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Playing The Game

Table Care

Now that you have purchased a table from the Billiard Shop range of quality billiard tables (and kitted yourself out with pool room supplies), there are several important steps to follow if you wish to maintain your table in first class condition.

Care of cloth is of extreme importance. As all tables have top quality slate under the cloth, hard hit or dropped balls onto the table will fracture the cloth, although not always noticeable straight away.

Moths, silverfish and other creepy crawlies are always a danger to the pure wool cloth, especially where small children with grubby hands are concerned and as many tables are used in conjunction with a bar, the risk of spillage and of spray from opening bottles and cans is inevitable. To counteract this problem the Billiard Shop suggests strict adherence to the following procedure is important:

The use as directed of a reputable surface spray applied lightly along and under edges of the clothed cushions will help stop breeding under cushions and between the bed cloth.

At the end of each playing session, packets of mothballs (fill up matchboxes) could be placed on the bed cloth at the drop edge of each pocket and 3 – 4 packets placed evenly down through the center of the table and then the table completely covered with a light billiard cover or sheet.

There are two types of cloth available to buyers of Billiard Shop Tables, English and Australian. Although they both have completely different characteristics, the overall useful life is much the same, provided you care for each one individually.

Australian Cloth always has a fluffy appearance and hence is a slightly slower rolling cloth. This can be overcome slightly by an occasional rub over with your dry household iron. The setting of your iron will range from warm to wool depending on how familiar you are with ironing your table. Never brush Australian cloth as this only increases its fluffy appearance. Keep felt clean with a feather duster or an occasional rub over with the vacuum cleaner (smooth head) is recommended.

English Cloth has a fine grained finish called “nap” which when rubbed the wrong way stands up, making the pile uneven and no better for play than Australian cloth. It is a good policy to get into the habit of brushing down your table every time you have finished playing. This is done with a Billiard table Brush moving in one direction only from the baulk-line (or “D”) toward the top end of the table (Black Ball Spot). This action straightens the tangled and matted nap and lays it back in its original condition and also removes dust, chalk and other foreign matter from cloth.

After the cloth has been thoroughly brushed you may wish to occasionally vacuum your table for greater care. This is again done in one direction only, the same as brushing and once every couple of months is adequate.

Ironing as mentioned with Australian cloth is very helpful in flattening unruly nap and should again be done in one direction only and straight after a good stiff brushing. The setting of your dry iron should be between ”warm” and “wool”.

If small “bald spots” appear in your cloth, the cause is usually vermin attack. When whitish chalk-like marks appear, this is caused by striking the cue ball too low and grazing the cloth at the same time. Billiard Shop warrants your table for 12 months against faulty workmanship. No warranty is given on the felt.

Care of polished timber surfaces surfaces, especially that on the hand rails, is very important as it is subjected to knocks by belt buckles, buttons, rings, watches etc. Billiard Shop suggests regular use of a good quality furniture polish such as Marveer or O’Cedar is essential to keep scratch prone areas smooth and slippery. When they are dry things will tend to grip and scratch.

Leveling Your Table

Leveling of your table is usually done by the trained staff from Billiard Shop. Depending on the type of floor and floor covering the table can take anything from 4-6 weeks to settle properly. On most occasions the table will come back level after this period and no adjustment will be necessary. DO NOT attempt to adjust the level within this period. If after 6 weeks the table still rolls, adjust up carefully using a spanner on the adjustable feet (clockwise will raise the table).

Make sure all feet are wound right in (anticlockwise) and that the center legs do not touch the ground. If necessary raise the outside legs slightly to achieve this.

With a level placed on the cloth diagonally in the center find the highest end at which to start. From this highest point, raise the other leg at the same end until they are both level. After you have leveled one end, place the level again diagonally in the center of the table and adjust the diagonally opposite legs to the ones you have just done.

Next double check with the level across the width of the end you have just finished and if it is not correct on the level, equalize the difference by raising one leg up slightly and the other down. Do not touch the center legs yet.

Now is the time to test with the roll of the ball. Lengthwise and crosswise approximately 12” inside and parallel with each cushion, roll a slow straight ball, with no side on it, to bounce from opposite cushion and rebound back approximately ¾ the length. On this return roll off the cushion you will tell which way if any the table falls. Carefully adjust the appropriate outside leg accordingly. In most cases, especially with 9’ tables, you will have, when shooting across the width, a tendency for the ball, on both ends, to run towards the center. Just even up this fall until it is equal.

Now wind down the center legs until they are tight on the floor. Slowly, as you adjust the center legs more, you will see this sag in the table disappear.

Everything should be okay now, so leave the table the 4-6 weeks to settle before any further adjustments.

On the very odd occasions after this settling period the slate could have a slight dip to the center and this can be alleviated by driving a timber wedge between the slate and center cross support.

REMEMBER: Take a little extra care of your table and you will derive greater pleasure from its use.

Eight Ball

The game is played with a Cue ball and fifteen Pool balls numbered from 1 to 15.

The numbered balls are racked at the pyramid spot with the eight ball in the center of the triangle. The cue ball on the opening stroke is played from hand.

One player or side must pocket the balls numbered 1-7, in any order. The other side must pocket the balls numbered 9-15 in any order.

The player or side pocketing their numerical group first and then legally potting the eight-ball group first must then fire to legally pot the eight-ball to win the game.

The Break

1. The player to break the balls will be decided by the toss of a coin.

2. If a player fails to break the Pool balls on his opening shot it is a foul, forfeits one additional shot to his opponent. The incoming player accepts white’s position.

3. A “Break” occurs when the white ball touches any of the coloured balls.

Commencement of Game

1. Play commences when the cue ball is struck for the first time, combinations are decided when a player pots any numbered ball. Once a ball is potted (either stars or stripes, low or high, odds or evens) he remains on that combination.

2. If a player pots more than one ball of different combinations he plays the ball which fell first, and continues potting until his “break” is complete. In the event of dispute, the player potting shall have the choice.


1. If a player goes “in-off” with the white ball on the break, his opponent receives one additional shot.

2. If the play goes “in-off” with the white ball on any other shot during play, his opponent receives one additional shot.

3. If a player hits an opponent’s ball with the white before hitting his own, his opponent receives one additional shot.

4. If a player misses, his opponent receives one additional shot.

5. If a player hits the black ball with the white on the first impact before all his own balls have been potted, his opponent receives one additional shot.

6. If a player goes “in-off” the black ball, his opponent received one additional shot.

7. Ball off the table. If black or coloured ball off the table, to be spotted. If white ball off the table to be played from “D”.

Ø Penalty: One additional shot. If the spot is occupied then the ball to be spotted is placed as near as possible to the spot in a direct line between spot and top cushion. Spotting on pink spot or Racking spot.

8. Player’s clothing or body touching the ball while making shot.

Ø Penalty: One additional shot. If the white ball is potted, the opponent can shoot in either direction on table.

9. A player must have at least one foot on the floor when playing a shot. Where a foul is called, the player completes his shot and the opponent receives a penalty of one additional shot.

10. By playing out of turn.

Ø Penalty: One additional shot to the opponent.

11. By playing with other than the cue ball.

Ø Penalty: One additional shot to the opponent

12. Playing before the balls have come to rest or before they have been spotted.

Ø Penalty: One additional shot to the opponent.

13. By causing the cue ball to jump over an object ball when snookered.

Ø Penalty: One additional shot to the opponent.

Deliberate Foul Shot

If a player deliberately cues a ball other than a white ball the umpire replaces the balls at his discretion as near as possible to their original positions. If a player repeats the same procedure he may be disqualified in that game, and so loses the game.

Loss of Game

1. If a player pots the black ball before he has potted his coloured balls, he loses the game

2. If a player is going for the black ball and goes “in-of’ after potting the black, or pots an opponents ball in addition to the black, or pots the black on a foul shot, he loses the game.


When a player is legally snookered and fouls on his stroke see “Rules for fouls” (2,3,5 & 6)

Foul Snookers

When a player is snookered after a foul stroke, i.e he cannot play more than 50% of the ball on, he may nominate any of his opponents balls, or the eight ball as being one of his group for his first shot only. He may play that ball without penalty. If he pots the nominated ball, he is deemed to have potted a legal ball and continues with his break, with the exception that he may not pot the eight ball.

Foul Snooker on Black Ball

If the Black ball is foul snookered by an opponents ball he MAY play the nominated ball onto the Black ball and pot either or both balls without penalty.

Ball Touching

If the cue ball is touching an object ball a player may not play the cue ball on to the object ball. He must play away from it.

Drawn Game

If an impossible shot occurs, i.e one star and one stripe and black ball only of the table, position black ball over the pocket and both star and stripe touching the black ball. Both players give a miss without a legal shot being played, the umpire shall declare a drawn game. The three balls are spotted in a triangle with the black ball on the spot. Players toss for the break.

Player in Control

A player is said to be in control of the game from the time that he addresses the table prior to his shot through his break and up until his opponent addresses the table prior to his shot. Any balls that fall within this period he is said to have potted and he is liable for any penalties or benefits normally awarded to him for the potting of that ball or balls as are accorded to him in the rules of this game.


The Game

Snooker is played with 17 balls: one White shooter ball, 10 Red balls and one each of Yellow, Green, Brown, Blue, Pink and Black.

The 10 red balls are racked in the triangle and placed at the foot of the table behind the spot. Each red ball has a value of 1 point.

The coloured balls are placed on spots on the Table and have the following values:

BROWN ball placed on CENTRE of string line – value 4 points

YELLOW ball placed on spot to the RIGHT – value 2 points

GREEN ball placed on spot to the LEFT – value 3 points

BLUE ball placed on spot at CENTRE of table – value 5 points

PINK ball placed at APEX of pyramid – value 6 points

BLACK ball placed HALF WAY between pyramid base & back cushion – value 7 points

Playing the Game

A player must pocket a RED ball before he can shoot at a coloured ball. All red balls pocketed in turn count. After sinking the RED ball, the player can pick the colour of this choice. Flukes are not allowed on coloured balls. If two coloured balls are close together the player must designate the “on” ball.

When a coloured ball is pocketed, it is immediately replaced to its original position on the Table. If the spot is occupied the ball is placed on the nearest vacant spot. The RED ball is left in the pocket. After all the RED balls have been disposed of, the colour ball must then be pocketed in order of value starting with the YELLOW ball. It must be remembered that the game is termed snooker, and consequently snookering necessarily constitutes a vital part of it.

Free Ball

If you make a foul stroke such as “going in off”, striking a ball not “on”, making a miss etc. and through such foul you snooker your partner (preventing him from hitting the ball “on” by direct stroke) he may claim a “free ball”- that is choose any colour he chooses to serve as a red ball. However, the coloured ball will count as 1 and must be re-spotted.


If a player aims for a red ball and does not hit one or if the white cue ball goes into the pocket he loses 4 points

If a player aims for a coloured ball and misses he loses the value of the ball missed except for the Yellow and Green balls which then carry the minimum penalty which is 4 points.

If he hits a different coloured ball than the one aimed at he loses the value of the highest number ball involved. The same penalty applies to pocketing a wrong ball even if the right ball is hit first.

If the player “on” Black misses it and no other ball is hit – penalty 7 points

Player “on” Yellow strikes Black and Yellow simultaneously – penalty 7 because of Yellow is (minimum forfeit 4) and if other ball struck Black is (7 points). The highest numerical forfeit applies.

When all balls are off the Table the player with the highest score wins. Detailed books on how to hold the cue and how to take different shots are available at any good Book Store.


The Game

Billiards is a game which demands the utmost precision of eye and touch. Billiards itself consists of scoring points by striking one of three balls with a wooden cue to contact the other two, or one of the two.

The Markings of the Table

A line drawn from the bottom cushion and parallel with it is called the Baulk-line, and the area within this and the bottom cushion is called Baulk. From the center of this line a semi-circle on the Baulk or inner side of the line is marked which is called “D”.

The Plan of the Game

The white ball which the player strikes with his cue is called the “cue-ball”; the other two (one white, one red) are called the “object-balls”. Each player uses one of the white balls, which are distinguished from each other by one, called Spot, being marked with a black spot at opposite extremities. The other is called Plain. The players toss or “string” for choice of balls, the winner declaring “I’ll take Plain” or “I’ll take Spot”.

To “String”. This means that each player directs, with his cue, from “hand” (i.e from the Baulk-line) a white ball “up the table, that is, to the top cushion and the player who succeeds in causing his ball to come to rest nearer the bottom cushion whether it rebounds or not, is the winner, and has the choice of balls, and of playing first or second as he chooses.


The player who scores most points wins. Scoring is achieved as follows:

1. By Cannons. A cannon is made by causing the c-b (i.e the ball propelled by the players cue) to contact the two o-b’s in succession. Two points are scored by a cannon whether it is from white to red, or red to white.

2. By “Losing Hazards” (“Losers”). A losing hazard is made by causing c-b to enter a pocket after contact with one of the two o-b’s. A losing hazard off the red is rewarded by; 3 points, off the white by 2.

3. By “Winning Hazards” (or “Pots”). A winning hazard, or pot, is made by making the c-b contact one or other of the two o-b”s, and causing it (the o-b) to enter a pocket. “Potting or pocketing the red ball scores 3 points, potting the white 2.

When a losing hazard and cannon are made in the make stroke, the player scores 2 points for the cannon and 2 for the hazard, if the white be struck first, and 2 for the cannon and 3 for the hazard if the red be struck first. If both object-balls are struck simultaneously, and a hazard is made as well, 2 points are scored for the cannon, and 2 for the hazard. If more than one hazard, or a combination of hazards and cannons are made in the same stroke, all are scored.

A “Break”

While the player continues to score he remains at the table, and only after missing a stroke does his visit or “turn” end, whereupon his opponent takes his place.

The purpose of the game is, as implied above, to make in sequence as many cannons, losing and winning hazards as possible, and thereby to score more points than one’s opponent. The art of the game, however, is so to contrive that one successful stroke leaves, when the balls have come to rest, another opportunity of scoring. In other words, by control of the balls to leave one scoring opportunity after another.

The Baulk Area and its’ Significance

When c-b has entered a pocket as the result of a losing hazard, the player plays his next stroke from the “D” and he must play out of the Baulk area. He may place the c-b anywhere in the “D” space, including the semi-circular line and the part of the Baulk-line which forms the straight part of the “D”. If he places his ball on this line then it must be exactly on it, which means half in and half out. If an object-ball is so situated when a player is “in hand” (that is, playing from hand after having (1) made a losing hazard, or (2) retrieved his own ball from the pocket after the opponent has potted it, during the latter’s break, then that ball cannot be played on by the player in hand. Such a ball is called a “line” ball (i.e half in and half out of Baulk). A player, in hand, wishing to contact an o-b which is in Baulk must play out of Baulk to do so, and he can do this by direct stroke (a screw-back) if practicable, off the other o-b if it lies out of Baulk, or by playing off it on to a cushion or cushions (out of or in Baulk). Or he can play directly off a cushion or cushions out of Baulk to contact the o-b’s lying in Baulk, say, to pot a ball lying on the brink of a Baulk pocket, or to make a cannon, if both o-b’s are in Baulk.

This Baulk area plays a major part in defensive tactics. If no score seems possible or probable, we may pot the white (our opponents ball) and send our own ball and the red into Baulk. Or, if one o-b is already in Baulk area (red), we may pot white and send out ball (the c-b) into Baulk to join it. Or we may pot white and send one ball (i.e red or the c-b) into Baulk. If we send both the object-balls into Baulk (or make one join the other) we leave a double-baulk. If we send one into Baulk, i.e either the c-b or the red, leaving the other out (for we shall have potted object white) we have made a single-baulk. To score off a double-baulk is not easy, for both object-balls are “safe”; that is, having to play out of Baulk we cannot contact them directly. Thus the Baulk area is an important part of safety or defensive play.

Start of the Game

At the commencement of the game the red ball is placed on the billiard spot and the opponent’s ball is “in hand”, that is not on the table. The player starting the game places his ball in the “D” and must direct it out of the baulk area.

The opening stroke is played on the red, sending it into Baulk to stop near the left hand or right hand pocket and directing the c-b to the side of the table. The reply generally is to attempt the cannon from white on to red. If it is missed the opening player has the red to play at for a loser or pot.

When a ball is forced off the table, the balls are then spotted, the red is placed on the billiard spot and the object ball on the center spot. Every time the cue ball enters a pocket the player must then play form the “D”.

The object white ball stays in the pocket if potted until the opponents turn arrives. A player fails to score and gives way to his opponents if his stroke does not result in a cannon, a losing hazard or a winning hazard.

Length of the Game

There are two systems.

1. The winner is the player who reaches a predetermined number of points (e.g 100,250, 500 etc)

2. The winner is the player with the most points after a predetermined time (e.g 1 hour, 2 hours etc).

For further details see “Teach Yourself Billiards” by Richard Holt.

Nine Ball

Object of the Game

The object of the game is to pocket the 9-ball. Pocketing the 9-ball either on the break or any other legal shot wins the game.

Type of Game

Nine Ball is a variation of call shot rotation in which the lowest numbered ball on the table must be the player’s first cue ball contact. If a player complies, any called pocketed ball counts. For example if a player strikes the one ball legally and then caroms or by combination pockets the nine ball which he has called in the pocket he has designated, that player wins the game. Nine Ball is probably today’s most popular action-oriented game, since it is fast, easy for spectators to follow and results in spectacular shot-making: a fast and exciting game.

When calling the shot it is never necessary to indicate details such as :cushions, banks, kisses, caroms etc.

Call Shot

When a ball is pocketed in a designated pocket, additional balls pocketed during the same shot will count. When no ball is called or a safety is called and a ball is pocketed, or if called ball falls in the wrong pocket, the incoming player has the option of shooting or forcing his opponent to shoot again. When calling the shot it is never necessary to indicate details such as: cushions, banks, kisses, caroms, etc. Unless obvious to both referee and/or opponent, the shooter must either declare a called shot, safety, or push. Any bank shot is never obvious and must be called.


2 or more

Balls Used

Object balls 1-9, plus cue ball

The Rack

“Diamond” rack (rows 1-2-3-1) with the 1 ball on the foot spot, and the 9 ball in the diamond’s center, other balls may be placed entirely at random.

Openning Break

The starting player must

1. Strike the ball first

2. Drive a minimum of four object balls to a rail or pocket any object ball. If starting player fails to do any of the above, the incoming player has cue ball in hand anywhere on the table. Nine ball on break wins. Each rack of 9-ball will begin when the cue ball passes the headstring after being struck by the cue tip.

Calling the shot is not required on the break. Any object ball pocketed on the break counts and the player continues shooting, if he did not commit a foul or scratch.

If a player misses rack entirely, it is a foul. The cue ball is placed behind head string and incoming player has the choice of breaking or making the same player break again.

Play Begins

Each rack of 9-ball will begin when the cue ball passes the headstring after being struck by the cue tip.

Rules of Play

1. A legal shot requires that the cue balls first contact be with the lowest numbered ball on the table. A player must then (10 pocket a ball where called or (2) cause a cue ball or any object ball to contact a cushion. Failure to meet this requirement is a foul.

2. A legally pocketed ball entitles a shooter to remain at the table until he fails to pocket a ball on a legal shot.

3. When a player legally pockets a ball he must shoot again.

4. When the 9-ball is pocketed on any legal shot, it is a win: game is over.

5. It is a loss of game if a player commits three successive fouls.

Illegally Pocketed Balls

All stay pocketed (except 9-ball).

Cue Ball After Jump or Scratch

Incoming player has “cue ball in hand” anywhere on the table.

Penalty for Fouls

The incoming player is awarded “cue ball in hand” anywhere on the table.

Declaration of Shot

Unless obvious to both referee or opponent, the shooter must either declare a called shot, safety or push. Any bank shot is never obvious and must be called.

Shoot Out or Push After Break

The player at the table immediately after the break has the option to Push Out or Shoot Out. A Push or Shoot Out means “intentionally committing an illegal shot to move the cue ball to better position on the required object ball”. After a push, the incoming player has the option of shooting or forcing his opponent to shoot again. A push is not considered a foul. After a scratch on the break the incoming player cannot push.

Ball in Hand

After any scratch or foul, the incoming player will have the cue ball in hand anywhere on the table. This includes after a scratch on the break except if the cue ball fails to strike any ball on the opening break.

No Balls Spotted

All illegally pocketed balls, balls pocketed during a safety or push, or jumped object balls will not be spotted. Essentially, the 9-ball is the only ball that can be spotted.

Foul on Cue/Object Balls

Foul on cue balls only except during tournament finals or televised matches at which tome a foul on all balls will apply.

Winner Breaks

The winner of a game shall break in the next game until a match is completed.

Jumped Balls

When an object ball is jumped off the table, and the called ball is pocketed, there is no foul and shooting player continues.

When an object ball is jumped off the table and there is no called ball made, the incoming player has the option of shooting or having his opponent shoot again.

Nine ball on break wins.

Kelly Pool

Number of Players

2 TO 15

The Game

This game is played with a set of 16 balls, 1 cue ball and 15 coloured, and numbered 1 – 15. The Table Marker throws an alley to each intending player for his rotation in playing. When all the names are taken down, the alleys are returned and pool money collected. The Marker then throws an alley to each player in the same order as marked on his book. The alleys are then placed in a box according to playing order, (eg: 1st player in No1 slot, 2nd player in No 2 slot and so on) and the first player commences play by breaking the balls from the “D”.

The cue ball must strike one cushion before coming in contact with the pool balls. To avoid delay, each player should remember the number of his alley placed in the box. The first player to pocket the ball on the table with the number corresponding to his alley wins the Pool and that game is over.

A player may pocket any ball on the table other than the cue ball, and continues his play until he misses pocketing a ball or plays a foul shot. Should he pocket a ball other than his own, but one of which no player has the alley of that number, he gains nothing but continues his stroke. If another player has the alley corresponding to the ball pocketed, then he pays the player striking “Half Pool” – i.e 5cent Pool, 2cent Pool and so on, but takes his own turn when it comes; just the same, he may pocket others and collect on them.

Any ball once in the pocket by a fair shot remains there, and on account comes into play again during the game. If, however, a ball is pocketed on a foul shot then it is placed on the table on pink spot, or if that is covered, behind it and as close as possible to it. Immediately a foul shot has been played, the next player commenced play. If another player desires to join in the game he may do so by paying double or treble pool entrance fee, as the case may be. He obtains no advantage and as a new player takes last alley thrown for position.

Foul Shots

1. If the cue ball does not strike a numbered ball the shot is replayed but does not count, and the next player commenced play. Any players balls pocketed on a second shot are spotted on the pink spot.

2. (a) If the cue ball from any cause whatever is pocketed, the player stops, and the next player commences from “D” and can play at any ball on the table.

(b) Should the player pocket the cue ball and also pocket his own or any other ball in the same stroke, it is a foul stroke and does not count.

3. Any ball or balls pocketed under the above shots are re-spotted and the next player plays.

4. Rules governing foul shots in Billiards (eg: both feet off the floor, moving the cue ball in the act of striking, push shots etc) constitute a foul and must be recognized is this game if any player claims it.

5. In any case where the marker is satisfied that a player has deliberately played a ball so as to let his following win the Pool, he shall call it a foul shot and spot the ball on the pink spot immediately.