Glossary of cue sports terms

Glossary of cue sports terms

The following is a glossary of traditional English-language terms used in the three overarching cue sports disciplines: carom (or carambole) billiards referring to the various carom games played on a billiard table without pockets; pool (pocket billiards), which denotes a host of games played on a table with six pockets; and snooker, played on a large pocket table, and which has a sport culture unto itself distinct from pool. There are also hybrid pocket/carom games such as English billiards.

Definitions and language

The term "billiards" is sometimes used to refer to all of the cue sports, to a specific class of them, or to specific ones such as English billiards; this article uses the term in its most generic sense unless otherwise noted.

The labels "British" and "UK" as applied to entries in this glossary refer to terms originating in the UK and also used in countries that were fairly recently part of the British Empire and/or are part of the Commonwealth of Nations, as opposed to US (and, often, Canadian) terminology. The terms "American" or "US" as applied here refer generally to North American usage. However, due to the predominance of US-originating terminology in most internationally competitive pool (as opposed to snooker), US terms are also common in the pool context in other countries in which English is at least a minority language, and US (and borrowed French) terms predominate in carom billiards. Similarly, British terms predominate in the world of snooker, English billiards and blackball, regardless of the players' nationalities.

The term "blackball" is used in this glossary to refer to both blackball and eight-ball pool as played in the Commonwealth, as a shorthand. Blackball was chosen because it is less ambiguous ("eight-ball pool" is too easily confused with the related "eight-ball"), and blackball is globally standardized by an International Olympic Committee-recognized governing body, the World Pool-Billiard Association (WPA); meanwhile, its ancestor, eight-ball pool, is largely a folk game, like North American bar pool, and to the extent that its rules have been codified, they have been done so by competing authorities with different rulesets. (For the same reason, the glossary's information on eight-ball and nine-ball draws principally on the stable WPA rules, because there are many competing amateur leagues and even professional tours with divergent rules for these games.)

Foreign-language terms are generally not within the scope of this list, unless they have become an integral part of billiards terminology in English (e.g. massé), or they are crucial to meaningful discussion of a game not widely known in the English-speaking world.

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See the Straight rail billiards main article for the game sometimes called "one-cushion".


See the One-pocket main article for the game.


See the Three-ball main article for the game.


See the Three-cushion billiards main article for the game.


See the Yotsudama main article for the modern Asian game often called "four-ball". See the American four-ball billiards main article for the nineteenth-century game.


See the Five-pin billiards main article for the formerly Italian, now internationally standardized game, or Danish pin billiards for the five-pin traditional game of Denmark.


See the Nine-ball#Six-ball sub-article for the game.


See the Eight-ball main article for the game. See the 8 ball entry, under the "E" section below, for the ball. See 8 ball (disambiguation) for derivative uses.


See the Nine-ball main article for the game. See the 9 ball entry, under the "N" section below, for the ball.


See the Goriziana main article for the game sometimes called nine-pins.


See the Ten-ball main article for the game.


See the Fifteen-ball main article for the game.



Used in snooker in reference to the position of the cue ball. It is above the object ball if it is off-straight on the baulk cushion side of the imaginary line for a straight pot (e.g. "he'll want to finish above the blue in order to go into the pink and reds"). It is also common to use the term high instead.[1]


  1. Gambling or the potential for gambling (US).
  2. Lively results on a ball, usually the cue ball, from the application of spin.
  3. Short for cue action.


Used with an amount to signify money added to a tournament prize fund in addition to the amount accumulated from entry fees (e.g. "$500 added").[2]

Ahead race

Also ahead session. A match format in which a player has to establish a lead of an agreed number of frames (games) in order to win (e.g. in a ten ahead race a player wins when she/he has won ten more racks than the opponent).[1] Contrast race [to].

Aiming line

An imaginary line drawn from the desired path an object ball is to be sent (usually the center of a pocket) and the center of the object ball.[3]


To freeze a ball to a cushion; such a ball may be said to be anchored. This term is largely obsolete balkline billiards jargon.[1]:9

Anchor nurse

A type of nurse shot used in carom billiards games. With one object ball being anchored (frozen) to a cushion and the second object ball just slightly away from the cushion, the cue ball is gently grazed across the face of both balls, freezing the away ball to the rail and moving the frozen ball away the same distance its partner was previously, in an identical but reversed configuration, in position to be struck again by the cue ball from the opposite side to repeat this pattern, back and forth.[1]:9 Compare cradle cannon.

Anchor space

A 7 inch (17.8 cm) square box drawn on the table in balkline billiards, from the termination of a balkline with the cushion, thus defining a restricted space in which only 3 points may be scored before one ball must be driven from the area. It developed to curtail the effectiveness of the chuck nurse, which in turn had been invented to thwart the effectiveness of the Parker's box in stopping long, repetitive runs using the anchor nurse.[1]

Angle of incidence

The angle at which a ball approaches a cushion, as measured from the perpendicular to the cushion.[4]:120 The phrase has been in use since as early as 1653.[1]

Angle of reflection

The angle from which a ball rebounds from a cushion, as measured from the perpendicular to the cushion.[1][4]:120

Angled ball

In snooker and pool, a {{cuegloss2|Cue ball|cue ball]] situated in the jaws of a pocket such that a/the ball-on cannot be struck directly.[1][5]:32 Compare corner-hooked.


The extent to which the cue ball curves as a result of a semi-massé or massé shot.


Also apex ball, apex of the triangle, apex of the diamond or apex of the rack. The ball placed at the front of a group of racked object balls (i.e., toward the breaker and furthest from the racker), and in most games situated over the table's foot spot.[5]:32

Around the table

In carom games, a shot in which in attempting to score, the cue ball contacts three or more cushions, usually including both [short rails.[5]

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Same as stake.[1]

Back cut

A cut shot in which if a line were drawn from the cue ball to the rail behind the targeted object ball, perpendicular to that rail, the object ball would lie beyond the line with respect to the pocket being targeted.[6]


Same as stakehorse.

Back spin

Also backspin, back-spin, backward spin.[1] Same as draw. See illustration at spin. Contrast top spin.


Chiefly British. Same as pocket.


A coarse woolen cloth used to cover billiard tables, usually green in colour and sometimes called felt based on a similarity in appearance, though very different in makeup.[1]

Balance point

The point, usually around 18 in. from the bottom of a cue, at which the cue will balance when resting on one hand.[1][5]:32


Also balk space.

  1. An area defined on a billiard table by one or more balklines. In the eponymous game of balkline billiards, there are eight balks defined by perpendicular balklines, in which only a set number of caroms may be scored before at least one ball must leave the area.[1]:15 In the earlier (and short-lived) "champions' game", there were four triangular balks, one at each corner, defined by single diagonal balklines. Not to be confused with baulk, but see second definition.
  2. An area defined on a billiard table, in games such as pool, snooker, English billiards and bagatelle, by a single balkline (drawn or imaginary) that runs across the table near the head (bottom) end; exactly where depends upon table type and size. This balk is where the cue ball is placed in lagging for lead, for making the opening break shot, and sometimes for other purposes, depending upon the game. This usage of "balk" is strictly technical, and rarely used in practice. In pool, this area is called the kitchen and is divided from the rest of the table by the head string, while in snooker, English billiards and blackball it is the somewhat differently sized and delimited baulk, defined by the baulk line. On baulk tables, which have a "D" inside baulk, and on pool tables with a break box in the kitchen, the actual area from which to shoot is even smaller than the baulk or kitchen, respectively – a balk within the balk.


Also balk line.

  1. A line drawn horizontally from a point on a billiard table's rail to the corresponding point on the opposite rail, thus defining a region (a balk). In the eponymous balkline billiards there are four balklines, drawn parallel to and 14 or 18 inches from the cushions of the table, dividing it into nine compartments or divisions, of which the outside eight are the balks. in which only a set number of caroms may be scored before at least one ball must leave the area.[1]:15 Not to be confused with baulk line, though the concepts and etymologies are related. See balk, second definition.
  2. Formerly, in "the champions' game", a line drawn diagonally from a long to a short rail at the corners of the table, defining a triangular balk space at each.
  3. A type of carom billiards game, called balkline billiards, created to eliminate very high runs in straight-rail that relied on repetitive nurse shots.[1]:15


Same as call-shot.


Also cue ball in-hand. The option of placing the cue ball anywhere on the table prior to shooting, in a game of pool. Usually only available to a player when the opposing player has committed some type of foul under a particular game's rules[1][5]:32, 36 (cf. the free throw in basketball by way of comparison). See also in-hand for the snooker definition. A common variation, used in games such as straight pool and often in bar pool, is ball-in-hand "behind the head string", also "behind the line" or "from the kitchen", meaning the ball-in-hand option is restricted to placement anywhere behind the head string, i.e., in the area of the table known as the kitchen.


Not always hyphenated. Plural: balls-on.[7] Also on[-]ball. Any legally strikeable ball on the table in snooker and generally British terminology.[5] For example, in blackball,[7] if a player is playing yellows, any yellow ball (or any solid, from 1 to 7, if using a solids-and-stripes ball set) can be the ball-on until they are all potted, in which case the 8 ball is the ball-on. In snooker, at the beginning of a player's turn, unless all are already potted, any red ball can be the ball-on.[1] Compare object ball.

Ball return

A collection bin mounted below the foot end of a table to which balls potted in any pocket will return by means of gravity assisted gutters or troughs running from each pocket opening to the bin. Ball returns have been in use since at least the 1700s. Pockets which simply collect balls are known as drop pockets.[1] A table without a ball return may be called a "drop pocket table", while a table featuring a ball return may be called a "gully table."[5]:37, 39


A derogatory term for a recreational or beginning player who "bangs" the balls without any thought for position nor attempt to control the cue ball; also a reference to the predilection of beginners to often hit the cue ball far harder than necessary.[8] See also potter.


  1. Same as cushion.
  2. Same as bank shot.

Bank shot

Also bank. Shot in which an object ball is driven to one or more rails prior to being pocketed (or in some contexts, prior to reaching its intended target; not necessarily a pocket). Sometimes "bank" is conflated to refer to kick shots as well, and in the UK it is often called a double.[1][5]:32


A rule variant common in bar pool versions of eight-ball, in which the 8 ball must be pocketed on a bank shot (or sometimes on either a bank shot proper or a kick shot); shooting the 8 straight in is a loss of game. Players may agree before the game begins to invoke this rule, or one player may challenge another player (who might accept or refuse) to conclude the game in this manner after if is already under way. Playing bank-the-8 can be considered rude if many other players are waiting to use the table, since it often makes the game last considerably longer.

Bar player

Also bar league player. A player that predominantly plays in bars/pubs, or is in a bar-based pool league. Often used pejoratively by pool hall players to refer to a perceived lesser skill level of such players. See also bar pool, bar table.

Bar pool

Also bar rules, pub pool, tavern pool. Pool, almost always a variant of eight-ball, that is played by bar players on a bar table. Bar pool has rules that vary from region to region, sometimes even from venue to venue in the same city, especially in the U.S. Wise players thus ensure understanding of and agreement to the rules before engaging in a money game under bar rules. Typical differences between bar pool and tournament eight-ball are the lack of ball-in-hand after a foul, the elimination of a number of fouls, and (with numbered ball sets) the requirement that most aspects of a shot be called (including cushions and other object balls to be contacted) not just the target ball and pocket. Bar pool has evolved into this "nitpicky" version principally to make the games last longer, since bar pool is typically played on coin-operated tables that cost money per-game rather than per-hour. Competitive league pool played on bar tables, however, usually uses international, national or local/regional league rules, and is not what is usually meant by "bar pool". Not to be confused with the game of bar billiards.

Bar table

Also bar box, pub table, tavern table. Distinctive pool tables found in bars/pubs/taverns, and often in various other venues such as family entertainment centers and arcade rooms at bowling alleys. They are almost always coin-operated and smaller than tables found in pool halls. Typical bar boxes are 3.5 ft (1.1 m) × 7 ft (2.1 m), though 4×8 and even 3×6 examples can sometimes be found. Most North American brands of bar tables have pocket proportions confusingly opposite those of regular tables—the side pockets are remarkably tight, while the corners are more generous than those of pool hall tables. Because they are coin-operated and capture pocketed balls, they employ one of several mechanisms to return a scratched cue ball. The oversized, and extra-dense cue ball methods are deprecated, because these cue balls do not play correctly (especially with regard to cut and stop/draw shots, respectively; cf. smash-through). Modern bar tables make use of a magnet and a regulation or near-regulation size and weight cue ball with an iron core, to separate the cue ball from the others and return it to the players.[9] Pool hall players complain also that the cloth used on bar tables is often greatly inferior (in particular that it is "slow" and that english does not "take" enough), and often find that the cushions are not as responsive as they are used to.[1]


Also baulk area. In snooker, English billiards, and blackball,[7] the area of the bottom of the table that is between the baulk line and the baulk cushion, which houses the "D" and is somewhat analogous to the kitchen in American-style pool.[1][5]:33

Baulk colour

In snooker, any of the three colour balls that get spotted on the baulk line: the yellow, green or brown ball.[1]

Baulk cushion

In snooker, the cushion opposite the top cushion and bounded by the yellow and green pockets (i.e. same as bottom cushion).[1]

Baulk line

A straight line drawn 29 inches (73.66 cm) from the face of the baulk cushion on a standard 6 × 12 foot snooker table.[1] Its positioning varies on other sizes of tables. Baulk lines may also be drawn on English billiards tables, and even British-style pool tables. The baulk line is an integral part of the "D". The baulk line's position is always determined by measurement from the baulk cushion, in contrast to the similar but different head string, the position of which is determined by the diamonds. Not to be confused with balkline.

Baulk rail

Same as bottom rail (UK), head rail (US).


The playing area of a table, exclusive of the cushions.[1][5]:33

Be in stroke

See In stroke.


Used in snooker in reference to the position of the cue ball. It is "below" the object ball if it is off-straight on the top cushion side of the imaginary line for a straight pot (e.g. he will want to finish below the black in order to go into the reds). This may seem counterintuitive, see above for an explanation.


Also bigs, big balls, big ones. In eight-ball, to be shooting the striped suit (group) of balls (9 through 15); "you're big, remember", "you're big balls" or "I've got the big ones".[1] Compare stripes, yellows, high, overs; contrast little. Not to be confused with the carom billiards concept of a big ball.

Big ball

A carom billiards metaphor, it refers to an object ball positioned and being approached in such a manner that a near miss will rebound off a cushion and still score. It is as if the ball were larger than normal, making it easier to contact. Normally a ball a couple inches from a rail is a big ball, but only if being approached from an angle and if all the prerequisite rails have already been contacted. A ball near a corner can effectively be a foot wide. Not to be confused with the eight-ball term "the big balls". In older British usage the concept was referred to as "large ball".[1] See also "big pocket".

Big pocket

A pocket billiards and occasionally snooker term (inherited from carom billiards by way of "big ball", above), it is a metaphor for a shot that is very difficult to miss pocketing for any of a number of reasons, most commonly either because the object ball is positioned such that a near miss on one side of it will likely cause the cue ball to rebound into the object ball off the rail and pocket it anyway, or another ball is positioned such that if the target ball does not go straight in, it is still likely to go in off the other ball in a kiss. It is as if the pocket, for this one shot, had become larger. The term can also refer to the angle of shot toward a pocket, especially a side pocket; the pocket is said to be "bigger", for example, on a shot that is only a 5-degree angle away from straight on, than on a 45-degree angle shot which is much more likely to hit one of the cushion points and bounce away.


Also billiard shot.

  1. Any shot in which the cue ball is caromed off an object ball to strike another object ball (with or without contacting cushions in the interim).[1]
  2. In certain carom billiards games such as three-cushion, a successful attempt at making a scoring billiard shot under the rules for that game (such as contacting three cushions with the cue ball while executing the billiard). A failed attempt at scoring would, in this context, not be called "a billiard" by players of such games even if it satisfied the first, more general definition.[5]


  1. In the US, Canada and in many different countries and languages (under various spellings) as well as historically, generally refers to all cue sports;
  2. Sometimes refers to just carom games as opposed to pocket billiards (especially in the US and Canada);
  3. In British terminology, chiefly refers to the game known in the rest of the world as English billiards.

Billiards glasses

Billiards glasses

Also pool spectacles, snooker specs, etc.

Eyeglasses specially made for cue sports, with tall lenses, set unusually high, so that when the head is lowered over the cue stick for aiming, with the nose pointing downward, the eyes can still look through the lenses instead of over them. They are especially popular among snooker players.

Black ball

Also the black.

  1. In snooker, the highest-value colour ball on the table, being worth seven points.[1] In some (especially American) snooker ball sets it is numbered "7" on its surface.
  2. The black ball (usually numbered "8") in the eight-ball variant game blackball (and its variants); also the common British term for the slightly larger but otherwise identical 8 ball in a kelly pool set (a.k.a. American or WPA pool set).[7] See also 8 ball.


  1. An unfinished bottom half of a two piece cue (the butt section) with the splice completed, but the cue not yet turned on a lathe to produce the final shape, and certain features having not yet been added such as a wrap, joint mechanism, butt cap, bumper and inlays.[1]:29
  2. An unsuccessful inning at the table. Also known as a duck egg, goose egg, cipher or naught.[1]:29

Blood test

Any very difficult shot that must be made under pressure.[10]

Blue ball

  1. In snooker, the colour ball worth 5 points, whose spot is at the center of the table.[1]
  2. Also the blues. In the eight-ball game variant blackball, also known as eight-ball pool, a differently colored but otherwise identical replacement for the red group (i.e., what would be the solids in an American-style pool ball set).[11]

Body english

The useless but common practice of contorting one's body while a shot is in play, usually in the direction one wishes a ball or balls to travel, as if in the vain hope that this will influence the balls' trajectories; the term is considered humorous.[1]


Also shake bottle, pea bottle, pill bottle, kelly bottle, tally bottle. The bottle used in various games to hold numbered peas, it is employed to assign random spots to players in a roster (such as in a tournament), or to assign random balls to players of a game (such as in kelly pool and bottle pool).[1][5]


  1. Chiefly British: The half of the table from which the break shot is taken. This usage is conceptually opposite that in North America, where this end of the table is called the head. Contrast top. See also baulk.
  2. Chiefly American: Exactly the opposite of the above – the foot end of the table. No longer in common usage.
  3. Short for bottom spin, i.e. same as screw (British), draw (American).

Bottom cushion

Chiefly British: The cushion on the bottom rail. Also known as the baulk cushion, especially in snooker. Compare head cushion; contrast top cushion.

Bottom rail

Chiefly British: The short rail at the bottom of the table. Traditionally this is the rail on which the table manufacturer's logo appears. Also known as the baulk rail, especially in snooker. Compare head rail; contrast top rail.

Bottom spin

Also bottomspin, bottom-spin, bottom. Same as back spin, i.e. screw (UK), draw (US). Contrast top spin. See illustration at spin.


  1. Also break shot or break off, as a noun. Typically describes the first shot in most types of billiards games. In carom games it describes the first point attempt, as shot from an unvarying cue ball and object balls placement; in many pocket billiards (pool) games it describes the first shot, which is used to separate the object balls which have been racked together;[1]
  2. A series of consecutive pots by a player during a single inning. Most often applied in snooker and English billiards, e.g., "The player had a break of 89 points".[1][5](chiefly British; compare US run). See also Maximum break.

Break and dish

Same as Break and run (chiefly British).

Break and run

Also break and run out. Chiefly American: In pool games, when a player breaks the racked object balls, pockets at least one ball on the break, and commences to run out the remaining object balls without the opponent getting a visit at the table. Hyphenated when used as an adjective or compound noun instead of a verbal phrase. See also run the table.

Break box

Diagram showing the break box and its relation to the kitchen area and head string.

In European Pocket Billiard Federation (EPBF) nine-ball, the break box is a zone in the "kitchen" of the head (British: bottom) of the table, from which the break shot must be taken with the cue ball,[12][13] not unlike the "D" zone used in snooker, English billiards and blackball. The break box consists of the middle 50% of the kitchen area, delimited laterally by the head rail (British: bottom rail) and head string (not the baulk line), and longitudinally by two parallel lines drawn (on the cloth, or more often imaginarily) from the head rail diamonds that are closest to the head corner pockets, out to the head string (see illustration to the right). This departure from WPA World Standardised Rules defeats the common break-from-the-side-rail technique for pocketing the 9 ball on the break to win the game instantly; while 9 ball breaks are still possible, they are much more difficult under the new rule.[12] This EPBF Euro-Tour requirement was added to the Europe vs. US all-star team event, the Mosconi Cup, in 2008 but has not otherwise been seen much by non-Europeans as of 2011.

Break down one's cue

To take one's two-piece cue stick apart. When done before a game's conclusion, it often indicates that the game is conceded.[1]


Either the player's hand or a mechanical bridge used to support the shaft end of the cue stick during a shot. Also the particular hand formation used for this purpose (there are many).[1][5]

Bridge hand

The hand used by a player as a bridge during a normal shot that does not involve a mechanical bridge. The bridge hand is usually a player's non-dominant hand.[1]

Brown ball

Also brown. In snooker, the highest-value baulk colour, worth 4 points.[1]


The bumper on the bottom of a cue, usually made from rubber, which insulates the butt cap from contact with the floor and greatly reduces noise. The bumper was first patented in 1880.[1]


  1. To seal the pores of a wooden cue's shaft by rubbing vigorously with some material. Leather is commonly employed for the task, as is paper money.
  2. To similarly vigorously rub the edge of a cue tip (especially a new one) to fortify it against mushrooming and ensure that it is perfectly flush with the ferrule.
  3. To smooth out minor dents in the shaft with a rigid burnisher.


  1. A pad, usually of leather, used to burnish (seal the wood pores of) a cue shaft.
  2. A rigid tip tool used to finish and harden the sides of a new cue tip.
  3. A shaft maintenance tool, most commonly a cylindrical glass rod, used for smoothing minor nicks in the shaft. This is sometimes done after swelling the wood at the nick site with some moist application.

Bushka rings

Named after their innovator, legendary cuemaker George Balabushka, Bushka rings are decorative bands of material incorporated into pool cues, commonly just above the wrap area, in the form of ebony and ivory blocks, or sometimes other materials, alternating in a checked pattern.[14]

Business, doing

Collusion between matchplay opponents who prearrange who will win a match on which other people's money is wagered, in order to guarantee a payday.[1]


The bottom portion of a pool cue which is gripped by a player's hand.[1][5]

Butt cap

A protective cap mounted on the end of the butt of a cue.


A point bead on a scoring string.[15]

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A player's auction at a pool tournament. Each player is called and players and spectators bid on the player. The highest bidder(s) pays their bid to the calcutta, and by doing so invest in that player's success. If a player wins or places in the tournament, those who "bought" the player receive a percentage of the total calcutta payout, usually tracking the percentage payout of the tournament prize fund. Typically, players have the option of purchasing half of themselves when the high bid is won by a third party. Like english and scotch doubles, usually not capitalized.


Any instance of a player having to say what they are about to do. For example, in straight pool a player must call the pocket in which a ball is intended to be potted. More formal terms, used in rule books and instructional materials, include designate and nominate. Contrast fish, slop.


Also called-shot; call-pocket or called-pocket. Any game in which during normal play a player must call the ball to be hit and the intended pocket; "eight-ball is a call-shot game."[5] Sometimes referred to as "call[ed]-pocket", "ball-and-pocket rules", etc., to distinguish it from the common North American bar pool practice of requiring every aspect of shots to be called, such as caroms, kicks, and cushions to be contacted (this is sometimes also ambiguously referred to as "call-shot", but more accurately termed "call-everything" or "call-it-all"). See also gentlemen's call.

Called ball

The ball designated by a player to be pocketed on a shot.[5]

Called pocket

The pocket designated by a player to which a ball is to be shot.[5]


British/Australian and sometimes Canadian term for carom.


Short for tournament card.[15]


Carom came into use in the 1860s and is a shortening of carambola, which was earlier used to describe the red object ball used in many billiards games.[1] Carom generally refers to any type of strike and rebound,[16] off a rail or ball, but may also be used as short for a carom shot in which a point is scored in carom billiards games by careening the cue ball into the two object balls.[5] Also called a cannon in British terminology.


Also carambola.

  1. The red object ball in carom games. The term is thought to be derived from an orange-colored, tropical Asian fruit, called a carambola in English, Spanish and several other languages, in turn from karambal in the Marathi language of India.[1][17]
  2. A general-purpose term for carom billiards games
  3. (Obsolete.) Alternate name for the game of straight rail
  4. A carom.

Catch a stroke

See Stroke, catch a.

Center spot

Also centre spot, middle spot. The (usually unmarked) spot at the geometric center of the bed of a table.[5] It lies at the intersection of the center string and long string.

Center string

Also centre string. The (usually unmarked) line bisecting the centers of the two long rails (and of the side [Brit.: centre] pockets if any) and the center spot. It thus runs widthwise (i.e. the short way) across the center of the table. Its intersection with the long string, running lengthwise down the center of the table, defines the position of the center spot.

Centre pocket

In the UK, one of the two pockets one either side of a pool, snooker or English billiards table halfway up the long rails. They are cut shallower than corner pockets because they have a 180 degree aperture, instead of 90 degrees. Also sometimes called a middle pocket. These terms are not generally used in the US, where side pocket prevails.


Also century break. In snooker, English billiards and other British usage, a break of 100 points or more, which involves potting at least 26 balls consecutively, in snooker, but can be earned via a combination of scoring techniques in English billiards, etc. A century of centuries is the achievement of 100 or more century breaks in a career, a feat few players have performed to date. See also double century.


A powdered substance placed on a cue's tip to increase its friction and thereby decrease slippage between the tip and cue ball. Cue "chalk" is not actually chalk (calcium carbonate) at all, but a compound of silica and aluminum oxide. Chalk is sold in compressed, dyed (most commonly blue) cubes wrapped on five sides with a paper label, and is applied (properly) in a manner similar to lipstick on the mouth. Chalk is essential to shots involving spin, and failure to use it frequently during a game is likely to lead to miscuing.[1]:44-45 Modern cue chalk was co-invented by pro player William A. Spinks and engineer William Hoskins.[18][19] See also hand chalk.

Chasing one's money

The inability of some players to stop gambling once they have lost money because they "have" to get their money back.

Cheat the pocket

To aim at an object ball such that it will enter one side or the other, rather than the center, of a pocket. This permits the cue ball to strike the object ball at a different contact point than the most obvious one. Cheating the pocket is employed for position play, to allow a ball to pass another partially obscuring the path to the pocket, and to prevent scratches on dead-straight shots in cases where draw is not desirable (or may not be dependable, e.g. because of smash-through).[20]

Check side

A type of spin imparted to the cue ball to make it rebound from a cushion at a shallower angle than it would if the spin had not been used.[1]:48

Chinese snooker

Chinese snooker on the red ball

A situation where the cue ball is directly in front of another ball in the line of the shot such that the player is hampered by it, having to bridge over it awkwardly with the likelihood of a foul looming if the object ball is inadvertently touched.[21] The term is most common in the game of snooker but is used in U.S. parlance.

Chuck nurse

Known as a rocking cannon in British terminology. A type of nurse used in carom billiards games. With one object ball frozen to a cushion and the second object ball a few inches away from the rail, the cue ball is gently rebounded off the frozen ball not moving it, but with just enough speed to meet the other object ball which rocks in place, but does not change position. Developed to thwart the restrictions emplaced by the Parker's box.[22]:8[23]


To commit errors while shooting, especially at the money ball, due to pressure.[1]:50 See also dog, one-stroke.

Cinch a ball

To play a shot with the stroke and speed that makes it easiest to pocket the object ball, even at the expense of sacrificing position.[6]

Cinch a pocket

To maneuver a ball on a shot so that it will be favorably positioned for later play into a particular pocket, even at the expense of sacrificing position or the inning to achieve that result.[6]

Cinch position

To play a shot using a more difficult application of stroke and speed to achieve a certain desired position for the next shot, even at the expense of or sharply increasing the likelihood of a miss.[6]


  1. Chiefly British. Describing a pot that goes straight into the pocket without touching either knuckle.
  2. Chiefly American. Describing a shot in bar pool: the pocketing of an object ball in a manner such that the target object ball does not kiss any other object ball, and is not banked, kicked, caromed, or combo'd in, and without double-kissing, though it may hit the knuckles, and depending upon local bar-rules may be allowed to contact either of the cushions, not just at the knuckle, that run into the target pocket. Usage example: "The 7 in that corner, clean". Usage can be narrower, to indicate clean other than as already specified, e.g. "bank the 7 in that corner, clean".


In snooker and British pool, the successful potting of all object balls-on in a single frame. A player is said to have "cleared up" or to have "cleared the table". Also, if a snooker player compiles a break consisting of all 15 reds with colours, then the colours in sequence, this is known as a "total clearance". Compare break and run.


Phenomenon where two balls, (usually the cue ball and an object ball) have some foreign material (often residual chalk or dirt picked up from unbrushed cloth) between them at the point of contact, resulting in the struck object ball being thrown offline from the expected trajectory, and often also affecting the post-impact path of the cue ball. A typical precaution against cling is to ask for the cue ball and/or object ball to be cleaned by the referee in order to remove chalk that is already on the ball prior to the shot. The table cloth should also be clean. However, no precaution can ward against cling resulting from chalk transferred from the cue tip to the cue ball during a single shot. Coincidental cling can therefore cause unpredictable play and occasionally lead to rudimentary shots being missed at even the highest levels of the game.[24] "Cling" (and derived words like "clung", "clinger", "clinging", etc.) may be used as a mass noun, less commonly as a count noun, as a verb, and rarely as an adjective ("cling is annoying", "two clings in one frame", "they clung", "unintentional cling shot", respectively). Also known as skid, or in the UK, kick (sense 2). See also dead ball, sense 2.

Closed bridge

Also loop bridge. A bridge formed by the hand where a finger (normally the index finger) is curved over the cue stick and the other fingers are spread on the cloth providing solid support for the cue stick's direction. A closed bridge is less common in snooker play than in other games.[1]:52-3Compare Open bridge.


The baize cloth covering the tables playing surface and rails, usually made from wool or a wool-nylon blend. In use since the 15th century, cloth is traditionally green-colored, chosen for its evocation of grass. Sometimes cloth is improperly referred to as "felt." The properties of the cloth used to cover a table, as well as environmental conditions that can affect it—notably humidity, the degree its been stretched when installed, and its level of cleanness—have a profound effect on play.[1]:53 See also fast.


Two or more object balls that are touching or are close together. More rare uses of the term include the intended action of a gather shot, and a run of points.[1]:53

Cocked-hat double

Also cocked hat double. A term applied especially in snooker for a type of double off three cushions, e.g. around the baulk colours and into a centre pocket. Such a shot is very difficult to make and would not normally be played as anything more than a shot for nothing.


The protector of the joint of the cue on the joint end of the butt and shaft (i.e., the butt collar and shaft collar respectively). Most modern cues use collars of steel and/or other materials, but carom billiards cues usually have a collarless wood-on-wood joint,[25] as do "sneaky petes".

Collision-induced side spin

Side spin imparted to an object ball by the friction from the hit of the cue ball during a cut shot.

Collision-induced throw

Deflection of an object ball's path away from the impact line of a cut shot, caused by sliding friction between the cue ball and the object ball. One of the two types of throw.

Colour ball

A complete set of snooker balls with 15 red balls, six coloured balls and cue ball.

Also coloured ball(s), colour(s); American spelling color sometimes also used.

  1. In snooker, any of the object balls that are not reds. A colour ball must be potted after each red in the continuation of a break, and are re-spotted until the reds run out, after which the colours must be potted in their order:
Although the full term includes "ball" after the colour, they are most commonly referred to with the omission of "ball", just stating the colour (e.g. "he's taken five blacks with reds so far").
2. In blackball, a generic, collective term for the red and yellow groups of object balls, corresponding to the (originally American, but used much more widely today) solids and stripes, respectively.[7]

Combination shot

Also combination, combo. Any shot in which the cue ball contacts an object ball, which in turn hits one or more additional object balls (which in turn may hit yet further object balls) to send the last-hit object ball to an intended place, usually a pocket.[5] In the UK this is often referred to as a plant.

Contact point

The point on each of two balls at which they touch at the moment of impact.[5]

Containing safety

A type of safety shot in the middle of a safety exchange that is not intended to put the opponent in a difficult situation regarding their next safety, but rather played so as to not leave an easy pot on. A typical example in snooker, which sees the most shots of this kind, is a slow roll-up into the pack.


When the corner lip of a pocket blocks the path of the cue ball from contacting an intended object ball. Interchangeable with "tittie-hooked".[5]

Corner pocket

Any of the four pockets in each corner of a pool or snooker table. They have a 90 degree aperture and as such are cut deeper than center pockets, which have 180 degree apertures.


A successful shot or score; more common in carom games.[5]

Count, the

The running score during a game inning where multiple successive points have been made.[5]

Cradle cannon

A type of nurse shot used in English billiards in which two coloured balls are positioned on either side of the mouth of a snooker table pocket but not touching and, thus placed, can be successively contacted and scored off over and over by the cue ball without moving them. The cradle cannon's first known use was by Walter Lovejoy in 1907. The unofficial record using the shot is held by Tom Reece who in 1907, over the course of a month, scored 499,135 points using the cradle cannon before stopping without missing. This feat prompted the Billiards Association to outlaw the shot. The official record is held by William Cook with 42,746 points scored.[1]:62 Compare anchor nurse.


Deviation of a ball from its initial direction of travel. Often the result of a poor-quality table and may be an artifact of the cloth, the bed, a ball with uneven weight distribution, or simply the floor the table stands on being uneven. It should not be confused with the nap of the cloth.


A set of paired balls in the game of cribbage pool that have a number value which combined equal 15. For example, the 8 ball and the 7 ball added together equal 15 and thus constitute one cribbage if pocketed in succession.[26]


Also cross rake or jigger. A type of rest, with a straight shaft and "x"-shaped head for resting the cue upon.


A bank shot that rebounds from a cushion into a corner pocket across the table.[5]

Cross double

A British term describing a bank shot in which the cue ball crosses the future path of the object ball. Such shots are usually played into a center pocket because there is the danger of a double-kiss if played to a corner pocket.


A bank shot that rebounds from a cushion and into a side pocket.[5]


The corner formed by the rails on a carom billiards table. In modern straight rail rules, only three counts may be made while both object balls are inside the boundaries of the crotch before one ball must be driven away. The boundaries of each of the four crotch areas are measured by drawing a line from the first diamond on the end rail to the second diamond on the long rail.[5]

Crucible Curse

The phenomenon that (as of 2011) no first-time winner of the World Snooker Championship has successfully defended the title the following year since it moved to the Crucible Theatre in 1977.


  1. Noun: Also cue stick. A stick, usually around 55-60" in length with a tip made of a material such as leather on the end and sometimes with a joint in the middle, which is used to propel billiard balls. For more information see the cue stick main article.
  2. Noun: Sometimes "cue" is short for cue ball.
  3. Verb: Same as stroke, definition 1

Cue action

Chiefly British: The posture and timing used by players on their shots, often indicative of how they play in their shot selection. A fast, natural player would tend to be more aggressive whereas a less naturally gifted player might have a slow action and tend to be more conservative on the table. It is widely thought that better snooker players get lower to the table with their chins on the cue, have a straight back leg, their elbow hinging in line with the shot, and a straight follow-through after the cue ball has been struck.[citation needed]

Cue ball

Also cueball. The ball in nearly any cue sport, typically white in color, that a player strikes with a cue stick.[5] Sometimes referred to as the "white ball", "whitey" or "the rock". For more information, see the billiard ball main article.

Cue ball control

See position play.

Cue power

A British term describing the amount of control a player can retain when playing shots with heavy spin and great pace; "it took tremendous cue power to get onto the 2 ball having been relatively straight on the 1."

Cue stick

Also cuestick. Same as cue.

Cue tip

A material, usually leather, placed on the end of a cue stick which comes in contact with the cue ball.[5]

Curve shot

Same as semi-massé. Compare swerve shot.


A player of cue sports.


The elastic bumpers mounted on all rails of a billiards table, usually made from rubber or synthetic rubber, from which the balls rebound.[5]

Cut shot

Technically, any shot that is not a center-to-center hit, but almost always employed when describing a shot that has more than a slight degree of angle.[5]

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"D", the

A semicircle with an 11½ inch (291 mm) radius, drawn behind a snooker table's baulk line, centred on the middle of the line, and resembling the upper case letter "D" in shape. The "D" is also used in English billiards and sometimes also in blackball and other pool games played on British-style tables.[5]

Dart stroke

A short and loose stroke performed in a manner similar to the way one throws a dart; usually employed for a jump shot. See also nip draw.


When two or more object balls are frozen or nearly frozen, such that cue-ball contact with one object ball, without the necessity of great accuracy, will almost certainly pocket an intended object ball in the cluster. The most common form of dead arrangements are the dead combination or dead combo (a combination shot in which contact with the first object ball will pocket another one), and the dead kiss, in which contact with the first object ball will pocket it off of another one. See also wired.

Dead cushion

Same as dead rail.[6]

Dead ball

  1. Short for dead ball shot.
  2. A ball that has been used for some time, with a dirty surface, as opposed to a slick new (or highly polished used) ball.[15] A spinning dead ball will transfer more spin to other balls it comes into contact with, and not be as fast on the cloth. Even cut shot angles may be affected because of the cling or skid (British: kick) effect, and professional players often ask a referee to clean a ball, mid-game.[citation needed] Others may actually be more used to dead balls and prefer them.[15]

Dead ball shot

Same as kill shot.[5]

Dead rail

A cushion that has either lost a degree of elastic resiliency or is not firmly bolted to the frame, in both cases causing balls to rebound with less energy than is normal.

Dead stroke

When a player is playing flawlessly, just "cannot miss" and the game seems effortless.


Describing a pot played at such a pace as to just reach the pocket and drop in without hitting the back.


Displacement of the cue ball's path away from the parallel line formed by the cue stick's direction of travel; occurs every time english is employed. The degree of deflection increases as the amount of english applied increases. It is also called squirt, typically in the United States.

Deliberate foul

A shot, especially common in straight pool and in some variants of blackball (but not WEPF/EPA rules[7]), in which a player intentionally commits a foul with the object in mind of either leaving the opponent with little chance of running out or simply to avoid shooting where no good shot is presented and to do anything else would give the opponent an advantage. It is often referred to in straight pool as a "back scratch."


Same as call. (Formal.)


To move a ball (usually deliberately) from a safe position, e.g. close to the middle of a cushion or in a cluster, so that it becomes pottable.


  1. A manufacturer's sample board showing various styles of diamond inlays for billiard tables.
    One of a number of identical markings, usually inlaid into the surface above the rail cushions, used as target or reference points. Three equally spaced diamonds are normally between each pocket on a pool table. On a carom table, the pockets themselves are replaced by additional diamonds. Diamonds get their name from the shape of the markings traditionally used; though many today are round, square, etc., these rail markings are still referred to as "diamonds". They are also referred to as sights, especially in British English. (See also diamond system.)
  2. Racking up a game of seven-ball using the diamond rack more commonly used for nine-ball, but sideways. The 1 ball is about to be placed on the foot spot to complete the rack.
    A particular shape of ball rack, in the form of a parallelogram ("diamond shape"), used for racking games of nine-ball and seven-ball, though the triangle rack can also be used for the former, and hexagonal racks also exist for the latter. (See also triangle.)

Diamond system

Any system for banking or kicking balls multiple rails which uses table diamonds as aiming references.


  1. A cue sports game (such as eight-ball, three-cushion billiards, 18.2 balkline, etc.), especially as a professional or serious amateur specialization: "He was a World Champion in three billiards disciplines."[citation needed]
  2. An artistic pool term for a category of trick shots; artistic pool is divided into eight disciplines, and APTSA tournaments present both discipline-specific and all-around awards.[27]


Same as run out (chiefly British). See also break and dish.


Also dog it.

  1. A widespread term in US parlance describing missing a relatively easy shot—often in the face of pressure. Can be used in many forms: "I dogged the shot"; "I hope he dogs it"; "I'm such a dog."[6][28] See also choke, one-stroke.
  2. Same as slop shot (chiefly southern US, colloquial).


In chiefly UK parlance, the non-striped ball group of a fifteen ball set that are numbered 1 through 7 and have a solid color scheme. Compare solids, reds, low, small, little, spots, unders; contrast stripes.


Same as kick shot (chiefly British).

Double century

Also double-century break. In English billiards, a break of 200–299 points (i.e. double a century).[29] Larger multi-centuries are regularly achieved. Rare in amateur play, triple centuries are routine, and quadruples not uncommon at World Professional Billiards Championships; 2007 winner Mike Russell shot four triples in the final round alone, while of sixteen competitors, three shot quadruple centuries (one once, one twice, and Russell three times). Quintuple centuries are rare even at the professional level, with only the 494 shot by nine-time World Champion Russell (who has more such titles than any other player in history as of 2007) coming close in that event.[30] World Champion Geet Sethi holds the world record, at a duodectuple century (and then some) of 1276 consecutive points.[31]

Double cheeseburger, the

Same as hill, hill.


Also double elimination. A tournament format in which a player must lose two matches in order to be eliminated.[5] Contrast single-elimination.

Double hit

An illegal shot (foul) in which the cue stick's tip contacts the cue ball twice during a single stroke. Double hits often occur when a player shoots the cue ball when it is very close to an object ball or cushion, because it is difficult to move the cue stick away quickly enough after the cue ball rebounds from the cushion or object ball.[1][5]

Double kiss

A situation in which a ball strikes another ball which is close to a rail and the struck ball rebounds back into the ball it was hit by; usually but not always unintended.[6][28]

Double shimmed

A pool table where two shims have been placed on the sides of each pocket (in the jaws beneath the cloth), making the pockets "tighter" (smaller). Such tables are "tougher" than unshimmed or single-shimmed tables.

Double the rail

Sometimes called a snake shot. A carom billiards shot, common in three-cushion billiards, where the cue ball is shot with reverse english at a relatively shallow angle down the rail, and spins backwards off the adjacent rail back into the first rail.[5]

Double the pocket

To intentionally rebound the cue ball off both of the pocket points to achieve position.[6]


A form of team play in which two players compete against another team of two players in any given frame or match. In a doubles game, the first player from the breaking team is the only one who shoots during the opening inning, with control of the table passing to a member of the opposing team at the end of that inning, then upon the end of the opponent's inning to the doubles partner of the original player, and next to the second opponent, play proceeding in this doubly alternating manner until concluded. Contrast Scotch doubles.


Toward the foot of the table.


Also downtrou'. New Zealand: A traditional informal (pub pool and university student) rule, in blackball and eight-ball is the "down-trou" requirement: One who loses without pocketing any of one's own object balls is expected to honor this humiliation by dropping one's pants.[32][clarification needed] (See also pantsed.)

Drag shot

A shot played slowly and with heavy draw and follow-through so that the cue ball can be struck firmly but with a lot of the pace taken out, allowing more control than just a gentle tap that would travel as far. Also called "Drag Draw".


Also known as back spin, a type of spin applied to the cue ball by hitting it below its equator, causing it to spin backwards even as it slides forward on the cloth. Back spin slows the cue ball down, reduces its travel, and narrows both the carom angle after contact with an object ball, and angle of reflection off a cushion. There are several variant terms for this, including "bottom" and "bottom spin" in the US and "screw" in the UK. Draw is thought to be the first spin technique understood by billiards players prior to the introduction of leather tips, and was in use by the 1790s.[1] See illustration at spin.

Draw shot

A shot in which the cue ball is struck below its equator with sufficient draw to make it reverse direction at the moment of contact with an object ball because it is still back-spinning.[1] When the object and cue balls are lined up square, the reversal will be directly backwards, while on a cut shot, the effect will alter the carom angle. It can also refer to any shot to which draw is applied, as in "draw it off the foot rail just to the left of the center diamond". See illustration at spin.


  1. A set practice routine;
  2. To beat badly; "I drilled my opponent."
  3. In British terminology, a bank shot.

Drop pockets

Netted or cupped pockets that do not return the balls to the foot end of the table by means of a gutter system or sloped surface beneath (they must instead be retrieved manually).[5]


  1. (Noun): Derived from "sitting duck", usually referring to an object ball sitting close to a pocket or so positioned that is virtually impossible to miss. Same as hanger (US, colloquial), sitter (UK).
  2. (Verb): To intentionally play a safety.


To intentionally lose a game, e.g. to disguise one's actual playing ability.[8] An extreme form of sandbagging. See also hustle. See also Match fixing for the synonym "tank", used in sports more generally.

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8 ball

Also the 8. The money ball (game ball or frame ball) in a game of eight-ball. It is the last ball that must be pocketed, after the suit of seven object balls belonging to the player shooting for the 8 (pocketing the 8 ball early is a loss of game—unless done on the break, in most rules variants). It is usually black in colour with the numeral "8" in a white circle. In other games, such as nine-ball and straight pool, the 8 is simply an object ball. Due to its coloring and regular use as a money ball, it is commonly used as a symbol in popular culture.

End rail

Either of the two shorter rails of a billiards or pocket billiards table.


Chiefly American: Also known as side spin, english (which is usually not capitalized)[33] is spin placed on the cue ball when hit with the cue tip to the left or right of the ball's center. English has a marked effect on cue ball rebound angle off cushions (though not off object balls), and is thus crucial for gaining shape; and can be used to "throw" an object ball slightly off its otherwise expected trajectory, to cheat the pocket, and for other effects. "English" is sometimes used more inclusively, to colloquially also refer to follow and draw. In combination one could say bottom-right english, or like the face of a clock (4 o'clock english).[5] The British and Irish do not use this term, instead preferring "side". See illustration at spin.


The horizontal plane directly in the center of the cue ball, which when hit exactly by the cue tip should impart no follow or draw.


A successful attempt to get out of a snooker.


  1. Any mechanical aid that serves to extend the length of the player's cue, normally added to the end of the butt either by clipping around the end or screwing into the base. Though extensions are used for pool, it is more common in snooker because of the significantly larger table size.
  2. In a tournament where players get limited time to make their shots (common in televised matches), an extension is extra time granted before making a shot; players have a limited number of extensions in each frame.
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  1. Describes tightly woven and well-used (but clean) billiard table cloth (baize), upon which the balls move quickly and roll farther, as they experience less friction than with fuzzy or dirty cloth. May be used more extendedly, as in "this is a really fast table". Fast cloth makes draw (screw) shots somewhat less effective, as there is less purchase for the cue ball's back spin. By the same token, slide and stop shots are easier on fast cloth because it is so comparatively smooth.[1]:53
  2. Producing lively action; may be said of the table, cushions, or balls, in addition to the above definition.[22]:96
  3. Unusually "willing" to accept balls; said of pockets; see pocket speed for more information.

"Slow" is the direct opposite of "fast" in all of these usages.


See undercut.


Same as foul (chiefly British, and declining in usage; even the WPA and WEFP blackball rules use "foul").

Feather shot

Also feather. A very thin cut shot in which the cue ball just brushes the edge of an object ball. "Feather" by itself can be both noun and verb (e.g. "feathering the ball").[4]:238[5] See also snick.


Same as cloth (deprecated; it is factually incorrect).


A sleeve, fitted onto the lathed-down tip end of the cue, made from fiberglass, phenolic resin, brass, ivory, horn or antler, melamine, plastic, or other rigid material, upon which the cue tip is mounted and which protects the shaft wood from splitting from impact with the cue ball.[5]


Common slang in the US for a cheap, poorly made cue. Compare wood.


  1. An easy mark;
  2. A person who loses money gambling and keeps coming back for more;
  3. Sometimes, a poor player;
  4. As a verb, either to hit the balls hard with no intention in mind other than to get lucky (or 'hit-and-hope'), or to shoot hard at the money ball ball with the same intention. Compare slop and fluke; contrast mark (sense 3) and call.

Flagrant foul

A foul where the rules are blatantly, intentionally violated, with a stiffer penalty (e.g., loss of game) than normal.

Flat-back pack

In snooker, a situation during a frame in which the first line of the remaining reds grouped together, where the original pack was, are in a straight horizontal line. This has implications when opening the pack, as a full-ball contact off the top cushion will usually cause the cue-ball to stick to the red and fail to develop a potting opportunity.


A shot that has a positive outcome for the player, although it was not what the player intended. Examples of flukes include an unexpected pot off several cushions or other balls having missed the pocket aimed for, or perhaps a lucky safety position after having missed a pot. Compare fish and slop; contrast mark (sense 3) and call. It is customary to apologise to one's opponent if one does this.


The forward rotation of the cue ball that results from a follow shot. Also known as top spin or top, follow is applied to the cue ball by hitting it above its equator, causing it to spin more rapidly in the direction of travel than it would simply by rolling on the cloth from a center-ball hit. Follow speeds the cue ball up, and widens both the carom angle after contact with an object ball, and angle of reflection off a cushion. See illustration at spin.

Follow shot

A shot in which the cue ball is struck above its equator with sufficient top spin to cause the cue ball to travel forward after it contacts an object ball. When a cue ball with follow on it contacts an object ball squarely (a center-to-center hit), the cue ball travels directly forward through the space previously occupied by the object ball (and can sometimes even be used to pocket a second ball). By contrast, on a cut shot, a cue ball with follow on it will first travel on the tangent line after striking the object ball, and then arc forward, widening the carom angle.[5] See illustration at spin.


On a shot, the extension of the cue stick through the cue ball position during the end of a player's stroke in the direction originally aimed.[5]


Chiefly American: The half of the table in which the object balls are racked (in games in which racked balls are used). This usage is conceptually opposite that in British English, where this end of the table is called the top. Contrast head.

Foot cushion

Chiefly American: The cushion on the foot rail. Compare top cushion; contrast head cushion.

Foot rail

Chiefly American: The short rail at the foot of the table. Frequently used imprecisely, to mean foot cushion. Compare top rail; contrast head rail.

Foot spot

The point on the table surface over which the apex ball of a rack is centered (in most games). It is the point half the distance between the long rails' second diamonds from the end of the racking end of the table. The foot spot is the intersection of the foot string and the long string, and is typically marked with a cloth or paper decal on pool tables.[5] Contrast head spot.

Foot string

An imaginary line running horizontally across a billiards table from the second diamond (from the foot end of the table) on one long rail to the corresponding second diamond on the other long rail. The foot string intersects the long string at the foot spot. It is rarely drawn on the table.[5]

Forced shot

Same as cheating the pocket. Principally used in snooker.

Force follow

A powerful follow shot with a high degree of top spin on it; usually when the object ball being hit is relatively close to the cue ball and is being hit very full;[5] also known as "prograde top spin" or "prograde follow" (when referring to the action on the shot rather than the shot per se), and as a "jenny" in Australia.

Forward spin

Same as follow (top spin).


Sometimes interchangeable with scratch, though the latter is often used only to refer to the foul of pocketing the cue ball.

A violation of a particular game's rules for which a set penalty is imposed. In many pool games the penalty for a foul is ball-in-hand anywhere on the table for the opponent. In some games such as straight pool, a foul results in a loss of one or more points. In one-pocket, in which a set number of balls must be made in a specific pocket, upon a foul the player must return a ball to the table. In some games, three successive fouls in a row is a loss of game. In straight pool, a third successive foul results in a loss of 16 points (15 plus one for the foul).[5]

Possible foul situations (non-exhaustive)

  • The player shoots the cue ball first into a ball that is not an object ball;[5]
  • The player shoots and after contacting an object ball, no ball is pocketed and neither the cue ball nor a numbered ball contacts a cushion (excepting push out rules);[5]
  • The player pockets the cue ball (see scratch);[5]
  • The player does not have at least one foot on the floor at the moment of shooting;[5]
  • The player shoots the cue ball before all other balls have come to a complete stop;[5]
  • The player hits the cue ball more than once during a shot (a double hit);[5]
  • The player touches the cue ball with something other than the tip of the cue;[5]
  • The player touches any ball other than the cue ball;[5]
  • The player causes a ball to leave the table's playing surface without it returning (e.g., jumping a ball off the table);[5]
  • The player marks the table in any manner to aid in aiming;[5]
  • The player who has ball-in-hand, touches an object ball with the cue ball while attempting to place the cue ball on the table;[5]
  • The player shoots in such a manner that his cue tip stays in contact with the cue ball for more than the momentary time commensurate with a stroked shot (a push shot).[5]


A term especially used in snooker and blackball[7] but also in the US for each rack from the break off until a clearance, losing foul or concession has been made. A match is made up of several frames. See also game (sense 1), which has a slightly broader meaning.

Frame ball

Same as game ball (chiefly in snooker and blackball). The term is sometimes used figuratively, to refer to the last difficult shot required to win.

Free ball

A situation where a player has fouled, leaving the opponent snookered. In UK eight-ball this would normally give the opponent the option of one of two plays: (1) ball-in-hand with two shots; (2) being allowed to contact, or even pot, a ball other than one from his/her set from the snookered position (although the black may not be potted), with the loss of the first shot. In addition, some variations of the game allow the player to pot on the first visit only, the opposing team balls, without the loss of a 'free shot'.

In snooker it allows a player to call any ball as the ball she/he would have wanted to play, potting it for the same number of points, or the opponent can be put back in without the same privilege, having to play the ball snookered on. It should be noted that the definition of snooker on this occasion means the opponent cannot strike both extreme edges of the object ball (or a cluster of touching balls).

Free stroking

  1. Pocketing well and quickly but without much thought for position play.
  2. Playing loose and carefree.
  3. Same as dead stroke.

Freeze up

To dedicate a set amount of money that a gambling match will be played to; no one may quit until one player or the other has won the "frozen up" funds.


A resting ball that is in actual contact with one or more balls or with a rail is "frozen" (or, colloquially, "froze") to the touching ball(s) or rail.[4]:239[5] (For frozen combination/combo, frozen kiss, etc., see the more common variants under dead.


Also full-ball. A type of contact between two balls from which no or little angle is created between their paths; the contact required to pot a straight shot. It is commonly used in reference to how much of an object ball a player can see with the cue ball: "Can you hit that full?".


The basic actions necessary to shoot well—stance, grip, stroke, bridge, follow-through and pre-shot routine.

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  1. Play, from the opening break shot until one player has won (or the game has been halted for some reason by a referee). Games are the units that make up matches, races (in some senses of that term) and rounds. Essentially the same as frame, except with regards to straight pool, which is a multi-rack game.
  2. An identifiable, codifiable set of rules. pool is not a game, but a class of games. Nine-ball is a game.
  3. Note: There are also slang usages, such as "to have game" (to be a good player, as in "he['s] got game") and "to be game" (to be willing to play or to gamble, as in "yeah, I'm game, so let's see what you've got"). But these usages are not particular to cue sports.

Game ball

The ball required to win the rack. In snooker and blackball it is called the frame ball. See also money ball.[5]

Games on the wire

To give a handicap to an opponent where they have to win a specified number less games than the other player in order to triumph in the match.[34]:281, 292 The name refers to posting games on the scorekeeping mechanism known as a wire, though it is employed when no actual use of the particular device is available or intended.


An agreement between two players in a tournament, one of whom will advance to a guaranteed money prize if the match is won, to give a certain percentage of that money to the loser of the match. Also known as a saver.[6]

Gather shot

In the carom games, any shot where the end result is all the balls near each other; ideally, in position for the start of a nurse on the next stroke.[5]

Gentlemen's call

Also Gentleman's call. An informal approach to the "call-everything" variation of call-shot, common in bar pool. Obvious shots, such as a straight-on or near-straight shot for which the shooter is clearly aiming and which could not be mistaken for another shot, need not be called. Bank shots, kicks, caroms and combinations are usually less obvious and generally must be called, though this may depend upon the mutual skill level and shot selection perception of the players. An opponent has the right to ask what the shooter's intention is, if this is unclear.

Ghost ball

A common aiming method in which a phantom ball is imagined frozen to the object ball at the point where an imaginary line drawn between their centers is aimed at the desired target; the cue ball may then be shot at the center of the "ghost" ball and, ideally, impact the object ball at the proper aiming contact point.[6] The ghost ball method of aiming results in misses where adjustment is not made for collision induced throw.

Go off

Describes the propensity of a player losing small sums of money at gambling to suddenly sharply increase the stakes; often continuing to lose until broke. Compare Chasing one's money.

Golden break

In nine-ball, especially in the UK, a break shot that pots the 9 ball without fouling, in which case the player wins in one shot. See also on the break/snap.

Goose neck

Also goose neck rest. Same as swan.


  1. Nearly table-length distance between the cue ball and target object ball, or near cue and object balls and target pocket, i.e. a potentially difficult shot ("you sure left me a lot of green on that one")
  2. The cloth covering the table ("oh, man, you just ripped the green")
  3. The green ball ("that was a great shot on the green")
  4. Money ("I won a lot of green last night from that wannabe hustler")

Green ball

Also green. In snooker, the colour ball that is worth three points, being the second-least valuable colour behind the yellow. It is one of the baulk colours.

Green pocket

The pocket in snooker that is closest to the green spot.


  1. The way in which a player holds the butt end of the cue stick.[5]
  2. The wrap of the cuestick where the hand is placed, also known as the "grip area."[5]


Same as suit, predominantly in British terminology, i.e., in eight-ball either of the set of seven balls (reds or yellows) that must be cleared before potting the black. Generally used in the generic, especially in rulesets or articles, rather than colloquially by players.[7]

Gully table

  1. A table with a ball return system, as opposed to a drop pocket table.[5]:39
  2. Also gutter table. Same as bar table.
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Half-ball hit

Half-ball striking

A shot aimed so that the center of the cue ball is in line with the edge of the object ball, eclipsing half of the ball. "Hit it just a little thinner than half-ball." Assuming a cling does not occur, the shot will impart post-contact momentum on the object ball in a direction 30° (which is arcsin(1 − x), where x is the fraction of object ball eclipsed: ½ in this case) off the direction of the cue-ball's pre-contact momentum. Also notable because the carom angle the cue ball takes is more consistent than at other contact points.


In snooker and other British usages, a break of 50–99 points (100 points or more being called a century), which involves potting at least 12 consecutive balls (i.e. the last 3 reds with at least 2 blacks and a pink, followed by all the colours).

Hand chalk

A misnomer for hand talc.


Modification of the rules and/or scoring of a game to enable players of variable abilities to compete on a more even playing field.[5] Examples of handicapping include spotting balls and giving games on the wire to an opponent. In league play, other forms of handicapping include awarding compensating points to a lesser-skilled team, or using numerical player ranking systems to adjust final scores between opponents of different skill levels. See Handicapping main article for more general information on sports handicapping.


Same as duck. Derives from an easily shot ball "hanging" in the pocket.

Hanging in the pocket

A ball hanging over the edge of a pocket.

Have the nuts

Be in a game where either because of disparity in skill level, or because of a handicap given, it would be very difficult to lose.

Having the cue ball on a string

Used when describing perfect cue ball position play.[35][36]


  1. Literally, a pocket, but generally used in the phrases losing hazardpotting (pocketing the cue ball off another ball – and winning hazard – using the cue ball to pot another ball – the two types of legal shots that pocket balls in games in which the term is used at all, which is very few today. The term principally survives in English billiards, in which both types of shots are point-scoring. Formerly, a large number of different games made use of the two types of hazards as point scorers or losers in various different ways (thus their suggestive names). The term ultimately derives from holes or pockets in the table to be avoided, in very early forms of billiards.[22]:121, 148, 275. While the terms are disused in pocket billiards today, their lingering effect is obvious, as the vast bulk of such games focus on making winning hazards and avoiding losing hazards (a notable exception being Russian pyramid in which both are legal shots).
  2. In golf billiards, an area of the table (sometimes marked) that a player will be penalized for entering if their ball does not leave. Derives from the use of the term in the outdoor game of golf.[22]:120


Chiefly American: The half of the table from which the break shot is taken. This usage is conceptually opposite that in British English, where this end of the table is called the bottom. Contrast foot. See also kitchen.

Head cushion

Chiefly American: The cushion on the head rail. Compare bottom cushion; contrast foot cushion.

Head rail

Chiefly American: The short rail at the head of the table. Traditionally this is the rail on which the table manufacturer's logo appears. Compare bottom rail, baulk rail; contrast foot rail.

Head spot

The intersection of the head string and long string, which is usually not marked on a table with a spot decal, unlike the foot spot, though some pool halls mark both spots so that racking can be done at either end of the table, and wear on the cloth from racking and breaking is more evenly distributed.[5]

Head string

A line, sometimes imaginary (especially in American pool), sometimes drawn on the cloth, that runs horizontally across the table from the second diamond (from the head rail) on one long rail to the corresponding second diamond on the other long rail.[5] In most pool games, the opening break shot must be performed with the center (base) of the cue ball behind the head string (i.e. between the head string and head rail). The head string intersects the long string at the head spot, and delimits the kitchen (and, in European nine-ball, the outer boundary of the break box). The head string's position is always determined by the diamonds, in contrast to the similar but different baulk line, the position of which is determined by measurement from the bottom cushion (head cushion).

Heads up

Same as straight up.


The strength of a player's will to win; the ability to overcome pressure; "he showed a lot of heart in making that comeback."


  1. Also highs, high balls, high ones. In eight-ball and related games, to be shooting the striped suit (group) of balls (9 through 15); "you're high balls" or "I've got the highs" ("you're high" is rare, because of the "intoxication" ambiguity). Compare stripes, yellows, big ones, overs; contrast low.
  2. With follow, as in "I shot that high left", meaning "I shot that with follow and with left english". Derives from the fact that one must aim above the cue ball's equator, i.e. "high" on the ball, to impart follow. "With" is optional (e.g. "I shot that with high left" or "I shot that high left"). Contrast low.
  3. In snooker, same as "above", as in "she'll want to finish high on the black to allow position on the red".
  4. With run (UK: break), a lengthy series of successful shots; see high run, high break.

High break

UK: Essentially the same as high run, but applied to snooker and by extension to pool, especially blackball and British eight-ball pool: A break (series of successful pots) running into large numbers for that player's skill level.

High run

Also (rarely) high-run, hi-run, highrun, etc. A series of successful shots (a run) that is lengthy for the player's skill level. The exact implication is dependent upon context, e.g. "my high run at three-cushion is 15", "Jones had the highest run of the tournament", "that was a pretty high run you just did", etc. Used congratulatorily, it may be phrased "good run", "great run", "nice run", etc. See also high break.


See on the hill, hill-hill.


The point in match play where both players (or teams) need only one more game (frame) victory to win the match or race.[37][38] See also on the hill.

Hold the spot, to

In snooker, to leave the cue ball ball on the spot of a colour ball after potting it. This is usually performed where re-spotting of the colour ball would cause positional problems for the player, such as blocking available pots on one or more red balls.


Also ho ball(s). An exhortatory cry to a ball or balls to slow down or come to a stop, often made when overshooting position with the cue ball.[39]


  1. Same as snooker (verb)[10]
  2. Same as hook rest.

Hook rest

Also the hook. In snooker, a type of mechanical bridge that has only recently been endorsed by the WPBSA to allow its use in major tournament play. It is a normal rest with the head in line with the shaft, but the last foot or so of the shaft is curved. This allows players to position the curved end around an obstructing ball that would have otherwise left them hampered on the cue ball and in need of a spider or swan with extensions, which would have less control.

House cue

Usually a one-piece cue freely available for use by patrons in bars and pool halls.

House man

A pool room employee who plays with a good degree of skill.

House rack

A pejorative term for an improper rack in which the balls are not properly in contact with their neighbors, often resulting in a poor spread on the break.

House rules

The rules played in a particular venue not necessarily in comportment with official rules, or with common local bar pool custom.

Hug the rail

Describes a ball rolling along a rail in contact or near contact with it, or which makes multiple successive contacts with the rail.[1][4]:240 See velcro.


To play for money and lull a victim into thinking they can win, prompting them to accept higher and higher stakes, until beating them and walking off with more money than they would have been willing to bet had they been beaten soundly in the beginning. The terms hustler, for one who hustles, and hustling, describing the act, are just as common if not more so than this verb form. See also sandbag, on the lemonade, lemonade stroke, shark, dump.

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As in many other sports, "illegal" means causing or likely to cause a foul (the opposite being legal). (See legal for specific examples of usage.)


  1. Shortening of ball-in-hand.
  2. In snooker, the ability to place the cue ball anywhere inside the boundaries of the D. This occurs at the start of a frame, and after the cue ball has been potted or forced off the table.


A player's (or doubles team's) turn at the table, usually ending with a failure to score a point or to pocket a ball, depending on the game, a foul, a safety or with a win.[5] In some games, such as five-pins and killer, a player's inning is always limited to one shot, regardless of the intent and result of the shot. Usually synonymous with visit, except in scotch doubles format. The term is sometimes used to mean both players'/teams' visits combined, e.g. when referring to which inning in which a memorable shot occurred.


(Chiefly British.) In snooker and blackball/eight-ball pool, an instance where the cue ball has been potted (pocketed) after contacting an object ball. It is a fault (foul) in most games.[5] There is no equivalent (current) American term for this specific means of pocketing the white ball. Compare losing hazard, scratch.

Inside english

(Chiefly U.S.) Side spin (english) placed on a same side of the cue ball as the direction in which the object ball is being cut (left-hand english when cutting a ball to the left, and vice versa).[1] In addition to affecting cue ball position, inside english can increase throw.

In sight

(Chiefly British) Said of an object ball that can easily be reached by the cue ball, or of a pocket that can easily be reached by a selected object ball, usually directly (i.e. without intervening kick, bank, carom, kiss or combination shots). Compare see.

In stroke

Cueing and timing the balls well; in good form, where pocketing (potting), safety and clarity of thinking seem to come easily.[4]:241 A player who had not been doing well but then suddenly picks up (as happens during the course of many matches) may be said to catch a stroke.[clarification needed] See also stroke.

Insurance ball

A ball that is easily made from many positions on the table but which is left untouched while the rack is played, so that in the event the player gets out of position, the shooter has an insurance shot. Typically an insurance ball will be in or near the jaws of a pocket.

In the balls

In snooker, a phrase used to describe a situation where the player has an easy pot and in general the balls are in a position to go on to make a sizeable break. Compare set up (sense 4).

In the money

In a tournament, to place high enough to receive a payout. E.g., in a tournament that pays from 1st down to 5th places, to be at least 5th place is to be in the money.[6]

In turn

When a particular ball is given as a handicap in nine-ball, designating that ball in turn means that it must be made in rotation, when it is the lowest numerical ball remaining on the table, and cannot be made to garner a win earlier in the game by way of a combination, carom or any other shot. For example, if a player is spotted the 8 ball, he only wins by making that ball after balls 1 through 7 have been cleared from the table. The phrase is not common in the U.S.

Irish linen

Linen made from flax and produced in Ireland which is often used to wrap the gripping area of the butt of a cue.

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Jack up

  1. To elevate the back of the cue on a shot.
  2. In gambling, to "jack up a bet" means to increase the stakes.


When a player is on the receiving end of a devastating safety where it is very difficult or near impossible to make a legal hit on an object ball.[40]

Jam up

Adjectival expression for a player's deadly game; "watch out, he plays jam up."[38][41]

Jawed ball

A ball that fails to drop into a pocket after bouncing back and forth between the jaws of a pocket.[5]


The inside walls of a pocket billiards table's pockets.[5]


Chiefly Australian: Same as a force follow shot.


Same as cross.


The interlocking connection between the butt and shaft ends of a two-piece cue stick.[5] Usually connects via means of a steel or wooden pin, and may be protected by a collar of metal or some other material, or may connect wood-on-wood.[25]

Joint protectors

Plugs that screw into the joint when a two-piece cue is broken down to keep foreign objects and moisture from contacting the joint mechanism.

Jump cue

A cue dedicated to jumping balls; usually shorter and lighter than a playing cue and having a wider, hard tip. Also referred to as a jump stick.[6]

Jump draw

A rare and very difficult trick jump shot that turns into a draw shot upon landing. Requires precise application of spin in addition to the precise application of ball pressure to effectuate the jump. Jump draws are fairly often seen in professional trick shot competition.

Jump massé

A rare and extremely difficult trick jump shot that turns into a massé upon landing. Requires very precise application of spin in addition to the precise application of ball pressure to effectuate the jump. Turn-of-the-20th-century World Balkline Champion Jacob Schaefer Sr. was known to daringly perform jump massés in competition.[15]

Jump shot

Also simply jump. Any shot where the cue ball is intentionally jumped into the air to clear an obstacle[5] (usually an object ball, even in games with non-ball objects, e.g. bottle pool). Jump shots must be performed by hitting the cue ball into the table's surface so that it rebounds from the cloth. Scooping under the cue ball to fling it into the air is deemed a foul by all authoritative rules sources, as the cue ball is technically struck twice, once by the tip, once by the ferrule.[citation needed] A legal jump shot works by compressing the cue ball slightly against the slate under the cloth, causing it to spring upward when the downward pressure of the cue is released.[citation needed] Naturally, non-standard "rock" cue balls (made of ceramic, is much denser than the more typical phenolic resin and other plastics used for billiard balls) are not well-suited to jump shots. Some billiard halls and even entire leagues prohibit all jump (and in those cases usually also massé) shots, out of fears of damage to the equipment, especially the cloth. Specialized jump cues exist to better facilitate jump shots; they are usually shorter and lighter, and with harder tips, than normal cues. Jump shots that go through or into objects rather than over them are common in trick shot competition.

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Key ball

The object ball involved in a key shot.[6]

Key shot

  1. A shot or ball that allows a player to obtain shape on another ball hard to play position to.[6]
  2. A shot or ball that is the "key" to running out.
  3. The 14th object ball in a rack of straight pool that, when proper position is achieved on, allows easy position play, in turn, on the last (15th) object ball for an intergame break shot.


  1. Short for kick shot. Also used as a verb, "to kick [at]" (US).
  2. Same as cling (US) and skid (British). Noun, verb and rare adjective usage as per "cling".

Kick shot

A shot in which the cue ball is driven to one or more rails (cushions in British English) before reaching its intended target—usually an object ball.[5] Often shortened to 'kick'.

Kill shot

Also dead ball shot. A shot intended to slow down or "kill" the cue ball's speed as much as possible after contact with an object ball; usually a shot with draw, often combined with inside english. It is often shortened to kill.[5]


An instance of contact between balls, usually used in the context of describing an object ball contacting another object ball (e.g. "the two ball kissed off the twelve ball"), or in snooker the cue ball making contact with a ball after the initial contact with the object ball. If the player's intention was to cause two object balls to kiss (e.g. to pocket a shot ball after a ricochet off a stationary one), it is often called a kiss shot.[5] Compare double kiss; contrast carom.

Kiss shot

See kiss.


The area on the table behind the head string.[5] The origin of the term has been the subject of some speculation but the best explanation known is that in the 1800s, many homes did not have room for both a billiard table and a dining room table. The solution was a billiards table that had a cover converting it into a dining table. Kept in the dining room, play on such a table was often restricted by the size of the room, so it would be placed so that the head rail would face the connected kitchen door, thus affording a player room for the backswing without hitting a wall. A player was therefore either half or sometimes fully (literally) "in the kitchen" when breaking the balls.[1] See also baulk.


One of two sharp, jutting curves of the cushions either side of a pocket at the points where cushion and pocket meet, forming the jaws of the pockets. Also known as a point, a tittie or a horn.

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Ladies' aid

Also lady's aid. A denigrating term for the mechanical bridge.[22]:139

Lady Jane Grey

The 'Lady Jane Grey' is a rarely used term to describe a shot in the game of snooker. The cue ball is baulk side of the spotted black after potting a red ball. The black is powerfully potted into a top corner pocket and the cue ball bounces off the top cushion into the red balls, moving them into space, thus allowing the continuation of a break. Named after Lady Jane Grey, the 16th century Queen of England, possibly because the speed the cue ball must be hit matches the speed with which she was deposed from the throne.


To determine the order of play, players (representing only themselves, or teams) each simultaneously shoot a ball from the kitchen (or in British games, from the baulk line) to the end rail and back toward the bottom rail. Whichever shooter's ball comes to rest closest to the bottom rail gets to choose who breaks the rack.[22]:139 It is permissible but not required for the lagged ball to touch or rebound from the bottom rail, but not to touch the side rails. Lagging is usually a two-party activity, though there are games such as cutthroat in which three players might lag. In the case of a tie, the tying shooters re-lag. The lag is most often used in tournament play or other competitions. In hard-break games like nine-ball and eight-ball the winner of the lag would normally take the break, while in soft-break games like straight pool would likely require the loser of the lag to break, since breaking would be a disadvantage. See also string-off.


Also last pocket. A common rule in informal bar pool, especially bar/pub eight-ball, in which the money ball must be pocketed (potted) in the same pocket as the shooter's last object ball (each player may be said to eventually "own" a pocket, for the duration of the game, in which their 8 ball shot must be played if they have already run out their suit). The variant is not extremely common in the United States or the UK, but is near-universal in much of Latin America (where two cue ball scratches are permitted when attempting the 8 ball shot and count as simple fouls, with only a third scratch constituting a loss of game). Last pocket is also common in North Africa. Last-pocket rules require careful position play, and frequently result in bank and kick shots at the 8 ball.


An organization that promotes competitive, usually team, amateur cue sports, most commonly pool, especially eight-ball and nine-ball, although there are also well-established snooker leagues. Some leagues, many of which are decades old, are entirely local and either informal or incorporated, and may use their own local rules or may have adopted more widely published rulesets, such as those of the WPA. Other leagues are organized on a multi-regional or even international level, and may be non-profit or for-profit enterprises, usually with their own fine-tuned rule books. Despite differences, the largest leagues are increasingly converging toward the WPA rules, with the exception of the APA/CPA, which retains rules much closer to US-style bar pool. At least four major pool leagues hold international championships in Las Vegas, Nevada annually (APA/CPA, BCAPL, VNEA and ACS/CCS). Some leagues also offer one-on-one tournaments, scotch doubles events, artistic pool competition, and other non-team activities. (See Category:Cue sports leagues for a listing of articles on various leagues.)


The cue ball's position after a shot. "Good" or "bad" in reference to a leave describe respectively and advantageous or disadvantageous position for the next shot, or to leave an incoming opponent safe.[4]:241[5] See also position play; compare position, shape.


As in many other sports, "legal" means not causing or likely to cause a foul (the opposite being illegal). A legal hit is one in which the requirements for a non-foul hit are met (e.g., in nine-ball, the lowest-numbered ball on the table was hit by the cue ball first, and at least one object ball was pocketed, or any ball reached a cushion, after the hit on the first object ball.). A legal shot is one in which no foul of any kind was involved (e.g. there was not a double hit by the cue, the player's bridge hand did not move a ball, etc.). A legal stroke is one in which the cue stroke obeyed the rules (e.g. the shooter did not perform an illegal jump shot by scooping under the cue ball with the cue tip). A legal ball is a ball-on, an object ball at which it is permissible for the player to shoot. And so on. The term can be used in many ways consistent with these examples ("legal pocket" in one-pocket, "legal equipment" under tournament specifications, etc.).


Short for left english (side), i.e. spin imparted to the cue ball by stroking it to the lefthand side of its vertical axis. Contrast right.

Lemonade stroke

An intentionally amateurish stroke to disguise one's ability to play. Compare on the lemonade.

Let out

To allow an opponent to stop playing a set for money in exchange for something. If a player is winning a set by a wide margin, with $100 on the line, the player could say, "I'll let you out now for $75." This is usually meant to save pride.


Also littles, little ones, little balls. In eight-ball, to be shooting the solid suit (group) of balls (1 through 7); "you're little, remember", "you're the little balls" or "I've got the littles". Compare small, solids, reds, low, spots, dots, unders; contrast big.


A game that basically cannot be lost based on disparity of skill levels; "this game is a lock for him."

Lock artist

Someone talented at making lock games.

Lock up

The act of playing a devastating safety which leaves the opponent in a situation where it is very difficult or near impossible to make a legal hit on an object ball.[10] See also jail.

Long bank

A cross-corner bank shot from one end of the table to the other (i.e. across the center string). Long banks are considerably more difficult, because of the smaller margin for error due to distance and angle widening, than cross-side banks and short cross-corner banks from the same end of the table.

Long double

Chiefly British: bank shot played up and down the longer length of the table off a short rail and into a corner pocket, as opposed to the more common bank across the short length into a center pocket or corner.

Long pot

In snooker, a pot into any of the corner pockets where the cue ball had started in the opposite lengthwise half of the table. In other words, a pot in which the cue ball or object ball crosses an imaginary line joining the middle pockets.

Long rail

Same as side rail.[5]

Long string

An imaginary line dividing the table into two equal halves lengthwise. It intersects the head string, center string and foot string at the head spot, center spot and foot spot, respectively.[4]:242[5]

Look back

To enter the loser bracket in a double elimination tournament, or otherwise slip in standing in other tournament formats (i.e., to lose a game/frame/round/match, but still remain in the competition).

Losing hazard

Also loser. (Largely obsolete.) A shot in which the cue ball is potted after caroming off another ball.[5][22]:148. In snooker and most pool games doing this would be a fault (foul), but the move will score points in many games in which hazards (as such) apply, such as English billiards, or in the final or game point in Cowboy pool. The term derives from this hazard costing the player points in early forms of billiards.[22]:275 Compare in-off, scratch. Contrast winning hazard.


  1. Also lows, low balls, low ones. In eight-ball, to be shooting the solid suit (group) of balls (1 through 7); "you're low, remember", "you're low balls" or "I've got the lows." Compare solids, reds, little, spots, dots, unders; contrast high.
  2. With draw, as in "I shot that low left", meaning "I shot that with draw and with left english". Derives from the fact that one must aim below the cue ball's equator, i.e. "low" on the ball, to impart draw. Contrast high.
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  1. The target of a scam or hustle;[42]
  2. A foolish person in a pool room;
  3. To indicate where something is to be done. To "mark the pocket" means to indicate which pocket you intend to sink an object ball. Contrast fish.


An extreme massé shot by William A. Spinks during an 1893 exhibition game against Jacob Schaefer, Sr. Starting from bottom left, his cue ball swerves into and caroms off one object ball, then due to its extreme spin rebounds into the cushion four times before finally rolling away for a perfect, scoring hit on the other object ball. And Spinks lost this game.

Also massé shot. A steep curve or complete reversal of cue ball direction without the necessity of any rail or object ball being struck, due to extreme spin imparted to the cue ball by a steeply elevated cue.[5] Compare semi-massé.


  1. The overall competition between two players, two pairs of players or two teams of players, usually consisting of a predetermined number of frames[7] or games (sometimes organized into rounds). There are also specialized match formats where the game number is not predetermined; see race and ahead race for examples.
  2. To agree to rise to a higher wager, as in "$100? Yeah, I'll match that" (i.e., basically equivalent to "call a raise" in poker).

Match ball

The ball required to guarantee victory in a match. Sometimes used figuratively to mean the last difficult ball required (chiefly British and usually used in multi-frame matches, particularly snooker).

Match play

Also matchplay, match-play.

  1. Chiefly British: Competitive play in matches with standings consequences, such as local snooker league competition or the World Snooker Championship, as opposed to practice, playing with friends at the pub, or hustling pool for money.
  2. Chiefly American: Same as one-on-one as applied to league play. (Definition appears to have been introduced by USA Pool League misapplying the term "match" to what is otherwise termed a "race".)[43]:2

Maximum break

Also simply maximum. In snooker, the highest break attainable with the balls that are racked; usually 147 points starting by potting fifteen reds, in combination with blacks, and clearing the colours. Also called a 147 (one-four-seven). In six-red snooker, the maximum break is only 75 points, due to fewer red balls and thus fewer black-scoring opportunities. See also total clearance.

Mechanical bridge

Also called a rake. A special stick with a grooved, slotted or otherwise supportive end attachment that helps guide the cue stick – a stand-in for the bridge hand. It is usually used only when the shot cannot be comfortably reached with a hand bridge. Often shortened to bridge or called a bridge stick.[5] An entire class of different mechanical bridges exist for snooker, called rests (see that entry for details), also commonly used in blackball and English billiards. Mechanical bridges have many derogatory nicknames, such as "crutch", "granny stick", and "sissy stick", because of the perception by many amateur players that they are evidence of weak playing skills or technique (the opposite is actually true).[26] Small mechanical bridges, that stand on the table surface instead of being mounted on sticks, exist for disabled players who do not have or cannot use both hands or arms.

Middle pocket

Same as centre pocket.

Middle spot

Same as center spot; uncommon.


A stroke in which the cue's tip glances or slips off the cue ball not effectively transferring the intended force.[5] Usually the result is a bungled shot. Common causes include a lack of chalk on the cue tip, a poorly groomed cue tip and not stroking straight through the cue ball, e.g. because of steering. Also the distinctive metallic sound made when a miscue occurs.


In snooker, a shot where a player fouls by missing the ball on altogether. The miss rule allows for his opponent to have the player play exactly the same shot again, or at least as accurately as the referee is able to reproduce the ball positions. A miss usually occurs when a player makes an unsuccessful attempt at escaping from a snooker. It is a controversial rule aimed at formally discouraging deliberate fouls. In professional snooker, a referee will almost always call a miss on any foul where the player misses the ball on altogether, regardless of how close the player comes to hitting it, however no miss can be called when either of the players requires snookers to win the frame. If a player is called for a miss three times in a single visit while not snookered, he forfeits the frame; to avoid this, players almost always play an easy hit on their third attempt, even if it is likely to leave a chance for the opponent.


Describing a difficult pot: "the awkward cueing makes this shot missable."

Money added

Also money-added. Said of a tournament in which the pot of money to pay out to the winner(s) contains sponsor monies in addition to competitor entry fees. Often used as an adjective: "a money-added event". See also added.

Money ball

Name for the ball that when pocketed, wins the game, or any ball that when made results in a payday such as a way in the game of Chicago.

Money, in the

See in the money.

Money table

The table reserved for games played for money or the best table in the house. This table is always of better quality and regularly maintained. Money tables are most commonly reserved for big action.


Leather of the cue tip overhanging the ferrule because of compression from repeated impacts against the cue ball. It must be trimmed off, or it will cause miscues and inaccuracies, as it is not backed by the solid ferrule and thus will compress much more than the tip should on impact.[22]:159 See also burnish.

Mushroom trimmer

Also mushroom shaver, mushroom cutter. A sharp-bladed tip tool used to trim the mushroomed portion off a cue tip and restore it to its proper shape.

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A directional pile created by the short fuzzy ends of fibers on the surface of cloth projecting upward from the lie and which create a favorable and unfavorable direction for rolling balls.[1] The convention in most billiards games in which directional nap cloth is used is to brush the cloth along the table in the same direction of the nap, usually from the end that a player breaks. In snooker and UK eight-ball especially, this creates the effect of creep in the direction of the nap, the most-affected shot being a slow roll into a center pocket against the nap. It is commonly referred to in the fuller term "nap of the cloth." When nap is used in relation to woven cloths that have no directional pile, such as those typically used in the U.S. for pool tables, the term simply refers to the fuzziness of the cloth.[44]


  1. Noun: In pool, a natural is an easy shot requiring no side spin (english).
  2. Adjective: In pool, a shot is said to be natural if it does not require adjustments, such as a cut angle, side spin, or unusual force. A natural bank shot, for example, is one in which simply shooting straight into the object ball at medium speed and with no spin will send the object ball directly into the target pocket on the other side of the table.
  3. In three cushion billiards, the most standard[clarification needed] shot where the third ball is advantageously placed in a corner.[5]

9 ball

Also the 9. The money ball (game ball or frame ball) in a game of nine-ball. It is the last ball that must be pocketed, after the remaining eight object balls have been pocketed, or may be pocketed early to win the game so long as the lowest-numbered ball on the table is struck before the 9. In other games, such as eight-ball, the 9 is simply one of the regular object balls (a stripe, in particular).

Nip draw

A short, jabbed draw stroke usually employed so as to not commit a foul (i.e. due to following through to a double hit) when the cue ball is very near to the target object ball.[5]


Someone who wants too high a handicap or refuses to wager any money on a relatively fair match; a general pool room pejorative moniker. Probably derived from "nitwit".


Same as call. (Formal.)


Also nurse shot, nursery shot. In carom games such as straight rail, balkline and cushion caroms, where all the balls are kept near each other and a cushion, and with very soft shots, can be "nursed" down a rail on multiple successful shots that effectively replicate the same ball setup so that the nurse shot can be repeated again (and again, etc.). Excessive use of nurse shots by players skilled enough to set them up and pull them off repeatedly at will is what led to the development of the balkline carom billiards game variations, and repetitive shot limitation rules in English billiards. A clear example of why: In 1907, Tom Reece scored a record break of 499,135 consecutive points over a period of five weeks, without a miss, using the cradle cannon nurse shot.[45]

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Object ball

Depending on context:

  1. Any ball that may be legally struck by the cue ball (i.e., any ball-on);
  2. Any ball other than the cue ball.

Usage notes: When speaking very generally, e.g. about the proper way to make a kind of shot, any ball other than the cue ball is an object ball. In narrower contexts, this may not be the case. For example when playing eight-ball one might not think of the 8 ball as an object ball unless shooting for the 8.

On a string

Used when describing perfect play; a metaphoric reference to puppetry.

  1. Pool: See Having the cue ball on a string.
  2. Carom billiards: Order may be inverted: "as if the balls had strings on them".[15]

On the hill

Describes a player who needs only one more game win to be victorious in the match.[37][38] See also hill, hill.

On the lemonade

Also on the lemon Disguising the level of one's ability to play; also known as sandbagging or hustling (though the latter has a broader meaning).[46][47] Compare lemonade stroke.

On the snap

As a result of the opening break shot (the "snap"), usually said of winning by pocketing the money ball ("won on the snap", "got it on the snap", etc.) Employed most commonly in the game of nine-ball where pocketing the 9 ball at any time in the game on a legal stroke, including the break shot, garners a win.[1][48] Sometimes used alone as an exhortatory exclamation, "On the snap!"[8] See also golden break.


Also 1-on-1, one on one, etc.

  1. Competition between an individual player and an individual opponent, as opposed to team play, scotch doubles and other multi-player variants.
  2. A team play format in which an individual player from the home team plays a race against an individual player from the visiting team, and then is finished for that match.[43]:3–4 (Same as match play, definition 2.) Several large leagues use this format, including APA/CPA and USAPL. (Contrast round robin.)


To shoot without taking enough warm-up strokes to properly aim and feel out the stroke and speed to be applied. One-stroking is a common symptom of nervousness and a source of missed shots and failed position.[6] See also choke, dog.


  1. In eight-ball, when all object balls are balls-on for either player. See open table.
  2. A description of a break shot in which the rack (pack) is spread apart well. See also the open break requirement in some games' rules, including eight-ball and nine-ball
  3. In carom billiards, descriptive of play in which the balls are not gathered. See open play.
  4. A description of a layout of balls in a pocket billiards game (of almost any kind) that, because it is so spread out, makes its easy for a good player to run out and win, due to lack of problematic clustered and frozen balls.

Open break

A requirement under some pocket billiards rulesets that either an object ball be pocketed, or at least four object balls be driven to contact the cushions, on the opening break shot.[5] Contrast soft break.

Open bridge

A bridge formed by the hand where no finger loops over the shaft of the cue. Typically, the cue stick is channeled by a "v"-shaped groove formed by the thumb and the base of the index finger.

Open play

A description of play in carom billiards games in which the balls remain widely separated rather than gathered, requiring much more skill to score points and making nurse shots effectively impossible, and making for a more interesting game for onlookers.[15] Most skilled players try to gather the balls as quickly as possible to increase their chances of continuing to score in a long run.

Open table

  1. In eight-ball and related games, describes the situation in which neither player has yet claimed a suit (group) of balls. Often shortened to simply open: "Is it still an open table?" "Yes, it's open."

Orange crush, the

The 5 out (meaning the player getting the handicap can win by making the 5, 6, 7, 8 or 9 balls).


  1. A specific ball number followed by "out" refers to a handicap in nine-ball or other rotation games where the "spot" is all balls from that designated number to the money ball. To illustrate, the 6-out in a nine-ball game would allow the player getting weight to win by legally pocketing the 6, 7, 8 or 9 balls.
  2. Short for run out, especially as a noun: "That was a nice out."

Outside english

Side spin on a cue ball on the opposite side of the direction of the cut angle to be played (right-hand english when cutting an object ball to the left, and vice versa). In addition to affecting cue ball position, outside english can be used to decrease throw.


Hitting the object ball with too large of a cut angle; hitting the object ball too thin. It is a well-known maxim that overcutting is preferable to undercutting in many situations, as is more often leaves the table in a disadvantageous position on the miss than does an undercut. See also professional side of the pocket.


Same as stripes, in New Zealand.[49] Compare yellows, high, big ones; contrast unders.

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  1. In snooker, the bunch of reds that are typically left below the pink spot in the early stages of a frame, not including those reds that have been released into pottable positions.
  2. A cluster of balls.[4]:243
  3. Same as package.


Successive games won without the opponent getting to the table; a five-pack would be a package of five games.


Australian: Defeated with all seven of one's object balls (in blackball or eight-ball) remaining on the table. Informal Australian pub play may stipulate that if one loses this badly, one has been "pantsed" and must hobble one full lap around the pool table, with one's pants around one's ankles, or even fully naked.[citation needed] (See also down-trou.)

Paper cut

Same as feather (US) or snick (UK) (US, colloquial).

Parker's box

Named after Chicagoan J. E. Parker, it is a 3½  × 7 inch box drawn on a balkline table from the termination of a balkline with the cushion, thus defining a restricted space in which only a set number of points may be scored before one ball must be driven from the area. Now supplanted by anchor spaces, it was developed to curtail the effectiveness of the anchor nurse, which in turn had been invented to exploit a loophole in balkline rules: so long as both object balls straddled a balkline, there was no restriction on counts, as each ball lay in a separate balk space.[1]

Parking the cue ball

  1. Having the cue ball stop at or near the center of the table on a forceful break shot (the breaking ideal in many games such as nine-ball);
  2. Having the cue ball stop precisely where intended.


Also pills, tally balls and shake balls. Small, round markers typically numbered 1 through 15 or 16, which are placed in a bottle for various random assignment purposes, such as in a tournament roster, to assign order of play in a multiplayer game, or to assign particular balls to players in games such as kelly pool.[1][5]


See play the percentages.[6] Used by itself often with "low" and "high": "that's a low-percentage shot for me", "I should really take the high-percentage one".


  1. A bolt-threaded protrusion inside the joint of the cue, usually protruding from the butt and screwing into the shaft rather than vice-versa. Most modern cues make use of metal pins and collars, but carom billiards cues usually have a wooden pin, and a collarless wood-on-wood joint.[25]
  2. Same as skittle.

Pink ball

In snooker, the second-highest value colour ball, being worth six points.


Same as pea.[5]


Also piquet. Either a massé shot with no english, or a shot in which the cue stick is steeply angled, but not held quite as vertical as it is in full massé.[1]:171[4]:243


To reach a certain position in a tournament. "I placed 17th." "She will probably place in the money this time."


Chiefly British. Same as combination shot.[5]

Play the percentages

Using knowledge of the game and one's own abilities and limitations to choose the manner of shooting and the particular shot from an array presented, that has a degree of likelihood of success. This often requires a player to forego a shot that if made would be very advantageous but does not have a high likelihood of success, in favor of a safety or less advantageous shot that is more realistically achievable.[6]


  1. (noun) An opening in a table, cut partly into the bed and partly into the rails and their cushions, into which balls are shot (pocketed or potted).
  2. (verb) Send a ball into a pocket, usually intentionally.

Pocket speed

Also pocket-speed.

  1. Describes the propensity of pockets to more easily accept an imperfectly aimed ball shot at a relatively soft speed, that might not fall if shot with more velocity ("that ball normally wouldn't fall but he hit it at pocket speed"). The less sensitive to shot-speed that a pocket is, the "faster" it is said to be.[38]
  2. Describes the velocity of an object ball shot with just enough speed to reach the intended pocket and drop. "Shoot this with pocket speed only, so you don't send the cue ball too far up-table."


  1. A unit of scoring, in games such as snooker and straight pool with numerical scoring.
  2. A unit of scoring, in team matches in leagues that use numerical scoring instead of simple game/frame win vs. loss ratios.
  3. Another term for knuckle / tittie.


A term used to indicate balls that are frozen, or close enough that no matter from which angle they are hit from the combination will send the outer ball the same direction. "Are the 2 and 7 pointing at the corner?? Okay, I'll use that duck to get position way over there."

Pool glasses

Also pool spectacles, pool specs. Same as billiards glasses.

Pool glove

A tight, Spandex glove covering usually most or all of the thumb, index finger and middle finger, worn on the bridge hand as a more convenient and less messy alternative to using hand talc, and for the same purpose: a smooth-gliding stroke.

Pool shark

See shark (in all senses).


The placement of the balls, especially the cue ball, relative to the next planned shot. Also known as shape.[5] See also position play, leave.

Position play

Skilled playing in which knowledge of ball speed, angles, post-impact trajectory, and other factors are used to gain position (i.e. a good leave) after the target ball is struck. The goals of position play are generally to ensure that the next shot is easy or at least makeable, and/or to play a safety in the advent of a miss (intentional or otherwise).


  1. (verb, chiefly British) To sink a ball into a pocket.[5] See also pocket (verb).
  2. (noun, chiefly British) An instance of potting a ball ("it was a good pot considering the angle and distance of the shot").
  3. (noun) Pooled money being played for in money games or tournaments, as in poker and other gambling activities. This very old term derives from players placing their stakes into a pot or other receptacle before play begins.

Pot and tuck

A tactic employed in UK eight-ball pool in which a player calls and pots one of the balls in a favorably lying set, then plays safe, leaving as many of his/her well-placed balls on the table as possible, until the opponents commits a foul or leaves a chance that the player feels warrants an attempt at running out.


A British term for someone with little experience or understanding of the game, who may be skilled at potting individual balls but does not consider tactics such as position or safety; "he's a potter not a player." See also banger.

Potting angle

The desired angle that must be created between the path of the cue ball and the path of the object ball upon contact to pot the object ball. It is usually measured to the center of the pocket. See also aiming line.

Power draw

Extreme application of draw.[6]

Professional foul

A deliberate foul that leaves the balls in a safe position, reducing the risk of giving a frame-winning chance to the opponent. The miss rule in snooker was implemented primarily to discourage the professional fouls.

Professional side of the pocket

Also pro side of the pocket and missing on the professional (or pro) side of the pocket. Sometimes "of the pocket" is left off the phrase. To err on the side of overcutting a difficult corner pocket cut shot rather than undercutting in nine ball; "missing on the professional side of the pocket." So called because experienced players understand that on a thin cut, overcutting the object ball to a corner pocket will far more often leave the object ball in an unfavorable position for the incoming opponent than will an undercut, which often leaves the object ball sitting in front of or nearby the pocket it had been intended for on a miss.[50][51][52] By contrast, in eight-ball, except when both players are shooting at the 8 ball, the incoming player after a miss is shooting for different object balls, so this maxim does not apply, and the opposite may be good strategy as, if the object ball stays near the pocket through an undercut, it is advantageously positioned for a subsequent turn and may block the opponent's use of the pocket.[9]


Also (chiefly British) programme. Short for shot program.[27]


Means either push out or push shot, depending on the context.

Push out

As an adjective or compound noun: push-out. A rule in many games (most notably nine-ball, after and only after the break shot), allowing a player to "push out" the cue ball to a new position without having to contact any ball, much less pocket one or drive it to a cushion, but not counting any pocketed ball as valid (other foul rules apply, such as double hits, scratching the cue ball, etc.), with the caveat that the opponent may shoot from the new cue ball position or give the shot back to the pusher who must shoot from the new position. In nine-ball particularly, and derived games such as seven-ball and ten-ball, pocketing the money ball on a push-out results in that ball being respotted (which can be used to strategic advantage in certain circumstances, such as when the break leaves no shot on the ball-on, and failure to hit it would give the incoming player an instant-win combination shot on the money ball).[clarification needed]

Push shot

Any foul shot in which a player's cue tip stays in contact with the cue ball for more than the momentary time commensurate with a stroked shot.[4]:116[5] In the game of snooker, it is considered a push if the cue strikes the cue ball more than once in a given shot (a double hit) or if the cue stick, cue ball and ball-on are all in contact together during a shot (if the cue ball and object ball are frozen together, special dispensation is given provided the cue ball is struck at a downward or otherwise "off" angle; that is, not directly into the line of the two balls).

Put up money

  1. For a player to place money for a wager in an openly visible spot (typically on the hanging light above the table, thus the origin of the phrase); this demonstrates that the money is actually present and obviates any need to demand its production from the loser's pocket. "You want to play for 500? Put it up!"
  2. To stakehorse a particular amount. "I'll put up another 2000, but you'd better win this time."
  3. On a coin-operated bar table, to place one or more coins on the rail, or on the bed of the table under the cushion, as a marker of one's place in line (on queue) to play. "You didn't put your quarters up." And alternative is to put one's name on a list, e.g. on a chalkboard.


The full fifteen ball set of pool or snooker object balls after being racked, before the break shot (i.e., same as rack, definition 2, and triangle, defn. 2). Chiefly British today, but also an American usage ca. World War I.[53]

Pyramid spot

Same as foot spot. Chiefly British today, but also an American usage ca. World War I.[53]

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Quadruple century

Also quadruple-century break. See double century.

Quintuple century

Also quintuple-century break. See double century.



A predetermined, fixed number of games players must win to win a match; "a race to seven" means whomever wins seven games first wins the match.[5][10] See also ahead race for a more specialized usage.

Rack (noun)

  1. A geometric form, usually aluminum, wooden or plastic, used to assist in setting up balls in games like eight-ball, nine-ball, and snooker. The rack allows for more consistently tight grouping of balls, which is necessary for a successful break shot. In most games a triangle-shaped rack capable of holding fifteen balls can be employed, even if the game calls for racking less than a full ball set, such as in the game of nine-ball. For further information, see the Rack (billiards) main article.
  2. Used to refer to a racked group of balls before they have been broken.
  3. In some games, refers to a single frame.
  4. Colloquial shorthand for "a set of balls".

Rack (verb)

The act of setting up the balls for a break shot. In tournament play this will be done by the referee, but in lower-level play, players either rack for themselves or for each other depending on convention.

Racking template

An outgrowth of the training template concept, a racking template is a racking tool used in place of a traditional rigid ball rack for pool or snooker balls, consisting of a very thin, e.g. 0.14 mm (0.0055 in),[54] sheet of material such as paper[55] or plastic[54] with holes into which object balls settle snugly against one another to form a tight rack (pack). The template is placed, stencil-like, in racking position, with the lead ball's hole directly over the center of the foot spot. The balls are then placed onto the template and arranged to settle into their holes, forming a tight rack. Unlike with a training template, the balls are not tapped to create divots, and instead the template is left in place until after the break shot at which time it can be removed (unless balls are still sitting on top of it). Manufacturers such as Magic Ball Rack insist that racking templates are designed "to affect the balls to a minimum",[54] and while pro player Mike Immonen has endorsed that particular brand as a retail product,[54] as of September 2010, no professional tours nor amateur leagues have adopted that or any other racking template. Although Magic Ball Rack implies development work since 2006,[54] other evidence suggests invention, by Magic Ball Rack's founder, in mid 2009, with product announcement taking place in September of that year.[55]


The sides of a table's frame upon which the elastic cushions are mounted. May also be used interchangeably with cushion.[5]


Same as mechanical bridge; so-called because of its typical shape.

Rat in

To pocket a ball by luck; "he ratted in the 9 ball"; usually employed disapprovingly. See also slop.

Rebound angle

Same as angle of reflection.

Red ball

Also red(s), the red(s).

  1. In snooker, any of the 15 balls worth 1 point each that can be potted in any order. During the course of a break a player must first pot a red followed by a colour, and then a red and colour, etc., until the reds run out and then the re-spotted six colours must be cleared in their order. Potting more than one red in a single shot is not a foul – the player simply gets a point for each red potted.
  2. In blackball, one of two groups of seven object balls that must be potted before the black. Reds are spotted before yellows, if balls from both group must be spotted at the same time. Compare stripes; contrast yellow ball.[7]
  3. In carom billiards, the object ball that is neither player's cue ball.


The person in charge of the game whose primary role is to ensure adherence by both players to the appropriate rules of the game being played. Other duties of the referee include racking each frame, re-spotting balls during the course of a game, maintaining the equipment associated with the table (e.g. keeping the balls clean), controlling the crowd and, if necessary, controlling the players. Formerly sometimes referred to as the umpire.


  1. In snooker, the abandonment of a frame upon agreement between the players, so that the balls can be set up again and the frame restarted with no change to the score since the last completed frame. This is the result of situations, such as trading of containing safeties, where there is no foreseeable change to the pattern of shots being played, so the frame could go on indefinitely.
  2. In pool, placing of the object balls back in the rack, after a foul break.


Also respot.

  1. Same as re-spotted black.
  2. Same as spot (verb), sense 1 (pool) and sense 2 (snooker).

Re-spotted black

In snooker, a situation where the scores are tied after all the balls have been potted, and the black ball is re-spotted and the first player to pot it wins. The players toss for the first shot, which must be taken with the cue ball in the D. A safety battle typically ensues, until an error allows a player to pot the black, or a fluke or a difficult pot is made.


A chiefly British term for a set of mechanical bridges. British-style rests differ from most American-style rake bridges in shape, and take several forms: the cross, the spider and the swan (or goose neck), as well as the rarer and often unsanctioned hook. When used unqualified, the word usually refers to the cross. Rests are used in snooker, English billiards, and blackball.[7]

Reverse english

Side spin on the cue ball that causes it to unnaturally roll off a cushion (contacted at an angle) against rather than with the ball's momentum and direction of travel. If angling into a cushion that is on the right, then reverse english would be right english, and vice versa. The angle of deflection will be steeper (narrower) than if no english were applied. The opposite of running english, which has effects other than simply the opposites of those of reverse english.


Short for right english (side), i.e. side spin imparted to the cue ball by stroking it to the right-hand side of its vertical axis. Contrast left.

Ring game

  1. A style of game play in which as many players are allowed to join as the participants choose, and anyone can quit at any time.[22]:204 The term, most often used in the context of gambling, is borrowed from poker. The folk games three-ball and killer are usually played as open ring games, as is Kelly pool.
  2. By extension, a multi-player game that anyone may initially join, but which has a fixed roster of competitors once it begins, is sometimes also called a ring game. Cutthroat is, by its nature, such a game. A famous regular ring game event of this sort is the Grady Mathews-hosted six-player, $3000-buy-in ring ten-ball competition at the annual Derby City Classic.[56]
  3. A nine-ball ring game is played by more than two players and has special rules. Typically, the players choose a random method for setting the order of play, with the winner breaking. Safeties are not allowed and there are two or more money balls – usually the five and nine.[citation needed]

Road map

A pool table spread in which the balls are extremely easily positioned for a run out, and where little movement of the cue ball on each shot is necessary to obtain position on the next.[57]

Road player

A highly skilled hustler making money gambling while traveling.[6] Fast Eddie Felson in The Hustler was a road player. One of the most notorious real-life road players is Keith McCready.


Playing an opponent for money who has no chance of winning based on disparity of skill levels. The term robbed is also sometimes used humorously in exclamations when a shot that looks like it would work did not, as in "Oh! You got robbed on that one!"


  1. Describes lucky or unlucky "rolls" of the cue ball; "I had good rolls all night; "that was a bad roll."[58] However, when said without an adjective ascribing good or bad characteristics to it, "roll" usually refers to a positive outcome such as in "he got a roll".[6]
  2. The roll: same as the lag.[15]


A gentle tap of the cue ball with the intention of getting it as tight as possible behind another ball, in the hope of a snooker. It is most common in the game of snooker, and is illegal in many pool games, in which on every shot a ball must either be pocketed, or some ball must contact a cushion after the cue ball has contacted an object ball.


  1. Descriptive of any game in which the object balls must be struck in numerical order. Billiard researcher Mike Shamos observes that it would be more intuitive to call such games "'series' or 'sequence'". The term actually derives from the set-up of the game Chicago, in which the balls are not racked, but placed numerically around the table along the cushions (and must to be shot in ascending order).[22]:51, 205 Other common rotation games include pool (obviously), nine-ball, seven-ball, ten-ball
  2. The specific pool game of rotation.


  1. A multi-game division of a match, as used in some league and tournament formats. For example, in a match between 2 teams of 5 players each, a 25-game match might be divided into 5 rounds of 5 games each, in which the roster of one team moves one line down at the beginning of each round, such that by the end of the match every player on team A has played every player on team B in round robin fashion.
  2. A level of competition elimination in a tournament, such as the quarterfinal round, semifinal round and final round.

Round robin

A tournament format in which each contestant plays each of the other contestants at least once.[5] In typical league team play, round robin format means that each member of the home team plays each member of the visiting team once. This format is used by BCAPL, VNEA and many other leagues. Contrast one-on-one.

Round the angles

Describing a shot which requires one or more balls to be played off several cushions, such as an elaborate escape or a positional shot; "he'll have to send the cue ball round the angles to get good position."

Rubber match

The deciding match between two tied opponents. Compare hill, hill.


A British term (especially in snooker) for the splitting of a group of balls when another ball is sent into them, typically with the intent of deliberately moving them with the cue ball to develop them.


The number of balls pocketed in an inning in pool (e.g., a run of five balls), or points scored in a row in carom billiards (e.g., a run of five points).[4]:244[5] Compare British break (sense 2), which is applied to pool as well as snooker in British English.

Run out

  1. (verb) Make all of the required shots in a game without the opponent ever getting to the table or getting back to the table
  2. (noun) usually run-out, sometimes runout) An instance of running out in a game.

Run the table

Similar to run out (sense 1), but more specific to making all required shots from the start of a rack. See also break and run, break and dish.

Running english

Side spin on the cue ball that causes it to roll off a cushion (contacted at an angle) with rather than against the ball's natural momentum and direction of travel.[6] If angling into a rail that is on the right, then running english would be left english, and vice versa. The angle of deflection will be wider than if no english were applied to the cue ball. But more importantly, because the ball is rolling instead of sliding against the rail, the angle will be more consistent. For this reason, running English is routinely used. Also called running side in British terminology. Contrast reverse english.

Contents: Top   !–9 A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z    References 



  1. Describing a ball that is in a position that makes it very difficult to pot.
  2. Describing a situation a player has been left in by the opponent, intentionally or otherwise, that makes it difficult to pot any balls-on. See also snooker.


  1. An intentional defensive shot, the most common goal of which is to leave the opponent either no plausible shot at all, or at least a difficult one.
  2. A shot that is called aloud as part of a game's rules; once invoked, a safety usually allows the player to pocket his or her own object ball without having to shoot again, for strategic purposes. In games such as seven-ball, in which any shot that does not result in a pocketed ball is a foul under some rules, a called safety allows the player to miss without a foul resulting. A well-played safety may result in a snooker.

Safety break

A break shot in which the object is to leave the incoming player with no shot or a very difficult shot, such as is normally employed in the opening break of straight pool.[1] Cf. open break.


To disguise the level of one's ability to play in various ways such as using a lemonade stroke; intentionally missing shots; making an uneven game appear "close"; purposefully losing early, inconsequential games. Sandbagging is a form of hustling, and in handicapped leagues, considered a form of cheating, as it is used to obtain a low handicap so that a skilled player can later use this rating to improper advantage in more important competitions. See also dump and on the lemonade.


Same as gapper[6]

Scotch doubles

A form of doubles play in which the two team members take turns, playing alternating shots during an inning (i.e. each team's inning consists of two players' alternating visits, each of one shot only, until that team's inning ends, and the next team begins their alternating-shot turn.) Effective scotch doubles play requires close communication between team partners, especially as to desired cue ball position for the incoming player. Like "english", "scotch" is usually not capitalized in this context. The term is also used in bowling, and may have originated there.


Pocketing of the cue ball in pocket billiards. In most games, a scratch is a type of foul.[5] "Scratch" is sometimes used to refer to all types of fouls. See, more generally, foul.


Same as draw (chiefly British).


An abrasive tip tool used as a grinder to roughen the cue tip to better hold chalk after it has become hardened and smooth from repeated impacts with the cue ball. Tappers serve the same purpose, but are used differently. Similar to a shaper, but shallower and less rough.


The placement of player(s) automatically in a tournament where some have to qualify, or automatic placement in later rounds.[5]

Sell out

To bungle a shot in a manner that leaves the table in a fortuitous position for the opponent.[51] Contrast sell the farm.

Sell the farm

To bungle a shot in a manner that leaves the table in such a fortuitous position for the opponent that there is a strong likelihood of losing the game or match.[6] Contrast sell out.


Also semi-massé shot. A moderate curve imparted to the path of the cue ball by an elevated hit with use of english (side); or a shot using this technique. Also known as a curve (US) or swerve (UK) shot. Compare massé.


  1. Principally US: One or more sets, usually in the context of gambling. See also ahead race (a.k.a. ahead session) for a more specialized usage.
  2. Principally British: Any of a group of pre-determined frames played in a match too long to be completed within a single day's play. A best of 19 frame match, for example, is generally played with two "sessions", the first composed of nine frames, the second of ten. This term is generally used only in the context of professional snooker, as matches at the amateur level are rarely played over more than nine frames. Longer matches can be split into three or four sessions.

Session to spare

Principally British: In snooker, if a player wins a match without the need for the final session to be played (for example, if a player wins a best-of-25-frames match split into three sessions – two sessions of eight frames and one of nine – by a margin of say, 13 frames to 3), then they are said to have won the match "with a session to spare".


A predetermined number of games, usually played for a specified sum of money. Contrast race (a predetermined number of wins). Informally, sets may refer to gambling more generally, as in "I've been playing sets all day", even when the format is actually races or single games.

Set up

Usually set-up in non-verb form, sometimes setup in noun form particularly.

  1. (Of a player or referee) to place the balls (and other items, if applicable, such as skittles) properly for the beginning of a game: "In eight-ball, properly setting up requires that the rear corners of the rack not have two stripes or two solids but one of each." For most pocket billiards games this is in a racked pattern, but the term is applicable more broadly than "rack", e.g. in carom billiards and in pocket games like bottle pool. Contrast layout.
  2. (Of the game equipment) arranged properly for the beginning of a game: "set up and waiting for the break", "an improper set-up"
  3. (Of a player, passively and specifically) to have good shape – to be in a favorable position for making a shot or other desired play ("is set-up on the 9", "could be set-up for the corner-pocket after this shot")
  4. (Of a player, passively, generally, and chiefly US) to be in a favorable position for, and with a layout conductive to, a long run (UK: break) or complete run-out: "a crucial miss that left his opponent really set-up"; compare (chiefly British) "in the balls"
  5. (Of a player, actively) to use position play to move one or more specific balls to specific locations with a specific goal in mind, usually pocketing (potting) a specific ball or getting an easy out, but possibly a safety, nurse or trap shot; in short, to get shape: "She set up on the 9-ball with a careful draw shot." The meaning can be inverted to indicate poor play on the part of the other player: "Oops, I just set you up for an easy win when I missed like that."
  6. (Of a table layout) comparatively easy to completely run out, e.g. because of a lack of clusters or blocking balls: "looks like a nice set-up for a quick out", "this table's totally set up for you"
  7. (Of cue ball position more specifically): having good shape – comparatively easy to use to some advantage, such as continuing a run (UK: break) or playing safe: "The cue ball's set up for an easy side pocket shot."
  8. (Of a shot or strategy) the result of position play (careful or reckless): "Playing the 6 off the 8 was a great set-up to win", "That follow shot was a terrible set-up for the 6-ball."
  9. (Of a hustler) to successfully convince a fish that one is not a very skilled player and that gambling on a game will be a good idea: "That guy totally set me up and took me for $200." Such a hustle is a setup or set-up.


A pocket; usually used in disgust when describing a scratch (e.g., "the cue ball's gone down the sewer").


The upper portion of a cue which slides on a player's bridge hand and upon which the tip of the cue is mounted at its terminus.[5] It also applies to the main, unsegmented body of a mechanical bridge.


Same as position. "She got good shape for the next shot". See also position play, leave.


A highly abrasive tip tool used to shape an unreasonably flat new cue tip, or misshapen old one, into a more usable, consistently curved profile, most commonly the curvature of a nickel or dime (or equivalently sized non-US/Canadian coin) for larger and smaller pool tips, respectively. Similar to a scuffer, but deeper and rougher.


Also pool shark, poolshark (US); sharp, pool sharp (British)

  1. Verb: To perform some act or make some utterance with the intent to distract, irritate or intimidate the opponent so that they do not perform well, miss a shot, etc.[6] Most league and tournament rules forbid blatant sharking, as a form of unsportsmanlike conduct, but it is very common in bar pool.
  2. Noun: Another term for hustler.[6]
  3. Noun: A very good player. This usage is common among non-players who often intend it as a compliment and are not aware of its derogatory senses (above).[6]


Chiefly British: Same as shark (senses 1, 2). The term appears in lyrics from The Mikado (1884) in relation to billiards, and developed from sharper (in use by at least 1681, but now obsolete) meaning "hustler" but not specific to billiards.[1]:207-8 See also card sharp for more etymological details and sources.

Short rack

Any game which uses a rack composed of less than 15 balls.[5]

Short rail

Either of the two shorter rails on a standard pool, billiards or snooker table. Contrast side rail/long rail.


Also short stop, short-stop. A second-tier professional who is not (yet) ready for World Championship competition.[2][59] It can also be applied by extension to a player who is one of the best in a region but not quite good enough to consistently beat serious road players and tournament pros. The term was borrowed from baseball.


Verb form: to shoot. The use of the cue to perform or attempt to perform a particular motion of balls on the table, such as to pocket (pot) an object ball, to achieve a successful carom (cannon), or to play a safety.

Shot for nothing

Also shot to nothing. A British term for a shot in which a player attempts a difficult pot but with safety in mind, so that in the event of missing the pot it is likely that the opponent will not make a meaningful contribution, and will probably have to reply with a safety. The meaning refers to lack of risk, i.e. at no cost to the player ("for nothing" or coming "to nothing"). Compare two-way shot.

Shot program

Also (chiefly British) shot programme. The enumerated trick shots that must be performed in the fields of artistic billiards (70 pre-determined shots) and artistic pool (56 tricks in 8 "disciplines").[27]


Chiefly British: Short for side spin. In Canadian usage, the term is sometimes used as a verb, "to side".

Side pocket

One of the two pockets one either side of a pool table halfway up the long rails. They are cut shallower than corner pockets because they have a 180 degree aperture, instead of 90 degrees. In the UK the term centre pocket or middle pocket are preferred.

Side rail

Either of the two longer rails of a billiards or pocket billiards table, bisected by a center pocket and bounded at both ends by a corner pocket. Also called a long rail.

Side spin

Also sidespin, side-spin, side. spin placed on the cue ball when hit with the cue tip to the left or right of the ball's center; usually called english in American usage. See english, in its narrower definition, for details on the effects of side spin. See illustration at spin.


Chiefly British; same as diamond.


Also single elimination. A tournament format in which a player is out of the tournament after a single match loss.[5] Contrast double-elimination.


Same as pocket (sense 2).

Sink-in Shot

Any shot that intentionally accounts for the elasticity of the cushions to allow a ball to bank past an otherwise blocking ball. The moving ball will sink in to the cushion very near the blocking ball giving it sufficient space to get past it or kiss off the back side of it.


Chiefly British: Same as duck, and stemming from the same obvious etymology.


'"British: Same as cling, and kick, sense 2. Noun, verb and rare adjective usage as per "cling".


An upright pin, which looks like a miniature bowling pin, cone or obelisk. Skittles, as employed in billiards games, have been so-called since at least 1634.[1] One standardized size, for the largely Italian and South American game five-pins, is 25 mm (1 in.) tall, with 7 mm (0.28 in.) round bases,[60] though larger variants have long existed for other games such as Danish pin billiards. Depending upon the game there may be one skittle, or several, and they may be targets to hit (often via a carom) or obstacles to avoid, usually the former. They are also sometimes called pins, though that term can be ambiguous. Because of the increasing international popularity of the Italian game five-pins), they are sometimes also known even in English by their Italian name, birilli (singular birillo). Skittles are also used as obstacles in some artistic billiards shots. #Flat, thin rectangular skittles, somewhat like large dominoes, approximately 6 in. tall by 3 in. wide, and placed upright like an obelisks on the table in specific spots, are used in the obsolescent and principally Australian games devil's pool and victory billiards. Depending upon the exact game being played, there may be one pin, or several of various colors (e.g. ten white and two black in devil's pool), and they may be targets or obstacles, most commonly the latter.[61] They are usually made of plastic, and are increasingly difficult to obtain, even from Australian billiards suppliers. A black obelisk skittle of this sort features prominently, as a particularly dire hazard, in several scenes of sci-fi/pool film Hard Knuckle (1992, Australia).[62] Skittles as used in billiards games date to ground billiards (13th century or earlier) played with a mace, and hand-thrown games of bowls from at least the same era using the same equipment. Ball games using a recognizable form of skittle are known from as early as ca. 3300 BCE in Ancient Egypt.[63]:3–44


During a set if the opponent does not win a single game, they are said to have been skunked.


The heavy, finely milled rock (slate) that forms the bed of the table, beneath the cloth. Major slate suppliers for the billiards industry are Italy, Brazil and China. Some cheaper tables, and novelty tables designed for outdoor use, do not use genuine slate beds, but artificial materials such as Slatrol.


Also, sliding ball when used in gerund form. Describes a cue ball sliding on the cloth without any top spin or back spin on it.[6]

Slip stroke

A stroking technique in which a player releases his gripping hand briefly and re-grasps the cue farther back on the butt just before hitting the cue ball.[64] See Cowboy Jimmy Moore; a well known practitioner of the slip stroke.


  1. Also slop shot. A luck shot. Compare fish and fluke; contrast mark (sense 3) and call.
  2. Also sloppy. Descriptive of any game where the rules have been varied to allow luck shots not normally allowed or where no foul rules apply.

Slop pockets

Pocket openings that are significantly wider than are typical and thus allow shots hit with a poor degree of accuracy to be made that would not be pocketed on a table with more exacting pocket dimensions.[52]


Exact opposite of fast, all senses.


Also smalls, small ones, small balls. In eight-ball, to be shooting the solid suit (group) of balls (1 through 7); "you're the small one" or "I've got the smalls". Compare little, solids, reds, low, spots, dots, unders; contrast big.


The effect of shooting regulation-weight object balls with an old-fashioned over-weight bar table cue ball, such that the cue ball moves forward to occupy (sometimes only temporarily), or go beyond, the original position of the object ball, even on a draw or stop shot, because the mass of the cue ball exceeds that of the object ball. Players who understand smash-through well can use it intentionally for position play, such as to nudge other object balls nearby the target ball. Smash-through also makes it dangerous in bar pool (when equipped with such a cue ball) to pocket straight-on ducks with a stop shot instead of by cheating the pocket because of the likelihood of scratching the cue ball.[9]


Same as break, sense 1.[6][8]

Sneaky pete

A two-piece cue constructed to resemble a house cue, with a near-invisible wood-to-wood joint.[3]:79 The subterfuge often enables a hustler to temporarily fool unsuspecting fish into thinking that he or she is an unskilled banger with no regard for finesse or equipment quality. Many league players also use cheap but solid sneaky petes as their break cues.


A British term for a pot that requires very fine contact between cue ball and object ball. See also feather.


  1. (noun) The game of snooker.
  2. (verb) To leave the opponent (accidentally or by means of a safety) so that a certain shot on a preferred object ball cannot be played directly in a straight line by normal cueing. It most commonly means that the object ball cannot be hit, because it is hidden by another ball or, more rarely, the knuckle of a pocket (see corner-hooked). It can also refer to the potting angle or another significant point of contact on the object ball, blocking an otherwise more straightforward shot, even if an edge can be seen. A common related adjective describing a player in this situation is snookered. Also known as "to hook", for which the corresponding adjective "hooked" is also common. See also free ball.
  3. (noun) An instance of this situation (e.g. "she's put him in a difficult snooker"). A player can choose a range of shots to get out of a snooker; usually a kick shot will be implemented but semi-massés are often preferred, and in games where it is not a foul, jump shots may be employed that often yield good results for skilled players. "Snooker" is used loosely (when used at all; "hook" is favored) in the US, but has very specific definitions and subtypes (such as the total snooker) in blackball.[7] See also safe.

Snooker spectacles

Also snooker specs, snooker glasses. Same as billiards glasses.

Snookers required

A phrase used in snooker to describe the scenario whereby there are not enough available points on the table to level the scores for the frame, therefore the trailing player needs his/her opponent to foul in order to be able to make up the deficit. The name comes from the fact that this would normally have to be achieved by placing the leading player in foul-prone situations such as difficult snookers.

Soft break

A break shot in which the rack (pack) is disturbed as little as possible within the bounds of a legal shot, in order to force the opponent to have to break it up further. A soft break is desirable in some games, such as straight pool, in which breaking is a disadvantage; and forbidden by the open break rules of other games such as nine-ball and eight-ball.


Also solid, solid ones, solid balls. The non-striped ball suit (group) of a fifteen ball set that are numbered 1 through 7 and have a solid color scheme (i.e., not including the 8 ball). As in, "I'm solid", or "you've got the solids". Compare lows, smalls, littles, reds, spots, dots, unders; contrast stripes.


A player's skill level.[6][47]

Speed control

The use of the correct amount of cue ball speed in position play to achieve proper shape for a subsequent shot.[4]:98, 102, 245


Also spider rest. A type of rest, similar to a common American-style rake bridge but with longer legs supporting the head so that the cue is higher and can reach over and around an obstructing ball to reach the cue ball. See also swan.


Basic cue tip contact points on the cue ball to impart various forms of spin. Top spin is also known as follow, side spin as english, and bottom spin as back spin, draw or screw.

Rotational motion applied to a ball, especially to the cue ball by the tip of the cue, although if the cue ball is itself rotating it will impart (opposite) spin (in a lesser amount) to a contacted object ball. Types of spin include top spin, bottom or back spin (also known as draw or screw), and left and right side spin, all with widely differing and vital effects. Collectively they are often referred to in American English as "english". See also massé.


  1. Also split shot and split hit. In pool, a type of shot in which two object balls are initially contacted by the cue ball simultaneously or so close to simultaneously as for the difference to be indistinguishable to the eye.[5] In most sets of rules it is a foul if the split is one in which one of the object balls is a (or the only) legal target (ball-on) and the other is not; however, such a split is commonly considered a legal shot in informal bar pool in many areas if it is called as a split and does appear to strike the balls simultaneously).
  2. In pool, the degree to which racked balls move apart upon impact by the cue ball as a result of a break shot.
  3. In snooker, a shot sending the cue ball into the pack of red balls and separating them (after potting the ball-on). At least one split is usually necessary in each frame, since the original triangle of reds does not allow any balls to be potted reliably.

Spot (noun)

  1. In pool games such as nine-ball, a specific handicap given (e.g., "what spot will you give me?").
  2. In snooker, any of the six designated points on the table on which a colour ball is replaced after it has left the playing surface (usually after it has been potted).
  3. An (often unmarked) point on the table, at the intersection of two strings. See foot spot, head spot, center spot for examples.
  4. Alternate name for a table's diamonds (sights).[4]:245
  5. Also spot ball, spotted ball, the spot. In carom billiards and English billiards, the second player's cue ball, which for the shooting player is another object ball along with the red. Contrast the white ball, the starting player's cue ball.[15]
  6. Plural. Also spot balls, spotted balls, the spots. Chiefly British. In a numbered pool ball set, the group of seven balls, other than the black, that are a solid colour with the number on the ball inside a small white spot on the otherwise solid-coloured surface. Also referred to as solids; chiefly American colloquialisms are lows, littles and smalls, while alternative British terms include dots and unders. Contrast stripes.

Spot (verb)

  1. In pool, return an illegally pocketed object ball to the table by placement on the foot spot or as near to it as possible without moving other balls (in ways that may differ from ruleset to ruleset).[5]
  2. In snooker, to return a colour ball to its designated spot on the table. Also called re-spot.
  3. In nine-ball, the giving of a handicap to the opponent where they can also win by making a ball or balls other than the 9 ball (e.g. "she spotted me the seven ball").
  4. In eight-ball, one-pocket and straight pool, the giving of a handicap to the opponent where they have to make fewer balls than their opponent does.
  5. In some variants of pool, to place the cue ball on the head spot or as near to it as possible inside the kitchen/baulk, after the opponent has scratched.

Spot shot

The situation arising in many pool games where a ball is spotted to the table's foot spot or some other specific location and the cue ball must be shot from the kitchen or the "D". There are diamond system aiming techniques for pocketing such shots without scratching the cue ball into a pocket.[22]:238

Spot stroke

Also spot-stroke, spot hazard. A form of nurse shot in English billiards, in which the red ball, which must be spotted to a specific location after every time it is potted before another shot is taken, is potted in such as way as to leave the cue ball in position to repeat the same shot, permitting a skilled player to rack up many points in a single break (series of shots in one visit).[22]:238

Squeeze shot

Any shot in which the cue ball or an object ball has to squeeze by (just miss with almost no margin for error) another ball or balls in order to reach its intended target.[4]:245[clarification needed]


Same as deflection.[6]


  1. (noun) A player's wager in a money game. Contrast pot, definition 3.
  2. (verb) To provide part or all of a player's stake for a gambling session in which one is not a player. A person who stakes or backs a player is called a stakehorse or backer.[1] "Stakehorse" can also be used as a verb.[8] See also back.


  1. To intentionally hide one's "speed"; "he's on the stall."[65]
  2. To intentionally play slowly so as to irritate one's opponent. This form of sharking has been eliminated from many tournaments with a shot clock, and from many leagues with time-limit rules.


A shooter's body position and posture during a shot.[4]:246[5] See also cue action.

Stay shot

In the UK, a long-distance shot played to pot a ball close to a pocket with heavy top spin, so that when the cue ball hits the cushion it bounces off but then stops due to the counteraction of the spin. It is not common in competitive play, being more of an exhibition shot.


The lamentable practice of not following through with the cue straight, but veering off in the direction of the shot's travel or the side english is applied, away from the proper aiming line; a common source of missed shots.


Same as cue.

Stop shot

Any shot where the cue ball stops immediately after hitting an object ball.[5] Generally requires a full hit.[4]:137, 246

Straight eight

Also straight eight-ball. Same as bar pool. Not to be confused with the games of straight pool or straight rail.

Straight up

To play even; without a handicap. Also called heads up.


  1. A (usually unmarked) line running across the table between one diamond and its corresponding diamond on the opposite rail. See also head string, foot string, long string for examples.
  2. Same as wire, sense 2. Can be used as a verb, as in "string that point for me, will you?"
  3. A successive series of wins, e.g. of games or frames in a match or race.
  4. Chiefly British; same as lag.

See also Having the cue ball on a string.


Also string off. Obsolete: Same as string, sense 4, and lag.[15]


Also striped ones, striped balls. The ball suit (group) of a fifteen ball set that are numbered 9 through 15 and have a wide colored bar around the middle. Compare bigs, highs, yellows, overs; contrast solids.


  1. The motion of the cue stick and the player's arm on a shot;[4]:246
  2. The strength, fluidity and finesse of a player's shooting technique; "she has a good stroke."
  3. See In stroke: A combination of finesse, good judgement, accuracy and confidence.

Stroke, catch a

To suddenly be in stroke after poor prior play; "she caught a stroke."

Stroke, to be in

See In stroke.

Stun run-through

A shot played with stun, but not quite enough to completely stop the cue ball, allowing for a little follow. It is played so that a follow shot can be controlled more reliably, with a firmer strike than for a slow roll. It is widely considered as one of the most difficult shots in the game to master, but an excellent weapon in a player's armory once it has been.

Stun shot

A shot where the cue ball has no top spin or back spin on it when it impacts an object ball, and "stuns" out along the tangent line. Commonly shortened to just "stun."

Sucker shot

A shot that only a novice or fool would take. Usually because it is a guaranteed scratch or other foul, or because it has a low percentage of being pocketed and is likely to leave the opponent in good position.


A (principally American) term in eight-ball for either of the set of seven balls (stripes or solids) that must be cleared before sinking the 8 ball. Borrowed from card games. Generally used in the generic, especially in rulesets or articles, rather than colloquially by players. See also group for the British equivalent.


A player skilled at very thin cut shots, and shots in which a ball must pass cleanly through a very narrow space (such as the cue ball between two of the opponent's object balls with barely enough room) to avoid a foul and/or to pocket a ball.[66] Such shots may be referred to as "surgery", "surgical shots", "surgical cuts", etc. (chiefly US, colloquial). See also feather (US) or snick (UK).


Also swan rest. A type of rest, similar to a spider in that the head is raised by longer supporting legs, but instead of a selection of grooves on the top for the cue to rest in there is only one, on the end of an overhanging neck, so that a player can get to the cue ball more easily if the path is blocked by two or more obstructing balls. Also known as the goose neck[7]


Those who are stakehorsing a match or have side bets on it and are "sweating the action."[38]


An unintentional and often barely perceptible curve imparted to the path of the cue ball from the use of english without a level cue. Not to be confused with a swerve shot.

Swerve shot

Same as semi-massé. Compare curve shot.

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Table cloth

Same as cloth.

Table scratch

  1. Failure to hit an object ball at all with the cue ball. In most sets of rules, this is a foul like any other. However, in some variants of bar pool a table scratch while shooting for the 8 ball is a loss of game where other more minor fouls might not be, as is scratching on the 8 ball (neither result in a loss of game in most professional rules).
  2. By way of drift from the above definition, the term is also applied by many league players to the foul in more standardized rules of failing to drive a (any) ball to a cushion, or to pocket a legal object ball, after the cue ball's initial contact with an object ball.
  3. By way of entirely different derivation ("scratch off the table"), it can also mean knocking the cue ball (or more loosely, any ball) completely off the table.


White talcum powder placed on a player's bridge hand to reduce moisture so that a cue's shaft can slide more easily. It is not provided in many establishments as many recreational players will use far more than is necessary and transfer it all over the table's surface. Venues that do provide it usually do so in the form of compress cones about 6–inches tall. Some serious players bring their own, in a bottle or a porous bag that can be patted on the bridge hand. Many players prefer a pool glove. Talc is frequently mistakenly referred to as "hand chalk", despite not being made of chalk.

Tangent line

The imaginary line drawn perpendicular to the impact line between the cue ball and an object ball. The cue ball will travel along this line after impact with an object ball if it has no vertical spin on it (is sliding) at the moment of impact on a non-center-to-center collision. See also stun shot.


The profile of the shaft of the cue as it as it increases in diameter from the tip to the joint. A "fast" or "slow" taper refers to how quickly the diameter increases. A "pro" taper describes a shaft that tapers rapidly from the joint size to the tip size so as to provide a long, untapered stroking area.


A tip tool with fine, sharp points used to roughen the cue tip to better hold chalk after it has become hardened and smooth from repeated impacts with the cue ball. Tappers are firmly tapped on or pressed against the tip. Scuffers serve the same purpose, but are used differently.


  1. See racking template.
  2. See training template.


See overcut.

Three-foul rule

The three-foul rule describes a situation in which a player is assessed a defined penalty after committing a third successive foul. The exact penalty, its prerequisites and whether it is in place at all, vary depending on the games. In nine-ball and straight pool, a player must be the told he is on two fouls in order to transgress the rule, and if violated, results in a loss of game for the former and a special point penalty of a loss of fifteen points (plus one for the foul itself) in the latter together with the ability to require the violator to rerack and rebreak. In Irish standard pool and English billiards, it is a loss of game if a player commits a third foul while shooting at the black. In snooker, three successive fouls from an unsnookered position result in forfeiting the frame. Repeat fouls from a snookered position are quite common - Dave Harold holds the record in a competitive match, missing the same shot 14 successive times.


The normal phenomenon where the object ball is pushed in a direction very slightly off the pure contact angle between the two balls. Caused by the friction imparted by the first ball sliding past or rotating against the other ball.[5]


A shot in which the cue ball is driven first to one or more rails, then hits an object ball and kisses back to the last rail contacted. It is a common shot in carom games, but can be applied to such an instance in any relevant cue sport.

Tied up

Describing a ball that is safe because it is in close proximity to one or more other balls, and would need to be developed before it becomes pottable.


Describing a situation where a pot is made more difficult, either by a pocket being partially blocked by another ball so that not all of it is available, or the cue ball path to the object ball's potting angle involves going past another ball very closely.

Time shot

Any shot in which the cue ball moves another ball to a different position and then rebounds from one or more rails to contact the object ball again (normally in an attempt to pocket it or score a billiard).[5]


The ease with which a player is generating cue power, due to well-timed acceleration of the cue at the appropriate point in a shot.


Same as cue tip.

Tip clamp

A small clamping tip tool used to firmly hold and apply pressure to a replacement cue tip until the glue holding the tip to the ferrule has fully dried.

Tip tool

Also tiptool, tip-tool. Any of a class of maintenance tools for cue tips, including shapers, scuffers, mushroom trimmers, tappers, burnishers and tip clamps. Road, league and tournament players often carry an array of tip tools in their cases. The term is generally not applied to cue chalk.


Same as knuckle.


Same as corner-hooked.


  1. Chiefly British: The half of the table in which the object balls are racked (in games in which racked balls are used). This usage is conceptually opposite that in North America, where this end of the table is called the foot. In snooker, this is where the reds are racked, nearest the black spot; this is the area in which most of the game is usually played. Contrast bottom.
  2. Chiefly American: Exactly the opposite of the above – the head end of the table. No longer in common usage.
  3. Short for top spin, i.e. same as follow.

Top cushion

Chiefly British: The cushion on the top rail. Compare foot cushion; contrast bottom cushion.

Top rail

Chiefly British: The rail at the Top of the table. Compare foot rail; contrast Bottom rail.

Top spin

Also topspin, top-spin, top. Same as follow. Contrast bottom spin, back spin. See illustration at spin.

Total clearance

A term used in snooker for the potting of all the balls that are racked at the beginning of the frame in a single break (run). The minimum total clearance affords 72 points (barring multiple reds being potted on a single stroke), in the pattern of red then yellow repeatedly until all reds are potted, then all of the colour balls. The maximum break is 147 (barring a foul by the opponent immediately before the break began).

Total snooker

In blackball,[7] a situation where the player cannot see any of the balls she/he wants to hit due to obstruction by other balls or the knuckle of a pocket. The player must call "total snooker" to the referee, which allows a dispensation to the player from having to hit a cushion after contacting the object ball, which is otherwise a foul.

Touching ball

Touching ball with red ball

In snooker, where the cue ball is resting in contact with another ball. If this ball is a ball that may legally be hit, then it is allowable to simply hit away from it and it counts as having hit it in the shot. If the ball moves, then a push shot must have occurred, in which case it is a foul.

Tournament card

Jargon for a tournament chart, showing which players are playing against whom and what the results are. Often shortened to card.


Same as triple.

Treble century

Same as triple century.

Training template

Training template

A thin sheet of rigid material in the size and shape of a physical ball rack (e.g. a diamond for nine-ball), with holes drilled though it, which is used to make permanent divots in the cloth of the table, one at a time for each ball in the racking pattern, by placing a ball in one of the holes in the carefully placed template and tapping it sharply from above to create the cloth indentation. The holes are spaced slightly closer than the regulation ball width of 212 inch (57.15 mm) apart, so that when the balls settle partially into their divots, the outer sides of these indentations create ball-on-ball pressure, pushing the balls together tightly. The purpose of the template is to do away with using a physical rack, with racking instead being performed simply by placing the balls into position, and the divots aligning them into the tightest possible formation automatically. This prevents accidental loose racks, and also thwarts the possibility of cheating by carefully manipulating the ball positions while racking. The European Pocket Billiard Federation (EPBF, Europe's WPA affiliate organization) has adopted this racking technique for its professional Euro-Tour event series.[67] See also racking template.


Racking up a game of cribbage pool using the triangle rack, with the 15 ball in the middle, no two corner balls adding up to 15, and the apex ball on the foot spot.

1.  A rack in the form of an equilateral triangle. There are different sizes of triangles for racking different games (which use different ball sizes and numbers of balls),[5] including the fifteen ball racks for snooker and various pool games such as eight-ball and blackball. A larger triangle is used for the twenty-one ball rack for baseball pocket billiards).[5] The smallest triangle rack is employed in three-ball (see illustration at that article) but is not strictly necessary, as the front of a larger rack can be used, or the balls can be arranged by hand.

2.  The object balls in triangular formation, before the break shot, after being racked as above (i.e., same as rack, definition 2). Principally British. (See also pyramid.)

Trick shot

An exhibition shot designed to impress either by a player's skill or knowledge of how to set the balls up and take advantage of the angles of the table; usually a combination of both. A trick shot may involve items otherwise never seen during the course of a game, such as bottles, baskets, etc., and even members of the audience being placed on or around the table.


Also treble. A British term for a type of bank shot in which the object ball is potted off two cushions, especially by sending it twice across the table and into a side pocket. Also called a two-cushion double.

Triple century

Also treble century, triple-century break, treble-century break. See double century.


Same as visit.

Two-cushion double

Same as triple.

Two-shot carry

A rule in blackball[7] whereby after an opponent has faulted and thus yielded two shots, if the incoming shooter pots a ball on the first shot, (s)he is still allowed to miss in a later shot and take a second shot in-hand (from the "D" or from baulk, or if the opponent potted the cue ball, from anywhere)—even on the black, in most variants. Also called the "two visits" rule; i.e., the two penalty shots are considered independent visits to the table, and the limiting variants discussed at two shots below cannot logically apply.

Two shots

In blackball,[7] a penalty conceded by a player after a fault. The incoming opponent is then allowed to miss twice before the faulting player is allowed another visit. Many local rules state the in-hand from the "D" or baulk (or if the opponent potted the cue ball, from anywhere) nature of the second shot is lost if a ball is potted on the first shot, that it is lost if the ball potted in the first shot was that player's last coloured ball (object ball in their group), and/or that there is only ever one shot on the black after a fault. See two-shot carry for more detail on a sub-rule that may apply (and eliminate the variations discussed here).

Two visits

See two-shot carry.

Two-way shot

  1. A shot in which if the target is missed, the opponent is safe or will not have a desirable shot;
  2. A shot in which there are two ways to score;
  3. A shot in which a second ball is targeted to be pocketed, broken out of a cluster, repositioned or some other secondary goal is also intended.
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if i have left the black ball at last what should i do further//


Umbrella shot

A three cushion billiards shot in which the cue ball first strikes two cushions before hitting the first object ball then hits a third cushion before hitting the second object ball. So called because the shot opens up like an umbrella after hitting the third rail. Umbrella shots may be classified as inside or outside depending on which side of the first object ball the cue ball contacts.


Chiefly American, and largely obsolete: Same as referee.[15] Derives from the usage in baseball.


Hitting the object ball with not enough of a cut angle; hitting the object ball too full or "fat". It is a well-known maxim that overcutting is preferable to undercutting. See also professional side of the pocket.


Same as solids, in New Zealand.[49] Compare little, small, reds, low, spots, dots; contrast overs.

Unintentional english

Inadvertent english placed on the cueball by a failure to hit it dead center on its horizontal axis. It is both a common source of missed shots and commonly overlooked when attempts are made to determine the reason for a miss.[4]:89 In UK parlance this is usually called 'unwanted side'.


Toward the head of the table.



A British term describing when a ball is tight on the cushion and a player sends the cue ball to hit both the object ball and the rail at nearly the same time; the object ball, ideally, stays tight to the rail and is thus "velcroed" to the rail. Inside english is often employed to achieve this effect, hitting slightly before the ball. The movement of a ball just next to the rail (but not the shot described to achieve this movement) is called hugging the rail in both the UK and the US.


One of the alternating turns players (or doubles teams) are allowed at the table, before a shot is played that concedes a visit to his/her opponent (e.g. "he ran out in one visit"). Usually synonymous with inning as applied to a single player/team, except in scotch doubles format.

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A ball positioned near a pocket so that a particularly positioned object ball shot at that pocket will likely go in off it, even if aimed so imperfectly that if the warrior was absent, the shot would likely result in a miss. Usually arises when a ball is being banked to a pocket.


  1. Term for object balls in the game of Chicago that are each assigned as having a set money value; typically the 5, 8, 10, 13 and 15.[clarification needed]
  2. In games where multiple balls must be pocketed in succession to score a point, such as cribbage pool or thirty-ball, when the last ball necessary to score has been potted, the points given is referred to as a way.


To "give someone weight" is to give them a handicap so the game is more even in skill level.

White ball

Also the white.

  1. Alternate name for the cue ball.
  2. In carom billiards games and English billiards, a more specific term for the starting opponent's cue ball, which for the shooting player is another object ball along with the red. Contrast spot ball, the other player's cue ball.[15]


Principally British: In snooker, if a player wins all of the required frames in a match without conceding a frame to their opponent - for example, if a player wins a best-of-nine-frame match with a score of 5-0 - this is referred to as a "whitewash". This term is based on a similar term used in the card game of "patience" in the UK. However, it is not used in the context of a 1-0 winning scoreline in a match consisting of a single frame.


Alternate name for the cue ball.[10]


When a ball is given as a handicap it often must be called (generally tacit). A wild handicap means the ball can be made in any manner specifically without being called.

Wing ball

Either of the balls on the lateral extremities of a racked set of balls in position for a break shot; the two balls at the outside of a 15-ball rack in the back row, or the balls to the left and right of the 9 ball in nine-ball's diamond rack-shaped opening set up position.[6]:121 In nine-ball It is seen as a reliable sign of a good break (which is normally taken from close to either cushion in the kitchen) if the opposite wing ball is pocketed. See also break box.

Wing shot

Shooting at an object ball that is already in motion at the moment of shooting and cue ball impact; illegal in most games and usually only seen in exhibition/trick shots.

Winning hazard

Also winner. (Largely obsolete.) A shot in which the cue ball is used to pot another ball.[5][22]:275. In snooker and most pool games doing this is known as potting, pocketing or sinking the targeted ball. The term derives from this hazard winning the player points, while losing hazards cost the player points, in early forms of billiards. Whether the ball is an object ball or an opponent's cue ball depends upon the type of game (some have two cue balls). The move will score points in most (but not all) games in which hazards (as such) apply, such as English billiards (in which a "red winner" is the potting of the red ball and a "white winner" the potting of the opponent's cue ball, each worth a different amount of points).[22]:275 Contrast losing hazard.

Wipe its feet

British term referring to the base or metaphorical "feet" of a ball that rattles in the jaws of a pocket before eventually dropping. Usually said of an object ball for which the intention was to pot it.[6]:121


And wired combination/combo, wired kiss, etc. Same as dead (and variants listed there).

Wire, the

  1. The grapevine in the pool world, carrying news of what action is taking place where in the country.[citation needed]
  2. Actual wire or string with multiple beads strung (like an abacus) used for keeping score. Points "on the wire" are a type of handicap used, where a weaker player will be given a certain number of points before the start of the game.[34]:281, 292


A slang term for a cue, usually used with "piece", as in "that's a nice piece of wood". Contrast firewood.


Also wrapping. A covering of leather, nylon string, Irish linen or other material around the area of the butt of a cue where the cue is normally gripped.[4]:246

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Yellow ball

Also yellow(s).

  1. In snooker, the lowest-value colour ball on the table, being worth two points. It is one of the baulk colours.
  2. In blackball, one of two groups of seven object balls that must be potted before the eight ball; compare stripes; contrast red ball.[7]

Yellow pocket

In snooker, the pocket nearest the yellow spot.



Also in the zone. Describes an extended period of functioning in dead stroke ("she's in the zone").[6]:121


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf bg bh bi bj bk bl bm bn bo bp Shamos, Michael Ian (1993). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Billiards. New York, NY: Lyons & Burford. ISBN 1-55821-219-1. 
  2. ^ a b "Crack Billiards Players in Tournament". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY): 4. February 22, 1895. Retrieved 2008-08-19. 
  3. ^ a b Ewa Mataya Laurance and Thomas C. Shaw (1999). The Complete Idiot's Guide to Pool & Billiards. New York, NY: Alpha Books. Various pages. ISBN 0-02-862645-1. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t Knuchell, Edward D. (1970). Pocket Billiards with Cue Tips. Cranbury, NJ: A. S. Barnes and Co,. Inc.. ISBN 0498-07392-0. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf bg bh bi bj bk bl bm bn bo bp bq br bs bt bu bv bw bx by bz ca cb cc cd ce cf cg ch ci cj ck cl cm cn co cp cq cr cs ct cu cv cw cx cy cz da db dc dd de df dg dh BCA Rules Committee (November 1992). Billiards - the Official Rules and Record Book. Iowa City, Iowa: Billiard Congress of America. ISBN 1-87849-302-7. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag Brandt, Dale (2006). A Pool Player's Journey. New York, NY: Vantage Press, Inc. pp. 86, 91–116. ISBN 978-0-533-15176-9. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q World Eight-ball Pool Federation Eight-ball Rules, 2004, Perth, WA, Australia – These are also the rules of the English Pool Association and other national WEPF affiliates.
  8. ^ a b c d e The Color of Money (film), Richard Price (screenplay, based on the novel by Walter Tevis), Martin Scorsese (director), 1986; uses a lot of pool terminology in-context.
  9. ^ a b c Givens, R. [Randi] (2004). The Eight Ball Bible: A Guide to Bar Table Play (Illustrated Ed.). Eight Ball Press. ISBN 0-97472-737-7. 
  10. ^ a b c d e SportsNet New York broadcast of 2006 US Open Nine-ball Championship (aired December 7, 2007). Rodolfo Luat vs. Rob Saez. In-context commentary by pool pro Jerry Forsyth.
  11. ^ "World Pool Association [sic] Blackball Rules", World Pool-Billiard Association, 2005.
  12. ^ a b Jewett, Bob (February 2008). "Killing Me Softly?: The Outbreak of the Soft Break Threatens the Game of 9-ball". Billiards Digest (Chicago, Illinois: Luby Publishing) 30 (3): pp. 34–35. ISSN 0164-761X. 
  13. ^ Panozzo, Mike (February 2008). "Long Live the Cup!". Billiards Digest (Chicago, Illinois: Luby Publishing) 30 (3): pp. 34–35. ISSN 0164-761X. 
  14. ^ Simpson, Brad (1996). Paul Rubino & Victor Stein. ed. Blue Book of Pool Cues (first ed.). Blue Book Publications. p. 103. ISBN 1-886768-02-1. 
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Saw Good Billiards: Union Leaguers Entertained by Four Star Cue-wielders". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (ibid.): 8. December 20, 1893. Retrieved 2008-08-19.  Usage clearly demonstrated in context. NB: Each section of the newspaper page scans on this site can be clicked for a readable closeup.
  16. ^ Lexico Publishing Group, LLC (2006). Carom - Retrieved January 31, 2007.
  17. ^ Harper, Douglas (2001). "Carom". Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved January 31, 2007. 
  18. ^ Clark, Neil M. (May 1927). "The World's Most Tragic Man Is the One Who Never Starts" (– Scholar search). The American. Retrieved February 26, 2009. [dead link]
  19. ^ U.S. Patent 0,578,514, March 9, 1897
  20. ^ Capelle, Philip B. (1995). Play Your Best Pool. Billiards Press. p. 17. ISBN 9780964920408. 
  21. ^ Green, Jonathon (1987). Dictionary of Jargon. London: Routledge. p. 112. ISBN 978-0-7100-9919-8. Retrieved February 26, 2009. 
  22. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Shamos, Mike (1999). The New Illustrated Encyclopedia of Billiards. New York: Lyons Press. ISBN 1-55821-797-5. 
  23. ^ Loy, Jim (2000). "The Chuck Nurse". Jim Loy's Billiards/Pool Page. Retrieved 2007-02-24.  The Shamos source is the authoritative one, but this site provides an animated illustration of precisely how the chuck nurse works.
  24. ^ BBC Sport video investigating the cause of cling (a.k.a. kicks or skid); retrieved 4 May 2007
  25. ^ a b c Kilby, Ronald (May 23, 2009). "So What's a Carom Cue?". Medford, OR: Kilby Cues. Archived from the original on June 24, 2008. Retrieved November 20, 2009. 
  26. ^ a b Fels, George (2000). Pool Simplified, Somewhat. Mineola, NY: Courier Dover Publications. pp. 9, 88–89. ISBN 0486413683. 
  27. ^ a b c "APTSA Rules" (PDF). Watertown, MA: Artistic Pool & Trick Shot Association. 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-27. [dead link]
  28. ^ a b SportsNet New York broadcast of 2006 US Open Nine-ball Championship (aired November 29, 2007). John Schmidt vs. Tyler Eddy. In-context commentary by pool pro Danny DiLiberto. "[John] Schmidt unbelievably dogs a straight in eight ball."
  29. ^ "Geet Sethi crowned World Billiards Champion for the 8th Time!". TNQ Sponsorship (India) Pvt. Ltd.. 2006. Retrieved 2007-11-30.  Establishes usage.
  30. ^ "2007 World Professional Billiards Championship". EABAonline. English Amateur Billiards Association. 2007. pp. "Tournaments" section. Retrieved 2007-12-01. 
  31. ^ "Geet Sethi Page". TNQ Sponsorship (India) Pvt. Ltd.. 1998. Retrieved 2007-11-30. 
  32. ^ Scott Wills speaking as the character Wayne; Kirk Torrance as character Holden; Hamish Rothwell, director (2001). Stickmen (DVD). New Zealand: Monarch. Event occurs at 1:08:58, beginning of Wayne's run-out off the break; 1:10:54, conclusion of perfect run-out without opponent, Caller, ever getting a chance to shoot or Wayne accidentally pocketing any of Caller's balls; 1:11:10, Wayne calls his defeat of Caller "a down-trou"; 1:12:20, Holden demands a down-trou after a Wayne/Caller fight over the matter is broken up, using the noun "down-trou" to refer to the act of dropping one's pants. 
  33. ^ Lassiter, Luther; George Sullivan (1965). Billiards for Everyone. New York: Grosset & Dunlap. p. 35. 
  34. ^ a b Leider, Nicholas (2010). Pool and Billiards For Dummies. Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley. ISBN 978-0-470-56553-7. Retrieved April 3, 2010. 
  35. ^ ESPN broadcast of 2007 WPBA Great Lakes Classic, second semi-final. Helena Thornfeldt vs. Ga-Young Kim (May 13, 2007). In-context commentary on rack 10 by pool pro Dawn Hopkins.
  36. ^ ESPN2 broadcast of 2007 International Challenge of Champions, first semi-final (September 12, 2007). Thorsten Hohmann v. Niels Feijen. In-context commentary on rack 7 of second set by pool pro Allen Hopkins. "He's hitting everything like he's got the cue ball on a string."
  37. ^ a b ESPN Classic broadcast of 1995 Gordon's 9-Ball Championship (August 14, 2007), second semi-final. (Loree Jon Jones vs. Gerda Hofstatter). Direct definition of "on the hill" for viewers and two in context uses of "hill-hill" in commentary by pool pro Vicki Paski.
  38. ^ a b c d e SportsNet New York broadcast of 2006 US Open Nine-ball Championship (aired October 19, 2007). Marcus Chamat vs. Ronato Alcano. In-context commentary by pool pros Danny DiLiberto and Jerry Forsyth.
  39. ^ ESPN Classic broadcast of 2002 BCA Open 9-ball Championship, final (May 16, 2002). Charlie Williams[disambiguation needed ] v. Tony Robles. In-context commentary on rack 8 by pool pro Mike Sigel. Rebroadcast and viewed March 27, 2009.
  40. ^ ESPN2 broadcast of 2007 World Summit of Pool, final (September 17, 2007). Alex Pagulayan v. Shane Van Boening. In-context commentary on rack 11 by pool pro Charlie Williams. [Following a safety] "He put Shane in jail here; this is a tough shot."
  41. ^ ESPN broadcast of 2008 BCA Women' 9-Ball Championship, final (aired July 19, 2008). Ga-Young Kim vs. Xiaoting Pan. In-context commentary on rack 10 by pool pro Ewa Mataya Laurance: "The field has gotten so much stronger; there are no easy matches anymore—you know—your first match you have to play jam up."
  42. ^ Lexico Publishing Group, LLC (2006). Mark - Retrieved February 19, 2007.
  43. ^ a b Player Handbook: BCA Pool League / USAPL: USA Pool League Player Handbook (2009–2010 Edition). "USA Pool League Match Play Rules". June 1, 2009. Henderson, NV: BCA Pool League.
  44. ^ Lexico Publishing Group, LLC (2006). Nap -
  45. ^ Richard Holt (1989). Sport And the British: A Modern History. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 191. ISBN 0-19-285229-9. 
  46. ^ (2007). Billiard, Pool, and Snooker terms and definitions. Retrieved March 16, 2007
  47. ^ a b Shaw, Thomas C. (May 1998). "The Legendary Weenie Beenie". Pool & Billiard Magazine 16 (5): 59. ISSN 1049-2852. "It was almost as if during his years of learning that he'd been laying down the lemon. They expected the speed of the old Beenie. 'But I had improved.'" 
  48. ^ Mizerak Steve, and Laurance, Ewa Mataya, with Jerry Forsyth (2003). Quick-Start Guide to Pocket Billiards. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill. p. 87. ISBN 0071415203. 
  49. ^ a b Robbie Magasiva speaking as the character Jack; Hamish Rothwell, director (2001). Stickmen (DVD). New Zealand: Monarch. Event occurs at 1:09:27. 
  50. ^ ESPN broadcast of 2007 WPBA Great Lakes Classic, second semi-final. Helena Thornfeldt vs. Ga-Young Kim. In-context commentary on rack 10 by pool pro Dawn Hopkins.
  51. ^ a b FSN New York broadcast of 2006 Mosconi Cup (August 21, 2007). Team USA members (Johnny Archer and Corey Deuel) vs. Team Europe members (Thomas Engert and David Alcaide). In-context commentary on rack 7 by pool pros Jim Wych and Jerry Forsyth: "You try and overcut it a little bit if you miss it...if you hit it thick you'll sell out...this is called missing it on the pro side."
  52. ^ a b ESPN broadcast of 2007 Cuetec Cues 9-Ball Championship (aired on December 23, 2007), second semifinal: (Ga-Young Kim vs. Kelly Fisher). In context commentary by pool pro Ewa Mataya Laurance.
  53. ^ a b staff writers (1916-09-01). "Russian Game Popular: New Billiard Version Is Gaining Favor Among Manhattan Cuemen". New York Times (New York, NY: New York Times Company): 11. 
  54. ^ a b c d e "Magic Ball Rack". Magic Ball Rack. 2010. pp. "FAQ", "Products", "Endorsed Pro" and other pages. Retrieved September 26, 2010. 
  55. ^ a b "troyroy78" (September 8, 2009). "Magic Ball Rack Introduction (Perfect Rack Everytime)". Avondale, AZ: AZBilliards, Inc.. pp. "Forums" section. Retrieved September 26, 2010. 
  56. ^ "Van Boening Wins 10-Ball Ring Game". op. cit. January 5, 2008. pp. "Independent Event" section. Retrieved May 24, 2008. 
  57. ^ MSG Plus broadcast of day 3 of the 2008 Mosconi Cup. Mika Immonen vs. Rodney Morris. In-context commentary by pool pro Jerry Forsyth on rack 4: "What a beautiful layout for Immonen. He could not have asked for a better pattern to play. The first five balls are all down at the same end of the table; he doesn't need to make the cue ball do a lot of work; this is a road map". Rebroadcast on April 5, 2009
  58. ^ ESPN Classic broadcast of 1995 Gordon's 9-Ball Championship (August 10, 2007), first semi-final. (Jeanette Lee (quoted) vs. Vivian Villarreal). In-context commentary by pool pro Vicki Paski on rack six: "there's good rolls and bad rolls..."
  59. ^ "Chicago Billiards Tourney". New York Times (New York, NY: New York Times Company): 4. 1898-01-16. Retrieved 2008-08-15. 
  60. ^ World Rules of 5-pin Billiard, Chapter II ("Equipment"), Article 12 ("Balls, Pins, Chalk"), Section 2; Union Mondiale de Billard, Sint-Martens-Latem, Belgium, 1997 (official online PDF scan, accessed 11 March 2007)
  61. ^ Rule Book: Snooker, Devil's Pool, Billiards, American Pool, Eight Ball, Fifteen Ball, Continuous and Rotation Pool. Fortitude Valley, Queensland: Webb & Sons. 2007 [orig. ca. 1950s?]. pp. 6–7.  This appears to be a reprint of an older work, of unknown provenance, dating to the mid 20th century judging by its typeface and layout. It has also been reprinted, under a slightly different title, and again ca. 2007 by Australian gaming equipment dealer PowerPlay, but in an inferior pressing that makes parts of it illegible. The Webb edition was procured from NPC Amusements, 2008, Australia, and they may be the sole distributor, since the demise of PowerPlay.
  62. ^ Day, Gary (writer, supporting actor); Marinos, Lex (director); Bisley, Steve (lead role) (1992). Hard Knuckle (VHS (NTSC)). London: Hemdale. UPC 732302715039. Retrieved 2008-02-01. 
  63. ^ Stein, Victor; Rubino, Paul (2008) [1st ed. 1994]. The Billiard Encyclopedia (3rd ed.). New York: Balkline Press. ISBN 978-0-615-17092-3.  Many illustrations are provided.
  64. ^ Robert Byrne (1990). Advanced Techniques in Pool and Billiards. San Diego: Harcourt Trade Publishers. p. 37. ISBN 0-1561-4971-0.  OCLC 20759553
  65. ^ Geffner, Mike (February 1999). "Hard Times for 'The Kid'". Billiards Digest 21 (3): 46–50. ISSN 0164-761X. 
  66. ^ FSN New York broadcast of 2006 World Cup of Pool, third quarter-final. Team USA (Earl Strickland and Rodney Morris) vs. Team Hong Kong (Lee Chenman and Kong Man-ho). In-context commentary on rack 10 by pool pro Kim Davenport.
  67. ^ Varner, Nick (February 2008). "Killing Me Softly?: The Outbreak of the Soft Break Threatens the Game of 9-ball". Billiards Digest (Chicago, Illinois: Luby Publishing) 30 (3): pp. 34–35. ISSN 0164-761X. 

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