Pool Tables

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Quality pool tables are THE major component of an enjoyable pool playing experience.

Who hasn't, at some point in their life, played on a table that was out of level or had a warped bed? An easy hit of the cue ball, to allow for good cue position, results in a ball that fades off to one side or the other or simply refuses to roll straight.

Playing on a quality, well-maintained, and setup pool table can eliminate these frustrations. And, having good, quality accessories to go with that table will insure you of the best pool-playing experience possible.

Watch this Pool Table Assembly Video for an inside look at how pool tables are built and assembled.

In the US, pocket billiards tables are more commonly called pool tables. The basic layout of a pocket billiards table consists of pockets, a head spot, foot spot, head string, foot string, and the kitchen area.

Some of the more common games played include 8-ball, 9-ball, straight pool, and one-pocket. Strictly speaking, billiards tables do not have pockets. These tables are designed for carom type games such as three cushion billiards.

Pool or pocket billiard tables come in several sizes. Typical lengths are 7, 8, and 9 feet. The measurements are taken from cushion nose to cushion nose. The width is generally exactly half of the length. This makes for a perfectly rectangular table that is referred to as being "regulation".

Need to replace your pool table cloth?
Grab this free illustrated guide to
Pool Table Cloth Replacement

Home tables are usually 7 or 8 feet, the tables used for tournament play are 9 feet, while the coin-operated ones used in bars and smaller poolhalls are 7 or 8 feet.

While most pocket billiards tables have free-standing pockets, some home tables, and the coin-operated type found in bars, have slightly different construction. In these tables, the pockets are connected to chutes. These chutes direct the balls to an access hole at the foot of the table where the balls collect and are removed from. The cue ball is sent to a different hole at the head of the table.

The cue ball on these tables is either magnetic, a slightly larger size, or a different weight from the object balls, and a mechanism in the table detects this and sends the cue ball to the right exit. On a coin operated table, the balls collect in the chute and, when money is inserted and the coin slide is slid in, they are released to the access hole.

The construction of the modern pocket billiards table consists of several different components, including the body or cabinet, slate bed, table cloth, and the rail/pocket assemblies. The following pages will get more in-depth in each of these different pool table parts. A billiards table doesn't require much maintenance, but it should be kept clean and dry and out of harm's way. The pool table care page outlines the little bit of attention to details that will keep your table in top shape.

On a personal note, I find that after playing for a while on a smaller bar table and then hopping on to a larger 9 foot table, it takes me a while to get my aim back for the longer distances between holes.

Interestingly, when I have been playing on a 9 foot table for a while and go back to a 7 or 8 foot table, it seems easier to aim and shoot. The shorter distance between holes seems to allow me to "see" the angles better.

Next page - The Pool Table Body

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