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Beginners Guide to Billiards

When you’re first learning to play pool, it can seem a little intimidating. You may have noticed there are many unique variations, strategies and terminology to learn. Plus, it can be quite a feat to just get one ball into the pocket.

Our first bit of advice is to relax and have fun! We know your excited about your new pool table and ready to start learning. To help you do that, check out the beginners guide to billiards to get started.

Know the Equipment

There are three tools you need to play pool: a cue stick, pool balls and a pool table.

  • Cue Stick: Pick one that is appropriate for your size. They come in a variety of lengths to fit you perfectly. The tip is quite important, and it’s worth noting that beginners are using a medium to medium-soft tip.
  • Pool Table: You can choose from seven, eight and nine feet for your pool table. A regulation table is twice as long as it is wide. On smaller tables, you might want a shorter cue.
  • Pool Balls: These colorful balls come in solids, stripes, the white cue ball and the black eight ball. There are evens and odds.

Learn the Lingo

Let’s check out some important terminology and rules to get you started.

  1. The break happens at the very beginning of the game. This is when one player breaks up the fifteen pool balls, and this is the very first shot.
  2. A scratch happens when the cue ball jumps off the table or rolls into a pocket. Determine your scratch rules before you start playing. Typically, the player who didn’t scratch may place the cue ball anywhere in the kitchen. This is the area between the head rail and the head string (the area between the edge and the second set of diamonds.)

Get the Rules

We’re going to talk about standard eight-ball pool.

  • Use the triangle to rack up the 15 balls. Make sure the eight ball is in the middle.
  • Take the triangle off, and one player breaks.
  • If the player makes the ball into a pocket, he calls the type he made into the pocket. If he made one of each, he chooses.
  • The other player gets the other set of balls.
  • Play continues back and forth until just the eight ball is left. The first person to sink this ball wins.
  • If a player sinks their competitor’s ball, it counts for the competitor.
  • When a player sinks the eight ball before their other balls are in, he loses.
  • If a player scratches on the eight ball, he loses.

In the next post, we’ll look at the finer aspects of playing pool.

Don’t have a table, or do you need a new cue? Check in with the team at Ultra Modern.