Term Book For Pool, Snooker, and Billiards

billiard terms

Table of content:

Billiards terms can be very difficult to follow in theory because of the different functions they play during a game. That is why today we have cumulated a billiards shots list and terminology that you can refer to when trying to understand the gameplay before you start playing at a table.

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Technical Terms in Pool and Their Meanings

Bank shot: Among pool shot names wherein a shot is taken such that either the cue ball or the object ball touches the cushion and rebound. Only the object ball should sink into the pocket after rebounding. The cue ball must follow a different course.

Back Spin: Billiards terms that refer to the integral torque of a ball that is spinning in the direction opposite to the direction it is traveling.

Ball in hand: Pool lingo for a penalty in any billiard game wherein the cue ball was pocketed and the opponent gets to place it anywhere on the table before taking their turn.

Bed of the table: Among umbrella billiard terms, it refers to the surface of the playing table be it a pool table, a snooker table, or a pocket-less billiards table.

Billiard Games: An umbrella term for table sports that use a set of object balls, a cue ball, and a cue stick.

Billiard cushion and Carom Billiard: A variation of billiard gameplay under the umbrella term wherein 3 balls are used to carom around a broad table with no pockets.

Break shot or Breaking: Among umbrella billiards shots list. It marks the beginning of the game when one of the players strikes the cue ball with the cue stick in an attempt to break the rack of object balls across the table.

Bridge: Among the playing pool terms for maintaining proper stance wherein the hand resting on the table is ideally propped to create a bridge. The cue stick is balanced and glided along this bridge while taking a shot.

Calling shot: A pool terminology wherein the players announce the object ball that they intend to sink, the pocket in which they aim to sink it, and the rails that the cue ball or the object ball will use to rebound.

Call pocket: Snooker and pool terms for when a player declares the pocket in which they will sink a certain object ball. It is commonly used in variations of pool games to call the pocket to sink the 8-ball which is a precursor of the gameplay.

Chalk: Among billiards terms for equipment. It is a small object that is rubbed against the tip of the cue stick to sharpen it. Both the object and the action are often referred to as chalk.

Clean the table or Run the table: Pool game terms for when one player has sunk all their group balls and the other player must take the shots to pocket their own object balls. It also refers to clearing all the remaining balls on the table by sinking them in pockets.

Cue ball: The white ball used in all billiard games. It is the ball that comes in direct contact with both the cue stick and the object balls. In billiards terms (for billiard games only), the cue ball refers to the solid white ball and either the other white ball with spots or the yellow ball.

Cue stick: The playable pool or billiard stick used to play the game or break the racks.

Cue tip: The small tip, usually blue in color, on the cue stick. These may be soft, medium, hard, or phenolic in construction.

Cut Shot or Angel shot: Pool shots are names for those trick shots that require the player to pocket an object ball that is not directly facing one of the six pockets on the table.

Curve shot or Curve play: Snooker and Pool shots are names for when the player strikes the cue ball at an angle and at the bottom causing it to curve around an object ball in its path. The cue ball subsequently aims to bypass the obstructing object ball and hit another object ball behind it.

Cushion or Rails: Billiards terms used to describe the four wood or leather-bound sides of billiard, snooker, or pool tables.

Diamonds or Sights: The reference points on the insides of the cushions that divide the tables with imaginary lines; 4 parts widthwise and 8 parts lengthwise.

Draw shot: Pool shot names for when the cue ball is struck at the bottom of its mid-point to take a trick shot during gameplay. If this shot is not executed correctly in proper stance, the cue ball may bounce off the table so be careful.

Ferrule: The portion on the cue stick right below the cue tip.

Foot Spot: It is a diamond used to mark the spot to indicate where the triangular or diamond-shaped rack rests when racking the object balls.

Frozen Ball or frozen shot: Billiard terms used to refer to an object ball that is touching another object ball.

Leave or Good Leave: These Pool terms are used to signify that the cue ball is placed in a disadvantageous position for one’s opponent.

Head Spot: The imaginary spot on the head string where the cue ball is placed.

Hug the rail: A pool term used to describe the phenomenon where an object ball rolls adjacent to the cushion, almost like it is hugging the rail and moving forward.

Jump shot: Billiards shot names that signify that the cue ball was intentionally caused to jump off the bed of the table to hit an object ball.

Legal Break: Snooker and Pool term that refers to a correct method of the break shot wherein at least 4 balls from the rack touch the rails. In certain pool rules, this term also refers to at least 1 ball being potted. In 8-ball, it holds an addendum that the 8-ball should not be potted during the break shot.

Open Table: These Playing pool terms are used at the beginning of the game to signify that none of the players have been designated a group of balls. It is usually used in snooker, 9-ball, and 10-ball pool wherein the groups are not assigned to the players nor do they call for a group designation. All the balls are open to being played ad potted by any player during gameplay.

Pool Games: Billiards terms for a set of pocket-billiard games that uses a slender table with six pockets and 15 object balls. There are 7 solids and 7 striped balls and a black 8-ball used in gameplay.

Rack: Pool terminology also used I Snooker. It is an object that is either triangular or diamond-shaped. It is used to rack the balls in a close-circuit before breaking.

Rake: The long stick aside from the cue stick that is used as a bridge when the cue ball and object ball is too far on the table for the player to use their hand as the bridge.

Scratch: Pool terminology for when the cue ball goes into one of the pockets. This term is used in Snooker and all variations of pool games.

Shaft: The narrow part of the cue stick.

Sharking: Pool sharking, as it is commonly known, is a terminology used to describe tricky shots and game tactics that throws the opponent off their game.

Slate: A metamorphic rock with fine grains used to smoothen the bed of the table when it becomes rough after rigorous gameplay.

Snooker: A form of billiards game that is played on a larger table as compared to a pool table. The table has pockets and uses 21 object balls in gameplay. 15 of these balls are red and the rest of the 6 are solid-colored.

Solids: Pool lingo that is used to refer to the 7 balls among the 15 object balls used in various pool games. They have solid colors with no patterns and are numbered from 1 to 7.

Stripes: Pool terminology that is used to describe the other 7 balls among the 15 object balls used in pool games. They have the same colors as the solids but they are striped and numbered from 9 to 15.

Trickshot: pool shot names for any indirect shot that is taken during a game of billiards, snooker, or pool using various expert techniques such as curves, cuts, bank, draw, etc.

So, there you have it. An ultimate list of billiard terms to help you familiarize yourself with the rules and how to play each game.

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