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Pool (cue sports)

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"Pocket billiards" redirects here. For other uses, see Pocket billiards (disambi
Pro player David Alcaide at the World Pool Masters 2007
Pool, also more formally known as pocket billiards (mostly in North America) or
pool billiards[1] (mostly in Europe and Australia), is the family of cue sports
and games played on a pool table having six receptacles called pockets along the
rails, into which balls are deposited as the main goal of play. Popular version
s include eight-ball and nine-ball. An obsolete term for pool is six-pocket.[2]
There are hundreds of pool games. Some of the more well known include eight-ball
, nine-ball, ten-ball, straight pool, one-pocket and bank pool.
There are also hybrid games combining aspects of both pool and carom billiards,
such as American four-ball billiards, cowboy pool and bottle pool.
Contents [hide]
Game types
Bank pool
Governing bodies
Well-known players
[icon] This section requires expansion. (January 2011)
Historic print depicting Michael Phelan's billiard saloon in New York City, Janu
ary 1, 1859.
The Oxford English Dictionary states that pool is generally "any of various type
s of billiards for two or more players" but goes on to note that the first speci
fic meaning of "a game in which each player uses a cue ball of a distinctive col
our to pocket the balls of the other player(s) in a certain order, the winner ta
king all the stakes submitted at the start of the contest" is now obsolete and i
ts other specific definitions are all for games that originate in the United Sta
tes of America.[3]
In the United States, though the original "pool" game was played on a pocketless
carom billiards table, the term later stuck to all new games of pocket billiard
s as the sport gained in popularity,[citation needed] and so outside the cue spo
rts industry, which has long favored the more formal term pocket billiards, pool
has remained the common name for the sport.
Standard pool balls
Pool or pocket billiards (as the sport's governing body calls it) is played on a
six pocket table. Modern pool tables generally range in size from 3.5 feet (1.0
7 m) by 7 feet (2.13 m), to 4.5 feet (1.37 m) by 9 feet (2.74 m).
The balls range from 2.25 inches (57.15 mm) in diameter to 2.375 inches (60.33 m
m) in diameter.[4] Under the WPA/BCA (see below) equipment specifications, the w
eight may be from 5.5 to 6 oz. (156 170 g) with a diameter of 2.25 in. (57.15 mm),

plus or minus 0.005 in. (0.127 mm).[5][6] Modern coin-operated pool tables gene
rally use one of three methods to distinguish and return the cue ball to the fro
nt of the table while the numbered balls return to an inaccessible receptacle un
til paid for again: the cue ball is larger and heavier than the other balls, or
denser and heavier, or has a magnetic core.
Modern cue sticks are generally 58.5 inches (148.6 cm) long for pool while cues
prior to 1980 were designed for straight pool and had an average length of 57.5
inches (146.1 cm). By comparison, carom billiards cues are generally shorter wit
h larger tips, and snooker cues longer with smaller tips.
Game types
Main article: Eight-ball
Eight-ball rack
In the United States, the most commonly played game is eight-ball. The goal of e
ight-ball, which is played with a full rack of fifteen balls and the cue ball, i
s to claim a suit (commonly stripes or solids in the US, and reds or yellows in
the UK), pocket all of them, then legally pocket the 8 ball, while denying one's
opponent opportunities to do the same with their suit, and without sinking the
8 ball early by accident. In the United Kingdom the game is commonly played in p
ubs, and it is competitively played in leagues on both sides of the Atlantic. Th
e most prestigious tournaments including the World Open are sponsored and sancti
oned by the International Pool Tour. Rules vary widely from place to place (and
between continents to such an extent that British-style eight-ball pool/blackbal
l is properly regarded as a separate game in its own right). Pool halls in North
America are increasingly settling upon the World Pool-Billiard Association Inte
rnational Standardised Rules. But tavern eight-ball (also known as "bar pool"),
typically played on smaller, coin-operated tables and in a "winner keeps the tab
le" manner, can differ significantly even between two venues in the same city. T
he growth of local, regional and national amateur leagues may alleviate this con
fusion eventually.
Main article: Nine-ball
One of many correct nine ball racks: the 1 ball at the apex centered over the fo
ot spot, the 9 ball at center, the other balls placed randomly, and all balls to
Nine-ball uses only the 1 through 9 balls and cue ball. It is a rotation game: T
he player at the table must make legal contact with the lowest numbered ball on
the table or a foul is called. The game is won by legally pocketing the nine bal
l. Nine-ball is the predominant professional game, though as of 2006 2008 there ha
ve been some suggestions that this may change, in favor of ten-ball.[7][clarific
ation needed] There are many local and regional tours and tournaments that are c
ontested with nine-ball. The World Pool-Billiard Association (WPA) and its Ameri
can affiliate, the Billiard Congress of America (BCA), publish the World Standar
dized Rules. The European professional circuit has instituted rules changes to m
ake it more difficult to achieve a legal break shot.[7][8]
The largest nine-ball tournaments are the independent U.S. Open Nine-ball Champi
onship and the WPA World Nine-ball Championship for men and women. Male professi
onals have a rather fragmented schedule of professional nine-ball tournaments. T
he United States Professional Pool Players Association (UPA) has been the most d
ominant association of the 1990s and 2000s. A hotly contested event is the annua
l Mosconi Cup, which pits invitational European and U.S. teams against each othe
r in one-on-one and scotch doubles nine-ball matches over a period of several da
ys. The Mosconi Cup games are played under the more stringent European rules, as
of 2007.[8]

Main article: Three-ball
A variant using only three balls, generally played such that the player at turn
continues shooting until all the balls are pocketed, and the player to do so in
the fewest shots wins. The game can be played by two or more players. Dispenses
with some fouls common to both nine- and eight-ball.
Main article: One-pocket
One-pocket is a strategic game for two players. Each player is assigned one of t
he corner pockets on the table. This is the only pocket into which he can legall
y pocket balls. The first player to pocket the majority of the balls (8) in his
pocket wins the game. The game requires far more defensive strategy than offensi
ve strategy, much unlike eight-ball, nine-ball, or straight pool. Most times, ac
complished players choose to position balls near their pocket instead of trying
to actually pocket them. This allows them to control the game by forcing their o
pponent to be on defense instead of taking a low percentage shot that could resu
lt in a loss of game. These low percentage shots are known as "flyers" by one-po
cket aficionados.
Bank pool
Main article: Bank pool
Bank pool has been gaining popularity in recent years. Bank pool can be played w
ith a full rack (can be a long game), but is more typically played with nine bal
ls (frequently called "nine-ball bank"). The balls are racked in nine-ball forma
tion, but in no particular order. The object of the game is simple: to be the fi
rst player to bank five balls in any order (eight balls when played with a full
rack). Penalties and fouls are similar to one pocket in that the player committi
ng the foul must spot a ball for each foul. This must be done before the incomin
g player shoots.
Governing bodies
As a competitive sport, pool is governed internationally by the World Pool-Billi
ard Association (WPA), which has multi-national, regional affiliates comprising
the All Africa Pool Association (AAPA), Asian Pocket Billiard Union (APBU, inclu
ding the Middle East), Billiard Congress of America (BCA, Canada and the US), Co
nfederation Panamerica of Billiards (CPB, Latin America and Caribbean), European
Pocket Billiard Federation (EPBF, including Russia and the Near East), and Ocea
nia Pocket Billiard Association (OPBA, Australia, New Zealand, Pacific islands)
The WPA represents pool in the World Confederation of Billiard Sports, which in
turn represents all forms of cue sports (including carom billiards and snooker)
in the International Olympic Committee.
Well-known players
Some well-known players in the sport include Efren Reyes, Earl Strickland, Franc
isco Bustamante, Nick Varner, Wu Chia-ching, Ralf Souquet, Ronato Alcano, Daryl
Peach, Johnny Archer, and Mika Immonen, among others.
This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve th
is article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be ch
allenged and removed. (February 2008)
Jump up ^ "The Official Website for the Governing Body of Pool". S
ydney, Australia: World Pool-Billiard Association (WPA). 2011. banner, copyright
notice, etc. Retrieved 4 November 2011. "Pool billiards" is sometimes hyphenate
d and/or spelled with a singular "billiard". The WPA itself uses "pool-billiard"
in its logo but "pool-billiards" in its legal notices. The organization compoun
ds the words to result in an acronym of "WPA", "WPBA" having already been taken

by the Women's Professional Billiards Association. Normal English grammar would

not hyphenate here, and the term is actually a Germanism.
Jump up ^ Game Rules for... Six-pocket. Amityville, New York: U.S. Billiards, In
c. ca. 1970 [copyright date not specified]. Check date values in: |date= (help)
A general rules booklet on pool games in general, including eight-ball, nine-bal
l and several others.
Jump up ^ "pool, n.3.2". Oxford English Dictionary (Third ed.). Oxford Universit
y Press. September 2011 [2006]. (subscription required)
Jump up ^ "World Rules of Carom Carom Billiard" (PDF). Sint-Martens-Lat
em, Belgium: Union Mondiale de Billard. 1 January 1989. Chapter II ("Equipment")
, Article 12 ("Balls, Chalk"), Section 2. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20
07-09-28. Retrieved 5 March 2007.Officially but somewhat poorly translated versi
on, from the French original.
Jump up ^ "WPA Tournament Table & Equipment Specifications", World Pool-Billiard
Association, November 2001.
Jump up ^ BCA Rules Committee (2004). Billiards: The Official Rules and Records
Book. Colorado Springs, CO: Billiards Congress of America. p. 5. ISBN 978-1-8784
^ Jump up to: a b Varner, Nick (February 2008). "Killing Me Softly?: The Outbrea
k of the Soft Break Threatens the Game of 9-ball". Billiards Digest 30 (3) (Chic
ago, Illinois: Luby Publishing). pp. 34 35. ISSN 0164-761X.
^ Jump up to: a b Panozzo, Mike (February 2008). "Long Live the Cup!". Billiards
Digest 30 (3) (Chicago, Illinois: Luby Publishing). pp. 34 35. ISSN 0164-761X.
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Shamos, Mike (1999). The New Illustrated Encyclopedia of Billiards. New York Cit
y, NY, US: Lyons Press. ISBN 1-55821-797-5.
Byrne, Robert (1978), Byrne's Standard Book of Pool and Billiards, New York and
London: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, ISBN 0-15-115223-3
[hide] v t e
Cue sports
Pool games
Nine-ball Eight-ball Straight pool Ten-ball Blackball Artistic pool & trick shot
s Bank pool Baseball pocket billiards Bottle pool Bowliards Chicago Chinese eigh
t-ball Cowboy pool Cribbage Cutthroat Golf Honolulu Kelly pool Killer One-pocket
Rotation Seven-ball Speed pool Three-ball
A cube of blue chalk with a paper wrapper on all sides but one; a rounded indent
ation appears at the top where a cue would be chalked
Carom billiards
Three-cushion Five-pins Artistic Goriziana Balkline and straight rail Cushion ca
roms Four-ball
Other games
Snooker English billiards Russian pyramid Kaisa Bumper pool Bagatelle Bar billia
rds Novuss Carrom
Glossary Techniques Billiard table Billiard ball Billiard hall Cue stick Rack
World championships
World Snooker Championship champions Six-red World Championship WPA World Nine-b
all Championship champions WPA World Ten-ball Championship World Straight Pool C
hampionship WPA World Eight-ball Championship (defunct) champions World Cup of P
ool World Pool Masters Tournament
Cue sports Players Organizations Competitions
The rules of games in italics are standardized by international sanctioning bodi
Authority control
GND: 4115598-1
Categories: Pool (cue sports)Pub games
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