Category Archives: Pool

Luxury Pool Tables

Luxury Pool Tables

Brunswick top of range pool table

This top of the range Brunswick pool table will set you back $9,000

Who’d like to own a luxury pool table with a stylish modern design that impresses the moment you catch sight of it? Most people for sure. However, the price tag that comes with the most luxurious deluxe tables put them within reach of only the super-rich. Only the very top film stars, pop stars, sporting heroes at the pinnacle of their game plus of course jackpot lottery winners need fill out the enquiry form.

Unusual or unique design and style are the usual hallmarks of a top of the range deluxe pool table. Most are custom made, sometimes from unusual materials such as glass or marble. A high price tag allows designers to unleash their creative best as the desire to own something completely different from anyone else is often the first instruction on their building instructions.

A glance through some of these incredible images reveals designs of an unusual and varied nature with much thought going into the legs that support the playing surface. Traditional solid wood legs at each corner made from oak or cedar or slanting supports that rise gracefully from a central point towards each end of the table or a central stalk-like structure that robustly holds the playing surface in a perfectly horizontal level plane.

Really want to impress your visitors? Have a circular pool table! Or one shaped like a banana. How about one with a hole in the middle to help access those awkward shots – a polo table? Some designers have created a table based on a car design where the seats have been replaced with a pool playing area. (See our Bizzare & Unusual Pool Tables post).

At this level, slate is usually the first choice but where weight is a factor slim line tables may utilise glass, gold, plastic, fibre glass or some other man-made material to strike that unique note.

lightweight luxury pool table

A lightweight powder coated Fusion table for $10k

 

 

These tables are not off the shelf. Each one is custom designed often after hours of discussion with the       potential new owner and many weeks of specialised construction on each table to deliver the desired effect.

 

 

 

 

 

 

There a small number of exclusive specialist table manufacturers. Some of these are established pool and billiard table makers with years of experience. Others are experienced furniture makers with a great reputation who are able to turn their skills and craftsmanship to making a top quality pool table.

There are also a few specialist craftsmen who have the skill, wherewithal and facilities to make custom table to order.

However, beware the high profit margins on these extortionately priced tables have also attracted some chancers with more marketing prowess than craftsmanship. The result is often a very good looking poorly made table that won’t stand up to the rigours of a tough, competitive game of pool being played regularly. The end result is usually frustration, disappointment, a dented bank balance and law suits over refunds. A custom made table usually isn’t wanted by anyone else.

We couldn’t begin to put together a list companies that claim to have exclusive custom made pool table design capabilities but the following list of long standing manufacturers is a good starting point for enquiries about ordering a top end deluxe or customised pool table for your Rec Room: Brunswick, Olhausen, Imperial, Presidential, Shelti, or Empire,

Deluxe luxury pool tables don’t come cheap. They are extortionately expensive. For some of course having an expensive pool table in the lounge or game room is a badge of honour. The most expensive table we have come across so far is $67,000. (Let us know if you have found one higher, please). Tables costing $15,000 to 30,000 are fairly common with many reputable manufacturers with even more tables in the $5,000 to $15,000 range.

modern luxury pool table

A Cosmopolitan Contemporary Pool Table from B A Tables

Profit margins on these tables are massive. If mistakes are made, refunds are rare and keenly fought over because no one wants some-one else’s table. A reasonable point perhaps. Would you?

So who buys these outrageously overpriced tables? People with a sense of style. People wanting to impress someone else.

Customised pool tables are often found in private, exclusive clubs where members pay high membership fees to ensure privacy and exclusivity ………………and the right to play pool on a masterpiece of design and style.

Where can these luxury tables be found? In private clubs, homes of the super-rich, houses and villas of the stars of stage and screen and sporting superstars. Not everyone likes pool course but often a luxury pool table is seen as a must have accessory so a visit to many mansions, palaces or villas, will reveal a table to swoon over. Exclusive clubs and bars have such tables.

Many, of course, are found in the ubiquitous man-cave; be that a sumptuous outhouse in the garden of a large house or the penthouse apartment of a rich singleton who wants to impress his mates.

They look good. They feel good. Their owners are proud of them and are ultra-protective of them. Some are for display only! Yes, really. I know some people who will only allow ‘selected’ friends to play a game pool on their precious jewel and would actually prefer if they declined. What a waste.

Unfortunately a lot of people get ripped off when buying pool tables. It’s an unusual purchase. One that isn’t made very often and, unless you are a professional player or a pool hall manager, it involves making decisions about something you will have very little real world knowledge about. So it is with most people to whom a luxury pool table is petty cash. What they end up getting may look good but often doesn’t produce a good game of pool and, truth be known, probably won’t get used very often.

slim line pool table

A very neat slim line table from the UK maker Michael Allen

Still, let’s not allow that small thought to put us off. Feast your eyes on this range of de-luxe tables (manufacturers are shown with each one if you are tempted.

Such luxury brings it’s own set of problems of course. Warranties and guarantees often turn out to be worthless with many opportunistic sellers of deluxe tables. The files of many top lawyers are full of disputes over quality, delivery, unexpected damage. One particular case comes to mind where the new owner of a glass topped pool table in California for which he paid $73,000 was furious to discover he should have used specially coated balls that were supplied with the table. He didn’t and ruined the table after the first game was played on it with a set of standard pool balls.

Apparently the makers did include a note in the packaging which clearly stated that only the specially supplied balls which allowed a silent roll at a cloth like pace should be used on this ultra modern table. Claim and counter claim took place. This case dates back to 2012. Try as I have I can’t find the outcome. Does anybody know?

Here it is. The especial expensive glass top table in question.

I don’t even like it………….. wouldn’t have paid $100 for it.
I’m pretty sure that my judgement would have been the same as 99.9% of people that read this article).

Oh Well! There you go. More money than sense. A problem in some places!

Choosing a Good Pool Cue

Choosing a good cue
           

Having a decent cue will make a huge difference to your game. Common sense, Yeah? A cue is a cue, right? Choosing a cue is no big deal, right? Some deals for pool tables include a cue set so what’s the problem?

The key point here is to find a cue that suits you. Everyone is slightly different. Some of us are tall, others short. People have different finger widths, arm lengths. Some people have larger hands than others. You may grip the cue tightly. Your best mate may have a much softer lighter grip. Because everyone is different there are a whole stack of things that affect how you will play with a cue: weight, balance, cue length, tip (hard or soft; thick or thin), thickness of cue, how it tapers down from thick to thin, grip, type of wood (or fibre-glass), coating or covering over the shaft, decoration and appearance. These are just a few of the factors that can affect how a cue feels and plays.

Prices can range from $20 to $4,000 for a top quality custom made cue. The free cues that are sometimes included in a deal to persuade you to buy a table are not going to be the best but give them a try before splashing your cash on a more expensive one. For most people they will probably be OK.  Serious, regular players may like to invest in something better.

Select your stick with care. Let’s have a look at how some of those factors can affect the cue you should choose.

Weight: Some people prefer a light cue, others a heavier one. It’s up to you. Most cues weigh between 18oz to 21 oz. A heavier cue allows you more power in your shot for less effort and can also help put spin on the cue ball. The trade-off is less touch and feel for soft delicate shots. Weight isn’t as important as how the cue feels in your hand and the balance of the cue.

Balance is much more important. Place the cue at its natural balancing point across two fingers.  Where is the balancing point? Look at how much cue there is between the balance point and the tip. If there is a lot then you may get less control over your shots. Choose a cue with slightly more weight in the section between the balance point and the tip. The cue should not feel whippy in any way. This happens when the section towards the tip feels light and flexes like a fishing rod. It often happens with cheap cues because cheap lightweight wood has been used. Low cost cues from Asia are usually not very good. Avoid them.

How does it feel when you pick it up with your playing hand?   Does it feel front heavy (towards the tip) or back heavy (toward the butt)?

An experienced player will play with a lighter cue. However, there isn’t a right or wrong answer to this one. It’s what feels best for you when you are at the table. Best advice – if you are new to the game start with a slightly heavier cue (20oz -21oz).

Length:   The common range of length for pool cues is 56 inches to 59 inches (140cm – 150 cm). You may have heard this before somewhere but length doesn’t matter. What the cue feels like in your hand does. Obviously young children should use a shorter cue whilst learning the game as a full size cue will feel awkward and difficult to use but adults should play with a cue that allows them to play any shot comfortably.

This may be a simple straight shot from the rail or a shot which involves stretching over the table to reach the cue ball near the far cushion or where the cue ball is the other side of a group of balls making the cueing position awkward. The cue must feel right. Some people feel ‘safer’ with a longer cue. Other prefer a shorter cue as it gives them a sense of control. If in doubt choose a mid-length cue.

Want to know more about cues? Then see this article about cues on Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cue_stick)

Here is a selection of decent pool cues:

  

 

Most cues for pool, billiards or snooker are made from hard maple or ash. Some manufacturers have experimented with modern man made materials such as carbon fibre or graphite, metal or plastic but these have not proved popular.

One piece or two? This is personal choice. If choosing a two piece ensure that the joint is good quality and that the screw used to join the two pieces is long and provides a secure tight fastening. Snooker and English Billiards players often prefer a two piece (or three piece) because some shots require an extension to allow the cue to reach the ball on the longer table used in these games. They even have a special cue that is ten feet long and used with its’ own rest for difficult shots that are played requiring almost the full length of the twelve foot table.

Some pool players also use a special shorter, lighter cue for jump shots where the cue ball leapfrogs over an opponent’s ball before striking the object ball.

 

Tip: the long and short of it is………a hard tip will help give you more power on harder shots, a soft tip will give you more control and touch when playing gentle, more subtle shots. Soft tips wear out more quickly and will need replacing regularly if you play a lot of games.

Most top players and pros choose a hard tip.

Cue tips must have a diameter within the range 11mm – 14mm. The tip should be rounded like the cue ball. Many players use a quarter coin as a guide for shaping their tips. It’s a good idea to have a cue tip shaper to rub the tip with during the game; a small fine file (a nail file) or abrasive paper will be fine for this. There really is no need to buy expensive, hyped up equipment for this.

Tips are made from a variety of materials though the most common is hardened leather. Compressed fibre is another less expensive alternative.

Most top players regard the cue tip as the single most important part of the cue as it is the single point of contact between the cue and the ball. What happens at this split-second of impact controls everything that happens the cue ball. During a shot, the angle, force and direction of the tip is everything.

Grip: Now this can make a difference for many people though most new players are unaware of the improvement to your basic shot that a good grip makes. Again, this is very personal. Finding the best grip for you really does depend on how the cue feels in your hands. A standard off the rack cue in a pool club or bar will be coated with some form of smooth finish or varnish. Most cues sold in retail stores will be the same.

For the vast majority of people this will probably be fine. Occasional or ‘social’ players will never know the difference.   However a regular pool player will be aware of how the rear hand (the one that controls the shot) grips the cue. Many people prefer a rougher, textured grip to prevent slippage. If you have sweaty palms or fingers, a leather grip will help absorb moisture.

Irish linen is another very popular covering for the grip area with many regular pool players. Even top pros will insist on having a linen cover on the grip as it provides a good balance between firm hold and moisture absorbance.

Many pros will have a custom made cue that incorporates a shaped grip that suits their hand. If you are a serious player this may be an option to consider but be prepared for a huge price hike. Custom made cues with special grips can range from $2k to $20k.

 

Price: there are a lot of grossly overpriced cues out there. Some people love to impress others with their expensive cues (personally I’d rather impress them with my shots and game play). For some reason it makes them feel good to turn up with an expensive custom made ornately decorated personalised cue stick. Don’t be fooled. I once saw someone play a game of pool with a piece of wooden dowelling with a tip stuck on the end and he made a monkey out of the other guy.

The more inlays and decorative additions there are on a cue the more expensive it will be. All these beautiful looking decorations will make not one jot of difference to how the cue plays. Not one.

It’s up to you. If a cue that looks like a Christmas tree makes you feel good and play better them go for it. Our advice is to buy a cue made by a well-known, experienced home based manufacturer that’s built from the correct basic materials to traditional specifications and you will be fine. If it’s your first cue don’t pay too much; $75 – $150 is a good range to stay within.

So what are the best makes of cue? Which cue should I buy? How much should I pay?

Predator, Longoni, Meucci, Viper are four quality makers of cues. McDermott, Helmstetter, Quest, Dufferin, Macmorran, Peradon also make good cues and most of them have neat, attractive designs. All of these manufacturers use good quality materials and have a range of prices to suit almost any budget.

Price guidelines for buying your first decent cue – over $175 for a basic cue is too high, under $50 is probably risky. Avoid cues made in Asia and don’t buy your cue at a department retailer.

Know your cue language. Here are the main parts of a cue so you know your stuff when talking cues with others. See article referred to earlier on Wikipedia for picture and explanation. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cue_stick

Glossary

Tip – the rounded end of the cue that strikes the ball

Ferrule – the shaped end of the cue that holds the tip

Joint – the fixing that allows two halves of a cue to screw together

Shaft – the main body of the cue stick

Forearm – the narrower end of the cue that tapers down to the tip

Grip – the part held by your hand; often shaped or roughened to avoid slipping

Butt – the thicker end of the cue that contains the grip

Bumper – rubber protector at the non-striking end; used for resting the cue on the floor

Should I Buy a Used Pool Table?

Possibly.

That isn’t much help, I know but please read on to find some really helpful advice.

There are reasons for and against buying a used pool table.

For

Money

The only real reason to buy a used pool table is to save money. It’s bound to be a lot cheaper than buying a new one. Isn’t it? Yes. But whether you save money in the long term really depends on the type of table and the condition it’s in.

Location

If it’s nearby and the cost and bother of moving it to your place is minimal, go for it. This is a good reason to buy a used table.  BUT check the condition of the table first.

Against

There’s a reason why the table is being sold. The owner could be moving and it’s just too much hassle to take it with them. Or there simply isn’t enough space for the table in the place they are moving to. They may have an urgent need to raise cash so this is just one of a number of things they have decided to sell.

Alternatively they may have decided that they want a new table and can afford a better quality one. These are  real and genuine reasons why people sell pool tables.

Buyer Beware

Ads don’t always tell the full story of a used table. There are things you should check before handing over your cash.

General condition

How old is the table? How often has it been used? Who has used it? Family? Mates? Club?  Arcade? (These two mean it’s had a lot of use) Where has it been kept? Indoors or outdoors? Has it been maintained? Has it been cared for? Has it been cleaned regularly? Or, more likely has it had a quick wipe over the day before you go to see it. Unfortunately, many people do not look after their tables and damage will have occurred that they genuinely do not know about.

 Cloth

Check the cloth for wear. Chalk dust rots cloth. Fact. When you play a shot a tiny amount of chalk dust falls onto the cloth. This is unavoidable (OK don’t chalk your cue tip). Over several months this residue accumulates into a significant mass which, because chalk is acidic, eats away at the cloth slowly weakening it and causing thin areas which affect how the ball rolls and can also tear more easily.

Look for staining on the cloth. This will show where someone has spilled a drink over the table playing surface. Doh. Even Homer Simpson wouldn’t drink his Duff beer over a pool table, would he? The stain may not be the end of it. If it’s an MDF table all that liquid will have been soaked up by the MDF leading to warping.

Ask how old is the cloth? Is it original? Has it been changed? Who by – a pro or the owner? How good a job did they do? Have a look at the corners and near the cushions where the cloth goes under the rubber nose profile. Are there signs of excessive wear?  If so you may have to replace the cloth very soon so negotiate a reduction in the price if possible to allow for this.

Rail and cushion wear

Some players have a rough style of play. They love to hit the ball hard and slam the cue ball and target balls into the cushions which, over an extended period of time can damage the cushion rubber. Check for damage by looking for uneven areas or dents in the cushion edging. Play a few shots to see of the ball rebound s evenly off the cushion or whether it skews to one side unevenly.

Torn pockets and bent supports

Pocket surrounds and pockets themselves are often the first indication of a table that hasn’t been cared for. Check for bent or cracked supports. Look for tears in the pocket ball holders if there is no auto ball return system. If there is a ball return, lift the top of the table to inspect it as it may be damaged or have had a quick and dirty repair job done on it that it is hoped no one will ever see.

Leg Supports

Are the legs strong and sturdy? How are the fixed to the main table? Check for signs of movement here. If there is any movement is could be that this table has been moved on a regular basis. If so, start to look more closely for other damage elsewhere on the table.

Levelers

Check that the levellers still rotate properly and can be adjusted. Your floor will be different from the one it’s on now. Lift the table, if possible and turn the levellers fully in and out so you can see exactly how much adjustment can be achieved. Remember if the table has been in the same position for several years they may be stiff and will need lubricating.

Ball Roll

Play some slow shots up and down and across the table to see how the ball rolls. Does the ball roll evenly and smoothly? Or does it veer to one side slightly or change pace strangely? These are signs that warping has occurred. If the table is not slate and has an MDF base ask questions about how old the table is and where it has been kept? Has it been moved multiple times over a period of years?

Look for marks and dents in the cloth where a ball or cue tip has hit the playing surface hard. This will affect the way the ball rolls over that area.

Warping

All MDF tables will warp at some stage. Period. It is very unlikely that a slate based table has warped but uneven ball roll could still happen. Some other type of damage, unknown by this owner, may have happened in the past. They may not have even noticed it.

A Final Note

Top quality tables stay in good condition if they are cared for because they are well designed and built to last. Cheaper tables, especially those made in Far East sweat shops, do not.

I hate to think of someone buying a used pool table and being conned or misled. I know people that have bought a perfectly good looking pool table from friends or family only to discover serious damage a month down track.

All this sounds very negative and seems to scream ‘don’t buy a second hand table!’ Please don’t think that. There are some good deals to be had. I’m just suggesting caution when buying a used table. Nobody highlights damage in the description detail of an ad.

We try to find used tables for sale on eBay for those interested.  We haven’t played them and can’t review them for obvious reasons. Try to find a review of the original table if you can. If it sounds reasonable, we will highlight it as one to consider. There are some examples of used pool tables here. Used Pool Tables

Table Tennis

Table Tennis        

A 3d render of a closeup of a table tennis table net and two red paddles resting on it on a dark studio background

Table Tennis is possibly the most sociable and enjoyable table game of them all. This is because it is inclusive. Anyone can play it. Families can play it. Friends can play it. People of any age can play together. It’s energetic. It’s engaging. You can play it at any level. It improves hand – eye – ball co-ordination. It’s good for every aspect of your health, physical, mental, aerobic and anaerobic.

You can play table tennis for fun and entertainment or you can play it competitively at various levels. Table Tennis is an Olympic sport (pool, table football, and air hockey are not).

Table tennis brings people together like no other game that has been invented. Remember the “ping pong diplomacy” of the 1970s when relations between China and the US improved due to an invitation to play the game between Chinese and American teams paved the way for improved diplomatic relationships, friendliness, trust and eventually massive trade agreements. Yes, not very long ago, America did not buy stuff from China let alone have factories there.

But the main reason to buy a table tennis table is ………….it’s damned good fun.

Anyone and everyone can play this simple game.  Don’t believe me? Read this amazing story about a player with no arms who competed at the 2016 Rio Paralympics. Rio Hero

Watch a short video of this amazing man in action No Arms – no problem

 

What Should I Consider Before Buying a Table Tennis Table?

There is just one piece of advice I would give you if you are thinking of buying a table tennis table.

Buy a proper table. By that, I mean a full-size table tennis table that has been designed and made for playing competitive table tennis.

Don’t be tempted to buy a table tennis surface that rests on top of a normal table (sometimes called a table top version). Don’t buy a multi-game table that includes table tennis as one of the games. Why? Because these table top or multi-game versions are not the correct size, they are flimsy,  and will move and slide around if they get knocked during play. They will spoil your enjoyment of what is a truly great game. Trust me, they will end up being a tremendous disappointment to you.

The only real downside to buying a table tennis table is the space required.

Space

A full-size table tennis table is 9 feet long by 5 feet wide.

Table tennis is an active game that requires players to move around one end of the table when playing. Most shots are played close to the table but it is possible to hit the ball hard and to play shots a long way back from the table (up to 10 feet sometimes). If you have ever watched two top quality players having a hard fought rally where one player is attacking, hitting the ball hard and the other is defending by hitting the ball back onto the table from ever increasing distances you’ll know what I mean. It’s fantastic stuff.

Never seen one? Watch this video:  epic table tennis rally

Or this one:  A relaxing, gentle game of ping pong? Watch this game.

And if you didn’t think it was fun, watch this: 10 table tennis funnies (number 1 is rated as the funniest game ever played)

So, you need some space to place that table in. You won’t need a sports hall but you will need some room to run around a bit. If indoors you will need at least 5 or 6 feet clearance at ends and sides, or you will risk banging your hands and elbows against walls or furniture. If that doesn’t bother you then go for it but look out for light fixings on the ceiling.

Alternatively, you will need an outdoor space with a similar amount of clear space around the table.

It is possible to get weatherproof outdoor tables  but one of the practical features of this great game is that you can have full-size tables that fold away for quick and easy storage. Use these indoors or outdoors. Here are a few good quality folding tables you might consider.

Amazon has several good tables at attractive prices. that we are happy to recommend.

Table tennis with tennis rackets and a ball on it isolated on white background. 3d illustration.

Here are a few good quality folding tables you might consider.

Here are some good outdoor tables.   

Kettler Outdoor Table Tennis Table – Axos 1 with Outdoor Accessory Bundle

Butterfly TW24B Outdoor Playback Rollaway Table Tennis Table

Kettler Top Star XL Outdoor Table Tennis Table

Here is another excellent quality table tennis table that will last for years.

Killerspin MyT10 BlackPocket Table Tennis Table

To buy any these through Amazon, simply click on the link shown. 

For indoor tables try one of these:

JOOLA Inside Table Tennis Table with Net Set

This is an Amazon BEST SELLER and Is currently available at a good price. 

JOOLA Rally TL 300 Table Tennis Table with Corner Ball Holders and Magnetic Scorers

 

Table Tennis Official Dimensions

Table tennis table size

The table is 2.74 m (9.0 ft) long, 1.525 m (5.0 ft) wide, and 76 cm (2.5 ft) high with any continuous material so long as the table yields a uniform bounce of about 23 cm (9.1 in) when a standard ball is dropped onto it from a height of 30 cm (11.8 in), or about 77%.

Playing Area

Recommended playing areas vary according to the standard and level you are playing at but the following are good guidelines.

International Events (World Championships, Olympic Games):   46 feet by 23 feet  (14m by 7m)

Local Tournament Events:  30 feet by 16 feet 6 inches (9m by 5m)

Recreational Play:   28 feet by 13 feet (8.5m by 4m)

For indoor play, you need a room that is at least 18 feet  by 11 feet. Smaller is possible but be prepared for bumps and collisions.

A full-size table tennis table is 9ft long and you will need at the very least 5ft at each end of the table 9 + 5 + 5 = 18ft

The width of a table is 5ft and you will need a bare minimum of 3ft on either side meaning 5 + 3 + 3 = 11ft

If you are going to play doubles you will need even more room, say another 6 or 7  feet at the ends and 3 or 4 feet at the sides. This allows more space for people to move around easily without bumping into each other constantly or hitting each other with the bats which will get very frustrating and annoying if it happens a lot.

Folding Tables 

Folding Tables are a  tremendous space saver because they can be folded up for easy storage after play. This gives you much more flexibility you don’t have to leave them in the playing area all the time.

Folding tables also have another big advantage. They can be used for practice by one player.

folding TT table             Table Game World ‘A’ Rated table Good quality outdoor Table tennis table

Mobility

Table tennis is an active game so it helps to be reasonably mobile and agile. However, anyone can play. Table tennis has been included in the Paralympic Games since 1960 and if you think that people with a disability can’t play or don’t enjoy it then watch this video of a match from the 2012 Paralympics in London. (tip: advance the video to 5 mins as there is a lot of waffle and talk from officials  in the introduction) anyone can play

 

 

The health benefits of table tennis cannot be overstressed. It is beneficial for your physical well-being and your mental state of mind.

You can play table tennis at any level, at any speed you wish. It can be an active physical game that gets your body moving and your heart rate up which is a good thing. Played at the top level it is an aerobic and anaerobic activity which has tremendously positive effect on the body’s state. Even played at a more sedate pace it still gets the heart rate up and will be a great benefit to all who play the game.

However, one of the biggest benefits of table tennis is the effect it has upon your state of mind. It’s active, it’s fun. It gets you interacting and socialising with others and will bring a smile to your face. The feelgood factor of this simple game is often overlooked. So positive is the overall effect of playing table tennis that many therapists recommend taking it up as a form of exercise for people suffering from depression because of the positive social benefits that occur when playing and mixing with other people.

Here is a fantastic article about the effect that table tennis can have on your brain

Ping Pong Brain

Having doubts about table tennis? Don’t. You will never regret buying a table tennis table.

Do it.