If you’re thinking of getting into pool it’s more than just a hobby. Pool is a lifestyle especially if you plan on having your own table in your home. There are a lot of things a person needs to know if you want to get good at the game and if you want to keep your table in the best of shape.
This guide that I have made for you should give you an overall overview of all the things that you should know when becoming a part of the pool playing community.
#1: The Best Pool Techniques
Pool looks like a game that would be relatively easy to a player that’s new to the game. If you’re looking to impress people with your pool playing skills you can’t just jump into the game without knowing a couple things.
At the start of any game of pool one of the players must take the break shot. You want to hit the cue ball above its center to prevent friction between the ball and the felt top. Ultimately, this will cause the cue ball to stop in the middle of the table and give you a broader array of hit options. Hit as accurately and as hard as you can at the point of the triangle.
Another thing you need to know is how to appropriately use your knowledge of angles to hit balls accurately. The reflection rule is used for bank shots. At whatever angle you hit the ball, it will bounce back at the same angle. You can use the diamond system to help you with this as well.
This is similar to the process of hitting your target ball at different angles rather than hitting them directly. If a direct hit has a fullness of 1 then it will go straight. If you hit the ball at a fullness of ¾ then the ball it will have a slight curve (14.5 degrees). You can use the ghost ball technique which tells you how much contact your cue ball will make with your target ball.
#2: What Drills You Can Practice
Keeping these techniques in mind there are a couple drills you can practice when you’re not playing against someone. An easy thing you could practice is to simply play a couple of games by yourself but you can focus on specific techniques using these drills.
This first drill is used to practice hitting your objective ball off center. Line up 3 balls slightly away from the edge of the long sides of the table and space them out evenly. Put your cue ball in the center of the table and practice hitting the balls into the corner pockets, alternating hitting the balls on each side.
Instead of taking the easy shot it’s important to make a plan at least 3 balls in to your turn. This next drill helps you practice forming plans in your head before you make a move. Throw 3 balls randomly onto the table and come up with a plan to sink all 3 in only 3 moves.
Repairing a pool table can be very cost worthy so it’s important that you do all that you can to keep it in good shape. Probably the most important thing to keep an eye on is the state of the felt on your table.
Keeping the felt top of your table in good condition isn’t a very difficult process. After every game you should brush the cue chalk off using a brush specifically made for pool tables. These brushes are made with soft bristles. Brushing the residue into the pool pockets is the most effective way to get all of the chalk off.
Once in a while it might be good to do a deep clean. Start off by using a hand vacuum with low suction and without any special head attachment that could potentially damage the felt. You can use a brush to get into the edges a little better.
A lot of tables get chalk stains on the felt of their table. There are products specifically made to take care of chalk stains on pool tables which we would recommend you use. Chalk off is a spray that works great and comes with a microfiber cloth. Spray the table and wipe it down with this dry cloth.
Here’s a good brand of chalk off that you can uses: https://www.amazon.com/Cuestix-Table-Cleaning-Quick-Cleaner/dp/B000WQ21JA/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=chalk+off&qid=1555434262&s=gateway&sr=8-2
Other than cleaning there are a couple of other things you can do. Sunlight can be damaging to the felt and fade the wood of your table so keeping your table in a windowless room can do wonders. There are covers that you can put on top of your table as well when you’re not using it.
Playing the game properly can prevent any damage to your table as well. Often times, new players like to hold their cues in an upright position when they hit the ball. Cues slip off the ball and go straight into the felt top causing what are called cue burns and sometimes even ripping through the felt of the table.
#4: What to Consider When Buying a Pool Table
One thing to consider when you’re buying a pool table is who will all be playing on it. If you’re already an experienced player and you know how to take care of your table then you could really buy anything you want. For inexperienced players who could accidentally put rips in the felt or they don’t know how to clean it well you might want to get a cheaper brand.
As mentioned before, the area in which your table should be in shouldn’t have a lot of windows or items that could break easily if a ball goes off the table. Make sure that the table you want to buy will be a good match for the area you plan on using it in.
A professional table can cost more than $10,000 while a low quality table can cost you only $500. It all depends on how long you want your table to last as well as the limit you’re willing to play for a pool table. The more expensive ones will last your whole life if taken care of and are made out of durable materials.
One thing that a lot of people don’t consider is where you go to purchase your table. If you don’t know a lot about the different brands of pool tables or what features to looks for, going to any place that sells pool tables can be risky. A specialized store will have people who can help you. It’s good to research a couple of popular brands before you go out looking.
As for what quality materials to looks for there are a couple of features we recommend. The slate is the area that you play on. Because the felt covers it up manufacturers sometimes don’t tell the whole truth about its material. A cheap slate can make for an uneven play area. Buying your table from a reputable manufacturer is a good way to ensure quality.
Pool table felt also varies. Most of the pool tables you find in bars or in homes are made out of wool. Wool tends to pill over time and can be damaged easily. There’s another material that isn’t even felt but is call worsted cloth. It’s a very durable material that is used on tournament style tables and can be very expensive.
#5: What Billiard Ball Set Should You Get
Unknown to most people, the kind of billiard ball set you buy can affect the game play. Popular manufacturers use a long and cost worthy process to ensure that their balls are perfectly round. Smaller manufacturers make their balls seem completely round to the human eye but are in fact not made perfect.
Another thing that differs from manufacturer to manufacturer is the density of their pool balls. Having a consistent density throughout the pool ball ensures that they have a direct trajectory and will move in the way the player wants it to move depending on how they hit it.
Elasticity also varies on which brand of ball you purchase. Elasticity refers to when a ball strikes another ball they pass all of their energy to the ball they hit. The ball that got hit will move at the same speed as the other ball while that ball will completely stop.
As for the brands that you should look into when you’re purchasing your balls there are a few that are well known around the world. The most well known brand is Aramith. Aramith has the strictest standards for their pool ball sets and on average last 5 times longer than other sets because of its material and design. The only downside is that the cue ball is smaller than the rest.
Here’s a set you can purchase if you’re in the market: https://www.amazon.com/Aramith-Phenolic-Regulation-Belgian-Billiard/dp/B005GVH9JI/ref=sr_1_3?keywords=aramith+pool+balls&qid=1555436853&s=gateway&sr=8-3
You can buy from a variety of top name manufacturers that come in different styles. There are transparent balls, tie dye balls, and even balls with sports logos on them. Just like buying a pool table it’s good to do your research on all the possible pool ball sets you could buy.
#6: What You Should Know Before Building Your Own Table
Before you even start to build your own pool table it’s important to know what kind of room you have available for a pool table. When considering the dimensions of a pool table, take into consideration the room you’ll need around your pool table.
There’s an episode of Seinfeld where Kramer is trying to play pool at George’s mom’s house but he can’t because the back of his stick keeps hitting the walls. For the best game play you need to have efficient room to move around.
Once you’ve got your dimensions set you need to consider the materials. This can be very expensive. Using slate rock for the game surface is preferred over wood because it doesn’t warp over time, its surface is smoother, and it doesn’t absorb liquids from accidental spills. However, it is very expensive and very heavy.
Because of how heavy slate can be you’ll need to make sure you use a sturdy wood that will be about to hold it up and not wear down over the years. You can use almost any type of wood for the table legs, the frame, and the rails.
Pool table felt is also an important thing to consider. The most durable and the smoothest material you could use is call worsted but it’s also expensive. Wool felt works pretty good and is a little easier to put onto your table.
There are a lot of things that can go wrong when you build your own pool table so it’s probably best to use cheaper materials if it’s your first time or to just order a custom made table from professionals.
There are a lot of different games you can play using a pool table and each game has their own set of rules. For now, I’ll focus on the most popular game of 8 ball. These rules are made by the APA. The objective is to sink all of your balls (either solids or stripes) except for the 8 ball. Once all of your balls have been sunk then you need to sink the 8 ball to win the game.
In order to decide who will break first the players will participate in a lag game. This is when the players hit a ball from one end of the table hard enough that it will bounce back to their side of the table. The player whose ball is the closest to the wall of the table wins the break. After the first break, breaking will alternate every other game.
When setting up to break you need to make sure the balls are in the correct position in the rack. One point of the triangle should be facing the direction of the breaker. One solid and one strip ball should be in the farthest two corners. The 8 ball should be in the middle of the third row. The rest of the balls are in the rack randomly.
If the player who broke sinks the 8 ball during the break then they automatically win the game. During game play, a player will lose the game if they sink the 8 ball before all of their other designated balls are sunk.
Players will know their designated ball group (solids or stripes) when a player is the first to sink a ball. If the player sunk a solid ball they now must sink the rest of the balls. During a break, if the breaker sinks both types of ball groups they get to choose if they want solids or stripes.
In professional pool, a player must call out which ball they intend to sink and in which pocket. If they sink the wrong ball it will be considered a miss and the turn will be passed. The ball will not be removed from the pocket. It doesn’t matter if the player sinks the other players ball but it will be considered a miss as well.
There are many different things that constitute as a foul in the game of pool. When a foul is committed the player forfeits their turn and the turn then goes to their opponent. Some fouls have their own rules.
One type of foul that has an extra benefit is sinking the cue ball. When this happens the players turn ends and the other player starts their turn off with the cue ball where ever they want it to be. Players are also allowed to move the cue ball when their opponent touches the cue ball either accidentally or on purpose.
When you hit your cue ball the first ball it comes into contact with needs to be a ball from you designated group. If you hit your opponents ball first then this is considered a foul and you forfeit your turn.
#8: How to Do Pool Table Repairs
Doing repairs on a pool table can be tricky depending on what needs to be replaced. Finding these replacement parts can be pretty easy however. Most game table stores have these parts on hand or have the ability to order them based off of your table’s specifications.
Pockets can be installed differently depending on which type of pocket you have and what type of table you have. Most tables you need to remove the rails before you can detach your pockets. They should be attached to the rail by either bolts, staples, or some attachment. Use your old pockets as a reference on how to reattach your new pockets.
To replace the slate of your pool table the first thing you need to do is to remove the felt. Remove the rails of your table and take out the staples that are holding the felt to the table. This gives you direct access to your slate and you can complete your repairs or replace it all together.
For cracks in your slate you can easily fill them using beeswax. Melt the beeswax above the crack until it fill it up. Once it cools you can scrape the excess wax off of the table. This helps the slate bond back together. Billiard table wax works just as good but is more durable than beeswax.
If there are larger cracks or pieces that are completely broken off it’s best to use slate glue. Put the glue on both pieces of slate and hold them together for a long while. Once the glue is dried you can sand down the glue that gushed out between the two pieces.
Bumpers or cushions are attached to the rails to help the billiards balls bounce off the side of the rails without damaging the wood. These bumpers are made out of rubber and last about 15-20 years.
To replace the bumpers you’ll first need to remove the rails. Once you have those off you need to take out the feather strip which hides in a crevice between the wood and the bumper. This feather strip is what helps to hold the cloth around the bumper.
To get the cloth off you’ll need to remove most of the staples in the rail. You won’t need to remove all of them. Just enough to get all of the cloth off. Make sure not to staple over the old staples when installing the new cloth. You’ll be about to peel off the bumpers and scrape off the glue once you’ve done this.
Place an adhesive specifically made for pool table rubber onto the wood where you plan on putting the new bumper. Let it be until it becomes tacky then place the new bumper as accurately as possible. The bumpers should also come with facings that you need to glue onto the bumper as well.
To replace a new strip of rail cloth where your feather strip was, leaving a little extra so that you can staple it to the back of the rail. Once you have the feather strip in you’ll staple the rest to the rail so that it’s tight. Put the rail back onto your table and you’ll be good.
To begin replacing the felt you first need to take apart your table. This includes the pockets which requires you to remove the rails of the table. As stated above this can vary depending on what type of pockets and what kind of rails you have. Rails can be 1 whole piece or in multiple pieces.
You can now remove the felt. Felt can be attached using staples which means you need to remove the staples from your slate or your wood. Felt can also be attached using glue which means you can simply rip the old felt off of your table.
You’ll need to measure your table so that you have the right size for your felt. When you order your new piece of table felt, make sure that you add on an extra foot of material for every side of your table.
If your table has a wooden backing then you’ll be able to staple the new felt material to your table. If your table is all slate then you will need to glue it back on. There are special spray adhesives that are used to attach felt onto slate pool tables.
Spray your slate heavily with the adhesive and leave it alone until it becomes tacky. Start placing the felt onto the slate starting from one end and going to the other. You’ll need more than one person to help you get it as tight as possible. This will prevent wrinkles as well as keep the surface as smooth as possible.
Once you’ve got the whole table covered with the felt you can trim off the access and use it to cover the insides of the pockets. When the glue has completely dried you can then put your table back together.