The Three Essential Rules
No Pool Player Should Ever Forget
1.LEVEL CUE. Your cue must always remain as level as humanly possible. Hitting downward on the ball at even a slight angle will ruin your shot.
2.WATCH YOUR CHIN. At no time should your chin ever be more than one foot above your cue when taking your shot.
3.STAY DOWN! Picture your shot from beginning to end, and never, ever stand up before your ball drops into the pocket.
These three simple tips, if followed on every shot, will offer immediate improvement to anyone’s pool game.
We will go in to more detail on each of these pool tips later on, but if you do nothing else to improve your game at least try to remember these three
POOL HALL ETIQUETTE
Whether you spend more hours in a pool hall than you do at work or if you have only recently begun going out to play pool, you have probably noticed those people around you that have no respect. They do not respect the equipment or the people around them.
It never ceases to amaze me, some of the things that pool hall customers do. There is a huge difference between just not knowing any better and being out and out disruptive and disrespectful. I do find it humorous however, that these types of customers always have two things in common, besides their behaviour. They are almost always, without exception, terrible pool players. They are also complainers. They yell out loudly after every shot and then complain about the music or they trash the pool tables and then complain about the condition of the felt.
Here are some rules and tips that will keep you from becoming a bad pool hall customer:
- Never, and I mean NEVER sit on the pool table! Not on the playing surface and especially not on the rails. If you absolutely have to put your butt up on a rail to reach a shot (because you never learned to use a rake) then do it quickly. Yes, pool tables are sturdy – but they are not designed to handle the weight of someone sitting on the rails. The rubber cushions are glued to the wood on the inside of the rails and will not take a lot of movement before they separate. The rails are bolted through the frame of the table, and these bolts will work themselves loose if people sit on the rails. Do you really want to know why the tables in some establishments are not level? People sat on the rails! Don’t do it, ever.
- Chill out with the chalk, and lose the hand powder. Yes, having chalk on the tip of the cue is essential. However, every bit of chalk that you put on the cue tip ends up on the felt. Being that chalk is abrasive in nature, chalk ruins the table felt. Avoid over-chalking the cue, do not chalk your Best Pool cue tip over the table, and avoid placing the chalk face-down on the table. I just can’t understand it when I see a table covered in blue chalk marks, there is just no excuse.
- Hand powder is another killer of table felt, and is completely unnecessary. That’s right – I said it was not necessary! I hate hand powder, I despise people who use it, and I really don’t appreciate having to vacuum it out of the table felt. Wash and dry your hands as often as is necessary, learn to care for your cue shaft, or wear a shooter’s glove – just stop using powder. Hand powder actually makes things worse even though you may think it is helping. Hand powder clogs the pores of your cue stick with sticky goo and does the same thing to your hands. Sure, it works like a charm for a little while, and your stick glides through your fingers like silk – and then it gums up. So your response is to dump more powder on to your hand and the situation repeats over and over. Meanwhile you are leaving white powder marks all over the pool table, the floor, and everything else around you. The powder gets under the felt, gums up, and leaves a poor playing surface for everyone else. Wash your hands!
- Quiet down! You don’t have to whisper in a pool hall, but shouting out and jumping up and down every time you make a shot or win a game is completely out of line. Shouting out profanity when you miss a shot or lose a game will usually get you tossed out of the pool hall. Be respectful of the other players, and the employees.
- Don’t masse or jump balls unless you are good at it, and almost no one is good at it! A masse shot is performed by holding the pool cue vertically to the table and driving the tip downward against the cue ball. It is used to curve the cue ball around another ball. You will rarely, if ever need to do this at most levels of pool playing. When done correctly, and again – almost no one does it correctly, the cue tip never contacts the table. Nine times out of ten the shooter ends up driving the cue tip into the table, ripping the felt and denting the slate underneath. Jumping is usually accomplished by shooting extremely low on the cue ball, causing it to leave the table surface. Again, most people are unable to do this correctly and rip the felt with the cue tip. The tip of your cue should NEVER contact the playing surface of the table. And that is a rule that should never be broken. No one wants to play on a table that has holes and tears in the felt, and table felt is very expensive to replace.
- Stay at your table and avoid large groups. The only person standing around the table should be the person shooting. Large groups gathered around your table will make it impossible for the folks on the table next to you to shoot. Everyone but the shooter should be seated or standing at one end of the table, out of anyone else’s way. When leaving or arriving at your table do not walk through other people’s games. Find the main aisle or walkway as directly as possible and walk there. I’ve seen too many people get hit with pool balls or smashed in the stomach with a pool cue for walking through someone else’s game. Do it when someone is taking a shot in a money game and you’ll probably be dragged outside and pummeled. It is all a matter of respect, and interfering with someone else’s game – whether intentional or not, is a big no-no.
- Keep all food and drink well away from the pool table. This should be obvious enough, but for some reason there are people that think it is okay to put their drinks on the pool table! The only things that go on the pool table are the balls, the rack, and occasionally the cue. Most pool halls have tables close by, if not right at the pool tables, and that is where your food and drinks go. Spilling a drink on the table felt pretty much ruins it and it is very expensive to replace. Act human – use the proper table for food.
- Don’t abuse the house cues. People complain about the condition of house cues all the time. These are usually the same people that bang the house cues against the sides of the table or throw the cues on to the table when they lose. Doing these things not only beats up the house cues but damages the felt on the table. Poor sportsmanship is never appreciated, but damaging someone else’s equipment is downright disrespectful. Just because it is not your’s does not give you the right to toss it around or throw it on the floor.
- Return the equipment and pick up your trash. Sure, pool hall employees are paid to straighten up and take care of the equipment – but they are not your babysitters! Throw your trash away, pick up whatever trash you may have left on the floor, and return the house cues and rack to where you found them. Most pool halls are not run like restaurants that have busboys to clean up after you, so be respectful to the employees and whoever plays on the table after you.
I know that nobody likes a ton of rules to follow when they just want to go out and have some fun. On the other hand, nobody wants to play pool in a dirty, smelly, loud, obnoxious pool hall that has crooked tables, ripped felt, and broken house cues. Learn and follow the simple rules of respect when you go out with your friends to shoot pool and you will be welcomed back by the establishment and the other customers.