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poker table history

The Evolution Of The Poker Table

Poker tables are iconic. When someone says poker table, you know what to think. They are oval tables covered in green felt, big enough to comfortably sit around nine people. Easy. But have you ever wondered about poker table history?

Why are poker tables green? Did they always look this way? And why are they so uniform to this day?

Well stick with us and all will be revealed!

What did the first card tables look like?

Card playing goes back centuries of course, but it got really popular in Europe in particular in the 1700s. That was when carpenters started churning out tables specifically for people to play on.

Often doubling up as end tables, these were wooden semi-circular tables. Sometimes they were plain, but often upper class people commissioned ornate tables with carvings, expensive inlaid stone and luxury veneers. Very classy altogether.

So what’s with the green felt?

So originally, card tables certainly weren’t green and they didn’t have felt either. The secret to why they’re typically clad in green felt lies in the early 20th century.

At this time in the United States, there was a moral panic about gambling of all forms and poker in particular. It was deemed illegal in many parts of the USA. However, it was still wildly popular.

Illegal games were often played in pool halls. But because raids were frequent, they had to use the pool tables to play cards on.

They were perfect because they were big enough to seat enough people to make a good game and you could easily mark them up with chalk to set out different layouts.

If there was a raid, you could wipe the table down and pretend to play pool.

Why are they still green and felty?

Over 100 years later and in no danger of being raided by the cops, legit card rooms still have poker tables adorned with green felt. Why did this relic of poker table history stick?

Part of the reason is tradition. People got used to playing this way and people love sticking to what they know. But part of it is because it really works.

Green allows the classic white, red and black cards to pop on the table. It’s simply easy to see what’s going on with green. It’s also a very calming colour and is traditionally associated with money. So psychologically, card rooms reckon that green makes punters more comfortable with splashing the cash.

The felt is also useful for cards. It means that it’s easy for them to slide on the table but there’s still a little grip so they don’t go flying all over the place.

Fancy checking out a virtual poker table?

Of course, you don’t have to sit down at a poker table in real life to get stuck into some excellent poker action today. You can always pull up a seat online whenever you fancy, from the comfort of your own home. And if you’re looking for somewhere to play a few hands online, we’ve got a handy little bet365 bonus code for new players.


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