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Common Pool and Billiards Terminology


Common

Beginners to many different games, hobbies, and endeavors are often confused by all the jargon and terminology used in these pursuits. The pool and billiards world is no different in this respect. There are many words and phrases that are unique to this sport. In semi–alphabetical order, here are some of the most common ones.

The “aim spot” on the cue ball is the exact spot where the cue tip contacts the cue ball. The spot at where this contact is made determines if the cue ball rolls perfectly straight or has some swerve to it. The “aim spot” on the object ball, or the ball that is being shot at, is the exact spot on this ball where the cue ball should contact it, to make it travel in the desired direction to go into the pocket.http://pool-8-ball.co.uk

The “break” occurs when the player shoots into the racked balls to start the pool game. This break causes the balls to disperse all around the table where they may be shot at and pocketed. “Bottom English” refers to the practice of contacting the cue ball with the cue tip vertically below the center of the cue. When done correctly, this causes the cue ball to spin backwards, or in the direction opposite to the line of travel, thereby causing the cue ball to reverse direction when contacting the object ball.

The “bridge” is where the shaft of the cue stick is rested on and where it slides when taking a shot. This bridge may either be the “bridge hand”, or the “bridge stick”, which is used when a longer reach is needed to access the cue ball. The “bumpers”, also referred to as the “cushions” or the “banks”, are the rubber sides that are attached to the rails of the pool table. A “bank shot” is one where the cue ball and/or object ball is intentionally bounced off the bumpers during the shot. The “bed” or slate of the pool table is the actual flat playing surface.

The word “billiards” refers, in the strict sense, to the pocket–less, carom-type game of the same name. However, in the USA it has come to also mean pocket billiards as well. The “butt” end of the pool cue is the thicker end where the player grabs the cue to manipulate it. The “butt” of a two–piece pool cue is usually where most of the decoration and design work is displayed. “Ball-in-hand” refers to the ability of a pool shooter to place the cue ball wherever he wants on the pool table, for his next shot, after his opponent scratches or commits a foul.

The “corner pockets” are those pockets that are at the four corners of the pool table. “Chalk” is used on the cue tip to provide a better grip of the cue tip on the cue ball so as to prevent miscues — also referred to as “chalking up. “Hand chalk” is used by many players to provide a smooth, frictionless slide of the cue shaft through the bridge hand. A “combination” is where the cue ball hits one object ball into another, with the intent of sinking one of the object balls.

The “cue ball” is the white ball that is hit by the cue stick to make contact with the other balls. The “cue stick”, or “cue”, usually made of hard wood, is the stick that the player uses to hit the balls. To “call” your shot means to verbally announce which ball you are shooting for and where you plan to pocket it. A “cue case” is a case that is used to store and transport the cue stick.