Table Shapes (a bit of a rant) (4 Viewers)


So... Back on this table shape fixation. Yesterday I built a tabletop in the shape of a “super ellipse,” which is like a more bowed out ellipse. Since this can’t be easily drawn with string, I used the following calculator to adjust my shape:

Once I had it about where I wanted it, I scaled the drawing up to 87" x 47". Eyeballing the printout on top of my existing table (about 96" x 48" with a rail), this seemed about right.

My hope/expectation is that this will alleviate some of the sight line and dealing problems when we are 8- and 9-handed.

Both the shorter length and, more importantly, the greater indentation at the corners should mean that players can see each other better, have an easier time dealing, and for that matter have less distance to reach when raking pots.

This goes for not just the “corner” seats, but those who normally would be sitting on the long, flat sides.

For now this will just be a flat table top with legs; if the shape works well, I will probably add a rail, making the final dimensions slightly larger all around.

Above is a crude diagram comparing the super ellipse shape to a racetrack, with possible seating positions for the super ellipse.
(Note that a normal ellipse would be narrower than the above... I should have shown that as well in the diagram.)
I know it is probably apostasy, but I have been using a Solarium outdoor fabric on my table toppers. It has the virtue of being waterproof and easily cleanable, and it has a nice combination of sheen and texture, which seems to allow cards to move well while also making it slightly easier to lift chips/cards with fingertips. It’s listed here at about $18/yard, but I have been able to buy it cheaper at places like Joann Fabric by waiting for sales/coupons to crop up:

They call this “black,” but it is a very deep blue-black—sort of a night sky look, with a rich color to it. Here are other colors in the same grade:

I attach this with spray adhesive to closed cell 1/4" foam, which I buy from a local supplier for less than $25 for a 3-yard sheet. On my dining room table, my topper is removable; I just let the cloth hang down around the edges by about 5-6". Underneath I spray-attached a piece of faux leather (a cheap Joann’s remnant) because I found the foam tended to stick to my table too much, and I wanted just a hair more padding. Obviously this means no rail, but people don’t seem to miss it—and I can remove the topper between games. I just hang it by some grommets behind a curtain “wall” in the living room.

For the table I’m building (just a piece of .75" plywood with folding legs), I’m adding some thin automotive-grade open cell foam underneath, and tacking the whole sandwich down... with the idea that I may later build a rail if my gang finds the shape suitable.
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Recently added a simple rail to the super-elliptical... I actually don’t necessarily feel the need for rails at all for a home game, as few players can zip cards around fast enough to send them off the table, and I’m as comfortable just leaning on the table top as a rail. But people seemed to want one, after one session of rail-less play. Upholstering the rail was a backbreaking task the first time around, and probably still would be the second time, though the learning curve is less steep.

Rather than built-in cupholders (which make seating locations less flexible), I’m using Brybelly slide unders. These have the advantage of allowing players to adjust their location, depending on which hand they prefer and where they are sitting, and they come in two sizes. The players not drinking anything don’t need one, so it makes forces clutter.

I built the table foundation with just a single sheet of birch plywood, since part of the goal was to make this easier to move/set up/break down. But I felt once the legs were on that there was a little sag at the ends. So I rigged up a system where I used aluminum clamps to attach a piece of 1" steel piping down the center axis at each end. This provided a much stiffer surface without adding too much weight.

Other build note: Once the rail was on, I felt the table was too high with standard folding legs, so I chopped them down with a reciprocating saw about 1" and covered the rough ends with some rubber feet. Much more comfortable. I’m relatively tall, but some of my players are not, and there’s nothing worse than a too high table. (OK, there are some things worse...)

Overall, I am liking the playability compared to the huge, heavy racetrack table it has replaced. The table length is about 5" shorter, making dealing from the ends easier; the width is the same about 48", good for raking pots; and with the super-elliptical does seem to make a subtle but tangible difference in sight lines and reaching for cards/chips. Will post some pictures the next time I set it up.
Is there a name for this table shape (now commonly used in televised poker shows/feature tables)? I’ve been calling it a “kidney bean table” for lack of a better term, though it’s really more like a lima bean...

Is there a name for this table shape (now commonly used in televised poker shows/feature tables)? I’ve been calling it a “kidney bean table” for lack of a better term, though it’s really more like a lima bean...

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Look at Mike Leah, eating over the table. I swear, every single thing that guy does is annoying. Seems like a nice guy, just annoying as hell.
I hate people eating at the table. Even having food on a cart near it. I don’t want to smell your meatball parm or fish fry.
Continuing my fixation on superellipse tables... I discovered today that the CH338 and CH339 tables by classic midcentury designer Hans Wegner are superellipses.

Here is the 339 in a Walnut finish:

The 339 is of particular interest because its dimensions are 94.5” x 45.3" (2400 mm x 1150 mm) — a very nice, roomy size for an 8- or 9-handed game, but not too large. Overlaying the technical diagrams with plots of superellipses at that dimensions, this is pretty exactly the shape I prefer — a 2.3 s value.


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The curvature of the sides means that the sightlines and the distances for dealing cards/raking pots are more manageable than a similar-sized racetrack table.

The table also has the option of adding 1-4 60 cm leaves, if one wanted to have a large dinner party (or run two 6-7 handed games on either side of a longer table!). There is a fold-down center leg for added support when extended.

The height of the table is 28.3", which suggests that it could take a topper without becoming too high.

These are not cheap — $4-5K depending on options. But they are the kind of furniture investment which holds its value over time, given Wegner’s reputation. One could use it for years, then get all or more of one’s money back. Can’t say the same of most poker tables!

Ideally, I’d like to find a vintage one rather than a new one, because again the resale value would be that much more assured if I tired of it...
Found this thread yesterday. Very interesting. Im starting to look at building my first table. Have you made significant advancement in your research? Can you conclude from experiments that it is the best technical approach? Less important to me than the technical aspect but still valuable, what about the look? Thx for sharing your thoughts!
Here is a pic of my first superellipse table. I used the same material (outdoor fabric) for both the rail and the “felt”. My carpentry and stretching of the rail fabric were both a little wobbly, but it has been quite serviceable. And I do like the way it plays, in terms of improved sightlines and shorter reaches, compared to the bigger (and very nice) custom built racetrack table I replaced.




Note that this shows several different ways of setting up chairs for 9 players. There is plenty of room for 9, and I can squeeze 10 in here; but I now prefer to limit my games to 7-8 per table because I believe it’s just a much better game that way, especially for cash.
I’m feeling kind of vindicated, several years later, to find that the same company which makes tables for the WSOP is now selling what appears to be a superellipse-shaped table:
Seeing how it's Gorilla tables, and their tendency to "trademark" everything they touch (like in table USB) I wouldn't be surprised to find out that that had stolen your measurements, then trademarked them as their own.
So I’ve ordered one of these tables. Light strip, cup holders, Gorilla legs, upgrade on the vinyl and felt. I went with their stock facecards motif, which is somewhat generic but still quite nice:


They say 4-8 weeks. I got an email about a week after ordering confirming that it is in production.

I had a few questions before ordering, called and got a very helpful person immediately on the phone.

She verified that the cups are removable so they wont take up legspace when retracted.

Also, that it is possible to detach the top and light to replace the felt if necessary. Said it was a bit more complicated than without the light, of course, but doable.

With hope I won’t regret this splurge; I’m optimistic that it will be a big upgrade from my home-made super elliptical.

Below is the GG simulation of the table shape from overhead, with my overlay in red of a supellipse (posted previously in another thread).

They appear very similar with values of roughly 2:1 proportions and an “n” value of 2.33. The GG shape appears to be very subtly more angular at the vertices:

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This table (one of three final ones at the WSOP) has a peculiar shape—kind of a kidney bean with chipped ends—and strikes me as ridiculously wide at the middle:

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I like the pub sized ovals for 8 players, squeeze at 9. I prefer 8 max though.
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This table (one of three final ones at the WSOP) has a peculiar shape—kind of a hardedge kidney bean—and strikes me as ridiculously wide at the middle:

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One of PokerGo 1-hour free preview streams on YouTube captured a dealer talking about how they’d have to go home and practice dealing because of the size/shape of the table.

Definitely looks like way too much space in the middle, though I’ve noticed a lot of the players helping the dealer out and pushing their chips and cards further forward so they don’t have to stand/lean in so far.

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