Game Guide

The equipment required for a game of billiards is a table that measures 12 feet by 6 feet with 6 pockets. It is played with one red ball and two white cue balls, one of which would have a small black spot whereas the other one will not.

The tapered sticks are used to strike the cue balls with a tip that is called a cue. Other accessories for billiards are rest, a full-butt and a half-butt that is used to rest the cue to extend the playing lengths or to hit long shots.

A singles game of billiards is generally played rather than doubles. Each turn that a player takes is called a break, followed by a series of strikes to the cue ball, eventually resulting in a declared winner. When the cue ball knocks another ball into a pocket, it is known as potted.

Billiards Variations

Click on one of the Billiards Versions below to read more about it.


The object of the game is that one player should pocket balls numbered 1 through 7=solid colors while the other player pocket balls from 9 through 15=stripes. The player pocketing his share of balls is allowed to legally pocket the 8-Ball and thus, win the game.


This billiards version is played with 9 object balls numbered from one to nine along with the cue ball. The first contact made should always be the lowest numbered ball on the table and it won't matter which ball is potted. After the first player misses, the second player would take over from the position where the first player left off. The game is won by pocketing the 9-Ball.


The cue ball is used to strike and pocket the object balls in one of the 6 pockets. There are six different colored balls each assigned points. Played with 1 white cue ball and maximum 15 red balls worth one point each. Otherwise Yellow=2 points, Green=3, Brown=4, Blue=5, Pink=6 and Black=7. Each ball should be potted in a sequence and points are awarded accordingly.

The player with the most points wins the frame. The player who has the maximum frame wins out of 19 frames is declared the winner of the match.


French billiards or Carom is played with two white and one red ball on a table without pockets. The objective of this game is to drive one of the white balls=cue ball into both the other balls and by doing so the player earns one point. The three balls used in this game are white, red and white with a spot.

When one player fails to score any points, the play is then passed to another player, who plays the game as it was left. The game continues until one player reaches an agreed number of points that is often 50.

Billiards Glossary

Billiards Games Glossary A

when the corner of a pocket hinders a player shooting the cue ball directly at an object ball.
positioning of the front ball in the rack or pyramid of object balls.
Around the Table
in carom, term used when the cue ball contacts 3 or more cushions in order to score.

Billiards Games Glossary B

Balance Point
point at which the cue will balance when lying on one hand. It is approximately 18 inches when this point is measured from the bottom of the cue.
Ball On
snooker term for trying to score with a non-red ball.
Bank Shot
also referred to as bank. When an object ball is driven to one or more cushions or rails before being pocketed.
snooker, term for 29" line along bottom cushion.
carom, winning count.
Black Ball
in snooker, the black ball is the highest valued colored ball worth 7 points.
Blind Draw
jargon for random selection of tournament players.
Blue Ball
in snooker, the blue ball is worth 5 points.
Blood Test
a very tough shot that has to be played under pressure.
opening shot in pocket games or carom whereas in snooker, it's the total points scored in one inning.
Breaking Violation
in pocket billiards, occurs at the opening break.
used to hold the end of the cue to make a shot.
Brown Ball
in snooker, brown color ball is worth 4 points.
when the total score is more than 41 points.
Butt of Cue
term for thicker end of the cue or the opposite end of the tip.

Billiards Games Glossary C

Called Ball
the ball specified or indicated by the player to be pocketed on a shot.
Called Pocket
refers to next shot as to specific pocket expected.
term used mainly by the Englishmen for carom.
jargon for bounce of one ball into another.
Center Spot
the center point of the table playing area.
dry substance that is applied to the tip of the cue to prevent slippery contact with the cue ball.
Clean Bank
stroke in which the cue ball does not touch any object ball.
Clear Ball
lingo for unmarked white ball in carom.
pocket shot of a separate ball from the called shot.
Combination On
term refers to 2 balls placed that allow for the called shot to be completed.
Contact Point
contact occurs between cue ball and object ball.
occurs when a pocket corner impedes a cue ball shot to the object ball.
a shot where point/s are scored.
Cross Corner
jargon for a rebound shot from a cushion into a corner pocket.
Cross Side
same as above, but into a side pocket.
Cross Table Shot
occurs when the ball travels across the table between the long cushion.
jargon for a bridge.
wooden stick that is used to strike the cue ball.
Cue Ball
unmarked white ball hit during the game.
Cue Ball in Hand
occurs when the cue ball is placed and played within the table boundaries.
Cue Tip
end of the cue shaft that touches the ball before a shot.
rubber, covered by cloth that borders both billiards and carom tables creating the playable area.

Billiards Games Terms D

Dead Ball
term for cue ball that loses speed after contact with object ball. Also Kill Shot.
Drop Pockets
term for ball returns that do not drop to end of pocket table.
Double Elimination
term for player eliminated after 2 match losses.
Double Hit
when the billiard cue tip strikes the cue ball twice on the same shot.
Double Round Robin
each participant in these tournaments plays all their opponents twice.

Billiards Games Terms F

Feather Shot
jargon for cue ball that only brushes the object ball.
Follow Shot
occurs when cue ball moves forward after touching object ball.
Foot of Table
located at the end of a table where the balls are racked.
Force Draw
shot aimed directly at the intended ball with vigor.
the power applied on the cue ball that affects the movement of the ball.
a violation of the rules that results in a penalty.
Foul Stroke
shot that results in a foul.
term for a snooker game.
Free Ball
occurs after a foul when a free ball is called. An opposing player that did not receive the foul may select a ball as on and receive the value.
refers to one ball touching another and/or cushion.
Full Ball
jargon for cue ball touching an intended ball at a line split.

Billiards Games Terms G

Game Ball
last ball if completed concludes the game and names a winner.
Gather Shot
term for strategic shot that when completed will allow for an easy score on the follow-up shot.
manner in which the thicker end of the cue is held.
Gully Table
term for design that provides return of pocketed balls to the end of the table.

Billiards Games Terms H - J

variations of scoring or rules given to less experienced players thus allowing an even game for all participants.
Head of Table
position where the opening break of the game occurs.
an undetermined amount of time that a player takes his/her turn.
refers to any foul committed by a player.
term for angled portion of the table just before the pocket.
Jawed Ball
lingo for ball that does not drop but remains just outside the pocket.
term for device in the middle of the cue in order to allow for separation into 2 sections.
Jump Shot
shot that causes the cue or object ball to rise off the table.
Jumped Ball
jargon for hit ball that has 'jumped off' the table or another ball.

Billiards Games Terms K - L

Kick Shot
refers to shot where the ball hits a cushion before touching the object ball.
refers to the contact between balls.
refers to hit ball that contact 3 cushions before the object ball.
Lag for Break
system where each participant shoots a returning ball and the closest to the head cushion is the starting player.
position of the balls after a strike has been made by a player.
Losing Hazard
occurs when the cue ball is pocketed after contact with an object ball.
methods employed (drawing cards, peas or pills and a flip of a coin) to establish a starting player.

Billiards Games Terms M - O

action that changes the cue ball direction and pockets two balls on a single shot.
established by the lag start and conclusion within no set time limit.
flawed contact between cue tip and ball.
occurs when a player fails to execute a proper shot.
a shot in carom games that is easy and completed as expected.
Object Ball
specific shot at a ball outside the cue ball.
Open Break
rule that a player needs to strike 4 object balls towards the cushions.
Opening Break Shot
the first shot made by a player in a game.

Billiards Games Terms P

Peas or Pills
small plastic or wooden balls numbered 1 through 15/16.
strategy to place the cue ball in order to be advantageous for the follow-up shot.
when the object ball is pocketed.
Power Draw Shot
term for excessive draw applied to cue ball.
Push Shot
shot where the contact between the cue and the cue ball is longer than the time allowed in a legal shot.
the triangular positioning of the object balls in a rack before a game starts.

Billiards Games Terms R

term for established amount of games required to win a match or game sets.
term for area of the table not covered by cloth. Due to the shape of the table, there are short and long rails.
Red Ball
term for red object ball.
jargon for mechanical bridge in snooker.
Round Robin
each participant in these tournaments plays all their opponents once.
term for total of points/counts and consecutive scores by a player for 1 inning.

Billiards Games Terms S

strategic positioning by a skillful player to reduce the opportunities for an opponent to score.
occurs when a point is scored by an unplanned shot or when the cue ball is pocketed on a stroke.
occurs during tournaments when pairing and positioning is established.
term for established number of games required to win a match.
term for contact between cue and ball concluding when all action on the table has stopped.
Shot Clock
timer used to monitor game action.
pocket games using less than 15 object balls.
Single Elimination
term for a tournament where one loss will result in elimination.
following a safety shot, the next shot becomes an unfavorable position for the next player or opponent. This opponent is said 'to be snookered.'
Split Double Elimination
occurs when 2 winning section players vie for the championship.
Split Hit
jargon for a shot that cannot be established because the object ball is in a group of other balls.
another term for a handicap wherein a player is given points based on level of play.
Spot Ball
white ball that has markings.
Spot Shot
a ball shot on foot spot.
Spotting Balls
term for subbing specific balls according to the game rules.
body position during shooting.
Stop Shot
jargon for a shot at the intended ball where the cue ball stops abruptly.
player who is about to make a shot.
Successive Fouls
term for pocket game fouls, one after another.

Billiards Games Terms T - Z

Table in Position
occurs when the expected ball does not move after a shot taken.
Time Shot
term for sequence where a cue ball moves others, yet drives to score from one of the moved balls.
Top Cushion
located at the foot of a snooker table.
term for piece of equipment used to position the ball to begin a game.
Yellow Ball
replaces the spot ball in international games.