8-Ball is the most popular billiards game on the planet

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Many times we hear from some friends who enter for the first time to the billiard tables say, how do I play pool and sure you always help him to solve all his doubts, today I am going to solve some of yours.

8-ball or American pool

In America when we tell friends, let’s play pool we mean 8-ball.

It is a game that consists of 16 billiard balls.

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In a billiard game or tournament, you must decide who will make the break, in many places they call it playing the break.

You place two balls (your opponent’s #1 and yours #4) on the break line and at the same time you shoot the ball that hits the rail and when it returns the one that is closest to the other parallel rail is the one that starts the game (you won the break).

When you win the first game, it is your opponent’s turn to break, that is, the serve is alternated, if you are in a billiard tournament, otherwise, you can define how you want to do it.

Deciding who will make the break 8-ball, 9-ball and 10-ball

How do you start playing 8-ball?

You must start by building the rack or the triangle with the balls, you must place it in the middle point between the second diamond.

Many players get confused about the order of the billiard balls, don’t worry, in the image below you will find out to avoid confusion.

8-ball break

You must alternate between striped or solid, the 8-ball in the middle and a little trick. If you hit between the 1-ball and the 14-ball in this case, it is not important that you put the numbers the same as in the picture, only that you know how to place them.

The cue ball must be behind the shooting or serving line, in the middle or in a corner.

The trick is to hit between the 1 and 14 so that when the cue ball hits the rail it will hit the triangle of balls again and hopefully this set of caroms will pocket the 8-ball.

If you pocket the 8-ball on the break you are an instant winner, even if you have pocketed others, but make sure the cue ball doesn’t jump off the table or go into the hole, otherwise you lose.

How to play 8-ball in a few steps?

First you must know the names of all the elements of the billiard table, know the terminology:

Name of the parts of a billiard table
  • Learn the rules.
  • Choose a cue that is right for you, with the weight you feel comfortable with, weights range from 18 ounces to 21 ounces.
  • When making a shot, you must be aware of the fundamentals of billiards and create from the ball your body position.
  • If you have problems hitting straight shots or miss a lot of balls it is because you have problems with the fundamentals, so it is best that you learn to improve this aspect of your game, in how do I stop being a rookie?

Ball material and its advantages

Some time ago, billiard balls were made of ivory, but nowadays they are manufactured with phenol resins due to their advantages over natural ones:

  • Low soiling
  • Easy to clean without discoloration of the balls
  • Allows a better molding and a perfect spherical shape is achieved.
  • They weigh the same as the natural ones 165 grams and measure 57 mm in diameter.
  • Avoid trade with elephants’ tusks
  • They are cheaper
  • And last a long time

8-ball pool cue or pool cue stick

The billiards cue or cue stick, more specifically pool cue or just cue.

In other modalities there are 3-cushion cues, carom cues, snooker cues.

A long time ago around the sixteenth century until the beginning of the nineteenth century, the pool cue was called pool stick.

It is our tool with which we drive the cue ball or mingo to pocket object balls or make caroms depending on the type of game we are practicing.

Parts of the pool cue stick

Types of pool cues

Billiard and snooker cues average between 57 to 59 inches or 140 to 150 cm in length and are of three main types.

  • One piece: usually found in pubs, bars, venues, billiard clubs for common use.
  • Two-piece: split in the middle for easy transport anywhere using a box, case or case.
  • Another two-piece variety: widely used in snooker, with a joint located three quarters of the cue, usually 12 to 16 inches from the end, known as three two-piece fours.
Taco con mesas de billar

What is a pool cue made of?

Two-piece pool cues are usually made of hard maple of Canadian origin, with a 0.75 to 1 inch fiberglass or phenolic resin ferrule about 19 to 25 mm long and steel binding collars and pins.

In recent years cue manufacturers are increasingly using modern materials such as fiberglass, carbon fiber, aluminum, etc. For shafts and butts.

A trend also developed towards experimentation with rubber, foam and other soft wrappings.

How much does a pool cue weigh?

  • They have an average length of 59 inches, about 150 cm.
  • Weights range from 17 to 21 ounces, 0.48 to 0.60 kg, with 19 ounce, 0.54 kg being the most common.
  • Their tip diameter ranges from 12 to 14 mm.

Main parts of pool cues

The tip: it is the part that makes direct contact with the balls and one of the most important. The bushings wear out over time, so they must be changed from time to time.

The ferrule: it is the white part under the tip that serves as a support.

The shaft: is where we hold the cue, the important thing is that there are some that are resistant and do not get dirty easily.

The butt: it is the part where we make the grip and below it are the designs of our cue.

Specifications for an ideal cue

  • Two-piece only.
  • Do not have a screw-on ferrule.
  • The ferrule is not metallic.
  • The toe cap is not varnished or wrapped in gummed paper.
  • That it does not have exaggerated drawings or painted decorations.
  • Cylindrical profile.
  • Thread or metal joint.
  • That it is 58 to 59 inches long.
  • Weight between 18 to 21 ounces.
  • Bushing diameter: 12.5 to 13.5 mm.
  • And most importantly, verify that it is straight.

You already know a lot about pool cues, I recommend you to check out the most complete article on the Internet: The Ultimate Guide to Buying The Best Pool Cue Stick

Special pool cues

Manufacturers also offer a variety of special cues tailored to specific shots.

  • Break cues have tips made of very hard leather, sometimes layered or phenolic resin to ensure that the full force of the stroke is transferred to the cue ball during the break and to prevent excessive wear on the tips.
  • Jump cues are shorter, lighter, 12 ounces or less, making it easier to make a legal jump and often have a very hard tip.

Break-jump cues

Some break cues are two-piece cues so that the player can convert this cue into a jump cue if he/she prefers by removing the back part.

These cues are generally known as “jump-break or break-jump”.

Massé cues

The massé cue is short and heavy, with a wider tip to help make massive shots.

Artistic billiard practitioners sometimes have twenty or more cues, each specifically tailored to a particular trick.

Other specialty cues have multiple sections, between which weights can be added.

Another specialization is the end extension, which can be slipped or screwed onto the normal end, to lengthen the cue and reduce dependence on the mechanical bridge.

Sneaky Pete cues

A high quality two-piece cue with an almost invisible joint with a wooden joint, which makes it look like a cheap one-piece cue, is called a “sneaky pete”.

This type of cue can be used by a scammer to temporarily fool unsuspecting players into thinking he or she is a novice.

Bridge head or rest

It has several names, they are known as violin, rest, moose head, or mechanical bridge, is an element of metal, wood or plastic, embedded in the tip of the cue. It is perfect for shots where the cue ball is too far away to hit.

Using it is better than stretching out on the table and missing the shot.

For many players it is difficult to use it correctly, here is a list of the steps:

  • Place the violin behind the cue ball.
  • Put your cue in the best position to make the shot.
  • Press down on the violin with the palm of your hand to prevent it from moving.
  • Grip the butt of your pool cue in two ways, with your elbow outward and holding the cue with your index finger and thumb.
  • Or with your elbow down with your thumb and fingers and doing the forward and backward motion.
  • And finally lower your head a little and make the shot.

Pool cue maintenance

To ensure that your cue does not suffer damage during the years it will be with you, follow these recommendations:

  • Use a pool case or cue case made of a rigid material to avoid bumps and protect them from humidity.
  • Store your cues in cool, dry places because they are sensitive to drastic changes in high and low temperatures.

How to straighten cues and remove hits

Cómo enderezar taco de billar

This serves both to set your pool cue straight and to remove dents.

  • When the dent is small, we put a drop of water and let the wood absorb it, you have to let the cue rest from one day to another, the water softens the wood and it is possible that the dent will come out by itself.
  • In case it doesn’t, rub it with the neck of a glass bottle, it doesn’t take out the dent but it spreads it to a larger area so it won’t be felt when I’m measuring. You have to take the dent out from the inside out.
  • When the dent is medium, place several layers of paper towel or gauze over the dent and secure it with a rubber band. Wet the paper with several drops of water and let it sit overnight. The water penetrates further before evaporating, allowing the wood to slowly return to its original shape.
  • When the dent is large, or if the above methods don’t work for you, try covering the neck of a metal teapot with aluminum foil and poke a small hole in it with a pin. With an eyedropper, wet the dent and wait until the wood absorbs the water. Heat the kettle to boiling and allow the steam to contact the dent. The steam heats the water that has been absorbed by the wood which causes pressure from the inside out solving the problem.

8-ball pool tables

Billiards used to be played on tables made of different materials such as marble, iron, but nowadays wooden and slate tables are used.

Pool table surface

Slate is a solid rock made of many minerals, including quartz, clay and mica with a fine grain.

Slate is ideal for billiard tables because it naturally splits into wide, flat pieces and can be easily ground and polished into a perfectly flat surface.

Although heavier and more expensive than wood, slate ensures that the playing surface remains smooth and level.

Wood, as well as tabletops made of synthetic materials, can easily warp.

Because it is so durable and known to last, many manufacturers offer a lifetime warranty on a slate pool table.

Slate is available in areas all over the world, however Brazil, China, India and Italy have become known as the leading exporters of slate.

In particular, slate from the Liguarian region of Italy is traditionally considered the highest quality material for use on billiard tables, and is usually marked ‘OIS’, which stands for Original Italian Slate.

Italian slate is usually softer and therefore easier to work with.

Although much harder, Brazilian slate is also gaining favor, as it is more durable, will withstand years of heavy use, and is virtually impossible to bend or break.

In addition, due to its mineral composition, it has an extremely flat surface. With proper maintenance, a pool table with an Italian or Brazilian slate playing surface can last for generations.

The billiard table is composed of rails, cushions, a playing surface and pockets.

The rails can be inlaid with diamonds that are 1/4 in width and 1/8 in length. The diamonds are used to better measure shots with risers.

The slate is the flat part of the playing surface, upholstered with a cloth, usually green.

Famous brand name cloths are Simonis or Championship.

Why is the cloth on the pool table green?

In the 14th century, the precursor of billiards was played on grass.

Due to inclement weather it was decided to introduce it to the castles and raise it on a table covered with a cloth whose green color was chosen to emulate the grass, for the happiness of the courtiers.

Also because it is the color that represents the lodges and the most powerful royal families in the world.

Cloth or felt, fast or slow?

Most cloths are made from wool and a percentage of polyester or nylon.

The way the cloth is woven, the quality of the wool and the manufacturing process determine how good or bad the cloth will be.

That is, whether it will be more or less heavy and that will make the balls roll fast or slow.

Depending on how they handle the material, there are two types of cloths:

  • Woolen Cloth or those that are made of wool.
  • Worsted Wool are made of combed wool.

Woolen Cloth are thicker, heavier and slower, usually found on coin-operated or recreational pool tables.

Worsted Wool are thinner, faster and more expensive, they are used on competition tables.

The interlacing or braiding of the weave is perfect so that in the long run it does not create knots that alter the direction of the billiard balls.

The size of a pool table

The normal and general size for most tables is 8 feet.

Pool table hole numbers

The pockets have their own order and numbers according to the image.

This is for when you are playing 8-ball or 10-ball and you must choose where your object ball is going to land and you must mention in which pocket it should go.

For example, if you want to pocket the 7 ball in the right hand corner pocket you must say, 7 ball in pocket #3.

If you don’t “call” where the 7-ball is going to land it will be considered a foul and it will be your opponent’s turn.

It also happens that if you call in another pocket, for example, 5 ball in pocket #2 and it falls into pocket #1, it is a foul and it is your opponent’s turn.

This type of rule is excellent for those players who always play with luck, potra or with churros, if they don’t “sing” the ball in the right place it will be a foul and it will be your turn to shoot.

The most famous brands of billiard tables

  • Brunswick
  • Olhausen
  • Diamond

Build your own pool table

8-ball Billiards Rules

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