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In the U.S. the pool table has evolved along with the games played on it. Usually9-ball, and 8-ball was played in the early days, and many variations of these two games. Tournaments are now held globally, with prizes being awarded yearly in the millions. During the increase in the global competitions, it became apparent that a standardization in the pool table, and ball size was necessary. This will outline both, according to the World Pool-Billiard Associations (WPA)regulations.
WPA recognizes only 2 sizes of table for regulation play, 9 foot table and the 8ft pool table. There is a 7ft pool table, but this is not used for tournament play. All pool tables have a standard playing surface ratio of 2:1. This means that the 9 foot table, being 100 inches long will have a width of 50 inches. The same is true for the 8 foot table, being 92 x 46 in. Although not used for competition the 7 foot is 76 x 38 in. There is a 1/8th inch margin of error allowed on all dimensions. The height of the table must be between 29 1/4 and 31 inches, and the corner pocket mouths 4.5 and 4.625 inches. Traditionally, side pockets will measure 1/2 inch wider than the corners.
The pool balls are a different matter, the size and weight will vary according to the game you are playing, but this article will refer to 9 and 8 ball rules according to the WPA. Their regulation states that the balls must weigh from 5.5 to 6 ounces, and should be 2.25 inches in diameter. This is the most common size used worldwide.
Most pool tables today use a fiberboard top, but regulation play demands that the pool table playing surface be made of slate, coming in three sections, that is of a specific thickness, and attached in a particular manner to the supporting structure of the table.
First played on a lawn, pool has come a long way. Pool was first just like croquet. The whole purpose was to try to knock over a cone with balls. It was moved indoors and played on the floor, but was too hard on players backs. They tried playing on a table, but the balls would fall off. Rails were added on the sides of the table to prevent this. Rubber strips were added to the rails to prevent chipping of the balls. Felt was put on the top of the table to help with shots that are more accurate. After tiring of knocking over the cone, two holes were cut into the wood and pockets sewn into the holes to catch the balls. This is how we have gotten the pool tables of today.