Unveiling the Game: 100 Facts About Pool & Billiards

Unveiling the Game: 100 Facts About Pool & Billiards - Pool Table Portfolio
Bob Saint Bob Saint
    Here are some interesting and perhaps slightly crazy facts about pool tables and billiards.

    1. Billiards was first played in the 15th century in Northern Europe.
    2. It was originally an outdoor lawn game similar to croquet, later moved indoors.
    3. The first recorded billiard table was owned by King Louis XI of France in 1470.
    4. The term "pool" comes from a 19th-century betting pool where people bet on horse races. Billiard rooms often doubled as betting parlors, so the game became known as "pool."
    5. The cue stick was invented in the late 1600s when players began to use the narrow end of the mace, a device used to shove the balls rather than strike them.
    6. The phrase "behind the eight ball" comes from the game of 8-Ball when a player's ball is blocked by the 8-ball.
    7. The balls were initially made from wood and clay. Ivory was later used, but due to the endangered elephant population, it was replaced with synthetic materials.
    8. The 1st coin-operated billiard table was patented in 1903.
    9. Pool tables are usually covered with green cloth to represent the green lawn where the game was originally played.
    10. The rails of pool tables are made from gum or synthetic rubber for consistent, predictable rebounds.
    11. The longest recorded streak of consecutive pool games won is 526, achieved by Willie Mosconi in 1954.
    12. Pool and billiards are not the same - pool is a game played on a pocket billiards table, while "billiards" can refer to a number of different games played on a table without pockets.
    13. Pool tables come in different sizes, typically 7, 8, or 9 feet long.
    14. Billiard balls were originally sized according to the species of animal from which the ivory was harvested.
    15. Billiards and pool games were once considered immoral and were banned in certain places.
    16. Women were forbidden from playing pool in public in the U.S until the early 20th century.
    17. There are over 30 different official billiard games.
    18. Snooker, another cue sport, was invented in India by British Army officers.
    19. The largest pool tournament in the world, the BCA Pool League World Championships, sees around 500 tables set up for players.
    20. Pool tables need to be leveled accurately for a fair game. Even a slight tilt can cause the balls to roll off course.
    21. Early versions of billiard cloth were made from a blend of wool and camel hair.
    22. Buggati's $2.6 million pool table touted to be the world's most expensive. The self-leveling pool table works in tandem with modern computer technology to allow the players smooth play even in the middle of the ocean.
    23. The playing surface of a pool table is typically made of quarried slate.
    24. A pool table can weigh up to 1,000 pounds or much more if its a larger traditional snooker table.
    25. The record for the most balls potted in one minute is 34!
    26. Professional pool players can make the cue ball travel at speeds of up to 32 km/h (20 mph).
    27. The first billiard room was built in England in 1765.
    28. Pool halls were popular gathering places during the American Prohibition era.
    29. There's a billiard game called "Baseball Pocket Billiards" designed to incorporate rules of Americas oldest pastime sport, baseball.
    30. The first official World Professional Billiards Championship was held in 1873.
    31. Michael Phelan, considered the “father of American billiards,” wrote the first book on billiards all the way back in 1850.
    32. The first 8-Ball pool was invented around 1900.
    33. The 8-Ball game is also known as "stripes and solids" or "spots and stripes" in the UK.
    34. In a professional match, referees often wear gloves to avoid transferring oils and dirt to the billiard balls.
    35. The popular movie "The Hustler" (1961) and its sequel "The Color of Money" (1986) helped revive interest in pool in the United States.
    36. Babe Cranfield holds the record for the most consecutive pool balls pocketed without a miss - 2,400 balls.
    37. Billiard chalk much like chalk in other sports such as weight lifting and gymnastics is used to increase the friction between the ball and the cue stick for a better shot.
    38. The billiard cloth is usually vacuumed or brushed with a special brush to remove chalk dust and other debris.
    39. Before cloth-covered tables, billiards was played on tables with a flat stone surface.
    40. There is a game called "Artistic Pool" which includes trick shots.
    41. Billiards was one of the first sports to have a world championship, in 1873.
    42. The earliest pool balls were made of ivory, but this led to the slaughter of up to 12,000 elephants a year.
    43. There's a version of billiards played with only three balls called "three-cushion billiards."
    44. In many professional pool tournaments, players are required to wear a vest and bow tie.
    45. In traditional straight pool, the first player to reach 100 points is the winner.
    46. There are different types of cue sticks for different types of shots, including break cues, jump cues, and snooker cues.
    47. Pool and billiards were one of the few games to survive the puritanical bans of games in the United States during the 19th century.
    48. The "rack" used to set up the balls is typically triangular, but diamond-shaped racks are used for 9-ball games.
    49. Early billiard cues often had a metal tip, but it was later replaced with leather to allow for more spin on the ball.
    50. The white ball in billiards is called the cue ball.
    51. The standard billiard ball set consists of 15 object balls and one cue ball.
    52. The term "scratch" in pool refers to when the cue ball is pocketed.
    53. Pool tables are designed to be twice as long as they are wide.
    54. Pool tables were once so revered that they were covered by ornate and grand canopies.
    55. Professional pool tables use a single piece of slate because it provides a more consistent bounce and roll of the ball.
    56. George Washington was known to enjoy playing billiards.
    57. Early versions of pool and billiards were often played by nobles and royalty.
    58. In 1588, the Catholic Church declared playing pool as a sin.
    59. Billiards was the first sport to have a standardization of rules.
    60. King Louis XIV of France was known to be an avid billiards player.
    61. In the 19th century, steel billiard rails were introduced to provide a consistent bounce.
    62. The game of English billiards was a precursor to pool and snooker.
    63. WPA (World Pool-Billiard Association) is the international governing body for pocket billiards.
    64. The modern game of pool is believed to have evolved from a game called "Sfere De Tavolo" played in 15th century Italy.
    65. Pool is called "billar" in Spanish, "billard" in French, "bilard" in Polish, "biliárd" in Hungarian, and "bilyard" in Russian.
    66. The heaviest billiard ball ever used in a professional game weighed 7.5 kg (16.5 lbs).
    67. Snooker, a popular variation of billiards, requires players to pocket balls in a precise sequence, challenging players to think hard on the moves they make on the green baize.
    68. In professional pool tournaments, the balls are often heated to reduce moisture and irregularities in roll.
    69. The use of chalk on cues originated in the 1800s, to help prevent the cue from sliding off the ball.
    70. The first pool balls made from plastic/phenolic resin were produced in the 1920s.
    71. Each stripe and solid pair of billiard balls (e.g., 1 and 9, 2 and 10) add up to 10.
    72. In traditional Snooker, there are 21 balls: 15 reds, and six of other colors.
    73. A perfect break in snooker, potting all balls, scores 147 points.
    74. Mark Selby holds the record for the most centuries in snooker with 776.
    75. The word "cue" comes from the French "queue," meaning tail.
    76. The phrase "cue" also refers to the action of waiting in line, as in players wait their turn in a game of billiards.
    77. Pool tables have been designed in unusual shapes, such as circular and zig-zag, but these aren't used in professional play.
    78. The film "Poolhall Junkies" (2002) is a cult favorite among billiards fans.
    79. "Straight Rail" is a simple form of billiards where points are scored for causing both the other balls to touch the rails of the table.
    80. Famous mathematician Claude Shannon was a fan of billiards and even built a computer to simulate a game.
    81. The longest running pool tournament is the World Straight Pool Championship, established in 1912.
    82. The cushion or "rail" of a billiards table is designed to offer a consistent rebound.
    83. It is possible to "jump" the cue ball over another ball in a legal move known as a "jump shot."
    84. The first women's world snooker championship was held in 1976.
    85. Famous composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was known to be a billiards fan.
    86. Billiards tables in the past had flat vertical walls for rails and their only function was to keep the balls from falling off.
    87. A well-maintained pool table can last up to 100 years.
    88. Billiards is one of the few sports that can be played and enjoyed by people of any age.
    89. Billiards, Pool, and Snooker are three different games and the terms are not interchangeable.
    90. A "Masse shot" in billiards is when the cue ball is hit at a very high speed and sharp angle with a lot of spin.
    91. The cue ball is usually distinguished by its size or a marking; it's often slightly larger in many bar or pub tables.
    92. When playing pool, chalk should be applied before every shot for the best results.
    93. The practice of gambling on billiards and pool games led to the development of a scoring device called a "pool."
    94. In the 19th century, billiards was deemed a "gentleman's game" because it was played by men in a calm, controlled manner.
    95. "Kiss shot" is a shot in which the player shoots the cue ball so that it caroms off another ball and into the pocket.
    96. The most prestigious professional pocket billiards tournament in the USA is the U.S. Open 9-Ball Championships.
    97. The most common material for a pool cue tip is leather.
    98. The first woman to compete professionally in a men’s pool tournament was Jean Balukas.
    99. Pool tables are usually found in a home's game room, a bar, or a club.
    100. In some parts of the world, billiards is so popular that it's included in their school physical education programs.


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