How's Your Pool Etiquette?

For most people, pool is a game that is played for fun and enjoyment. A little pool etiquette can go a long way towards insuring that everyone has a good time and no fights or arguments break out.

I am not a graduate of charm school nor an expert on human relations, but I think the following pool etiquette tips can help keep the peace in the bar or pool hall. Some bars can be a rowdy place to play pool, especially when the alcohol has been flowing freely. Try these tips to avoid problems -

  • Avoid putting your quarters down on the table when someone is shooting. This can break a player's concentration and will not be appreciated.
  • Keep close track of your place in line on a busy pool table. This will prevent someone from jumping in front of you and you won't miss your turn when it comes up.
  • In the bars I play at, the winner calls the game. Just because you want to play partners it doesn't mean the winning player does, so respect their choice. When you win the game, you get to make the call.
  • Keep your attention on the game. Nothing is more aggravating than having to chase down your opponent when it's his turn to shoot. Talk to that hot blond after the game is over.
  • Play by the rules of the local establishment. Different places may have slightly different rules to the games, so make it your business to learn these and avoid problems later.

The following pool etiquette tips apply wherever you play. Most are just common courtesy and common sense -

  • Pool tables, cues, and other equipment are expensive. Treat them gently so they won't be damaged.
  • Never place drinks, food, or cigarettes on the rails of the table. One slip and the cloth can be ruined.
  • Avoid sitting or leaning heavily on the rails when shooting. This may upset the level of the table or scratch the finish of the wood. If you can't easily reach a shot, use the bridge.
  • Be careful with chalk. Hand chalk should be applied away from the table and cue chalk should never be placed upside down on the rails where it will make a mess.
  • Cue sticks should be racked after use to prevent them from warping and from falling on the floor.
  • Racks, table brushes, the bridge, and all other accessories should be kept out of the way and in their proper place to avoid damage and accidents.

Your opponent deserves to be treated with the same dignity that you would expect. I used to play pool at a bar where the owner often played 8-ball. Whenever he would win he would yell out "Rack 'em Loser!" Good pool etiquette involves treating people courteously and respectfully -

  • Avoid loud talking or making noise when someone is shooting. Good pool playing requires concentration and concentration requires as little noise as possible.
  • When your turn is over, move away from the pool table to give your opponent free access to inspect the layout and room to shoot.
  • Don't stand by the pocket your opponent is aiming at - this is very distracting. As a matter of fact, it is best to try to stay completely out of your opponent's field of vision if possible.
  • It's just good form to congratulate your opponent on a well-played game whether you win or lose. It costs nothing to do, and spreads good will and friendship in a world where more of both is welcome.

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