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Gonzalo Moreyra
Gonzalo Moreyra

Billiard Game 101: Learn the Rules and Techniques of 8 Ball Pool

Billiards: A Fun and Challenging Game for Everyone

Billiards is a category of games played on a rectangular table with a designated number of small balls and a long stick called a cue. The table and the cushioned rail bordering the table are topped with a feltlike tight-fitting cloth. The objective of the game is to strike the balls with the cue and make them move around the table and into the pockets or hit other balls according to specific rules.

billiard game

Billiards is a fun and challenging game that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and skill levels. It is a great way to socialize, relax, exercise your mind and body, and improve your concentration, coordination, and strategy. Whether you play it casually or competitively, billiards can offer you hours of entertainment and satisfaction.

The History of Billiards

Billiards has a long and rich history that dates back to the 15th century. It is believed that it originated from a lawn game similar to croquet that was played in Northern Europe and France. The game was then moved indoors and played on wooden tables covered with green cloth to resemble grass. The balls were initially pushed with wooden sticks called "maces" or "queues", which later evolved into the modern cues.

Over time, billiards developed into various forms and styles, influenced by different cultures and regions. Some of the most notable types of billiards are carom billiards, played on a pocketless table with three balls; pocket billiards, played on a table with six pockets with various numbers of balls; and snooker, played on a large table with 22 balls and six pockets. Billiards also became a popular sport among royalty, nobility, celebrities, and commoners alike.

The Equipment of Billiards

All billiards games require the basic equipment of a table, cue sticks, and balls. The traditional mahogany billiards table is still in use, but tables are now generally made of other woods and synthetic materials. The large rectangular table typically is twice as long as it is wide. It has a bed usually of polished slate covered by a woven woolen cloth, sometimes referred to as felt. Angled rails of hardened rubber or synthetic rubber, known as cushions, rim the inner edge of the table.

The cue is a tapered rod of polished wood or synthetic material, ranging in length from about 40 to 60 inches (100 to 150 cm). The small end of the cue, with which the ball is struck, is fitted with a plastic, fibre, or ivory reinforcement to which is cemented a leather cue tip. Chalk in small cubes is applied uniformly to the cue tip permitting the players to strike the cue ball off centre on purpose in order to impart a spinning motion, called side in Great Britain and English in the United States.

The billiard balls, formerly made of ivory or Belgian clay, are now usually plastic; they each measure from about 2 1/4 to 2 3/8 inches (5.7 to 6 cm) in diameter, the larger balls being used in carom billiards. The number, color, and arrangement of the balls vary depending on the type of game being played.

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The Rules of Billiards

The rules of billiards vary depending on the type of game being played, but there are some general principles that apply to most games. The players take turns to strike the cue ball with their cues, trying to hit other balls or make them enter the pockets according to specific rules. A player must always hit the cue ball first before hitting any other ball. A player must not touch any ball with anything other than their cue tip. A player must not commit a foul, such as scratching the cue ball, hitting the wrong ball, or pocketing the wrong ball. A player who commits a foul usually loses their turn and gives their opponent an advantage, such as placing the cue ball anywhere on the table.

The game is usually won by the player who scores the most points or pockets the most balls, depending on the type of game. Some games have a predetermined number of points or balls to win, while others are played until one player concedes or forfeits. Some games also have special rules for certain balls, such as the 8-ball in pool or the black ball in snooker.

The Tips for Billiards

Billiards is a game that requires skill, practice, and patience. Here are some tips and tricks to help you improve your billiards skills and enjoy the game more:

  • Choose a cue that suits your height, weight, and preference. A good cue should be straight, smooth, and balanced. You can test the cue by rolling it on a flat surface or holding it horizontally and looking for any bends or curves.

  • Hold the cue properly and comfortably. The cue should rest on your dominant hand between your thumb and index finger, with your other fingers wrapped around it. Your other hand should support the cue near the tip, forming a V-shape with your thumb and index finger. Your grip should be firm but relaxed, not too tight or loose.

  • Aim the cue accurately and smoothly. Use your dominant eye to align the cue with the target ball and the pocket. Keep your head down and your eyes on the ball. Use a pendulum motion to swing the cue back and forth, then strike the cue ball with a smooth and steady stroke. Follow through with your cue after hitting the ball.

  • Control the speed and direction of the cue ball. You can use different types of shots to make the cue ball move in different ways. For example, you can use a draw shot to make the cue ball spin backwards after hitting another ball, a follow shot to make it spin forward, or a side shot to make it curve to the left or right. You can also use different parts of the cue tip to hit different parts of the cue ball, such as the center, top, bottom, left, or right.

  • Practice regularly and learn from others. The best way to improve your billiards skills is to practice as much as you can. You can practice alone or with friends, or join a club or league to play with other players of different levels. You can also watch professional players or online videos to learn from their techniques and strategies.

The Variations of Billiards

Billiards is a diverse and versatile game that has many variations and adaptations. Some of the most common and interesting variations of billiards games are:


PoolA popular type of pocket billiards that uses 15 numbered balls (1-15) and a white cue ball. The most common pool games are 8-ball, 9-ball, and 10-ball.

SnookerA type of pocket billiards that uses 22 balls: 15 red balls worth one point each, six colored balls worth different points (yellow-2, green-3, brown-4, blue-5, pink-6, black-7), and a white cue ball. The players must alternate between potting red balls and colored balls until all balls are potted.

Carom billiardsA type of billiards that uses three balls (two white and one red) on a pocketless table. The players must hit both the other balls with their cue ball in one shot to score points.

Three-cushion billiardsA type of carom billiards that requires the cue ball to hit at least three cushions before hitting the second object ball.

Balkline billiardsA type of carom billiards that uses balklines (lines drawn across the table) to limit the number of points that can be scored in one area.

Straight rail billiardsA type of carom billiards that has no balklines or cushions requirements.

English billiardsA type of carom billiards that uses three balls (one red and two white) on a pocketed table. The players can score points by potting balls, hitting both object balls, or hitting a cannon (hitting both object


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