I've refinished a number of tables. Poly is MUCH more durable. So what,
it takes a day to properly dry. Don't be in a hurry! I have a cedar
chest made by my father-in-law that I refinished for my wife/wife-to-be
in 1959 with poly, and it looks as good as the day I did it. I am
inclined to the matte finish polys, however. I have used gloss on a
handrail, but that is to deal with finger prints, etc. Three or four
thin coats and rubbing down between should do the trick nicely.