Maybe you’ve spent many of the quieter moments at the poker table contemplating life, the weather, your next meal… Or analyzing your opponents’ playing styles. But just maybe you spend those quiet moments thinking about the game of poker itself and all its various trappings. For example, “Why are poker tables green?”. It might sound like a bit of a stoner’s musing, but it is kind of interesting, right. Like green felt is so ubiquitous with poker, and lots of other casino games, but was it always this way? Let’s delve into the mystery and see if we can come up with a satisfying answer.

Were poker tables always green?

It’s likely that the earliest poker games were played on card tables, as opposed to tables designed specifically for poker. Card tables were initially dreamt up in the 1700s in Europe and varied greatly in design. For most card players, they were simple wooden semi-circular tables which could double up as end tables. But others were intricately carved affairs, with expensive veneers, inlaid stone and other very fancy trappings.

So no, poker tables weren’t always green.

When did they turn green?

This hotly debated topic doesn’t have a definitive answer, but we do have some clues from history. So way back in the day, poker was illegal. Most of us know that. But there was still a market for people to play it. So enterprising pool halls used to do a double act.

You see, pool was legal. And it was played on big pool tables with a green fabric called baize on it. People used to gather around these tables, take seats and play poker and not pool. They would mark the table with chalk to draw out different layouts. Then if the cops marched in, they would simply wipe off the chalk markings and go back to pretending they were playing pool. Nothing to see here…

But wait a second, why are pool tables green then?

Okay, let’s go back a few steps. Pool tables were green and had a textured baize material for a couple of reasons. It was firstly to imitate grass. That’s because pool and other cue sports all evolved from outdoors games similar to croquet and golf. Secondly, it was because the slightly rough material slowed down the balls making for a more interesting game.

Why are poker tables still green after all this time?

Long after the legalization of poker, the vast majority of poker tables still cling to their green hue to this day. There are a myriad of reasons for this. The first has got to be tradition. People got used to playing on pool tables, so when the game was legal, they just rolled with it.

Then there are lots of other reasons to. For example, green is just generally easy on the eyes. If you’re going to be looking at one color for hours during a tournament or a long cash game session, green is one of the easiest colours to do that. The white cards with their red and black suits all really pop on the green background too, making it easy to keep track of what’s happening.

It’s also the color of stability, relaxation and calmness. And let’s face it, they are a few great qualities to have at the poker table. And, in Western culture at least, green is linked with positivity. Think about it. Green traffic lights mean go, dollar bills are green and there are lots more examples like that.

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