Pool termen


A pool game where the objective is to pocket the 8-ball after pocketing all seven of your designated balls (stripes or solids).

The pool game played with only the first nine balls (1-9). The lowest numbered ball must always be hit first. The person who pockets the 9-ball wins the game.

The pool game played with only the first ten balls (1-10). The lowest numbered ball must always be hit first. The person who pockets the 10-ball wins the game.

A pool game in which any object ball can be pocketed at any time. A point is scored for each pocketed ball, so you have to keep track. Also called continuous pool or straight pool.

The best level of play possible. As in "Joe had to bring out his A game to beat that guy".

American Cue-Sports Alliance.

Term used to refer to money games (i.e., competitive wagering).

Address the ball
Move and settle into your stance in preparation for a shot.

Ahead Race
A match where the number of games ahead determines the end. For example, a 5 ahead race will not end until one player gets 5 games ahead of his opponent.

Aiming line
The imaginary line through the cue stick in the direction of the center of the ghost ball target that results in contact with the object ball at the desired contact point.

Aiming point
The center of the imaginary ghost ball target resulting in contact with the object ball at the desired contact point.

As in "He was firing air-barrels". To gamble with out any money to pay in the event of a loss.

Angle of incidence
Same as "approach angle."

Angle of reflection
Same as "rebound angle."

Angle to the pocket
The angle of approach of a ball to a pocket measured relative to the pocket centerline. A straight-in shot has a 0° angle to the pocket.

American Pool Players Association.

Approach angle (AKA "angle of incidence")
The angle at which a ball approaches a rail, measured from the rail perpendicular. A ball driven directly into (perpendicular to) a rail has an approach angle of zero.

Around the world
A common way to keep track of games won when playing for small money is to use a coin that is placed under the rail next to the diamonds on the rail. The center diamond at the head of the table is taken as zero, and each diamond from that is considered to be one game. To go 'around the world' is to beat your opponent so badly that the coin travels all the way around the diamonds on the table.

Avoidance shot
A shot where the cue ball path is controlled to avoid hitting surrounding balls.

Back cut
A cut shot where the cue ball is shot well away from the target pocket (e.g., when the cue ball is much closer to the target pocket rail than the object ball). In other words, the butt of the cue stick passes over one of the cushions adjacent to the target pocket. The more perpendicular the cue stick is to that cushion, the greater the back cut.

Back-hand English (BHE)
Method used to compensate one's aim for squirt. You aim the shot assuming a center-ball hit on the cue ball (i.e., no English). Then you pivot the stick with your back (grip) hand, keeping your bridge hand firmly planted, until the desired amount of cue tip offset is reached. For a certain bridge length, the pivot angle will exactly cancel the squirt angle, and the cue ball will head in the original aiming line direction.

Person with money willing to provide a bankroll for gambling and take a stake of the winnings in return.

Same as "bottom spin."

Bad hit
Not hitting an object ball first, resulting in a foul.

Balance point
The center of gravity of the cue stick.

Ball grouping
Two or more balls of the same type ("stripes" or "solid") in the same general area of the table.

Ball-compression deflection-angle
Slight change in the object ball's direction due to the slight amount of compression of the cue ball and object ball during impact.

Ball-hit fraction
For a cut shot, the fraction of the object ball covered by the projected cue ball. For a square hit (0º cut angle), the ball-hit fraction is 1. For a half-ball hit, the ball-hit fraction is 1/2. For a glancing hit (close to a 90º cut angle), the ball fraction is close to 0.

Situation when the cue ball can be placed anywhere on the table as a result of a foul or scratch by your opponent.

Derogatory term for a novice player who hits the balls harder than necessary and doesn't try to play for position.

Bank pool
Game where points are scored for pocketing bank shots only.

Bank shot
A shot in which the object ball is bounced off one or more rails before being pocketed.

Total money you have available for gambling.

Bar box
Small (3 1/2' by 7') coin-operated tables found in bars.

Bar rules
Sometimes arbitrary and often different rules by which novices play pool in bars.

Trying to coerce another into a match by loud and obnoxious tactics.

A barrel is how much money per game a player is betting; the number of payoff units available in your bankroll.

Billiard Congress of America. The BCA is an organization supporting the development of and participation in billiard sports. They publish the "World Standardized Rules" for pool and billiards.

The playing surface of the table.

Bending a shot
Using massé spin to curve a ball's trajectory (e.g., with a massé shot or with an angled kick shot with draw or follow).

Billiard Education Foundation.

Back-hand English.

Big ball
An oversized cue bar (e.g., in some bar boxes), or an obstacle ball close to a rail or other ball blocking shot paths, or an object ball close to a rail that is easy to it with a kick shot.

Big balls
Same as "stripes."

Big fish
A "fish" with lots of money.

Big pocket
A pocket with a wide margin for error for a specific shot (e.g., if the object ball is very close to the pocket and/or if there are nearby balls that provide ample carom opportunities).

Billiard shot
A shot where the cue ball is deflected off an object ball to strike a second object ball.

Term for all cue games including pool (pocket billiards), snooker, and carom games.

Obstacle balls that block the desired path of the cue ball.

Body English
Contorting your body in a feeble attempt to change the path of balls in motion.

Bottom English
Same as "draw English."

Bottom spin (AKA "backspin" or "draw English")
Reverse rotation of the cue ball resulting from a below-center hit on the cue ball (see draw shot).

Brain Lock
A situation where a player under pressure forgets how to run out.

The first shot of a pool game where the cue ball is hit from behind the head string (i.e., in the "kitchen") into the racked balls.

Break-up shot
A shot where the cue ball is directed, after striking an object ball, to strike a ball cluster to scatter the balls into more favorable positions.

Position of the hand on the table as it holds the cue stick; there are six basic and bridges as well as a mechanical bridge that is used when cue ball is hard to reach.

Bridge length
The distance between the bridge and the cue ball.

Rubber cushion on the end of the butt of a cue.

Burn mark
Discoloration of the cloth (usually white) caused by friction between the ball and cloth during fast speed and/or strong impact shots (e.g., break or jump shots).

To have no money left.

Busting people
To beat someone out of all there money. As in "I'm gonna bust this fool".

The handle or grip end of the cue stick.

A tournament term used to designate when a player has no opponent and automatically advances to the next round.

A tournament gambling arrangement where spectators bid on the player they think will win the tournament. The winning bidder(s) get a percentage of the betting pool.

Used to describe a ball handicap where the person receiving the handicap must call the pocket for the ball before legally making the shot to win. As in "The wild 7 is much better spot to get than the call 7".

Called shot
A shot for which you specify the ball being targeted and the target pocket (e.g., "9-ball in the corner pocket").

Snooker or British term for "carom."

Carom shot (AKA "kiss shot")
A shot where an object ball is deflected off an incidental ball before being pocketed or striking another object ball; sometimes, also used to describe a "billiard shot."

In a doubles match or team game situation where one member has to play above par to stay competitive as a result of the partner not performing up to standards. "Ed is playing really bad, Joe is Carrying a lot of weight right now."

Cue ball.

"Cue Chalk Board" online discussion forum maintained on Billiards Digest's website.

Center ball
When aim at the dead center of the cue ball.
center of percussion (COP): technical term used to describe the "normal roll impact height."

The dry, abrasive substance applied to the cue tip to help prevent slipping by increasing friction between the tip and the cue ball.

Cheat the pocket
Aim an object ball away from the center of a pocket to alter the path of the cue ball.
check English: same as "reverse English."

Money ball.

Miss a shot due to nervousness under pressure.

Choke up
Move the grip hand up on the cue stick.

Collision-induced throw.

When a ball is pocketed without touching any other balls.

Clear the table
Same as "run the table."

Excessive friction and throw caused by non-ideal surface conditions at the point of contact between two balls (e.g., a chalk smudge).

Close the angle
Same as "shorten the angle."

Close to your work
A phrase used to indicate that the cue ball is too close to the target object ball, making a cut shot more difficult.

Closed bridge
Hand bridge where the index finger is curved over the cue stick providing solid support.

Cloth (AKA "felt")
Wool or wool-nylon blend material covering the table's playing surface.

Two or more balls close together or touching.

Coefficient of friction (COF)
Technical term used to describe how much tangential friction force is generated between sliding surfaces (e.g., a ball sliding on the table cloth, or two balls colliding with spin or a cut angle), as a percentage of the normal force between the surfaces.

Coefficient of restitution (COR)
Technical term used to quantify the "rail rebound efficiency" or the impact efficiency between two balls.

Collision-induced English
Same as "collision-induced spin."

Collision-induced spin
Sidespin imparted to the object ball during a cut shot, caused by sliding friction between the cue ball and the object ball.

Collision-induced throw (CIT)
Throw caused by sliding friction between the cue ball and the object ball caused by a cut angle.

Combination shot
A shot where the cue ball hits an incidental object ball which then hits and pockets a different object ball, possibly after other intermediate ball collisions.

Same as a "combination shot."

Contact point
The point of contact between the cue ball and the object ball at impact.

Continuous pool
A pool game in which any object ball can be pocketed at any time. A point is scored for each pocketed ball, so you have to keep track. Also called 14.1-ball or straight pool.

Coefficient of friction.

Center of percussion.

Coefficient of restitution.

Famous French mathematician and physicist who wrote a book on billiards physics.

Corner-5 System
A Diamond System for aiming three-rail kick shots.

When the cue ball is left in the jaws of a pocket with the path to an object ball blocked.

A bank shot off a long rail into a corner pocket.

A bank shot off a long rail into a side pocket.

Slang term for "mechanical bridge."

Same as "cue stick."

Cue ball
The white ball struck by the cue stick.

Cue ball angle error
The angle between the actual cue ball aiming line and the desired aiming line.

Cue ball deflection
Angular displacement of the cue ball path away from the cue stick stroking direction caused by the use of English. The effect increases with the amount of English.

Cue stick (AKA "cue")
The tapered wooden implement used to strike the cue ball.

Cue tip
The shaped, leather component on the end of the cue stick that comes in contact with the cue ball.

Curve shot
A shot using a slightly elevated cue stick and bottom-side English to create massé action to curve the cue ball a small amount around an obstacle ball.

Cushion (AKA rail)
The cloth covered triangular-cross-section strip of rubber bordering the playing surface, off which the balls rebound.

Cut angle
The angle between the cue ball aiming line and the object ball impact line for a cut shot.

Cut shot
A shot where the cue ball impacts the object ball at an angle to the impact line (i.e., the shot is not "straight-in").

Cut-induced spin
Same as "collision-induced English."

Cut-induced throw
Same as "collision-induced throw."

A casual pool game played with three people. Each person is assigned five balls to protect (1 through 5, 6 through 10, or 11 through 15). The objective of the game is to pocket your opponents' balls. The last person with one or more balls remaining on the table wins the game.

Cut Up/Chopped Up
To scam a third, unknowing party in a game out of their money. As in "Joe played like crab every time I stake him, I think I'm getting cut up".

Dart stroke
A stroke, similar to the throwing motion for a dart, used to execute a jump shot, usually with a shorter, lighter cue stick.

Term used to indicate that a carom or combination shot is lined up perfectly (i.e., you can't miss).

Dead Punch/Dead Pop
A state of play where every shot is executed perfectly. Same as 'In a zone' or 'unconscious'.

Dead stroke
When you are in a state ("in the zone") where you can make no mistake and your play seems effortless, automatic, and confident.

Defensive shot
A shot where you try to pocket a ball; but if you the shot, you try to leave the cue ball or object ball in a difficult position for your opponent.

Deflection (AKA "squirt")
Short for "cue-ball deflection."

Deliberate foul
Same as "intentional foul."

Diamondss (AKA "spots")
Inlays or markings adjacent to the table cushions (on the top surface of the table rails) used as target or reference points. There are three diamonds equally spaced between each pocket.

Diamond System
A multiple-rail kick and bank shot method that uses the diamonds as aiming targets.

Dirty pool
Unsportsmanlike conduct or play.

Description of a very low percentage shot taken by one player with the line of thinking that the other player is not skilled enough to take advantage of a miss and win the game.

Dog a shot
Miss a shot as a result of a "choke."

Dominant eye
An eye (left or right) that helps provide stronger visual perception for things like aiming.

Snooker or British term for a "bank shot."

Double elimination
A tournament in which a player must lose twice to be eliminated.

Double hit
An illegal shot where the cue stick hits the cue ball twice during a stroke (e.g., when the cue ball bounces back from a nearby object ball during the stroke).

Double kiss
Double hit of the cue ball and object ball during a bank shot of an object ball frozen or close to a rail.

Double shimmed
Pockets with two sets of shims in the pockets to make them tighter (i.e., smaller pocket opening) and tougher.

Drag shot
Shot where bottom spin is used to slow the cue ball on the way to the object ball and/or to create stun at object ball impact. A drag shot is an alternative to a slow-roll shot, where table roll-off might be more of an issue.

Causing the cue ball to reverse after hitting the object ball.

Draw shot
A shot in which the cue ball is struck below center to impart bottom spin to the cue ball, causing the cue ball to pull back from the object ball, after impact, farther than it would otherwise.

A designed shot or routine used for practice.

Slang term for a ball sitting close to a pocket that is virtually impossible to miss (i.e., a "sitting duck").

Playing a safety.

To purposely lose a game or match to help another player or as part of a scam.

Dutch double
Male/female team that alternates shots.

Effective end-mass
Same as "end mass."

Effective pocket center (AKA "target center")
The target line to a pocket that has the same margin of error on both sides. For a straight-on shot, the effective pocket center goes through the center of the pocket opening.

Effective pocket size (AKA "target size")
The total margin of error left and right of the pocket center that still results in pocketing a ball.

See "8-ball."

Elevated bridge
A hand V-bridge where the heel (base) of the hand is lifted off the table to raise the cue stick (e.g., to clear an obstacle ball close to the cue ball).

Elevated cue stick
When the butt of the cue stick is help higher than the tip (as with most shots). The higher the butt is raised, the more the cue stick is elevated (e.g., with a jump or massé shot).

End mass
The amount of mass in the tip end of the cue shaft that contributes to squirt. A low-squirt cue has a small effective end-mass. For a stiffer shaft, more length (measured from the tip) will contribute to the effective end-mass.

End rail
A short rail between two corner pockets.

Term usually used to refer to sidespin applied to the cue ball, but can also be used to refer to any type of spin applied to the cue ball (e.g., with draw and follow shots).

English Billiards
Game played with three balls on a table with pockets. Points are awarded for various types of carom shots.

English-induced throw
Deflection of the object ball path away from the impact line resulting from sidespin of the cue ball. It is caused by sliding friction between the cue ball and the object ball.

English transfer
The imparting of a small amount of spin from the cue ball to the object ball, in the opposite direction of the cue ball spin (e.g., left spin on the cue ball results in transfer of a small amount of right spin to the object ball).

A device used to add length to the butt of a cue for shots requiring longer reach; or a request for extra time in a match with a shot clock.

Even up/Head Up
As in "Let's even up". To pay whatever money is owed to the winner before continuing.

When a ball is undercut, it is hit too "fat."

Feather shot
A very thin cut shot.

The cloth that covers the table surface.

The sleeve, usually plastic, on the end of the cue stick shaft to which the cue tip is attached (with adhesive).

Front-hand English.

Firing/Shooting air barrels
As in "That guy can't pay up, he was shooting air barrels the whole time". Refers to a person gambling when he has no money.

A player who is not very good and is willing to wager with people of better skill.

The extremely small circular contact patch that forms between two balls when they collide, and compress slightly, at the point of contact.

Flat-spot squeeze
Same as "ball-compression deflection-angle."

A lucky shot with an unplanned positive outcome.

Topspin put on the cue ball by a follow shot.

Follow shot
A shot in which the cue ball is struck above center to impart topspin to the cue ball, causing the cue ball to roll forward, after impact, more than it would otherwise.

Follow that Car
A shot where the object ball is pocketed and the cue ball scratches after it in the same pocket on the same shot.

The movement of the cue stick through the cue ball position during the end of your stroke in the direction of the aiming line, after making contact with the cue ball.

Foot rail
The short rail at the far end of the table where the balls are racked.

Foot spot
The point on the table surface over which the lead ball of a rack is centered. It lies at the intersection of imaginary lines passing through the second diamonds on the long rails and the center diamonds on the short rails.

Force follow
Maximum topspin follow shot hit with speed.

Fouetté shot (pronounced "fwet-TAY")
A shot that uses tip offset (i.e., English) and cue stick deflection to avoid a double-hit when there is a small gap between the cue ball and object ball. A fast, full stroke is used so the cue stick deflects away while the cue ball clears.

An illegal shot, such as scratching, jumping a ball from the table or failure to contact the lowest numbered ball on the table and subsequently have the cue ball or an object ball contact the rail.

A player's turn at the table, or an entire game.

Freeze Out
Setting a specific amount of money or amount of games that both players agree must be met. "5 ahead 1500 freeze out" means that the match will be played for 300 a game with the pay point at 5 games.

Freeze up the money
Same as 'money in the rack'.

to shoot pool loose and carefree. "After he built a comfortable lead, Joe started free-wheeling on me" Also known as free-stroking.

Front-hand English (FHE)
Same as back-hand English (BHE), except the front (bridge) hand is moved to pivot the stick. FHE is more appropriate for low-squirt cues, where the amount of squirt and required pivoting can be small. BHE would require too large of a bridge length.

Front runner
As in "Joe is a strong front runner". Refers to a player's ability to win a race when he is already ahead by a few games

Frozen ball
A ball in contact with (touching) another ball.

Full-ball hit
A direct hit with no cut angle.

The basic or essentials skills (e.g., good stance, grip, bridge, and stroke) required to be a good player.

Unit of play, from break to a win or loss, that makes up a match.

Game ball
Ball required to win a particular game (e.g., the 8-ball in the game of eight-ball).

Small distance between two balls or between a ball and rail.

Ghost ball.

Gearing outside English
The amount of outside English that results in no sliding between the cue ball and object ball during contact. Instead, during contact, the CB rolls on the OB like two meshing gears. The result is no throw.

Get in gear
To play at one's highest level. Sometimes heard in the form 'high gear'.

Getting an angle
Same as "leave an angle."

Ghost ball
Imaginary aiming target where the cue ball needs to impact the object ball so the line through their centers (the impact line) is in the direction of the desired object ball path.

Go off
To start playing for small money, and after losing at that, to raise the stakes and keep losing until one is broke. Also used in the past tense "He went off like a sky rocket."

Good hit
A legal shot where the cue ball hits the object ball first.

The table cloth; or money.

The clutch of the right hand (for a right-handed player) on the butt of the cue stick, used to support and impart force to the cue stick during a stroke.

Set of seven balls (stripes or solids) one must pocket first in a game of eight-ball.

A deliberate, straightforward, uncreative, but dedicated player.

Same as "rail groove."

Half-ball hit
A shot where the cue ball aiming line passes through the edge of the object ball. It results in a cut angle of 30º.

Hand bridge
The sliding support created with your hand to guide the cue stick.

Modified rules or scoring designed to allow players of different skill levels to compete more equally in a league or tournament.

An object ball sitting in the jaws of a pocket.

Hanging in the Pocket
Describes a ball that is right in front of the pocket. Also known as a hanger (easy shot, impossible to miss.)

Head rail
The short rail at the end of the table from where you break.

Head spot
The spot (sometimes marked) in the middle of the head string.

Head string
The imaginary line at the head of the table, behind which you must break.

Will to win, and ability to overcome pressure.

High balls
Same as stripes.

High run
The highest number of consecutive balls made by a player in a game of straight pool.

Term used to indicate that a player is one game away from winning a match.

When both players in a match only need to win one game to win the match.

Hold your man
Refers to when a player in a ring game misses and leaves no shot for the next player.

Hold-up English
Same as "reverse English."

Same as "snookered."

Horizontal plane
The imaginary plane parallel to the table surface passing through the cue ball. Adjusting the cue stick position left and right of the cue ball center, in the horizontal plane, creates side English.

House cue
A cue stick (often of poor quality and in bad condition) available for play at a bar or pool hall.

House pro
Designated top player (usually a professional) who gives lessons and/or runs tournaments at a pool hall.

House rules
Set of rules at a particular establishment by which you are expected to play.

House wins
When two players break even, and the only money to change hands is that given to pay for table time.

Hug the rail
When a ball rolls along a rail cushion.

As in "Joe has a good hustle going". This means misleading others about your true ability and taking advantage of it by gambling with them and others. Also refers to cheating in general.

Decorative inset in the butt of the cue.

Impact height
The height of the part of the rail cushion that contacts a rebounding ball.

Impact line
The imaginary line through the cue ball and object ball centers at impact (i.e., the line through the centers of the ghost-ball and object ball). The object ball moves along this line after impact (unless there is throw).

Impact point
The point of contact between the cue ball and object ball during impact.

In stroke
In the zone, or in good form, playing successfully with little apparent effort.

A special safety shot in the game of 8-ball, where you declare "in-and-safe" or "safety" before the shot, and you return control of the table to your opponent after your shot, even if you legally pocket one of your object balls. The purpose is to leave the cue ball in a difficult position for your opponent.

A player's turn at the table, which ends with a miss, foul, or win.

Inside cut
Term used to describe a bank shot where the cue ball hits the object ball on the side toward the bank direction, relative to the aiming line. The cue ball imparts natural (running) collision-induced English to the object ball.

Inside English
English created by hitting the cue ball on the side towards the direction of the shot (i.e. on the "inside" of the cue ball). For example, when the cue ball strikes an object ball on the left side, creating a cut shot to the right, right sidespin would be called "inside English."

Insurance ball
An easily pocketed ball (e.g., a ball in the jaws of a pocket) that you leave untouched until you need it to get out of trouble (e.g., when you create poor position after a shot).

Intentional foul
A deliberate foul used to give you a strategic advantage.

International Pool Tour.

Jab stroke
A short punch-like stroke.

Jack up
Elevate the butt end of the cue stick.

Jacked up
Slang phrase used to refer to an elevated cue stick.

"In jail" is the same as "snookered."

When the object ball bounces between the two tits of a pocket and fails to fall into the pocket. As in "Frank just got Jawed".

The inside walls of a pocket.

Jelly Roll
A kick back usually monetary for favors in pool such as setting up a game or lending your cue out. "I got Joe this easy game - he had better throw me a Jelly Roll afterwards."

The mechanical connection (usually threaded) between the butt and shaft ends of a two-piece cue stick.

Jump cue
Shorter, lighter cue stick with a hard tip designed to make jump shots easier.

Jump shot (legal)
A shot in which the cue ball is bounced off the table surface, with a downward stroke, to jump over an obstacle ball.

Jump shot (illegal)
An illegal shot in which the cue ball is lifted off the table surface to jump over an obstacle ball by hitting the cue ball well below center.

Jump stick
A special cue stick, usually shorter and lighter, designed specifically for shooting jump shots.

Jumping up
The opposite of "staying down."

Key ball
The ball before the final or critical ball of the game, used to get position on the final or critical shot.

Key shot
A shot that moves balls or creates good position for clearing the remainder of the balls.

Cue ball rebound off a cushion. It is also a snooker or British term used to describe cling.

Kick shot
A shot in which the cue ball bounces off one or more rails before contacting the object ball.

Kill shot
A shot where you use draw or reverse English to limit the cue ball's motion after object ball or rail contact.

Kiss (AKA carom)
Contact between balls.

Kiss shot
Same as a "carom shot" or "billiard shot."

Slang term for the area behind the head string from where the cue ball is shot during a break.

The tip of a rail cushion bordering a pocket opening.

Lady's aide
Same as "mechanical bridge."

Lag for break
A skill shot used to determine which player will break. Each player must shoot a ball from behind the head string and return it as close as possible to the head rail after bouncing off the foot rail.

As in a handicap where the last however many balls pocketed legally wins. "Joe's giving that guy the last 4 - meaning the last 4 balls remaining on the table are game balls for the person receiving the handicap"

The position of the balls after a player's shot. A "good" leave is one in which the ball positions for the next shot are desirable.

Leave an angle
Control cue ball position after a shot so there is a cut angle on the next target object ball, creating more opportunities for controlling cue ball position for the follow-on shot.

Left English
Clockwise sidespin imparted to the cue ball by striking it to the left of center.

Left spin
Same as "left English."

Legal shot
Shot in which the cue ball strikes a legal object ball first and either an object ball is pocketed or some ball hits a rail after contact with the object ball.

A weaker player conned into believing that he or she might be better than a gambling opponent (i.e., a player that is not as good as they think they are).

Lengthen the angle
Use slow speed roll or running English to increase the rebound angle of a bank or kick shot, so the ball goes "longer" than normal.

Liking it
As in, "Joe beat him out of $300, and his opponent was liking it so much he wants to play Joe some more!". To believe that one has real winning chances, even when one is losing.

Line of action
Same as the "impact line."

Line of centers
The imaginary line through the centers of the ghost-ball target and the object ball (i.e., the "impact line").

The edge of the pocket hole.

Little balls
Same as "solids."

As in "this game is a lock for Joe". This means that he has no chance of losing.

Lock/Handcuff artist
Someone that will only gamble when he is sure he will win. Also known as a "nut hunter"

When a ball rolls too far, or when a shot misses beyond the target.

Long rail
Same as "side rail."

Low balls
Same as "solids."

Low-deflection cue
A cue stick that causes very little squirt (i.e., "low cue-ball-deflection cue).

Low-squirt cue
Same as "low-deflection cue."

Makable region
The area within which you can leave the cue ball after the current shot to be able to pocket the next target ball.

Margin of error
A measure of how much angle or position error you can have in your shot, while still pocketing the object ball.

A hustler's victim.

Massé cue (pronounced mah-SAY)
Shorter, heavier, and stiffer cue stick some people use for massé shots.

Massé shot
A shot where an elevated and firm stroke is used with extreme bottom-side English to significantly curve the path of the cue ball (e.g., around an obstacle ball).

Massé spin
Spin about an axis in the direction of a ball's motion (e.g., like the body-roll of an airplane or an Eskimo-roll of a kayak). This type of spin causes the ball's path to curve (e.g., with a massé shot).

The first player to win nine games.

Mechanical bridge (AKA "crutch," "rake," or simply "bridge")
A special stick with an end attachment that helps guide the cue stick, in place of a hand bridge. A mechanical bridge is used when the cue ball cannot be reached comfortably with a hand bridge.

Mis-hitting the cue ball, usually caused by lack of chalk or trying to strike the cue ball too close to the edge of the ball.

Failure to pocket the intended ball.

Money ball
A ball, which when legally pocketed, results in victory.

Money game
A game played for money.

Money shot
A key shot in a game that, if pocketed, will usually result in a victory.

Money table
Table at a pool hall reserved for serious gamblers and usually kept in good condition.

Mushroomed tip
A cue tip smashed out on the sides.

Cloth fibers and fuzz that rise above the playing surface and have directional properties.

Napped cloth
An old-style, thick, and fuzzy table cloth that often has directional properties.

A shot easy to execute with a normal stroke, requiring no English.

Natural angle
The cue ball direction predicted by the 30º rule.

Natural English
Same as "running English."

Natural position
"Shape" that results from a slow, natural-roll shot with no English.

Natural roll
Same as "normal roll."

Near point
The pocket rail cushion point closest to the object ball.

Near rail
The rail cushion adjacent to a pocket along which the object ball is approaching.

Nip draw
Short, jabbed draw stroke used to avoid a double-hit of the cue ball when the object ball is close.

Nip stroke
A stroke with little or no follow through.

See "9-ball."

Person who wants too much of a handicap or complains about the fairness of a wager.

Normal roll
Topspin resulting from natural rolling motion of a ball where there is no sliding between the ball and the table cloth.

Normal roll impact height (AKA "center of percussion")
The height at which you can strike the cue ball so it rolls without slipping (i.e., it has normal roll) immediately. This height is at 7/10 of the cue ball's diameter above the table surface.

Game or situation where you have no chance of losing.

O-2 Barbecue
Loosing the first 2 matches in a double elimination tournament.

Object ball.

Object ball
The ball to be legally struck by the cue ball, or the ball to be pocketed.

Object ball angle error
The angle between the actual object ball impact line (path) and the desired target line direction.

Object balls
The balls other than the cue ball.

Same as "pocket center offset."

On the fifty yard-line
A phrase used to indicate that the cue ball is in an awkward position, where it is equally difficult to pocket the object ball in either a corner of side pocket (i.e., the cue ball isn't in good position for either pocket).

On the hill
When you need to win only one more game to win a match.

On the side
As in, "I will bet you $50 on the side". A bet made by a bystander with one of the players in a match.

On the snap
to win on the break shot.

On a string
Usually used to describe perfect position play. As in "Joe's shape is awesome today, he's got that cue ball on a string"

On the wire
Already scored or awarded as a handicap (e.g., by sliding beads on the "wire").

A pool game where each player has a designated pocket in which he or she must pocket more than half of the balls to win.

Stroking the cue stick only once, without warm-up strokes, often because of nerves or over-confidence.

Open bridge
A hand bridge that has no finger over the top of the cue stick. The cue stick glides on a v-shape formed by the thumb and the base of the index finger.

Open table
The condition in 8-ball (e.g., after the break), where no player has pocketed a called shot yet and "stripes" and "solids" are not yet assigned.

Open the angle
Same as "lengthen the angle."

Out of stroke
When a player is off their game, not playing very well.

Outside cut
Term used to describe a bank shot where the cue ball hits the object ball on the side away from the bank direction, relative to the aiming line. The cue ball imparts reverse collision-induced English to the object ball.

Outside English
English created by hitting the cue ball on the side away from the direction of the shot (i.e. on the "outside" of the cue ball). For example, when the cue ball strikes an object ball on the left side, creating a cut shot to the right, left sidespin would be called "outside English."

Over cut
Hitting the object ball with too large of a cut angle, hitting the ball too thinly.

A large group of balls close together and/or touching.

Games won with the opponent never coming to the table. A four pack would be four consecutive games won from the break with no change in inning. "Joe put a 5 pack together from the lag!"

Park the cue ball
Have the cue ball stop near the center of the table after a break shot.

Pattern play
Strategically playing the balls in a certain order based on position and groupings.

Percentage English
A measure for specifying how much English is being used. It is relative to the maximum allowed amount of English. At tip offsets larger than this limit (about the half ball radius point), a miscue results. 100% English is at the miscue limit, 50% is half that amount of tip offset, etc.

Phenolic tip
Hard, synthetic cue tip used on jump cues.

Pill pool
A 15-ball game played with three or more players. Each player draws a small bead ("pill") numbered 1 through 15 from a bottle. The drawn numbers are kept secret. If you pocket your numbered ball before an opponent does, you win. As with 9-ball, the lowest numbered ball must be hit first and you remain at the table as long as you pocket balls.

Piqué shot (pronounced pee-KAY)
A highly elevated draw shot (i.e., a massé shot with no English).

Small dent or depression in the cloth caused by a ball being driven down into the table.

Pivot point
The point on the cue stick where, if you bridge there and use back-hand or front-hand English, squirt will be cancelled by the stick pivoting motion.

Plan B
A backup plan used if your original plan fails.

Snooker or British term for a frozen carom shot.

Plus System
A Diamond System for aiming multiple-rail kick shots where an end-rail is hit first.

Opening in the corners and sides of a pool table serving as targets for the object balls.

Pocket a ball
Cause an object ball to go into a pocket.

Pocket billiards
Same as "pool."

Pocket center offset (AKA "offset")
The distance between the effective pocket center and the actual pocket center.

Pocket centerline
The imaginary line through the center of the pocket in the straight-in direction.

Pocket speed
The slowest you can hit a shot and still pocket an object ball. The object ball is given just enough speed to reach and drop into the pocket.

Same as "knuckle"; or, the value for a successful shot, contributing to a score; or, the same as "prong."

Pool (AKA "pocket billiards")
Billiard games that use a table with pockets.

Pool gods
Mythical forces that control the outcomes of shot, games, or matches.

Position (AKA "shape")
The placement of the balls (especially the cue ball) relative to the next planned shot.

Position play
Using controlled cue ball speed and English to achieve good cue ball position for subsequent shots.

Post-Up (putting money in the rack)
When playing for a significant amount of money, having the players put the money on a table to 1) show that they have it, and 2) keep the loser from running out the door without paying.

Snooker or British term used to refer to the pocketing of a ball.

Power break
A break shot, hit with a lot of force, resulting in active scatter of the racked balls.

Talc or other fine particle substance used to reduce friction between a hand bridge and the cue stick.

Pro side of the pocket
The side of the pocket to miss (by under-cutting or over-cutting the shot), if you do miss, to leave the ball in a favorable position for you (or an unfavorable position for your opponent).

Problem ball
A ball that is difficult or impossible to pocket unless it or some other ball is moved first.

Decorative, pointy triangle of wood in the butt of a cue.

Offer of a wager on an unusual or difficult shot that a "mark" might think is unlikely to be made.

Push of Push-out shot
A special shot allowed after the break in 9-ball where you can hit the cue ball anywhere on the table and your opponent has the option to shoot the next shot or have you shoot instead.

Push shot
A shot in which the cue tip remains in contact with the cue ball longer than is appropriate for a normal stroke and legal shot.

Put/Turn on the Heat/Torch
When a player begins to beat his opponent very badly.

Pyramid of Progress
The term I use to describe the pool-skills-development pyramid used to illustrate the successive levels of competencies required to become a good pool player.

A match decided by who reaches a given number of games or points first.

Triangle or diamond-shaped device used to position the balls prior to a break. The term can also refer to the group of balls after they have been racked.

Rack of skills
The term I use to refer to the pool skills rack-of-balls illustration corresponding to the "Pyramid of Progress."

The sides of the table's upper frame (usually decorative wood) that support the cushions that border the playing surface. The term "rail" is also used to refer to the cushion off which the balls rebound.

Rail bridge
A hand bridge where the cue stick slides on the top of the rail, with fingers used to support the stick sideways.

Rail impact height
The height at which the rail cushion makes contact with a rebounding ball. This height is usually slightly lower than the "normal roll impact height."

Rail-induced English
Sidespin imparted to a ball by a rail when the ball approaches and rebounds off the rail at an angle.

Rail rebound efficiency
The ability of the rail cushion to spring back and preserve a banked ball's speed.

Rail cut shot
A cut shot where the object ball is frozen to the rail cushion along which the ball is cut.

Rail-first shot
A shot where the cue ball is kicked off a rail in close proximity to the object ball instead of hitting the object ball directly.

Rail groove
An imaginary line that is parallel to a rail half a ball diameter away from the rail. It is sometimes visible on a worn table.

Rail shot
Same as "rail cut-shot."

Rail throwback
The term I use to describe the reduction in bank rebound angle due to sideways compression of the rail, especially evident at high speed.

Rail track
Same as "rail groove."

Rain Table
Humid conditions were rails are springy, cloth is slow, and balls pick-up a lot of dirt. Horrible conditions.

Slang term for "mechanical bridge."

Rat In
As in, "Joe rat in the nine-ball". To make a ball by luck. Typically said of shooting a ball for a given pocket, and having it fall in some other pocket. To 'shit in' a ball means the same thing. Commonly said in nine-ball. Also called "Shitting In" a ball.

The multiple rail cushion collisions that can occur against the inner walls of a pocket that can prevent an object ball from being pocketed. It occurs when the object ball glances the near rail or rail point bordering the pocket.

Rebound angle (AKA "angle of reflection")
The angle at which a ball rebounds from a rail, measured from the perpendicular to the rail. A ball heading straight away from a rail has a rebound angle of zero.

Person in charge of enforcing the rules and making judgment calls during a match.

Regulation size table
A standard 4 1/2' by 9' tournament pool table.

Snooker and British term for the "mechanical bridge."

Reverse English
Sidespin where the cue ball slows and has a smaller rebound angle after hitting a rail (i.e., the opposite of "natural" or "running" English). The spin is in the direction opposite from the "rolling" direction along the rail during contact.

Right English
Counterclockwise sidespin imparted to the cue ball by striking it to the right of center.

Right spin
Same as "right English."

Ring game
A nine-ball game played by more than two players. The players shoot in some fixed order, with winner breaks. There is no playing safe in this game. Always played for money. Variations determine which are the money balls, there are usually 2 the five and nine.

Road map
A table layout with well-placed balls, making for an easy-to-visualize and easy-to-execute run-out.

Road player
A hustler or player who travels around playing pool for money.

Refers the act of playing an opponent who has lesser skills and has no real chance of winning. Can also be used by the victim. "I got robbed!'. Any similar terms may also be used. "Stick Up, Heist, Mugged, Etc."

The cue ball.

Same as "normal roll."

Roll off
Change in course of a slow moving ball caused by a non-level or irregular playing surface.

Rolling the cheese
To either roll another ball into the nine-ball, or carom into the nine-ball, in the hopes that it will find a pocket. Also known as 'riding the nine'.

Good and bad "breaks" in a game.

A game where all 15 balls must be played in numerical order.

A level of competition in a tournament after which some players are eliminated.

Round robin
A tournament or bracket in which every player plays every other player.

A series of consecutive balls made, or games won, in one inning at the table.

Run out
Make the remaining balls on the table in succession to win a game.

Run the rack
Same as "run the table."

Run the table
To make all of the required balls and win the game before giving your opponent a turn at the table.

Running English (AKA "natural English")
Sidespin that causes the cue ball to speed up after bouncing off a rail, also resulting in a larger rebound angle. The spin is in the direction that results in "rolling" along the rail during contact.

Defensive position play shot where you leave your opponent in a difficult situation.

"Supplemental Aiming Method." An aiming method based of several fixed points of aim, recommended by many BCA instructors.

To unethically disguise one's level of ability, or intentionally miss shots, to help improve one's handicap.

Scoop shot
An illegal jump shot executed by hitting very low on the cue ball.

Scotch doubles
Team format where two players alternate turns.

Pocketing the cue ball by accident during a shot.

A player's preliminary ranking in a tournament.

Sell out
A bad shot that results in loss of a game or match.

a session consists of one or more sets. Typically, a session is over when someone is broke, or when both players decide they need to get some sleep. A session can last for a couple of days non-stop.

A collection of games; or a snooker or British term for a frozen combo shot.

The bridge end of the cue stick, to which the ferrule and tip are attached.

Shaft stiffness
A measure of how rigid a shaft is. The stiffer it is, the more force it takes to deflect the shaft at its tip.

Same as "position."

An unscrupulous player that disguises his or her ability with the goal of making money from an unsuspecting gambler; or, the practice of distracting your opponent while he or she is shooting.

Thin slice of material added under the cloth of the walls of a pocket to make the pocket opening smaller for more challenging conditions.

When a ball doesn't roll enough, or when a shot misses on the close side of the target.

Short rail
Same as "end rail."

Short Stop
A very good local player who can compete with at the low professional level.

Shorten the angle
Use fast speed or reverse English to reduce the rebound angle of a bank or kick shot.

The action of hitting the cue ball into an object ball with the goal of pocketing a ball.

Shot Clock
During match play, you may see a match be put "on the clock". This means the match has not reached the halfway mark in scoring in half the time allotted for the match to take place. The shot clock allows each player thirty seconds to complete any shot, beginning when all balls stop rolling. Each player is allowed one thirty second extension per game, and an extra thirty second extension if the match is tied with each player needing one game to win!

Shot maker
A person good at making difficult shots.

Snooker or British term used for English.

Side rail (AKA long rail)
A long rail having a side pocket between two corner pockets.

Clockwise or counterclockwise horizontal plane rotation of a ball.

A tournament in which a player is eliminated after a single loss.

Same as "pocket" a ball.

Spin-induced throw.

Term used to describe the sliding motion of an object ball due to throw or cling.

Skill shot
A difficult shot requiring more ability than a typical shot.

Snooker or British term used for a draw shot or bottom spin.

The material (usually machined metamorphic rock slate) beneath the table cloth providing the base for the playing surface.

Slip stroke
The practice of sliding the grip hand along the cue stick during the stroke.

Balls made by accident.

Slop shot
A shot with no clear objective, usually hit hard in the hopes that something might go in.

Slow-roll shot
A shot hit very softly, where the cue ball rolls almost immediately, regardless of cue tip offset. Table roll-off can be more of an issue with these shots.

Slug rack
Racked balls with gaps resulting in a terrible break.

Small balls
Same as "solids."

Same as "break."

Sneaky Pete
A high quality cue stick made to look like a house cue, potentially used to hustle.

The billiards game played with 21 object balls on a special snooker table that is larger than a regulation pool table. The balls are smaller and the pockets are also smaller and shaped differently.

Snookered (AKA "hooked")
The condition when the cue ball is positioned behind an obstacle ball, usually creating the need for a kick or jump shot.

A ball numbered 1 through 7 that has no stripe.

Refers to how well a person plays the game. 'Top speed' refers to the best that person can play.

Speed control
Using the correct amount of cue ball speed to achieve good position for the next shot.

A mechanical bridge with long legs for extra height.

"Set, Pause, Finish." A stroke mantra recommended by many BCA instructors. In the "set" position, the cue stick should be still, close to the desired contact point on the cue ball. At this point, you should confident and comfortable with the shot you are about to execute. You should "pause" during the transition between the final back swing and the final forward stroke. Finally, you should follow through and freeze after the stroke is complete (i.e., "finish" the stroke).

Ball rotation. It can refer to sidespin (AKA English), top or bottom spin, or any combination of these.

Spin-induced throw (SIT)
Throw caused by cue ball English.

Spin transfer
The transfer of spin from the cue ball to the object ball due to friction between the ball surfaces during contact. For example, left English on the cue ball will transfer a small amount of right spin to the object ball.

Handicap given in a wagered game.

Spot a ball
Place an illegally sunk object ball on the foot spot. If there is no room to spot the ball directly on the foot spot without moving an obstacle ball, it is spotted as close a possible behind the foot spot on a line through the foot spot, perpendicular to the end rail.

Spot shot
Shot from the kitchen after a ball is spotted on the foot spot (e.g., after a scratch when playing certain games or bar rules).

Alternative term for "diamonds."

Same as "cue ball deflection."

Money wagered on a game or match.

Stake horse
Same as backer.

To finance a match for a player to gamble.

The person is playing below his ability in order to obtain a more favorable match at a later time. Hiding your true skill.

The body position and posture during a shot.

Staying down
Keeping your head and body still and down after a shot (i.e., resisting the urge to lift up prematurely during or after the final forward stroke).

Staying in line
Leaving desirable cut angles during a sequence of shots, making it easier to move the CB from one desired position to the next.

Term used to describe a non straight follow-through where the cue stick is pivoted toward the object ball or target pocket away from the aiming line. Obviously, this is a bad technique – you should follow through straight.

Same as "cue stick."

Not paying after a loss.

See "shaft stiffness."

Same as "cue ball."

Stop shot
A shot where the cue ball stops immediately after hitting the object ball. It results from a straight-on stun shot.

Straight back
Used to describe a short rail back one rail to a corner pocket in bank pool. As in "Straight back six!"

Straight pool
A pool game in which any object ball can be pocketed at any time. A point is scored for each pocketed ball, so you have to keep track. Also called 14.1-ball or continuous pool.

Straight-in shot
A shot in which the cue ball is directly in-line with the object ball and the intended pocket (i.e., a shot where the cut angle is zero).

Straight up/Head up
To play a match where there is no handicap.

A ball numbered 9 through 15 that has a stripe through the number.

The cue-stick and arm motion required to execute a shot.

Stroke steer
Same as "steering."

Stroking plane
The imaginary vertical plane containing the cue stick, dominant eye, cue ball contact point, aiming line, and ghost ball target.

Stun shot
A shot where the cue ball has no top or bottom spin (i.e., it is sliding across the felt) when hits the object ball.

Sweating the action
Refers to people other than the players betting on the game.

A person nervously watching a pool game because he or she is at risk of loosing money.

Curve of the cue ball's path due to cue stick elevation and English.

Sideways motion of the grip hand, used by some to add English during a stroke.

Table roll
Same as "roll-off."

Table scratch
Failure to hit an object ball or a rail after object ball contact, which is a foul.

Tangent line
The imaginary line perpendicular to (90º away from) the impact line between the cue ball and an object ball. For a stun shot, the cue ball moves along this line after object ball impact.

The profile of shaft's diameter (i.e., how it changes) from the tip to the joint.

Describes a shot where one has a chance to miscue. Usually heard in reference to long draw shots. Comes from the tool ( a tip tapper ) used to scuff the tip of a cue so that it will hold chalk.

Target size
Same as "effective pocket size."

Target center
Same as "effective pocket center."

Technical proof (TP)
An analytically derivation of a principle using mathematics and physics.

When a ball is over-cut, it is hit too "thin."

Thin cut
A shot requiring a large cut angle, where only a small fraction of the cue ball glances the object ball.

Three-cushion billiards
Billiard game played on a table with three balls and no pockets. To score a point, the cue ball must contact three rails before contacting the second object ball. The first object ball can be contacted by the cue ball at any time during the shot.

Object ball motion away from the impact line due to relative sideways sliding motion between the cue ball and object ball caused by sidespin or a cut angle.

Throw shot
A shot in which English is used to alter the path of the object ball.

A rail-first carom shot where the cue ball is deflected off a rail, a near-by object ball, and back to the rail again before heading to its final target.

"The Illustrated Principles of Pool and Billiards" (this book).

Same as "cue tip."

Tips of English
Measure used to indicate how far off center the cue tip contacts the cue ball. "One tip of English" means the cue stick is offset one tip width (i.e., one shaft diameter) from the center.

Tit or Tittie
Same as "knuckle."

Top English
Same as "follow English."

Forward rotation of the cue ball, usually in excess of normal roll, resulting from an above-center hit on the cue ball (see follow shot).

Tournament tough
A player who during the course of a tournament does not lose focus. Typically said of those players that regularly make it to the finals of a tournament.

Very similar to a "Fish", but a more regular basis. Someone who is made to believe over and over again that they can win when they can't. A steady source of gambling income for a shark.

See "technical proof."

Collection of obstacle balls that leave little room for the cue ball to pass.

Transfer of English
Same as "English transfer."

Slang term used to describe balls pocketed by accident.

Device used to rack all 15 balls into a triangle shape (e.g., for a game of 8-ball or straight pool).

Trick shot
A set-up shot used to demonstrate creativity or skill at the table (e.g., in an exhibition), where a key to making the shot can be knowing exactly how to set up the balls.

A player's stay at the table, which continues as long as the player continues to legally pocket object balls.

Used to call a shot that will be banked 2 rails in bank pool. As in "Twice in the side two"

Use spin to alter a shot (e.g., use spin-transfer to "twist" a bank in, or use SIT to "twist" a shot in).

Two-way shot
A shot where you attempt to pocket a ball and, at the same time, play for a safety in case you miss the shot.

Under cut
Hitting the object ball with too small of a cut angle, hitting the ball too fully.

Same as "open bridge."

Vertical centerline
Used to indicate when you aim at the vertical line passing through the center of the cue ball (i.e., with no English).

Vertical plane
The imaginary plane perpendicular to the table surface passing through the cue ball. Adjusting the cue stick height above and below the cue ball center, in the vertical plane, creates follow (topspin) or draw (bottom spin).

Valley National Eight-ball Association

Warm-up strokes
Back and forth motion of the cue stick used to prepare for the final forward stroke.

Handicap one player gives another in a money game.

Whip shot
Same as "fouetté shot"

The "cue ball."

Wing balls
The two balls adjacent to the 9-ball (towards the side rails) in a 9-ball rack.

Same as "dead."

Slang term for "cue ball."

Description for a handicap in rotation games like nine ball where one player may give a lesser player a handicap such as the wild 8. This means that the 8 ball may go in at any time, even by accident to win a match. This is the opposite of for example the call 8 (where the ball needs to be pocketed in the intended pocket).

Gap between two obstacle balls just large