What Are Baulkline And Straight Line Rail: Everything You Need To Know

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What are Baulkline and Straight Line rail?

If you are an avid snooker player, you may have often come across the terms Baulkline and straight rail. While these terms are known by other monikers in various billiards games, their purpose more or less remains the same.

Let us take a look at what Baulkline and straight rail really mean in a game of snooker and all its sister variants.

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Baulkline: In a game of pool, there is a line on the head side of the table that is marked by two diamonds or two points. It is referred to as the head string. This particular line across a snooker table is known as the baulk line.

The purpose of the baulk line is to mark the point behind which you must place your cue ball at the beginning of the game. When an opponent performs a cue ball foul, you can take the cue ball and place it anywhere behind the baulkline as per your convenience.

Straight Rail: This is a variant of billiards wherein a player uses the three designated billiard balls to play on a table with no pockets. The objective of the game is similar to carom billiards except there is no compulsion to make contact with the railing.

In its essence, Straight rail implies that the billiard game is played in the following manner:

  • Each player (there are two) is assigned a cue ball. One person will have the white cue ball and the other must play with the white ball with spots. In recent times, the spotted white ball is replaced with a yellow ball to avoid confusion.
  • The players must take a turn, which is called an inning during which they strike their designated cue ball such that it makes contact with both the opponent’s cue ball and the red object ball. The contact can be simultaneous or individual.
  • The idea is that once the player deploys the cue ball, it has to hit both the other balls on the table, together or on a rebound course.
  • The player who successfully scores the highest number of counts here wins the game.

The terms Baulkline and straight rail are often confused as the same thing but they cannot be further from each other. Straight rail is a variant of gameplay whereas Baulkline is an imaginary line drawn across a billiard, snooker, or pool table.

Ergo, you can have Baulkline in straight rail but you don’t necessarily need to play straight rail around a Baulkline.

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