How to Play Pool


The Very Basics…

Pool, also known as pocket billiards, is a game played on a table with sides and six pockets. Players use a stick called a cue to shoot at balls on the table and try to get them into the pockets. This is called potting the balls. The holes are located in each of the four corners and one in the middle of the long side of the rectangular shaped table. To make the balls roll easily, the table is covered with green cloth. There are many different kinds of pool games, with the most popular ones being, eight-ball, nine-ball and one-pocket pool.

Although the rules may be different in the various kinds of pool games, the general method of playing is the same. There are different cue sticks in length and weight, so you do have to choose one that is just right for you. If the stick is too heavy, your arm will tire very quickly and if it is too light, you won’t be able to hit the ball hard enough to drive it into the pocket. You need to chalk the top of the cue stick. This is in the form of a cube of blue chalk. Do not twist the chalk over the top of the cue, but rather use a painting motion. The chalk gives you better contact with the ball because without it, you won’t be able to make much of a shot. The smooth surface of the top of the cue stick will just roll off the smooth surface of the ball.

A right handed player should hold the thick end of the cue stick in the right hand and a left-handed person should hold it in the left hand. The object of the game is to hit the cue ball (the white ball) so that it hits one of your balls to pot it. Place you hand on the table, palm down and form a resting place for the cue stick between your thumb and forefinger. Line up the balls and the pocket and then take aim. When you are standing at the edge of the table, your left foot should be forward and your right foot back about two feet. Your body should be slightly twisted so that it won’t interferes with the stroke of the cue as you draw back to make the hit.

If you do not get the ball in the pocket, then your opponent will take a turn. If you pot the cue ball along with the ball, this means you cannot continue with the play.

If you play eight ball, there are sixteen balls. Balls numbered one through seven are solid in color and balls numbered nine through fifteen are striped. The black ball is the eight ball. To start playing, rack all the balls in a triangle shape so that the balls alternate from low to high. The eight ball is always in the middle. The first player then shoots the cue ball to break the rack. If one of the solid balls goes into a pocket, then this player has to shoot at the low balls. The object of the game is to pot all of your balls before the eight ball. This is the last ball and when you pot it without potting the cue ball, then you win.

Nine ball means that the balls have to be potted in sequence, while one-pocket pool means each player has a certain pocket for potting the balls.