Pool Table Angles-Winning Geometry

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If you want to get good at playing pool there are some basic concepts that you should know. One technique used by every professional pool player is the use of angels. Starting off, calculating where the ball will go can be hard but by using these techniques you’ll be set in no time.

The Reflection Rule

If you were ever a good geometry student you might be familiar with the reflection rule. The reflection rule is a transformation that shows the flip side of a figure or a figures reflection. If you shine a flashlight at a mirror at different angles the mirror will show the reflection angle of the light. This can be used on your shots in pool.

It can be difficult to determine where your cue ball will go if you attempt a bank shot. The reflection rule is a tool you can use. If you hit a ball at a 30 degree angle your ball will bounce off of the side of the table at a 30 degree angle. This can be especially helpful when you want to make a direct hit on another ball.

To make a direct hit on a ball the same distance away from the side of the table as your cue ball you need to find the space exactly between your cue ball and the ball you want to hit. Draw invisible lines to the side of the table from both the balls to help you determine the distance between the two. Find the point that is directly in between the two balls. This is the part of the edge of the table you will want to hit with your cue ball to get a direct hit.

If the ball isn’t at the same level of distance away from the edge of the table you’ll have to rely on your knowledge of angles. Decide at what angle you want your target ball to go at. You’ll need to hit your cue ball at this exact angle for it to bounce off the edge and hit your target ball perfectly. If you’re having trouble with this you can use the pool diamonds.

Pool Diamonds

If you’ve ever played a game of pool on a traditional pool table you’ve probably noticed the small diamond design along the sides of a pool table. These are not there to make the pool table look more fancy but are used to help pool players determine where the ball is going to go using the reflection rule.

It works the exact same way. These diamonds form invisible lines to help a player determine where the ball will go. If your ball is directly in front of one diamond and you hit your ball at one of the diamonds across the table, you can count the number of diamonds between the distance of the original diamond and the one you hit it towards to determine where it will go.

How You Hit The Ball

If you hit the target ball directly, the ball will continue to follow the invisible line your cue ball was following. However, if you hit more on the side of the target ball it will veer off the course. This isn’t a bad thing if it’s what you want it to do. You can honestly make any shot as long as you hit the ball just right.

When you hit your target ball on its left side the ball will veer right. The same goes when you hit it on its right side. Depending on how far right or left you hit it the angle it goes will be more severe. Hitting it farther on its right will veer it in a more direct left direction.

You can tell how much it will veer by the “fullness” of the collision. A direct hit has a fullness of 1. The ball has a ¼ fullness when your cue ball covers ¼ of the target ball. You’re still using the reflection rule when you’re figuring out where the ball will go.

Be careful when hitting the ball at ¼ fullness or less. The farther away from the center of the ball you hit the harder it is to estimate where the ball will go.


Adding spin to a ball is when you don’t hit your cue ball directly in the center. This can be particularly useful when you don’t want to hit a ball less than ¼ fullness but you still want it to move at a sharper angle.

When you your cue ball right from the middle, your target ball is going to move slightly more to the right than it would if it were hit without spin. If you hit your cue ball left from the middle, your target ball is going to move slightly more to the left. When performing a bank shot, your spin will not affect the trajectory of your cue ball.

Related Questions:

What is English In Pool?

English refers to the spin you put on the cue ball. If you put right English on the ball you’re hitting the ball to the right of the middle. Left English is when you hit the ball from the left of the middle. English does not refer to hitting the ball below or above the center.

How Do You Line Up The Balls In The Rack?

Depending on which pool game you play, racking the balls is done differently. Eight ball is the most popular of billiards games so we’ll go over that one:

  1. With the point of the triangle facing you, place one striped ball and one solid ball in each corner of the last row.

  2. Place the black 8 ball in the center of the third row.

  3. Place the rest of the balls randomly within the ball rack.

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