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Billiards (or pool, as it is also known) is a fun, challenging and competitive game. This pastime has become more accessible as tables have become less expensive and tables are increasingly being purchased for the family home.  Shooting pool involves both skill and technique, with consistent learning necessary to continuously improve.  As with many other games today, billiards can also be played and practiced online, with there being numerous dedicated online pool rooms where you pitch yourself against others or the computer. While billiards can be played on a snooker table, it is not the same as snooker. Quite a few pubs, bars and billiards clubs are good places to play and practice the game.

How to Get Started Playing Billiards

Billiards is considered a complex game. There are numerous rules you must abide by. To begin, one needs to understand and adopt the correct stance. This is of fundamental importance as it will affect your ability to shoot irrespective of your weight, height or age. However, as one becomes more proficient, different styles may be developed as one becomes more adept and confident.  The next crucial step to get right is how to grip and aim the cue stick. A positive, accurate and deliberate action is strived for.

What Equipment Is Needed?

Equipment used in billiards in pool tournaments must conform to the standards of the World Pool-Billiards Association. No such rules apply of course, to the billiard equipment at home.  Billiard tables are rectangular and comes in a variety of sizes (all in ft): 3.5 x 7, 4 x 8, 4.5 x 9 and 5 by 10. Tables can be very expensive depending on the construction and finish, although there are many decent affordable tables nowadays.  The table has pockets or mouths with corner pockets and side pockets.  The cloth of billiard tables are usually in yellow green, blue green or electric blue.

A set of billiard balls comprises one white cue ball and fifteen colored object balls that are numbered from one to fifteen. These numbers are printed twice in black on a white background to be highly visible. The cue sticks in tournament pool should be 40 inches long with a cue tip that is about 14 mm wide. The tip must be made of special leather that does not spoil the billiard balls.

For those who are just getting started or who do not have a table at home, you can also play at a pool bar or billiard hall.

Types of Games Played

As we said, billiards is played on a table with a cue stick that strikes the balls that move around on the table. However, there are a variety of billiard ball games including 8 ball, three cushion billiard, backline, straight rail or free game billiards.  Of these, three cushions is the most popular.

Online Billiard

In today’s world of the internet, online billiards has become popular in addition to traditional billiards. The rules are the same and so are the strategies and techniques although a cue stick is replaced by a mouse click. Online billiards is widely played for money.

To become a skilled player, all one needs to do is to consistently shoot each shot and stay relaxed.  This is not only a game of technique but also of the mind.  Choose shots wisely: know where your ball will come to rest and plan ahead for the next few shots.  Stay calm with every shot and keep a relaxed grip on your cue stick and a comfortable stance. Enjoy the game!

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