Getting familiar with Billiards


Billiards is an umbrella term for a family of related leisure games that are all played on similar billiards tables with cue sticks, cue balls and pocket balls. Three are many different kinds of billiards games that range from having an international fame and following to games that are rather esoteric and rarely played.


Pool is perhaps the most common billiards game in the United States and is also popular in other countries in parts of South America as well as in Europe from whence billiards originated. Billiards evolved into a table top game from other leisure games that had something of a similar gameplay but were played outdoors on grass lawns with striking implements that more closely resembled the modern croquet mallet.


Croquet as well as golf is actually just as closely related to the original leisure games as pool or snooker, both of which are popular billiards games. Most billiards games evolved along similar lines and for a novice it might be difficult or impossible to tell what billiards game is being played.


There are, however, a few different families of billiards games with which one should become acquainted if they want to know anything about billiards. There are many different pocket billiards games in which the players attempt to sink the target balls into pockets that are located on the table as well as carom billiards games that are played on a billiards table that has no pockets.


Within the pocket billiards games there are several different games which all have different balls that are used as well as different cues. The easiest way for a novice to be able to tell the difference between the games that is being played is by paying attention to the balls that are being used in any particular game.


In pool there are fifteen target balls which are racked in the form of a triangle at the beginning of the game as well as a single cue ball which both players are to use. The fifteen target balls are numbered consecutively as well as marked either with a colored stripe or by being solid in color.


If a novice will recognize the distinction between the striped and solid balls he will be able to recognize that the billiards game that is being played is pool. Snooker is another common billiards game in which the players are trying the sink certain balls into pockets on the billiards table.


A novice will be able to recognize this game if there is a rack of solid red balls placed on the table. Further along in the game play, however, there will no longer be red balls on the table and the only reaming balls will be in various solid colors as well as being unnumbered.