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Billiards / Pool

Billiards or pool as it is also known is a challenging, competitive, and relaxing game. More and more as good tables become less expensive, many people are buying them to host pool night at their houses. Shooting pool requires skill and technique and is constantly learned throughout ones life.

Below is a terrific introductory article where you can learn the basics and how to get started. You can help grow our learning community by contributing your knowledge to the article. Just click on the edit tab in the wiki article below.

Use the white subtabs above to navigate the other Billiards resources. We have a Billiards forum where you can get your questions & doubts answered, a page with Billiards how-to videos, a page with the best handpicked links to other sites, and a page with the best Billiards books and products.

Good Luck and Have Fun!
Duncan Davis



Billiards is one of the indoor games that is fast gaining momentum across the world, thanks to more and more people embracing it as a hobby. While it can be played on a snooker table, billiards is not the same as snooker. Quite a few pubs, bars and billiards clubs are good places to play and practice the game.

Just eight balls are required to play billiards. While you don’t need a PhD in physics to become proficient at the game, an understanding of some principles of physics certainly helps. Billiards can be played alone or with friends. You need mental focus, concentration and the ability to calculate. Billiards is also a whole lot of fun when you just want to relax at the end of a long day, while chatting with your friends or co-players, yet enjoying the challenge of this wonderful game.

Getting Started With Playing Billiards

Billiards is considered a complex game. There are rules you must abide by. Some fundamental aspects of billiards are the rules of the game, principles of the game, cut shots, bank shots, effects, etc. You will begin by learning your stance. This is very important since it will affect your ability to shoot no matter what your weight, height or age. But as you get proficient at the game, you will discover that different players who are very successful do develop their own successful style. You will learn about how to grip and aim the cue stick.

What Kind Of Equipment Is Used?

Equipment used in billiards in pool tournaments must conform to the standards of the World Pool-Billiards Association. This however, does not apply to the billiard equipment you use at home. The billiard table itself comes in a variety of sizes in rectangular shape. There are 3.5 x 7 ft, 4 ft x 8 ft, 4.5 ft x 9 ft and 5 ft by 10 ft. tables commonly used. The table has a rail of about 4 inches-7.5 inches wide along with the rubber cushions. The table has pockets or mouths. There are corner pockets and side pockets. These pockets are lined. The billiard table is covered by a cloth that neither pills or fluffs and is usually in yellow green, blue green or electric blue.

A set of billiard balls is made up of one cue ball, that is white in color and fifteen colored object balls that are numbered from one to fifteen. These numbers are printed twice in black on a white background to be highly visible. The cue sticks that you see in pool tournaments should be 40 inches long with a cue tip that is about 14 mm wide. The tip must be made of special leather that does not spoil the billiard balls.

The billiard balls are placed in the table. The white cue ball strikes the other balls into the pockets with the help of the cue stick.

While some people prefer to slowly put together their own billiard equipment, you can also play at a pool bar or billiard hall.

Types Of Games Played

As we said, billiards is played on a table with a cue stick that strikes the balls that move around on the table. There are a variety of billiard ball games.

In 8-ball games as well as straight pool, you will use 16 balls where there is one white ball or cue ball and 15 colored balls. The object balls are numbered one to seven and in solid color. Balls 9 to 15 are white with a colored stripe, matching one solid ball each. Ball 9 has a yellow stripe. Ball 10 has a blue stripe. Ball 8 is black.

If you pick an easy game in billiards, it is the Three Cushion billiard game that is played on a table without any pockets. This game needs three balls – red yellow and white. The aim of the game is to use the cue ball to hit the other two balls on the table, together with three or more rails.

Another game is the Straight Rail or Free Game where the cue ball hits the other two balls to score a point.

Balkline is similar to Straight Rail and played on a table with 18 inch lines from each rail, making up nine boxes on the table.

There are several others, but Three Cushions is the most popular.

Online Billiard

These days, in addition to traditional billiards, online billiards has become extremely popular. The rules are the same and so are the strategies and techniques. Obviously there are differences, but online players find a lot of advantages in playing online billiards. For one, it is easy to learn in a realistic pool table scenario. Online billiards is widely played for money. In online billiards, instead of a cue stick, you use your mouse to aim and shoot. Apart from the obvious convenience of playing from the comfort of your own personal computer on your own time, you get a huge choice of games with a lot of flexibility.

Some Billiard Hotshots

Now that you have some idea of the game of billiards, let’s look at some names from the Billiard Hall of Fame. This was founded in 1966 to pay tribute to those remarkable billiard players and outstanding contributors to the game. There are fifty people in the Billiard Hall of Fame.

- Ralph Greenleaf was among the first to be inducted into the Billiard Hall of Fame. He was the World Pocket Billiard Champion over twenty times and has a huge fan following.

- William Frederick Hoppe or Willie Hoppe is an American Balkline Billiards champoion who has won more than 50 world titles. He began to play at the tender age of 5, winning his first Championship at the age of 18. He has the credit for setting records that remain unbroken to this day.

- Willie Mosconi also called Mr Pocket Billiards is considered among the best in billiards history and a winner of 15 BCA world championships. In his honor, the Mosconi Cup competition takes place each year between American and European players.

- John Wesley Hyatt invented the composition billiard balls walked into the Hall of fame in 1972.

- Steve Mizerak or The Miz was a world champion and owns many billiards halls.

Inspired? As you can see, there’s no age bar to begin playing billiards and becoming a Champion! All you need to do is to shoot each shot consistently and play in a relaxed manner, like the Champs. It is important to choose your shots wisely so that you have the right speed and have an idea where the ball will come to rest. You must then walk into your shot with confidence. Stay focused and follow through with your shots. Always show yourself as totally calm and confident as it will determine how well you play. A relaxed grip on your cue stick, a comfortable stance and great aim let you play naturally and enjoy the game.

What you saw so far is basically aimed at getting you started with playing billiards as a hobby. You can find more information and tips to help you hone your billiards skills at Discover A Hobby. You can check out instructional videos and some great books that give you an in-depth knowledge of the game. See professional players in action and learn their techniques. There are also valuable links that will tell you everything you want to know about billiards. So just go ahead and have a great time with this fun hobby.