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How to Play Billiards: A Guide for Beginners

How to Play Billiards: A Guide for Beginners

Billiard sports, also known as cue sports, are a type of bar sport in which you use a stick to try to shoot all of the balls on the table into the holes (pockets) (cue). The first player to outplay the balls wins the game. Now if you are new to the world of billiards, you are at the right place. Here is all about how to play billiards, to be a pro at the game. 

What is Billiards? 

What is Billiards? 

Billiards is a type of cue sport played on a table using balls. Normally, 16 balls are used, but there is a variant in which only ten balls are used. Each player attempts to outscore their opponent and reach the previously agreed-upon total required to win the match using a different colored cue ball. 

There are two types of billiards games: carom billiards, which is played on a pocketless table to bounce the cue ball off other balls or the table rails; and pocket billiards, which is played on a table with pockets to sink the colored balls into the pockets by striking them with the cue ball—aka pocket billiards.

The billiards player who picks up a cue takes careful aim and sends the billiard balls smacking into one another. Players must make informal calculations of energy and angle on each shot to play billiards.

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The Objective of the Game

The Objective of the Game

In order to understand, how to play billiards, let’s begin with learning the objective of this game. It is played on a rectangular table with three balls and pockets. Two white cue balls—one with a little black spot and one without—and one red ball are used to play the game of billiards. 

The objective is to place the designated set of balls into the table's pockets to earn the most points possible. By striking cannons and other game-related shots, players can score points. Before beginning a game, players typically agree on the score needed to win. The black 8-ball is only hit at the end to avoid losing the game.

Players ought to calculate shots depending on precision and tactical gaming principles. Players must simultaneously consider their offensive and defensive strategies.

Scoring in Billiards

Scoring in Billiards

In billiards, there are three different ways for players to gain points: For a cannon shot, where the cue ball hits both balls, you receive two points. Players score 3 points on a potted shot when the cue ball hits the red ball in the pocket. 

Furthermore, two points are awarded if a ball other than the player's cue ball strikes the pocket. Players receive two points when their cue ball hits the ball with one or more balls dropping into a bag or in an "in-off" situation. 

A single strike may combine the use of a cannon, pot, and infrared. A player may receive up to ten points for potting the opponent's ball. For instance, four points are earned if a player hits the red ball, cannons onto the opponent's ball, and then goes off. 

Next, players take turns trying to win the game by scoring the most predetermined points.

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How to Play Billiards

How to Play Billiards

Billiards is played with two players or two sides. Take note of the main and most important point.

The arrangement of balls on the board is more important before playing. There are three kinds of balls used in billiards; white, yellow or spotted white (more than two black dots for identification of a spotted white), and red. The player, group, or team scores when the striker places the ball in the pocket. The in-off cannon is used for both.

You can force your opponent to make a penalty at some points. A widely known tactic to get more points is leaving the object balls in the bulk area when the next player is in hand. And somehow, made to distract the balls, it must be by an indirect stroke, a hard one.

The winner of the game is declared based on the player who scores the highest points or stipulated points in the game within the given period. If you are a fan of board games, check out the best board games for adults to have a good time with your friends and family. 

Basic Billiards Strategy

Basic Billiards Strategy

Let’s explore the basic billiards strategy, to have a deeper insight into how to play billiards. 

  • The most important strategic decision is between "solids" and "stripes." Choose your "solids" and "stripes" carefully.
  • Select the key for the 8 very cautiously. Select a key carefully.
  • Plan your exit strategy based on the 8-ball backward.
  • Reevaluating your post-shot run-out strategy is especially important if you get out of line.
  • Decrease CB motion. Whenever possible, circulate the table. While assessing a run-out strategy, handle problem balls as early as possible.
  • Remove the balls from the center of the table. You should remove balls early because they obstruct common CB paths and cause problems later in the rack. Break out clusters when an insurance ball is available, and use as little speed as possible to maintain control.
  • Avoid colliding with or disturbing balls, either yours or your opponents if not required, pocket or relocate balls to make room for other balls.

Let's Start the Game

Let's Start the Game

Now that you know what is billiards, and its basic rules, let’s begin with how to play billiards. As we know, most games start with a toss, but in billiards, we call it "stringing," which is a method of tossing in billiards. The selection of cue balls and who to play first is concluded by stringing. The winner has both choices, provided the opponent also collectively agrees. The game is considered to have begun after the cue ball is placed on the table and hit by the cue's tip.

It is the player's responsibility to play with the right cue ball even if the wrong ball is moved past by the referee. The players take turns alternately, except one makes a score and continues the strike.

The cue ball must be banged from a place within "D" to play from in-hand. If we ask, the referee must check whether the cue ball is placed correctly. The cue ball is not thought to be in play by the referee. Therefore, if the tip of the cue is not touching the cue ball, which is provided, an attempt to play is not made,

It would help if you accommodated the cue ball out of the bulk of it in hand. Then when it comes into contact with an object ball out of balk, it is considered to have played out while it doesn't cross the balkline.

The cue ball may be played as opposed to a cushion, provided it touches a ball-exterior balk. Before throwing oneself into the balk, the cue ball must have contact with the cushion or ball out of the balk.

If an object ball is in balk, not even a single part of its surface can be played directly by hand.

Through the play, a person goes with the definite seriousness that the WPBSA has marked us to operate with. Below are some of those instances with the next steps.

If a red ball is pocketed, it is replaced in its original location. If the location is already taken, a red It is placed in the middle spot when the pyramid spot is also occupied.

If the ball were placed by hand, it would be considered a spot. 

A striker can check with the referee for the count of continuous pots of the same ball.

Playing Billiards Rules

  • As we all know, billiards are played with three balls of each color: yellow, white, and red.
  • Both players make a call on who is to break off first, which is done by simultaneously hitting their cue balls at the table's length, hitting the cushion, and returning towards them. 
  • The player who gets their cue ball closest to the balk cushion at the end of the shot gets to select who breaks.
  • The red is placed on the billiards table and then on the first person who places their cue-ball in the D and then plays the ball.
  • Players then take turns to endeavor to score the highest number of points and eventually win the game. Players can easily score in three ways, which are given below:
  • In-off: When a player's cue ball hits one or more balls and then goes down a pocket (2 or 3 points).
  • Pot: This is when any other cue ball hits into a pocket (2/3 points).
  • Cannon: This happens when the cue ball goes into both other balls (2 points).
  • Following a foul, the opponent can have the balls all put in their spots or leave the table as it is. The winner of the game is the first player to reach the points total announced before the game.

Hazard Limitations

Hazard Limitations

Like restrictions on consecutive cannons, a player can make only 15 consecutive hazards. The player and referee rules apply here also. 

If the referee misses announcing the last five hazards, the player will get an additional five chances from when the referee announces. Similarly, players can also make requests to know the count of continuous hazards.

If the non-striker’s ball is off the table in his last stroke of a turn, it will be placed on the spot of the balk-line or right corner of D.

A Ball at the Bottom of a Pocket

A Ball at the Bottom of a Pocket

If a ball is pocketed without being hit or doesn’t touch a ball in the procedure, it is put back on the table while the striker gets credit for the stroke played.

If there is a foul, every ball is placed back, and the turn moves to the opponent.

If the ball balances on the edge for a while and then falls off later, it is counted as pocketed and not replaced on the table.

A ball moved by the striker’s partner or any other person at the table is repositioned to the most probable place that the referee thinks. The same rule does not apply if an issue is on the table, such as being detected and the ball moving. No players are penalized when balls are disturbed by the referee.

Touching Ball

Touching Ball

It is the referee's responsibility to shout for a touching ball. In such a situation, red is placed on the spot, and the non-striker's ball is placed in the center.

On the other hand, when a cue ball touches an object ball just before the striker is about to play his stroke, the referee can break the game and adjust the ball for satisfaction.

Fouls

Fouls

Below are some fouls committed by the striker, partner, or opponent player during the game.

  • Striking a ball that is different from the cue ball, striking the cue ball more than once through a stroke of striking when any ball is not at rest.
  • Playing out of turn Playing indecorous from in-hand, in addition to the opening stroke, Play the cue ball directly into a pocket or off the shoulder.
  • Taking a jump shot Making a push stroke causes a ball to be forced off the table.
  • Taking an additional 15 consecutive hazards is more than 75 cannons fired in quick succession. Touch a ball or ball marker in play with non-standard cue balls.
  • While Using a ball off the table for any purpose, Using any object to calculate gaps or distances.

The Effects of a Foul Strike on the referee If called a foul, the player should have to stop immediately. If a player does not stop and continues to play even after the penalty is higher.

The striker doesn't get any points in a foul even though an object ball is potted in a faulty stroke. The ball is placed back on the table in its original place.

Every single foul carries a two-point penalty. Assume the referee or opponent player doesn't call for a foul, then it is let off.

A miss is also a type of foul where the cue ball is pocketed directly without touching any other ball on the table. It may hit the cushion and go into the pocket as well. Two points are added to the opponent's score; the next miss is a known foul.

Winning in Billiards 

Winning in Billiards

Now that you know all about how to play billiards, let’s discuss the last point, i.e. how to win billiards. Once the number of points necessary to win is obtained, the game is over, and a winner is declared. A team or a player may win, and the scoring is frequently 300 points. 

Even though there are only three balls in play at the table, the game is incredibly tactical and demands a high level of skill and intelligent play to stay one step ahead of your opponent. Developing successive scoring strokes is a necessary skill. 

Most casual pool games often go to 300 points to determine the winner. Players who want to win the game of billiards must think both offensively and in terms of earning points, as well as defensively and in terms of making things as tough as possible for their opponent.

A well-thought-out strategy is necessary to accumulate more points and make it more difficult for the opponent to make a shot. Take advantage of the railways. Be sure to make room for the upcoming shots. 

Once all your allotted balls are in the pockets, and the 8-ball is hit after the game, you win.

Best Billiard games

Best Billiard games

The two main categories of cue sports(carom billiards) and pocket billiards encompass various billiards game variations. Carom billiard games are played on tables without pockets, whereas pocket billiard games are played on tables with pockets. All forms of billiards are regarded as cue sports because they are all played with a cue.

The three most popular carom billiards variations are straight rail, balkline, and three-cushion. All are played on a table without pockets with three balls: two cue balls and one object ball. Players aim their cue balls to make contact with both the target and their opponent's cue balls.

Of the wide range of pocket games, pool and snooker are the most widely played worldwide. Carom pool is a third variation, known as the English pool. 

Russian Pyramid is a different portable game well-liked in the former Eastern Bloc, as are its variants like Kaisa.

Games that are Played on a Carom Billiards Table

Games that are Played on a Carom Billiards Table

Though there are various billiard games, here are some of the best ones that are played on the table.

Straight Rail

When playing straight rail, a player makes contact with both other balls with his cue ball to score a point and then may keep shooting. Some of the best straight billiards players developed the ability to group the balls in a corner or along the same rail so they could play a series of cue shots to score an endless number of points.

Balkline

Due to these advancements in straight rail technique, the game of balkline quickly evolved, severely restricting the effectiveness of nurse shots by making it impossible for a player to keep the balls gathered in one area of the table for an extended period. 

Towards one end of a pool table, there is a line known as a balkline. After a predetermined number of points have been scored, the players in the game of balkline must drive at least one object ball past a balkline parallel to each rail.

Cushion Billiards

Another option was the requirement that a player's cue ball makes contact with the rail cushions while making contact with the other balls. The three-cushion version came into being, in which the cue ball must make three different cushion contacts during a shot. This difficulty limits even the best players to an average of one to two points per turn. 

This game of pool is occasionally referred to as the "hardest to learn" and "requires the most skill" of them all.

Artistic Billiards

Players earn points for executing 76 predetermined shots of varying difficulty in the Carom Billiards discipline, known as "artistic billiards," a cue sport. The term "fantasy billiards" has been used occasionally.

In essence, the artistic pool is a carom pool competition in which many players compete against one another by hitting 76 predetermined shots of varying difficulty. The player receives the maximum number of points for each set shot they play when they execute it flawlessly. 

Depending on the player's shot selection, the player can receive between 4 and 11 points.

500 points are available in this sport, resulting from the player's combination of 76 perfect shots. Players must play each shot from a different angle to score points in this game. Players must hit each shot from a different angle to score points in this game. Three attempts are given to the player to make the shots.

In this game, winning points requires a high level of skill from the players. In this game, most players use force draws, compound rail jerks, jumps, sidespins, force follows, and other shots.

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Billiard Games that are Played on a Pool Table

Billiard Games that are Played on a Pool Table

On a typical pool table, there are a lot of different game variations. Eight-ball, nine-ball, straight pool, and one-pocket are all well-liked pool variations. Even within game types (like eight-ball), there may be variations, and players may play for fun while adhering to lax or regional rules.

Sinking target balls in eight-ball and nine-ball is the objective until you can pocket the winning "Moneyball." Straight pool is a well-known but popular game in which players attempt to keep sinking balls, rack after rack if possible, to reach a predetermined winning score (typically 150). 

Rotation, a popular game similar to nine-ball, requires that the object ball with the lowest number on the table be struck first, though you may pocket any object ball (i.e., a combination shot). The player with the highest score after the rack wins. Each ball that is pocketed is worth its respective number. 

Only 120 points are available (1 + 2 + 3...+ 15 = 120), so scoring 61 points eliminates the chance for the opposition to catch up. Players must sink a predetermined number of balls in one or all bank shots in a one-pocket pool and bank pool, respectively. 

Players in snooker score points by red potting balls and various "color balls" in succession.

Two-player or -team games

Here are some two player or team games, that are played on pool table and are highly popular among billiard fans.  

Eight-ball

To pocket the eight ball in a designated pocket, one must first pocket all their designated group of balls (either stripes vs. solids, or reds vs. yellows, depending on the equipment).

Nine-ball

The objective is to pocket the 9 balls; the initial contact of the cue ball each turn must be with the lowest-numbered object ball still on the table.

  1. Straight Pool
  • The objective is to accumulate a predetermined number of points (for example, 100).
  • A point is earned by pocketing any called ball into a designated pocket.
  • The game is played with racks of 15 balls, with the last object ball of a rack being left on the table while the other player re-racks the other 14 balls before play resumes.

Bank pool

The objective is to score as many points as possible; a point is obtained by banking any called ball into a designated pocket using one or more cushions.

Speed pool

A common billiards game called "speed pool" requires players to pocket the balls as quickly as possible. The rules differ significantly from one tournament to another.

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Games that are Played on a Snooker Table

Games that are Played on a Snooker Table

English billiards

The winning and losing carambola game, which predates all three of its predecessor games—the winning game, the losing game, and the carambola game (an early variant of straight rail)—is now commonly referred to as just "billiards" in the UK, where it originated, and many former British colonies.  

The game's playable objects include both ball-pocketing and carom cannons. The English pool needs two cue balls and a red object ball. The game's goal is to score either a predetermined number of points or the most points in the allotted time.

Earning points entails: 

  • Two-ball cannons score two points by striking the object ball and the other cue ball (that of the opponent).
  • Possession of the red ball (3 points) and the other cue ball (2 points) are winning hazards.
  • The act of potting one's cue ball by cannoning off another ball is referred to as an "in-off" and is a losing hazard (3 points if you struck the red ball first; 2 points if the other cue ball was struck first or if the red and other cue balls were "split," i.e., struck at the same time).

Snooker

The 19th-century British officers in India invented the pocket billiards game known as snooker, modeled after earlier pool games like black pool and life pool. 

The term "snooker" was later used to refer to one of the game's main tactics: to "snooker" the opponent by getting them to foul or creating an opening that you can take advantage of.

Online Billiards

The balls you're allocated depend on which ball is potted first. Online billiards is very popular at this time. And it's been really fun for people to play in bars and pool halls, but since mobile games have been popular, you can play billiards online too. 8-Ball Billiards is an instinctive billiards game where you must pot all the striped or spotted balls. Many choices are available on the internet. There are many popular games for Android. 

  • 8 Ball Pool by Miniclip 
  • Booking: Billiards City
  • Pool's King
  • Billiard-Ball shooting
  • Snooker Star2022
  • Pro PoolSnooker 2022 

Click here for a list of other play-and-win games.

Billiards as an International Sport

Billiards as an International Sport

A World Professional Billiard and Snooker Association (WPBSA) division, World Billiards organizes the World Billiards Championship, an international cue sports competition in the English billiards discipline. 

The title, which has been competing for (though sporadically) since 1870, is one of the oldest sporting world championships in various forms and typically as a single competition.

Since 1980, when the WPBSA took over the tournament's administration, it has been held on a regular annual schedule. Before 2010, the competition was known as the World Professional Billiards Championship, but it has also gone by other names, such as the Billiards Championship of the World. 

Additionally, World Ladies Billiards and Snooker has organized the World Ladies Billiards Championship since 1998 and has been hosting tournaments since 1931 (with a few hiccups).

Conclusion

Billiards is a fun cue game and is easy to play if you know all the rules and strategies. Pick up a cue and line up your first shot; the game is simple enough for anyone to learn. You need a good pool cue. A fluid stroke and precise aim are required to play pool like a pro. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned pool player, this article will provide you with the fundamental tools you'll need to improve your game. You can ace your game against your opponent with concentration and a well-planned strategy.

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