Billiards and the Game of Pool
From Kings to Mental Patients, from Hustlers to Presidents, Billiards has been played by people from all walks of life.
The game began in the 15th Century in Northern Europe and France. It evolved from Croquet and began when play was moved inside onto a wooden table. The table had six pockets and they played with only two balls.
Billiards was first played with a Mace and the balls were shoved. Then in the late 16th century, the Cue Stick was invented. The handle of the Mace was used to hit a ball that was near the rail. The handle was called a "Queue".
The rails were first called banks, and were used to keep the balls on the billiard table. When they discovered that they could make a shot easier by aiming at the "bank", the "bank shot" was born.
Billiard Equipment and Billiard Accessories have greatly improved over the years. The quality of materials now being used allows for greater accuracy and longer lasting equipment.
Billiard Balls have been made from clay, crystalite, celluloid, ivory, plastic, steel and even wood. Today they are colloidal coated plastic.
Different cue sports use different size, design and number of pool balls. In America, the ball set is normally two sets of object balls consisting of seven stripes and seven solids, an eight ball and a cue ball. These can be racked differently depending on which game you are playing.
Billiard Tables come in many sizes and styles. They are generally rectangle in shape and twice as long as wide. They range in length from 7 foot to 12 feet.
High quality pool tables are made from three pieces of thick slate. This prevents warping and changes to the table from humidity.
They normally have four corner pockets and two side pockets and are covered with either a woven wool or a wool/nylon blend called baize. Competition billiard tables are covered in worsted wool. This allows for less friction.
To protect your Billiard Table, you should invest in a Pool Table Cover. It will keep the wool covering in good shape and prevent you from having to recover the table as often. It is also a good idea to have a Billiard Lamp over the Pool Table. The lamp will provide the best light which will not only help you see better, but will prevent shadows. This can also help prevent tears in the pool table covering from the cue stick.
The Ball Rack is a frame that sets the billiard balls up at the beginning of the game. They are usually made from plastic or wood. Eight ball uses a triangle rack, while nine ball uses a diamond shaped rack.
Cue Sticks can either be one piece or two pieces divided in the middle. Those that are of high quality are usually a two piece cue and are made from a hardwood, mostly maple. Cheap cues are made from a low quality wood such as pine or a lower grade maple. You can also find cues made from high-tech materials such as graphite. Snooker cues are usually made from ash.
When buying a Cue Stick, it is important to pick one out that is comfortable for you to use. Serious players usually have several cues they use in one game. A lighter cue used for breaking and a short cue for jump shots. You should also look for one that has a good quality ferrule and tip, or at least be willing to change these with ones made from a quality material.
The Ferrule goes on the end of the Cue Stick Shaft and holds the Tip. The Cue Tip is made from leather, should be flush with the ferrule and should be slightly rounded. It is important to have good Tip Tools. A Tip Pick will allow the tip to hold more chalk while a shaper will round the tip the way you need it and make your shot more accurate.
Chalk should be applied to the tip of the cue stick before each shot is made. This increases the friction between the tip and the ball which prevents miscues.
Billiard Chalk is made from calcium carbonate in a silicate base.
Different manufacturers also add different proprietary compounds. These compounds have different qualities which significantly affect play. You should try out different manufacturers to see which billiard chalk works best for you.
Other Billiard Accessories are available to make your shot more accurate, to make the game more fun, your equipment last longer and to make your Billiard Room a comfortable place to be.
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