Vocabulary, Slang and Definitions

25 Random Essential Billiards Terms

This is to win a game by pocketing enough balls before you opponent.
This is a timing device for monitoring and restricting shot times for a player.
Describing a shot which requires one or more balls to be played off several cushions, such as an elaborate escape or a positional shot; "he'll have to send the cue ball round the angles to get good position."
Competition between an individual player and an individual opponent, as opposed to team play such as scotch doubles and other multi-player variants.
A team play format in which an individual player from the home team plays a race against an individual player from the visiting team, and then is finished for that match. Several large leagues use this format, including APA/CPA and USAPL.
This is when it is necessary to change a set handicap after play indicates it favors one player more than the other.
The pocket in snooker that is closest to the green spot.
To "give someone weight" is to give them a handicap so the game is more even in skill level. If one player is significantly better than the other in a game, then you can add some weight, more or less balls for someone, to even the difficulty load between each player.
Also pills, tally balls and shake balls. Small, round markers typically numbered 1 through 15 or 16, which are placed in a bottle for various random assignment purposes, such as in a tournament roster, to assign order of play in a multiplayer game, or to assign particular balls to players in games such as kelly pool.
Chiefly British: Short for side spin. In Canadian usage, the term is sometimes used as a verb, "to side".
This is a low bet in a game with action.
Three equally spaced diamonds are normally between each pocket on a pool table. On a carom table, the pockets themselves are replaced by additional diamonds. Diamonds get their name from the shape of the markings traditionally used; though many today are round, square, etc., these rail markings are still referred to as "diamonds".
A shot in which the cue ball is driven first to one or more rails, then hits an object ball and kisses back to the last rail contacted. It is a common shot in carom games, but can be applied to such an instance in any relevant cue sport.
A shot played slowly and with heavy draw and follow-through so that the cue ball can be struck firmly but with a lot of the pace taken out, allowing more control than just a gentle tap that would travel as far. Also called "Drag Draw".
Using knowledge of the game and one's own abilities and limitations to choose the manner of shooting and the particular shot from an array presented, that has a degree of likelihood of success. This often requires a player to forego a shot that if made would be very advantageous but does not have a high likelihood of success, in favor of a safety or less advantageous shot that is more realistically achievable.
A player of cue sports.
In snooker, to leave the cue ball ball on the spot of a colour ball after potting it. This is usually performed where re-spotting of the colour ball would cause positional problems for the player, such as blocking available pots on one or more red balls.
Also known as a "Dirty Defense" or "Dirty Foul". To intentionally miss a shot (that results in a foul) in order to create a position for the cue ball that makes it hard for the other player to execute their shot. Not to be confused with a "Safety", since a safety is a legal hit.
Also bigs, big balls, big ones. In eight-ball, to be shooting the striped suit (group) of balls (9 through 15); "you're big, remember", "you're big balls" or "I've got the big ones". Compare stripes, yellows, high, overs; contrast little.
This is a ball that is resting on the edge of a pocket, and would be a very easy shot to pocket.
This is also used to describe the ball when it rests on the edge of the pocket, almost begging to drop.
To enter the loser bracket in a double elimination tournament, or otherwise slip in standing in other tournament formats (i.e., to lose a game/frame/round/match, but still remain in the competition).
White talcum powder placed on a player's bridge hand to reduce moisture so that a cue's shaft can slide more easily. It is not provided in many establishments as many recreational players will use far more than is necessary and transfer it all over the table's surface. Venues that do provide it usually do so in the form of compress cones about 6-inches tall. Some serious players bring their own, in a bottle or a porous bag that can be patted on the bridge hand. Many players prefer a pool glove. Talc is frequently mistakenly referred to as "hand chalk", despite not being made of chalk.
Also bar box, pub table, tavern table. Distinctive pool tables found in bars/pubs/taverns, and often in various other venues such as family entertainment centers and arcade rooms at bowling alleys. They are almost always coin-operated and smaller than tables found in pool halls. Typical bar boxes are 3.5 ft (1.1 m) × 7 ft (2.1 m).
This is English that turns into reverse English after contact with the object ball. This will close up the angle on a bank.
The act of setting up the balls for a break shot. In tournament play this will be done by the referee, but in lower-level play, players either rack for themselves or for each other depending on convention.
Also yellow(s).
In snooker, the lowest-value colour ball on the table, being worth two points. It is one of the baulk colours.
In blackball, one of two groups of seven object balls that must be potted before the eight ball; compare stripes; contrast red ball.