The 10 Best Folding Card Tables
This wiki has been updated 16 times since it was first published in October of 2016. These folding card tables provide a convenient temporary surface for playing any type of game, from bridge or hearts to Settlers of Catan, and can be easily tucked away when not in use. They're also perfect for creating extra place settings during crowded holiday dinners or displaying merchandise at a lemonade stand or garage sale. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best folding card table on Amazon.
A Brief History Of Playing Cards
Wherever their origins lie, it is definitive that by 1367, Europeans were using some form of playing cards.
It has been theorized the term leaves, refers to paper cards.
There are numerous theories surrounding the invention of playing cards. Many believe the first written mention of them comes from China in 868 C.E. In the text Collection of Miscellanea at Duyang, a prominent writer of the time by the name of Su E describes Princess Tongchang playing yezi ge, which roughly translates as "game of leaves". It has been theorized the term leaves, refers to paper cards. Contrarians to this theory believe the term leaves actually refers to the pages of a book that the rules of the game were written on, and that yezi ge was actually a dice game. It is known that from the 15th century C.E. onward, yezi, or leaves, became synonymous with playing cards, though there is no hard evidence to support it having the same meaning from before that time period.
It is definitive that playing card games appeared in China some time before the 14th century. The first playing cards were unsuited and unnumbered, and instead either individually decorated, much like tarot cards, or printed with specific instructions. There is also some vague evidence that suggests paper currency was actually the first form of playing cards, and that it acted as both the tools of the games and the stakes. Hard evidence of suited and numbered cards dates to the late 13th century C.E., when officials caught Yan Sengzhu and Zheng Pig-Dog gambling and impounded their Zi Pai cards.
Whether or not early Chinese playing cards are related to modern western playing cards is also a matter of debate. One theory states Chinese playing cards first spread to the Middle East, and were then brought to Europe by returning crusaders. Another theory states that Eastern European gypsies introduced tarot cards to Western Europe, which then eventually evolved into suited and numbered playing cards. A third theory states that modern western playing cards evolved from ancient Indian playing cards, though they bear little resemblance to one another.
Wherever their origins lie, it is definitive that by 1367, Europeans were using some form of playing cards. We know this because at this time, an official ordinance banned their use in Bern, Switzerland. Another official ordinance regarding playing cards appeared in France in 1377. At some point in the late 14th century C.E., the Mamelukes of Egypt introduced their playing cards to Europe. These had four suits, with 13 cards in each, just like modern day cards.
The Most Popular Types Of Card Games
The most popular types of card games can be broadly classified into one of a seven categories: trick-taking, matching, shedding, accumulating, fishing, comparing, and Solitaire.
Often, the remaining cards in the losing players' hands have a numeric value, with the person having the least or most points at the end being the winner.
In trick-taking games, the object is to take the trick. A trick is usually comprised of one card from each player's hand, with the winner being the one that played the most valuable card. A card's value is dependent on the number, suit, order of play, or other factors. Examples of trick-taking games include Spades and Bridge. Matching games require players to create matching sets. Depending on the game, a match may be multiple cards of the same suit or number. They may also be a run of three or more cards in the correct sequence. Rummy and Canasta are examples of matching games. Mahjong is also an example of a matching game, but is played with tiles instead of cards.
The object of shedding games is to be the first player to discard all of the cards from their hand. Often, the remaining cards in the losing players' hands have a numeric value, with the person having the least or most points at the end being the winner. Uno and Rummikub are examples of shedding games. Accumulating games are the opposite of shedding games. Rather then trying to end up with the least amount of cards, the goal is to accumulate the most cards. The popular game War is one such example.
In fishing games, players play their cards against another player's cards or those laid out on the table in some manner. The goal is usually to capture cards by creating a match or by correctly guessing a card in an opposing player's hand. Go Fish and Go-Stop are examples of fishing games.
Comparing games are those in which the players compare the value of two or more hands to determine a winner. A large number of casino games are comparing games, such as Poker and Blackjack. The final category is Solitaire games. These usually only involve a single player whose goal will be to construct an elaborate layout, clear the table, or work through a stock pile.
Classifying card games is not cut-and-dried, as many will involve elements from multiple categories. For example, games like Rummy or Go-fish involve both shedding and matching. War involves both accumulating and comparing.
Choosing A Folding Card Table
There are a few considerations to take into account when picking your next folding card table. Obviously, portability is a major deciding factor. It's important to choose a model that is lightweight enough that you can easily pick it up and pack it away when the games are finished. However, one must balance portability and weight with stability. It won't do anybody any good to purchase the lightest model one can find, only to have it collapse or tip over mid-game.
However, one must balance portability and weight with stability.
While not often the first thing most people worry about when choosing a folding card table, one should also consider the style. The majority of models are very basic, made from simple aluminum legs and a plastic or cushioned vinyl-coated top, but there are also attractive wooden options available. If you are going for a more high-end look, these will be your best bet.
Comfort and budget should be the final determining factors. Models that have a cushioned top are more comfortable, especially if players like to lean their elbows on the table during the game. If you are buying a table with matching chairs, you also want the chairs to have a good amount of high-quality padding. After all, most game nights may last several hours. Choosing a model that falls firmly within your budget ensures that you'll have enough left over cash for snacks, drinks, and a high quality set of playing cards or poker chips.
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