Learning how to play pool can be just as fun and exciting as the game itself. Pool is a great sports game to experience when you want a challenging game that does require strategy and skill. Before you pick up a pool cue stick and start hitting balls, there are some essentials you need to know to truly enjoy the game.
Learn the different types of pool tables.
Pool tables come in different sizes that range from 6-foot tables to 12-foot tables. The most common sizes you will encounter are 7-foot “bar box” tables found in pool halls and 8-foot tables found in most homes. All pool tables have four corner pockets and two side pockets regardless of size.
Familiarize yourself with the different types of pool equipment.
To play pool, you will use different types of pool equipment. Therefore, you need to understand the importance of each one and how it relates to the game of pool. The most common pool
equipment you will encounter includes:
For most pool games, you will use a set of sixteen colored billiard balls. Seven of the balls are solid in color and are numbers one through seven. There is another set of seven balls striped and numbered nine through fifteen. Then, there is one solid black 8-ball and a solid white cue ball.
Pool Cue Sticks
Two other sizes of cue sticks often used are 52-inch and 48-inch sticks. The shorter lengths are used when you have limited space around the side of the table to make unobstructed shots.
Pool chalk is a must-have accessory item. The chalk typically comes as a small square and is used to put chalk on the cue stick’s tip to improve the contact when hitting the white cue ball.
Pool racks are the equipment used to rack the balls at the beginning of the game. Triangular racks are the most common. Yet, there are diamond-shaped racks that are used to play 9-ball pool.
Mechanical Pool Bridge
The mechanical pool bridge is a special type of pull cue stick with a special attachment on the end. This attachment is placed on the pool table near the cue ball and is used as an extension for longer shots or to make difficult shots where it would be too hard to place your hand on the table or rail.
Learn the rules for the different types of pool and billiards games.
The most common pool game you will learn how to play is 8-ball pool. The objective is to be the first to sink all of your balls. Then you are allowed to attempt to sink the black 8-ball to win the game using the following rules:
- Rack the balls in the triangular rack. The balls are racked by alternating stripes and solids. The 8-ball must be placed in the center of the third row.
- Break the balls. One player is chosen to break the balls by hitting the cue ball into the racked balls.
- Choose your ball color. If you sink any balls during the break, the ball you sank first is your color. If you did not sink any balls into a pocket, then play continues by alternating turns until someone sinks a ball. Once they do, that color is their color, and the other is the other player's.
- Pool players continue to take turns. A turn lasts as long as you are sinking your colored balls. If you sink the cue ball or fail to sink any of your balls, then your turn is over.
- Winning the game. Once you have sunk all of your balls, you can attempt to sink the 8-ball. You must call out what pocket you intend to shoot the ball into to legally pocket the ball and win the game. If you do not sink the 8-ball, play continues.
If you are interested in learning how to play 9-ball, pocket billiards, snooker, or other variations of pool, you should familiarize yourself with the rules for those particular games.
Learn how to hold and move the pool cue stick correctly.
There are different hand placements for holding the cue stick. You will often place your hand somewhere on the pool table, against the side rail, or on the side rail using one of the following hand placements:
Place your hand on the table and spread your fingers apart. Slide the cue stick into the “V” between the thumb and index finger. Raise and lower the arch of your hand to raise or lower the height of the cue stick.
A closed bridge is where you loosely create a circle with your thumb and index finger for you to slide the cue stick through the circle.
For shots near the rails, you will use a rail bridge where you play your hand on the rail or against the side of the rail. Usually, you will slide the cue stick through the “V” between the thumb and index finger, and then wrap the index finger over the cue stick for better control of your shot.
To create an elevated bridge, you place your pinky finger and index finger on the table while keeping your palm elevated off the table. Next, adjust your thumb to the desired height and slide the cue stick in the “V” between the thumb and index finger.
Some shots will require you to use the mechanical bridge. First, place the bridge on the pool table near the cue ball. Next, slide your pool stick into one of the groves on the bridge that helps you best line up your shot.
When learning how to place your hands or use the mechanical bridge, remember to choose a placement that is the most comfortable for you.
Learn how to take shots to sink the pool balls.
Once you have placed your hand or mechanical bridge on the table, you want to bend down and aim at the cue ball. Your objective is to aim the cue ball into the colored ball you want to hit. Once you have lined up your shot, take it.
You can control the speed and force of the cue ball by adjusting the power of your stroke as you move the cue stick forward. Less power is ideal when you want more precise shots or only have a small amount of space between the cue ball and the colored ball you want to sink.
How to Play Pool at Home
After learning how to play pool, if you enjoy the game and want to play it at home, it is easy to find the perfect pool table for your game room at Blatt Billiards. We offer a wide range of pool table designs and sizes, as well as customizable pool tables. Check out our diverse range of pool tables online or contact us at 212-674-8855 today!