How to Play Pool

Have you seen movies like “The Hustler” and “The Color of Money” and wanted to learn how to play pool? The good news is that pool, like many social games, takes only a few minutes to learn and a lifetime to master. Just about any person of any age can pick up a pool cue and have some fun with their friends, learning the techniques and strategies as they go. However, if you want to excel quickly and eventually master the game, you’ll have to make a few additional considerations as you learn to play pool.

Choosing the Correct Cue

Playing pool begins with taking a pool cue off of the rack and deciding whether or not to use it. Many novices make the mistake of choosing the first pool cue they see. Although this is acceptable for casual play, it’s not the best decision when you’re learning the game and trying to improve your skills. The cue should be of a comfortable weight, such that you can use it for a long period of time without wearing out your arm. At the same time, the cue should have enough heft that you can strike the ball solidly.

Be sure that the cue is straight and check for any damage on or around the tip. Be sure that the white section under the tip is firmly attached. Take a few practice strokes with the cue to be sure that it’s comfortable.

Chalking up the Tip

If you’ve ever been around a pool table, you’ve probably noticed tiny cubes sitting around the edge of the table. These are pieces of chalk and they’re used to coat the tip of your cue. Placing chalk on your cue will create the friction necessary to solidly hit the ball and prevent a “miscue” (deflecting your cue off of the ball). To properly chalk the cue, you should gently apply a thin, even layer in a brushing motion. Don’t spin the chalk on the cue or over-apply the chalk. While you’re placing the chalk on the cue, take the opportunity to size up the table and look for a good shot. Chalking should be done before every single shot.

Using the Correct Stance

When shooting in pool, it’s important to pay attention to the position of your body and maintain the correct form. Place your feet shoulder-width apart and angle your toes away from one another at a 45 degree angle. If you’re right-handed, keep your left foot in front of the right foot. Do the opposite if you’re left-handed. Your back leg will be straight while your front leg will bend comfortably at the knee.

Hold your chin over the cue, and bend your stroking arm at the elbow. Be sure that your stroking arm won’t touch your body as your strike the ball. The section of your arm between your elbow and shoulder should be forming a 90 degree angle with the cue. The arm that you’re leaning on should be slightly bent at the elbow. Keep your entire body loose and comfortable.

Rules for Playing Pool

How to Play Pool

How to Play Pool

In order to learn how to play pool, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with the rules for playing pool. Although there are many different types of pool such as Nine Ball, Straight Ball, One Pocket and Cutthroat, Eight Ball is arguably the most common and popular variation on the game. In this game, there are seven solid balls and seven striped balls, as well as a black eight ball and a white cue ball. The rules are simple. All of the balls, except the cue ball, are place in the triangular rack and laid at one end of the table on a marker displayed on the felt. One of the players “breaks” by striking the cue ball into the racked balls. Each of the two players is assigned to either stripes or solids depending on which ball (or balls) go into the pockets.

Players then take turns trying to knock the balls, either solids or stripes, into the pockets. If a player is successful with his shot, he gets to take another turn. If he doesn’t knock one of the balls into a pocket, the other player takes a turn. After a player knocks all of his balls into the pockets, he must knock the eight ball into a pocket.

It’s also possible to “scratch” in pool. To “scratch” is to knock the cue ball into one of the pockets. In this case, the other player gets to take his turn after placing the cue ball wherever he’d like on the table so long as it’s behind a designated line. If you scratch while trying to sink the eight ball, you automatically lose. There are some rule variations in Eight Ball. Sometimes, it will be necessary to call your shot before you make it by indicating the corner you’re aiming for. If this rule is in place, you’ll scratch if you knock a ball into the incorrect pocket.

Additional Pool Tips

Consider hiring a professional instructor to help you learn how to play pool. An instructor will make sure that you use the correct form and keep you from developing bad habits.

Don’t bet on pool with players you aren’t familiar with. Some players will try to “hustle” others by intentionally playing poorly until someone bets against them.

Be considerate of your fellow players. Don’t intentionally distract or taunt them, especially when they’re taking a shot. Shooting in pool takes a similar level of concentration to shooting in golf and the same rules of etiquette apply.

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