some sources state that a recognizable form of billiards was played outdoors in the 1340s, and was reminiscent of croquet. The game was played with a small mace. Later the game was moved indoors and played on special tables. By 1670, the thin butt end of the mace began to be used not only for shots under the cushion (which itself was originally only there as a preventative method to stop balls from rolling off), but players increasingly preferred it for other shots as well. The cue, as it is known today, was finally developed by about 1800.
What Else Do You Need for Your Pool Table?
If for any reason you are dissatisfied with cues included in the Fat Cat Frisco’s kit or you want to possess your own “lucky” cue, we recommend a couple of following options crafted in the same style as your table:
You may also find the balls to your choice:
Finally, the complete set of accessories will be an ideal choice for those wishing to have everything at once.
Hathaway Maverick 2-in-1
Two Tables at Price of One
We did not trust our eyes when we saw this particular table for the first time. The unit consists of a common pool table and a tennis playing surface with a net on top of it. The 7-feet Hathaway Maverick pool table will fit into the room with the minimum size of 13’ x 16’. Drop pockets are of a standard size (4.6”). We may state that the table will satisfy both beginners and advanced pool players; being of a compact size it will fit into almost any living room. Do not be confused by the overall dimensions of this table; the sturdy structure and the weight of 252 lbs ensure its stability even during the most aggressive games. The tennis table top is exactly equal in size to the pool playfield. The table legs have special levelers that keep the table steady on uneven floors; do not worry, your table will always stand as a rock.
Playing Tennis on a Pool Table, Why Not?
Having carefully studied the material of a table frame, we highly appreciated the quality of laminated particleboard used for it. The table also features the silver laminated top rails with white inlay sights and chrome-plated corner caps. The playfield is made of 0.75”-thick MDF plate that is within the standards for pool tables. We liked the tablecloth made of durable high-quality red-colored felt distinguishing this table among common tables with a green covering. This playfield surface will be suitable for any amateur game. Surely, the major specific feature of this model that has attracted our attention was the ping-pong playfield surface fitting on top of the pool table. It is made of lightweight laminated particleboard painted in blue. The thickness of 0.5 inches is quite sufficient for a comfortable tennis game, but the board is not excessively heavy to handle.
Now let’s take a look at the table design in general. It has a very modern design and will naturally fit into an interior of most family rooms. The clever design made us wonder whether we incidentally picked a wrong product! So, the overall impression is of a pleasant surprise. The set of accessories to this table includes a piece of chalk, a triangle, two cues 57” long and a set of pool balls 2.25” in diameter. The table tennis accessories include a net, posts, two paddles, and two tennis balls.
For Whom The Table Calls?
No doubt, this model of pool table will be a great fun for a big family. We liked the manufacturer’s idea in general: having finished a tense pool battle and put all balls into drop pockets, you might wish to mount a tennis playfield and have a relaxing ping-pong match. Though another situation is also possible: when one member of your family wishes to meditate over the next strike in tranquility, others may interfere with a chaotic ping-pong game leaving no chance to another player. The choice is yours!
Extra Accessories for a Pool Table
A set of balls will be a jewel decorating your versatile Maverick pool table.
A dust cover will fully protect the playfield from dust and dirt. We believe it is a mandatory accessory to keep the dust away from your favorite table.
A convenient rack will hold your cues at hand.
Some customers recommend buying an extra set of tennis accessories including 4 paddles, 6 balls and a carrying case.
Mizerak Dynasty Space Saver 6.5'
Table for Everyone
The Mizerak Dynasty table produced by Escalade Sports is 6.5 feet long only. But it is not a drawback; some people might take that for an advantage. Why do we think so? Because it is enough to have a spare place of 12’ x 15’ to put this table in your house. The whole item weighs 293 lbs. We would like to stress that the table is sturdy and can satisfy any experienced player having a habit to sit and even to lie on the table attempting to make a perfect stroke. If you want to level the playing surface (if the floor isn't perfectly smooth), you may use the levelers in table’s legs. We believe it is also necessary to draw your attention to cross supports between the table legs, which increase rigidity and prevent wobbling of the table. In total, this table has a compact size and will be a good deal for any fan of the pool game at a modest price.
Bamboo at Your Home
A substantial weight of the table combined with modest dimensions means that the manufacturer uses high-quality materials, namely MDF with a stylish bamboo laminate exterior that compliments almost any decor. We liked this design very much because the exterior is awesome! The playfield surface is made of the double-sealed MDF plate with the thickness of 0.75”, providing you with the ultimate playing comfort. Speaking of the surface covering, it is made of green nylon cloth that will last through years and is really durable. The green color of cloth gives the table a classic billiard look reminding of lawns originally used to play this game. We believe this is a good choice following the traditional approach. A fashionable modern design is complimented by black corner posts and caps that decorate the table and protect its corners from occasional damages. Another specific feature is a ball return system that helps collect the balls and reset for another game. The set of accessories includes two pieces of chalk, plastic triangle, two standard-size 57” cues, a set of 2.25” balls, and a cleaning brush.
Some Advice for Beginners
If you play the game with the same cue for a long time, you will certainly get used to it. But we suggest switching to using different cues now and then. All cues are different and you might find something else to your taste.
You may have already noticed that an angle stroke to a side pocket leads to a hit in the nearby corner. The easiest way to prevent this error is aiming farther of the pocket’s center to its other side. The strokes should be swifter since ricochets from side drop pockets are more frequent if balls are rolling very fast.
The cue grip should not be excessively hard or easy, it must be confident. We advise holding the cue between thumb and forefinger as professionals do; other fingers are only supporting the cue. When striking, grasp the cue with all your fingers to avoid its darting out.
Additional Purchases for Pool
A high-quality triangle made of wood seems to pass perfectly to this table.
Bridge stick with regular bridge head gives you an extra convenience for strokes from the center of the table.
Fat Cat Tucson MMXI 7'
Not That Much "Fat"
One more Fat Cat table of Tucson model is 7 feet long but weighs just 192 pounds. Honestly, it is not that “fat cat” that you might have imagined. Two persons can easily carry and assemble it. Before you finally decide to go for this table, we suggest preparing a room of at least 13’ x 16’ in size to get maximum advantages of this table. The playfield is of a standard size, which is sufficient for a friendly night game. Having examined the table’s exterior, we noticed an arcade form of its legs. Our conclusion is that this way the manufacturer has succeeded in increasing the steadiness and stability of the table.
It's a Lot Simpler
The frame of the table is made of laminated particleboard that makes it so lightweight. The table surface is made of MDF of the standard thickness that assures durability and hardness. It is covered with a low-friction sapphire-toned nylon cloth appropriate for beginners or amateurs who play the game only now and then. The manufacturer found the perfect balance of the table's weight and durability. The rails feature 18 matte white circle sights that allow players to align their perfect shot. You will also appreciate the ball return system saving you from running around the table to collect balls. It helps you fully focus on the game. By the way, assembling this table is no problem. Some tables require the involvement of a skilled staff with special tools for this hard task. Not in this case! Many customers admit that the installation is an easy and straightforward process. The included accessories are similar to those shipped with other tables: two pieces of chalk, two 57” cues, one triangle for balls, and a set of 2.25” pool balls.
Who is This Table For?
The classic style is always proper in trend but if your house interior features a modern design, this table will be in a perfect harmony with surroundings. Moreover, its assembly and installation are quite simple. If it is your first pool table, you will definitely like it!
What Is Required for Your Table?
A special brush for cleaning your table cloth.
A cover might be used to protect the table from dust.
Hathaway Fairmont 6'
Is It a Joke?
This review includes another feather-weight product: the Hathaway Fairmont table with the length of 6 feet and the weight of just 115.5 pounds. We made a conclusion that for the table dimensions and the length of cues (equal to 48”), the room of 14’6” x 11’9” is more than enough. The small size of the table allows fitting it into any little room and its weight and construction make it rather portable. Portability is also assured by unique folding legs of the table that allow storing it under a bed or by a wall. We were quite skeptical about it but it was true! This option makes the Hathaway table a perfect choice for anyone willing to practice pool skills regularly but having little spare place at home.
Let’s talk about materials used to manufacture this pool table. The lower frame and legs are made of metal and the upper surface is of MDF wrapped in black melamine featuring the wooden veneer. This technology increases durability of the pool table while keeping its weight low. The corners are chrome-plated and have rope net pockets. The MDF playfield surface is 0.5” thick. We believe it is sufficient for beginners or calm, non-aggressive players. However, we recommend avoiding dropping balls hard on this surface. The cloth combines wool and nylon felt of blue color; it is dense and tear-resistance. As well as many other models, this one features 18 white circle sights for easy aiming that may be convenient especially for beginners. The drop pockets are of a standard pool size and made of rope net. The set of accessories includes two pieces of chalk, a cleaning brush, a triangle, and a set of balls (2.25”). This set also includes 2 shorter cues of 48”. You may like this length if you feel uncomfortable with longer cues. The manufacturer also provides a sturdy convenient nylon rip-resistant carry/storage bag for all the accessories.
In general, this table will become a good choice to start training and practicing the pool game, because it represents a unique combination of compact size, low weight, and convenience. You are welcome to enjoy a relaxed and comfy leisure with friends playing pool at this table.
Let’s start with the statement that billiards is believed to be one of the safest health sports activities in the world today.
Currently, the term “poolroom” means a place to play pool, though in XIX century this term was used to call a place to make bids for horse races.
The first world billiard championship was held in 1873.
The first slot or coin pool table has been patented in 1903. One game cost 1 penny.
Throughout the most of XIX century, leather tips of cues were chalked with the lime carbonate also known as blackboard chalk.
At present, the majority of chalk types consist of special fine abrasives and have no lime inclusions.
Buy Something Special for Your Table
A headlight. Since you have obtained all the necessary pool accessories with your pool table, we recommend installing a proper illumination.
A set of chalks. Buy several pieces of chalk in advance and you will not unexpectedly run out of them.
1. Matthew Sherman Questions To Ask Before You Buy Or Try A Pool Table, About. April 12, 2016.
2. Everything you need to know to choose the perfect pool table, Family Leisure.
3. How to Buy a Pool Table, wikiHow.
4. How to Clean a Felt Pool Table Top, wikiHow.
5. Karen Egly-Thompson Planning a Pool Table Room, Houzz. September 28, 2014.
6. What to Look For When Buying a Pool Table, AZBilliards. May 11, 2016.
7. 12 Must Have Pool Tables for the Man Cave, hiConsumption.
8. 7 Best & Cheapest Pool Tables For 2016, The Jerusalem Post. June 16, 2016.
9. Jeanne Daniels Who Makes the Best Pool Tables?, Listly.