Mastering Billiards and Pool: Essential Terms Glossary

Mastering Billiards and Pool: Essential Terms Glossary

Just picked up a cue stick and feel lost in all the new lingo you are hearing around the pool table? Don't worry here is a list of a few terms and what they mean.

Pool Table

A large rectangular piece of furniture used for playing pool, involving striking balls with a cue stick to pot them into holes. Pool tables come in various sizes and shapes, with the most common being 7 ft × 4 ft or 8 ft × 4 ft, and are covered with felt, typically green.

Billiard Table

Another term for a pool table, it is a table used for playing billiards, a cue sport that involves striking balls with a cue stick to pot them into holes. The playing surface is covered with felt, and the table is designed to fit all the balls and provide enough room for players to take their shots.

Cue Stick

A long, slender stick used in billiards and pool to strike the cue ball and direct its path. The cue stick is held in the hand and is used to apply force to the cue ball, enabling players to control the direction and speed of the shot.

Cue

The cue ball, which is the ball that the player aims to hit with the cue stick in games like pool and billiards. It is usually the white ball and is used to strike other balls on the table.

8-Ball

A game of pool where players take turns shooting balls into the table's pockets. The game starts with the 8-ball (or "cue ball") in the hand of the first player, and the goal is to pocket all of the opponent's balls before pocketing the 8-ball.

9-Ball

Similar to 8-Ball but uses nine balls instead of ten, with one ball being the 9-ball. The game starts with the 9-ball in the hand of the first player, and the objective is to legally pocket the 9-ball.

One Pocket

A variation of pool where players take turns shooting at the table's pockets with the cue ball. The game continues until only one pocket remains, which is then shot into to win the game.

Straight Pool

A version of pool where players shoot at the table's pockets with the cue ball, aiming to pocket the balls in the order they are racked. The game continues until all balls have been pocketed.

Snooker

A cue sport played on a snooker table, which has six pockets and rails on each side. Players take turns shooting colored balls into the pockets, with the goal of pocketing all balls in a specific order.

Cushion

The padded edges or rails on a billiard or pool table, which balls can bounce off to change direction or speed. Cushions are crucial for controlling the game's flow and strategy.

Pocket

A small, cupped area on a billiard or pool table where balls are placed at the start of a game and into which players aim to pocket their shots.

Rail

The padded edges or rails on a billiard or pool table, which balls can bounce off to change direction or speed. Rais are crucial for controlling the game's flow and strategy.

Felt

The material used to cover the table surface in billiards and pool, providing a smooth, frictionless surface for the balls to roll on.

Chalk

A fine-grained, powdery substance used to reduce friction between the cue tip and the chalked area of the cue stick, allowing for better control and precision in shots.

Table Cloth

A cover for the table surface, often made of plastic, leather, or cloth, used to protect the table and keep it clean when not in use.

Table Legs

The supports for the table, providing stability and preventing the table from tipping over.

Table Top

The flat, covered surface of the table where the game is played, covered with felt and surrounded by cushions.

Table Difficulty Factor (TDF)

A percentage measure of how difficult or easy a particular table plays, based on factors like table size, pocket size, pocket wall angle, and pocket shelf depth.

Key Ball

In games like 8-Ball and 9-Ball, the ball that a player must pocket to win the game or advance in the game.

Key Shot

A crucial shot in the game that significantly impacts the outcome, often aiming to pocket a key ball or set up a favorable position for the next shot.

Kick Shot

A shot in which the cue ball is hit at an angle that causes it to change direction and speed, often used to gain control over the game's flow.

Kiss Shot

A shot where the cue ball bounces off a cushion and then a nearby ball before heading back towards the cushion to its final target.

Kitchen

A term used in 8-Ball to describe a situation where a player is unable to pocket a ball due to it being blocked by other balls.

Knife and Fork

A setup where the cue ball is positioned in a way that it can be easily pocketed by hitting the knife (the rail near the pocket) and then the fork (the ball in the corner pocket).

Knock

The act of pocketing a ball with a shot. The term is often used in the context of 8-Ball, where players must "knock" balls into the pockets.

Knocker

A term used to describe a player who is particularly skilled at making difficult shots or at pocketing balls.

Handicap

A disadvantage given to a player to make the game more competitive, often used in games like 8-Ball where the handicap is the number of balls a player must pocket before the game begins.

Head Pocket

One of the pockets located at the top of the table, where the table's rail meets the table top.

Head Rail

The rail located at the top of the table, opposite the head pocket.

Hide (Hook)

A technique in billiards where a player uses the cue ball to "hide" a ball in a difficult position, making it difficult for the opponent to pocket.

High Run

A shot in which the cue ball is hit with such force that it travels across the table and into a pocket, often requiring a significant amount of skill and precision.

Home Table

A billiard or pool table located in a player's home, often used for practice or recreational play.

Horse

A term used in 9-Ball to describe a situation where a player must shoot the 9-ball from anywhere on the table after a scratch on the break.

House Cue

A cue stick used by the house or venue for demonstrations or exhibitions, often highly polished and well-maintained.

House Pro

A professional player or instructor employed by a billiard or pool hall, often available for lessons or demonstrations.

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.