Introduction To Billiards
was the original forerunner to snooker and for many years
was deemed to be the more sophisticated of the two games.
Unfortunately the players of the early twentieth century,
Joe Davis, Walter Lindrum and others had become so good at
the game that they had killed it as a form of public entertainment.
to their complete mastery of the game, breaks of a thousand plus
became common at the very top level, removing the excitment and
tension of matches with less perfect players on view. The professional
game soon bore little resemblance to the game played by amateurs
and juniors at club level and slowly started to diminish in popularity.
this time, snooker became more readily accessible for the
general public to enjoy and this increased competition signalled
if not the end, close to it for billiards. This was unfortunate,
as to play billiards successully requires great touch, feel
and excellent hand to eye co-ordination.
basic principles of snooker - straight cueing, solid stance,
firmness of bridge and clarity of thought and mental approach,
all apply for billiards. These basics must be mastered to
become a decent player. Failure to do so results in a haphazard
approach and style of play which leads nowhere and which ultimately
affects a players enjoyment of the game.
is strongly recommended that you try and learn the basic prinicples
of billiards. This will assist your learning curve on cue ball control
and the vagaries of spin and will introduce you to the many different
angles available on the snooker and billiards table.
Billiards is played by two persons or sides and is best summarised
Three balls are used: a plain white by one player and a spot white
used by the other player, plus one red.
Scoring strokes in a players turn are made by pots, in-offs and
cannons played singly or in combination.
Points awarded for scoring strokes are added to the score of the
Penalty points from fouls and misses are added to the opponents
A useful tactic which can be employed at any time during a game
is to leave both object balls in Baulk, when the next player is
in-hand, such that any attempt to disturb the balls must be made
by means of an indirect stroke.
The winner of the game is the player or side:
who has scored most points in the agreed or stipulated time
ii) who first reaches the agreed or stipulated number of points
iii) to whom the game is awarded under Section Four, Rule Two (unfair
iv) to whom the game is conceded.
The winner of the match is the player or side winning most games,
or where aggregate points are relevant, with the greatest total.
game is the period of play from the opening stroke until it is completed
the end of a specified time period - By either side reaching the
number of points specified - The
game being awarded by the referee under Section Four - Rule Two
match is an agreed or stipulated number of frames.
cue-ball is the ball of the striker - The other white and the red
are the object balls.
person about to play or in play is the striker and remains so until
the referee has decided he has left the table at the end of his
stroke is made when the striker strikes the cue ball with the tip
of the cue - A stroke is fair when no infringement of the rules
is made - A
stroke is not completed until all balls have come to rest - A
stroke may be made directly or indirectly, thus, a stroke is direct
when the cue-ball strikes an object ball without first striking
a cushion. a stroke is classed as indirect when the cue-ball strikes
one or more cushions before striking the first, or second object
pot is when an object ball, afetr contact with another ball and
without any infringement of the rules, enters a pocket. Causing
a ball to be potted is known as potting. A pot is also known as
a winnign hazard.
in-off is when the cue-all, after contacting an object ball and
without any infringement of the rules, enters a pocket. If both
object balls are contacted by the cue-ball, it is helf that the
ball went in-off the first object ball contacted. An in-off is also
known as a losing hazard.
hazard is any scoring stroke that does not include a cannon, being
pot and an in-off
pots and an in-off
cannon is when, without any infringement of the rules the cue-ball
makes contact with both object balls during a stroke.
break is a number of scoring strokes in succession made in any one
turn by the striker.
players ball is in-hand;
the start of each game
it has entered a pocket
it has been forced off the table
remains in-hand until;
is played fairly from in-hand
foul is committed whilst the ball is on the table
is spotted after being forced off the table
players ball is in play when it is not in-hand
red is in play when spotted and remains so until pocketed or forced
off the table
ball is in baulk when it rests on the baulk line or that line and
the bottom cushion.
off the Table
ball is forced off the table if it comes to rest other than on the
bed of the table or in a pocket, or if it is picked up by the striker
whilst it is in play
miss is when the cue ball fails to make contact with either object
foul is any infringement of the Billiard Rules
spot is said to be occupied if a ball cannot be placed on it without
that ball touching another.
push stroke is made when the tip of the cue remains in contact with
the cue ball;
the cue-ball has commenced its forward motion
the cue ball makes contact with an object ball except where the
cue ball and object ball are almost touching, it shall not be deemed
a push stroke if the cue-ball hits a very fine edge of the object
jump shot is made when the cue-ball passes over any part of an object
ball, whether touching it in the process or not, except;
the cue-ball strikes firct strikes the one object ball and then
jumps over the other ball
the cue-ball jumps and strikes an object ball, but does not land
on the far side of that ball
after striking a ball lawfully, the cue-ball jumps over that ball
after hitting a cushion or another ball
following acts count as fouls:
Striking a ball other than the cue ball
Striking the cue ball more than once
Striking the cue ball whne both feet are in the air
Playing out of turn
Playing improperly from hand
Striking the ball before it comes to rest
Playing a jump shot
Playing a push shot
Causing a ball to be forced off the table
Making more than fifteen consecutive hazards
Making more than seventy-five consecutive cannons
Touching a ball or ball marker in play, other than in the lawful
execution of a stroke
player who scores most points wins. Scoring is achieved as follows.
cannon is made by causing the cue ball to contact the two object
balls in succession - the opponents white ball and the remaining
red ball. Two points are scored from a cannon, whether it be from
white to red, or red to white.
in-off is made by causing the cue ball to enter a pocket after contact
with one of the two object balls. An in-off played off the red ball
scores three points and an in-off played off the white ball scores
pot is made by making the cue ball contact one or other of the two
object balls, causing it to enter the pocket. Potting the red ball
scores three points, potting the white scores two points.
an in-off is combined with a cannon, the in-off shall score (additionally
to the cannon)
i) three points
if the red was struck first by the cue ball
ii) two points if the object white was struck first
iii) two points if both object balls were struck simultaneously
If more than
one hazard or a combination of hazards and cannons are made in the
same stroke, all are scored.
the sole judge of fair and unfair play
free to make a decision in the interests of fair play for any
situation not covered by the rule book
responsible for the proper conduct of the game under the governing
if they witness and infringement of the rules
any ball upon request by a player
referee shall not;
any question not authorised by the rules
any indication that a player is about to make a foul stroke
any advice or opinion on points affecting play
any questions regarding the difference in scores
a referee has failed to notice an incident, then they may take the
evidence of the marker or other officials and spectators best placed
for observation to assist his decision.
marker shall keep the score on the scoreboard and assist the referee
in carrying out his duties. He shall also act as recorder if necessary.
recrder shall maintain a record of each stroke played, showing fouls,
hazards and cannons where appropriate and how many points are scored
by each player or side as required. He should also take note opf
break totals and calculate average scores per turn after the completion
of the game.
the referee consider that a player is taking too long over a shot,
the selection of a shot or the game as a whole, then they will warn
the player that he is liable to have the game awarded to his opponent.
conduct which in the opinion of the referee is wilfully or persistently
unfair, including time wasting or ungentlemanly conduct, or for
refusing to continue a game, a player shall lose the game.
a game is forfeited under this section:
If it was to be decided on an agreed or stipulated number of points,
the offender shall forfeit all points scored and the non-offender
shall win the game by the agreed or stipulated number of points
to nil, or
If it was over an agreed or stipulated period of time and forms
part of a match, the match shall be forfeited.
the striker is playing, the non-striker shall avoid moving or stnding
in the line of sight of the striker. They should sit or stand at
a reasonable distance from the table.
the case of absence from the room the non-striker may appoint a
deputy to watch their interests and claim a foul if necessary. Any
appointment must be made known to the referee prior to departure.
player can only concede when he is the striker. The opponent has
the right to accept or refuse the concession, which becomes null
and void if the opponent chooses to play on.
slate bed, inset in a wooden framework and covered by green baize
cloth, tautly drawn and having a nap running from one end to the
other, forms the playing area.
table measures 12 foot by 6 foot 1 and a half inches, but the bed,
being enclosed by rubber cushions which overhang it by 2 inches,
is reduced for playing purposes to an area of 11 foot 8 inches by
5 foot 9 and a half inches.
table rests on eight legs, with a pocket in each corner and one
placed at each side exactly in the centre, making six in total.
The height of
the table from the floor to the top of the cushion rail shall be
from 2ft 9 and a half inches to 2ft 10 and a half inches (851mm
line drawn 29 inches from the bottom cushion and parallel with it
is called the Baulk Line. The area within this and the bottom cushion
is called the Baulk area. From this line a semi-circle is marked,
with a radius of 11 and a half inches, enclosing an area called
spots are marked on the table - situated at the centre of the 'D'
- at the centre of the playing area (centre spot) - at a point 12
and three quarters from the top cushion (billiard spot) and at a
point half-way between the centre spot and the top cushion, (pyramid
spot). There are two other spots, one at each end of the 'D' line
but only one of these (the right hand spot - or green spot in snooker)
is used for billiards. Both are used for snooker.
bottom end of the table is the one containing the baulk end the
other the top end. To play up the table is to play facing the top
of the table and to play down the table is to face the bottom.
openings must conform to the templates authorised by the World Snooker