Billiard table

Billiard table

A billiard table or billiards table (or more specifically a pool table or snooker table) is a bounded table on which billiards-type games are played. In the modern era, all billiards tables, regardless of whether for carom billiards, pocket billiards (pool) or snooker, provide a flat surface usually made of quarried slate, that is covered with cloth and surrounded by resilient cushions, with the whole elevated above the floor.cite book | last = Shamos | first = Michael Ian | year = 1993 | title = The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Billiards | publisher = Lyons & Burford | location = New York, NY | pages = Pages 115, 238]


In the United States, manufacture of billiard tables has been ongoing since at least the mid nineteenth century. The forerunner of the Brunswick Company began commercial manufacture in 1845. [ [ History of the Brunswick Company] ] In San Francisco, California, several manufacturers were active by the late 1800s.Clarifyme|date=August 2007


Many people are confused by the use of the word "regulation", using it when what they mean to refer to is the size of tables used for professional tournaments. Regulation tables come in 3.5 ft by 7 ft, 4 ft by 8 ft, 4.5 ft by 9 ft, 5 ft by 10 ft, and 6 ft by 12 ft (depending upon factors such as available room in the venue, and what game type the table is intended for) with play areas twice as long as they are wide (plus or minus 1/8 in) from the nose of the cushion to the nose of the opposite cushion. The 4.5 ft by 9 ft model is the standard size for tournament play and is "regulation" when the side to side internal width is 50 in and the length is 100 in (plus or minus 1/8 in), when measured cushion nose to cushion nose. In previous generations 10 ft tables were standard for pool, and can still be found as antiques in some pool halls; this size remains the standard for carom games. For home use, 8 ft tables are somewhat common, but infrequently used elsewhere. Snooker tables, the largest at 12 feet when full-sized, have smaller pocket apertures than pool tables, as do models for Russian pyramid. The 7 ft models, usually coin-operated, are typically found in bars/pubs due to limited space, and are also used for the Korean game of four ball.Fact|date=February 2007 Coin-operated pool tables use multiple ways to determine the cue ball from the object balls, including light sensorsCite web|url= |title=Diamond Billiard Products - Smart Table||accessdate=2008-08-28] , different ball sizes/weights, or magnetic triggers.

While most tables are rectangles, there are novelty tables which are round, hexagonal and even zig-zag shaped. These variants, however, are all far less popular than the ubiquitous, traditional rectangular tables.

Parts and equipment


Cushions (also sometimes called “rails”, “rail cushions”, “cushion rubber”, or “bumpers”) are located on the sides of the tables’ rails. There are several different materials and design philosophies associated with cushion rubber. The cushions are made from an elastic material such as vulcanized (gum or synthetic) rubber. The chiefly American jargon "rail" more properly applies to the wooded outer segments of the table to which the cushions are affixed.

The purpose of the cushion rubber is to cause the billiard balls to rebound off the rubber while minimizing the loss of kinetic energy.

The "profile" of the rail cushion, which is the cushion's angle in relation to the bed of the table, varies between table types. The standard on American pool tables is the K-66 profile, which as defined by the BCA has a base of 1-3/16 inches and a nose height of 1 inch [] . ThisClarifyme|date=March 2008 causes the balls' rebound to be somewhat predictable during game play.

On a carom table, the K-55 profile is used (with a somewhat sharper angle than pool cushions). K-55 cushions have cloth, usually canvas, vulcanized into the top of the rubber to adjust rebound accuracy and speed [] .

Finally, snooker tables use the K-66 profile, like pool tables, but the cushion is an "L" shape. This is mostlyClarifyme|date=March 2008 because snooker uses balls of a smaller diameter and smaller pocket entrances than does pool.


Billiard cloth (sometimes erroneously called felt) is a specific type of cloth that covers the top of the table's "playing area". Both the rails and slate beds are covered with 21-24 ounce billiard cloth (although some less expensive 19oz cloths are available) which is most often green in color (representing the grass of the original lawn games that billiards evolved from), and consists of either a woven wool or wool/nylon blend called baize.

Most bar tables, which get lots of play, use the slower, thicker blended cloth because it can better withstand heavy usage. This type of cloth is called a woolen cloth. By contrast, high quality pool cloth is usually made of a napless weave such as worsted wool, which gives a much faster roll to the balls. This "speed" of the cloth affects the amounts of Cuegloss|Swerve|swerve and Cuegloss|Deflection|deflection of the balls, among other aspects of game finesse. Snooker cloth traditionally has a directional nap, upon which the balls behave differently when rolling against vs. toward the direction of the nap.

Carom billiards tables

Pocketless carom billiards tables are used for such games as three-cushion billiards, straight rail, balkline, artistic billiards and cushion caroms. Regulation carom billiards tables are rectangles, with the bed of the table (the playing surface) measuring 10 feet by 5 feet (though 9 ft by 4.5 ft are increasingly common).

The slate bed of carom billiard tables are often heated to about 5 degrees C (9 deg F) above room temperature, which helps to keep moisture out of the cloth to aid the balls rolling and rebounding in a consistent manner, and generally makes a table play faster. A heated table is required under international carom rules and is an especially important requirement for the games of three-cushion billiards and artistic billiards.

Heating table beds is an old practice. Queen Victoria of England (1819-1901) had a billard table that was heated using zinc tubes, although the aim at that time was chiefly to keep the then-used ivory balls from warping. The first use of electric heating was for an 18.2 balkline tournament held in December 1927 between Welker Cochran and Jacob Schaefer, Jr. The New York Times announced it with fanfare: "For the first time in the history of world's championship balkline billiards a heated table will be used..." [New York Times Company (December 16, 1927). [ To Heat Table for First Time In World Title Billiard Match] . Retrieved January 2, 2007.]

Pocket billiards (pool) tables

"Pocket billiards" tables, sometimes called pool tables, are specific to the various pool games such as eight-ball, nine-ball, straight pool and one-pocket. As the name implies, pocket billiards tables have pockets; normally six of them – one at each corner of the table (Cuegloss|Corner pocket|corner pockets) and one at the midpoint of each of the longer sides (Cuegloss|Side pocket|side pockets).

Pockets, usually rimmed with leather or plastic, may have leather bags to catch the balls, common in home billiard rooms and pool halls, or (most commonly in the coin-operated tables found regularly in bars/pubs) may lead to ball-return troughs inside the table, which channel the balls into a collection chamber on one side of the table (or, in non-coin-op models, on the racking end of the table).

Cuegloss|Pocket|"Pocket" can be used as a verb, meaning to send a ball into a pocket (as in, "He pocketed the Cuegloss|8 ball|8 ball by accident.")

nooker tables

A billiard table designed for the game snooker is called a snooker table.


A standard tournament snooker table measures 11 ft 8.5 in by 5 ft 10 in (3569 mm by 1778 mm), though commonly referred to as 12 ft by 6 ft. Smaller 9 ft 5 in by 5 ft 10 in (2895.6 mm by 1554.48 mm) tables (commonly referred to as 9 ft by 5 ft.) are also sometimes used. The height from the floor to the top of the cushion is between 2 ft 9.5 in and 2 ft 10.5 in (851 mm and 876 mm).


A snooker table has six pockets, one at each corner and one at the center of each of the longest side cushions. The pockets are around 90 mm (3.5 in), though high-class tournaments may use slightly smaller pockets to increase difficulty. The amount of "undercut" in the pocket determines how easily a ball is accepted. Compared to a billiards table, snooker table pockets are rounded, while pool tables have sharp corners. This affects how accurate shots need to be to get in a pocket and on rail shots from one end of the table to the other.


The cushions (sometimes known as rails, though that term properly applies to the wood sections the cushions are attached to) are usually made of vulcanized rubber.

The bed

The playing surface or "bed" of a good quality snooker table has a base of slate and is covered with green baize or worsted wool. The thickness of the cloth determines the speed, accuracy and responsiveness of the table to spin, thicker cloths being more hard-wearing but slower and less responsive. The nap of the cloth can affect the run of the balls, especially on slower shots. A snooker table traditionally has the nap running from baulk to the top end and is brushed and ironed in this direction.


The Cuegloss|Baulk|baulk area is marked by a line drawn at 29 in (737 mm) from the Cuegloss|Head rail|bottom cushion. A semicircle with a radius of 11.5 in (292 mm) centred on this line within baulk forms Cuegloss|"D", the|the "D" in which the cue ball must be placed when breaking or after the cue ball has been Cuegloss|Pot|potted or shot off the table. The position of four of Cuegloss|Colour ball|the colours are marked along the Cuegloss|Long string|long string (lengthwise centre) of the table, perpendicular to the baulk line: the Cuegloss|Spot|spot, or Cuegloss|Black ball|black spot, 12.5 in (324 mm) from the Cuegloss|Foot rail|top cushion; the Cuegloss|Center spot|centre spot, or Cuegloss|Blue ball|blue spot, located at the mid-point between the bottom and top Cuegloss|Cushion|cushions; The Cuegloss|Rack|pyramid spot, or Cuegloss|Pink ball|pink spot, located midway between the centre spot and the top cushion; and the Cuegloss|Brown ball|brown spot, located at the mid-point of the baulk line. The exact placing of these markings will be different on smaller tables, such as a 5 ft by 10 ft pub table.


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