Vocabulary, Slang and Definitions

25 Random Essential Billiards Terms

This term is much like rain table and refers to a table is playing soggy due to humid conditions.
A very thin cut shot in which the cue ball just brushes the edge of an object ball. "Feather" by itself can be both noun and verb (e.g. "feathering the ball").
A specific ball number followed by "out" refers to a handicap in nine-ball or other rotation games where the "spot" is all balls from that designated number to the money ball. To illustrate, the 6-out in a nine-ball game would allow the player getting weight to win by legally pocketing the 6, 7, 8 or 9 balls.
Short for run out, especially as a noun: "That was a nice out."
In pool, the degree to which racked balls move apart upon impact by the cue ball as a result of a break shot.
In snooker, a shot sending the cue ball into the pack of red balls and separating them (after potting the ball-on). At least one split is usually necessary in each frame, since the original triangle of reds does not allow any balls to be potted reliably.
Deviation of a ball from its initial direction of travel. Often the result of a poor-quality table and may be an artifact of the cloth, the bed, a ball with uneven weight distribution, or simply the floor the table stands on being uneven.
This describes a shot in snooker where the cue contacts more than one object ball.
A tournament format in which a player must lose two matches in order to be eliminated.
One-on-one game play.
A multi-game division of a match, as used in some league and tournament formats. For example, in a match between 2 teams of 5 players each, a 25-game match might be divided into 5 rounds of 5 games each, in which the roster of one team moves one line down at the beginning of each round, such that by the end of the match every player on team A has played every player on team B in round robin fashion.
A level of competition elimination in a tournament, such as the quarterfinal round, semifinal round and final round.
To allow an opponent to stop playing a set for money in exchange for something. If a player is winning a set by a wide margin, with $100 on the line, the player could say, "I'll let you out now for $75." This is usually meant to save pride.
To apply chalk to the tip of your cue before a shot.
Refers to a person gambling when he has no money. As in, "That jerk can't pay up, he was shooting air barrels the whole time".
This is the International Billiards and Snooker Federation. This organization governs non-professional snooker and billiards play all over the world.
Toward the head of the table. This is the playing area on the table above the middle pockets. The idea in an up table game is that shots are more difficult and further from the pockets in one pocket pool.
In snooker and British pool, the successful potting of all object balls-on in a single frame.
A shot in which the cue ball is potted after caroming off another ball. In snooker and most pool games doing this would be a fault (foul), but the move will score points in many games in which hazards (as such) apply, such as English billiards, or in the final or game point in Cowboy pool. The term derives from this hazard costing the player points in early forms of billiards.
A British term for a pot that requires very fine contact between cue ball and object ball. See also feather.
When a successful non penalized break is achieved which gives the object balls a broad spread on the table.
When the object ball banked of a rail goes directly in a pocket without kissing or touching any other object balls.
When two or more object balls are frozen or nearly frozen, such that cue-ball contact with one object ball, without the necessity of great accuracy, will almost certainly pocket an intended object ball in the cluster. The most common form of dead arrangements are the dead combination or dead combo (a combination shot in which contact with the first object ball will pocket another one), and the dead kiss, in which contact with the first object ball will pocket it off of another one. See also wired.
The point in match play where both players (or teams) need only one more game (frame) victory to win the match or race.
A predetermined number of games, usually played for a specified sum of money. Contrast race (a predetermined number of wins). Informally, sets may refer to gambling more generally, as in "I've been playing sets all day", even when the format is actually races or single games.
Any one of numerous acts which unethical players employ to rattle or upset their opponent. Taking, making noise, and chalking your cue while your opponent is shooting are all considered sharking tactics.
A rule in blackball whereby after an opponent has faulted and thus yielded two shots, if the incoming shooter pots a ball on the first shot, (s)he is still allowed to miss in a later shot and take a second shot in-hand (from the "D" or from baulk, or if the opponent potted the cue ball, from anywhere)—even on the black, in most variants. Also called the "two visits" rule; i.e., the two penalty shots are considered independent visits to the table, and the limiting variants discussed at two shots below cannot logically apply.
Asian Pocket Billiard Union. The APBU is a member of the WPA.