How to choose a billiards table

How to choose a billiards table

If you love playing pool, or any billiards game, the day will come when you think about buying a billiards table of your own. Here are some quick and awesome tips on how to choose a billiards table.

Tip #1 – Go for Slate! There is nothing else better for a great pool table than real SLATE!

What is slate? Slate is shale or rock made from volcanic ash or clay that is quarried, cut and leveled into smooth flat sheets – perfect for sports such as billiards or pool. There are substitutes like plywood, fiberboard, slatex, and do forth, but none of these alternatives give you the smoothness and accuracy of slate. The Billiard Congress of America (BCA) recognizes 1″ slate as the most accurate slate available and requires at least 1″ slate on tables used in tournaments and competitions. Some manufacturers will use thinner slate, but what you want is that the slate is truly 1″ thick. Confirm this before you buy, or you may be unhappily surprised later.

Tip #2 – Frames and legs are important!

Just like you want to keep your frame and your legs in good shape, so too your billiards table needs to have a strong frame and strong, straight legs. Lacking this, the slate surface can sag, crack and become uneven. In a high-quality pool table, the slate will be framed with wood, glued to the bottom and have cross beams. This all adds support to the slate, and will keep the table in great shape for years to come. There are two types of legs: post legs, and two-piece (“industry standard”) legs. You will want the POST LEGS. Strong, reliable and will hold up under normal stresses of game play. Of course, never sit around on the table edge drinking a beer – that’s what couches and cozy overstuffed armchairs are for.

Tip #3 – Get Felt!

That’s not a joke! Real billiard table-type felt is what you want! These days, pool table felt is typically made from a wool and nylon blend that’s been coated in Teflon. To determine the quality of cloth, take a look at the ounce weight per yard of the felt; 18 and 22 ounces per yard is best. If you want speed and traction more than simple durability, worsted cloth, usually made from wool, is the best bet.

There are other things to consider, of course, but these tips are the basics.

If you are going to choose a billiards table, there is much to consider (like size, depending on your home and/or your game room) and research online is highly recommended before any purchase is made.

Also, look for reviews, referrals, and comments online that can help you choose well, and spend your money wisely. Try out really good tables at your local billiards place (like the Diamond tables at Jester’s Billiards) and you will get a sense of just how important quality really is when you are out to choose a billiards table for your home!

Or office, maybe… that would be cool!

Here’s a most useful video on the subject of choosing a pool table:

AND here’s some history about billiards tables (in case you just NEED to know…)

“The game of pool (sometimes referred to as billiards) is a cue sport played with billiard balls and cue sticks made of wood or synthetic material. Historically, sports played on pool tables have been known as billiard sports and include snooker or English billiards, typically played on a table with six pockets, carom billiards, usually played on 10-foot tables without pockets and pool, the most common billiard sport, generally offering six-pocket tables of various lengths. In addition to these pool tables there are further types, such as bumper pool tables and others that offer various playing surfaces, obstacles and table configurations, but are not as popular as the standard billiard or pool table game.”

The development of indoor cue sports such as pool is linked with outdoor stick games popular in Europe during the 15th century such as golf and croquet. A version of outdoor billiards was played with cue sticks on a field; this cue sport was eventually moved inside to be played on indoor pool tables. The first recorded indoor pool table was built by King Louis XI of France, and the new game’s popularity among French nobles helped spread it to virtually every French cafe by the middle 1700s. These early tables were built by furniture makers, while early balls were made from ivory, clay and wood.”

— a little bit o’ history from

Jester’s Billiards, the best sports bar for pool, billiards, darts and craft beers in Phoenix, at the intersection of two main streets, Gilbert and Baseline Rds.

Jester’s Billiards, the BEST sports bar for billiards, darts and craft beers in Gilbert, Mesa, Tempe, Chandler, Scottsdale and Phoenix! Look for us at the intersection of the main streets of Gilbert and Baseline Roads, in the Encore Plaza in Gilbert, Arizona.

Open 7 days a week, from NOON to 2 AM!
Happy Hour: Monday – Friday 4:00 PM to 7 PM
After 7pm: 21 and up ONLY
Before 7pm, anyone 18 and under MUST be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian
1515 N Gilbert RD, Gilbert. AZ. 85234 –
on the SE corner of Gilbert Rd and Baseline Rd in the Encore Plaza


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