Everyone has seen the movies and competitions on sports channels regarding pool. There is a certain romanticism regarding the sport of billiards which leads a lot of individuals wanting to take it up as a hobby. But like most endeavors, the sky is the limit when it comes to costs so buying a used pool table might be the best option if you're just getting started.
Not only is the pool table itself expensive but there are additional expenses from various pieces of billiards hardware which is necessary to play the game. New pool tables can cost thousands of dollars and can be a great long-term investment if you're serious about the game. Just like buying a used car, it is important to know what to look for to make sure your purchase is money well spent.
Key characteristics of examining a used pool table is its overall construction and more specifically the playing surface. The surface of the pool table, also known as the felt, should be free of any defects such as tears or gouges which would negatively impact the movement of billiards balls across the surface. It is also not uncommon for players to throw billiards balls onto the surface creating indentations or dents under the felt which would also affect playability. Be sure to thoroughly inspect the felt surface both visually and with your hands to check for a perfectly smooth flat surface.
It is also a good idea to bring a small level and, if at all possible, a yardstick to check for warping of the play surface. Adjustable feet are common in most pool tables as residences tend not to have perfectly flat floors which makes minor adjustments necessary. Unfortunately, if a pool table is significantly warped the feet may be adjusted beyond what would normally be required to compensate and to convince the buyer the table is satisfactory. Make sure the adjustable feet are all the way up and then check the level and warping using the level and straight edge tool you brought with you.
You'll also want to use the provided billiard balls and cue sticks to play a game or two on the used pool table to check for bumper performance. If a used pool table has seen significant play from aggressive players then the bumpers could be damaged which would prevent accurate banking on various shots. If the style of pool table you're looking to purchase has pockets which lead back to a central chamber make sure that the billiard ball and the cue ball return to the right locations. Both types of balls are different in size and should therefore be redirected to the correct spots so that everything is working correctly.
Try to be as thorough as possible because a great deal on a used pool table can quickly become quite expensive if the felt or bumpers need to be replaced. Also verify that pool cues and any additional billiard accessories are included because those also can be additional expense. A thoroughly researched purchase can lead to a wise buying decision and years of enjoyment with friends and family.
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