Cue sports: Meaning, Variants, How To Play, And More
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Cue sports are a form of table games. These entertaining sets of sporting events were introduced in India by British army officers stationed in the country. Originally, these games were pretty basic with black and white balls. However, through time, they have evolved into competitive games suited for tournaments.
The term ‘cue sports’ was established due to the cue stick used in these games. Branded under the umbrella term of Billiard games, cue sports are played on pool tables, snooker tables, and billiard tables, each with its own set of rules.
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Among the variants, pool cue sports are the most popular because of their use in bars and arcades around the world. Cue in sports refers to the elongated sticks used during gameplay. These cue sticks are used to strike the cue ball across the table to subsequently hit the object balls in each type of game.
Cue sports are played on a large table with or without pockets, depending on the game. The tables are traditionally lined with green or blue felt. Some tables may have different colors and textured fabrics as per the discretion of the owner. The tables have leather or wood binding on all four sides called cushions or rails to keep the balls contained within their limits.
Each game has a certain set of playable billiard balls and at least one cue ball. Cue in sports refers to the cue stick and the cue ball which are essentials and a common factor in all cue sports.
There are many varieties of cue sports. Let us take a look at the three most basic types from which the other games originate:
This was the first and most challenging cue sport introduced. It fathered the other forms of cue sports that we popularly call pool games in these modern times.
Billiards is a form of cue sport played on a special table with no pockets. There are three balls in play namely, red, white, and either a yellow ball or another white ball with red dots. Both the white and yellow balls can be alternated as cue balls during gameplay.
The objective of the game is to strike one of the cue balls and hit both the remaining balls on the table in one shot. The player earns counts on every successful hit and the player with the most counts wins.
A challenging variant of Billiards is Snooker. This game is played on a table with six pockets and 22 balls including the cue ball. The 22 balls are comprised of 15 red balls that hold one point each. There are also 6 colored balls namely, Yellow for 2 points, Green for 3, Brown for 4, Blue for 5, Pink for 6, and Black for 7 points.
The objective of the game is to pot one red ball followed by one colored ball in each turn. If a player successfully pots a colored ball after the red, they are awarded the combined points of 1 plus the designated points for the colored ball. They can then continue to play until they miss or commit a foul.
Snooker cue sports are played in multiple frames. The player with the most points wins the game.
3. Pool Games–
The third variant of billiard games is pool cue sports. Although 8-ball is the most popular among pool games, other games such as 9-ball, 10-ball, cutthroat, etc. are increasingly sought-after by professional and expert pool players.
Pool games are played on a pool table that has six pockets much like the snooker table. Unlike the snooker table, however, pool cue sports tables are leaner and shorter with larger pocket sizes. The cue sticks are also much slender and longer than both billiards and snooker cue sports.
The objective of each pool cue sport is to sink the namesake ball.
Here are a few standard varieties of pool games widely played across the globe:
There are 16 balls, namely, 7 striped balls, 7 solids, 1 black ball, and a cue ball. The players are assigned a group of striped or solid-colored object balls in offline games and different-colored balls in online versions. They must take turns to pot their respective group balls till the very last one. Once the player has potted their assigned object balls, they must pot the 8-ball.
There are no scores in 8-ball but the person who successfully sinks the 8-ball wins the game.
There are 9 object balls namely, 8 solids and 1 striped 9-ball plus the cue ball. The players must target the smallest numbered ball on the table and either hit it or pocket it. They can also pocket other balls but the initial contact must be the smallest number on the table. At any point, if a player pots the 9-ball, they win the game, even if it is while breaking the rack.
There are 10 balls in gameplay and similar to 9-ball, players must target the ball with the smallest number to hit and pot other balls.
The objective of the game is to pot every ball on the table, preferably in chronological order, culminating with the 10-ball. However, a player must not pot the 10-ball when breaking the rack or before all other balls are potted.
In cut throat pool, each player is assigned a group of balls that they must protect. The objective of the game is to pocket the balls of other players while steadily protecting their own. The player with at least one remaining wins the game.
e. Straight pool
In the straight pool, the players take turns to call their target pocket and the ball. If they make the shot, they score, if they miss, then the opponent takes their turn.
The objective of the game is to accurately pot the balls in the pocket that each player calls.
Cue sports are fun and entertaining. They are intense forms of entertainment for friends and family. The best part is, you can play cue sports with strangers and by the end of the game you make some new friends. Cue sports enthusiasts also participate in tournaments for prize money and recognition.
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