Rules for Three Classic Pool Games

Pool has so many variations that it can be overwhelming to learn a new game. However, many games are based off the rules of classic games. By knowing classic game rules and brushing up your skills, you will be ready to take on an exciting new game.

Eight-Ball

Eight-ball is the most commonly played pool game in the US. Inside the triangular rack, the eight is placed in the middle and a striped ball is placed in one back corner and a solid ball placed in the other. The rest of the balls can be placed in random order. The cue-ball is used to break the rack apart. If the eight-ball is pocketed at the break, the breaker can choose to either re-rack or re-spot the ball.

Man setting up an 8-ball pool rack
Rack ’em by Dave Walker
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British vs American Pool

British and American Pool appear similar at first glance, but each style offers its own unique qualities to the game. From its European origins, pool has developed into a whole category of games, each with its own accessories and set of rules. Understanding the difference between British and American style pool may lead you to discover a new favorite way to play.

Woman shooting pool
Photography by Joe Loong

British Pool

The most marked difference between British and American pool is the ball size. The British cue ball is 57% smaller than the 2inch object balls, at one inch and 96 g. The main purpose of the size difference is for coin operated tables to separate the cue and object balls, but almost all British pool ball sets contain the small cue ball. British object balls are generally red and yellow, with one black eight ball, although sets containing solids and stripes are also available. Eight-ball is the most popular game to play with British pool tables.  The small ball size requires a thinner, but strong cue. British cues are about 8-9 mm wide, with a brass feral, and are usually made of ash.

As with its other components, British pool tables are sized down. The most common size is 7ft long. Smaller tables are perfect for crowded pubs. The cloth on a British table has a distinct texture that will eventually wear down over time. The texture adds an extra challenge to game play. The pockets on British tables are petite and rounded. This style of pocket makes shooting down a rail more difficult, but shooting into side pockets easier. The cushion on a British pool table is flat, with the cloth creating an angle against the playing surface.

American Pool

American Pool features equal sized object and cue balls. The 2 ¼” and 169g balls give American pool a distinctly different play than British pool. American pool is played with stripes and solids. The games that can be played with an American pool set are endless. American cues are generally constructed of light maple, with a 13-14 mm tip, and a plastic feral. The plastic is necessary for shock absorption and is ideal for striking the larger, heavier cue ball.

The American pool table can vary in size, but tournament size is 9ft long. Home pool tables tend to be about 8ft with other size variations available. The smooth cloth on American pool table allows for speed.  Friction from the acceleration of the cue ball can cause small burn marks, over time, in the cloth. The pockets on an American table are just wide enough to fit two balls side by side. These pockets are sharply angled, the cushions appearing blade-like. Shots along the cushion into corner pockets are easier on American tables. Side pocket shots are more difficult.

Which is better?

To sum up, British and American pool tables differ mostly in appearance. However, these differences make differences in game play experience. If you frequently play pool in pubs or recreational centers, it is likely you’ll be more comfortable playing on a British pool table. If you play pool in bars and pool halls, you will probably enjoy playing on American pool tables more. American pool tables are easier to learn how to play pool on, ideal for families and children.

British tables offer more challenge for those wanting to hone their skills. The American-style pool table is most common, world-wide. For tournament play, you will want to practice on an American table. Stylish designs are available for every décor taste in American style pool tables. Both American and British tables have features that are better suited to different player. It’s a matter of personal preference as to which will be better for you.

If you are looking to purchase a beautiful pool table, GameTablesOnline.com offers the best in style, price, and quality. See our full catalog for billiards accessories, custom table options, and everything you need for your ultimate game room. If you have any questions about our products or services, contact our team, here.

More Pool Resources:

  1. 4 Ways to Rack a Pool Table
  2. What’s the Difference Between Billiards, Pool, and Snooker  
  3. How to Play 8 Ball Like a Pro  
  4. How to Pick a Pool Table for Your Family

7 Pool Table Games Everyone is Playing

Most pool players know the rules for standard games of 8-ball or 9-ball. Trying out games you’ve never played before can help you sharpen your skills. You just might find your new favorite game to play with your friends, too! There are dozens of pool table game variations, try out these seven to challenge yourself and have fun. Baseball Billiards

Man playing pool
7 amazing billiards games. Photography by Adam Nicholson

1. Baseball Billiards

Invented in 1912, Baseball Billiards is a fascinating group game. Each player has nine innings to score as many “runs” as possible. Baseball Billiards requires 21 balls and an oversized rack. The nine ball is referred to as the “pitcher” and is set at the center of the rack. Home plate is the table’s foot spot. The intended pocket and ball must be called on all shots, except for the break. The winner is determined after all players have had all nine of their innings. The highest run tally is the winner. Baseball Billiard tournaments have been known to draw huge crowds.

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Holiday Gift Guide for Kids

The holidays are here, with all of the gift giving and receiving. The holidays are a fantastic opportunity to introduce kids to a new game or hobby. Games are something the whole family can enjoy together. Table games like air hockey, foosball, and ping pong encourage hand-eye coordination, concentration, and good sportsmanship. Kids will love playing with their friends and you’ll love seeing the benefits of reduced screen time. Our top picks for kids are at the top of every young game enthusiasts’ wish list this year!

Tables Games

Table games have been played for hundreds of years. Great for groups, table games encourage friendly competition and conversation. Kids will love learning how to play pool or perfecting their foosball game with their own table. You can find a list of games that are great for the whole family, here.

Triumph 48” Sweeper Foosball Table

This regulation sized foosball table features a modern design, comfort grip handles, and easy to use goal counters. The minimalistic style players are individually molded on chrome plated hollow steel rods. Younger kids will love the “grown up” look of this table and older kids will play for hours. This table is a perfect fit for a family game room or teen’s room.

Hat Trick 4-ft Air Hockey Table

Sized down for kids, this air hockey table is designed for ultimate game play. New players and experienced players will enjoy this table with 110 v electric blower and poly-sealed playing surface. Keep score electronically or with manual score slides. The strikers and pucks are weighted for fast paced action. Kids of all ages can improve their skills on this stylish air hockey table.
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Holiday Gift Guide for Him

This holiday season, finding great gifts for the guys in your life is easier than ever.

Upgrade their game room with a new game and table, providing hours of future entertainment for him and his buddies. Personalize game tables with custom options, to show off his team colors, while also matching the rest of the home furniture. If he always acts as his own Santa, surprise him with the gifts he’s always wanted.

Game Tables

Whether he’s a new player, wanting an upgrade, or an amateur, his game room can always benefit from a handsome new game table. Pool tables are perfect for the home bar. Multi-game tables make great additions to a family game room. Choosing a game table starts with the game, then the design. We have tables to suit every design style—rustic, modern, traditional, and more.

1) 8’Elias Pool Table

This handsome pool table features billiards room style combined with modern strength and design. Impress with this 100% solid wood frame and cabinet table, with a k-slate. The legs of this table are designed to evenly distribute the weight, for stable game play. For a personal touch, custom felt colors are available to match your guy’s team colors or bar décor.

2) NFL Logo Foosball Tables

Available in nine different NFL teams, these foosball tables are made for the ultimate game room. Heavy duty metal legs provide stability through spirited play and the stress resistant rods are made of telescoping steel. The NFL graphics are protected against inevitable scratches by melamine coating. Foosball is great for group and family fun, but the NFL logo adds a personalized touch. These tables are crafted in Italy.
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Top 3 Professional Air Hockey Tables

Professional, USAA sanctioned air hockey tables are a must for serious players who want to take their game to the next level. When shopping for an upgrade, you want to know that you are investing in the right model. We’re here to explain why professional air hockey tables are superior and how to tell you’re looking at the real thing, as well as offer some recommendations for the top models you can order online today.

Professional air hockey player

Professional air hockey tables designed by air hockey champions

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Seven Pro Tips for Buying an Air Hockey Table

Buying an air hockey table is a great investment for any game room. It can provide hours of fun for players of all ages—from kids to seasoned pros. Not every type of player wants the same kind of air hockey table, though. This air hockey table buyer’s guide will help you decide which type is right for you. Here are the seven factors you should consider when buying an air hockey table.

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How to Play Air Hockey: A Beginner’s Guide

If you’re looking to learn how to play air hockey, you’re in the right place. We’ll break down what you need to play, the basic rules, and some tips to help you look like a pro. With this helpful guide, you’ll know how to play air hockey in no time.

What You Need to Play Air Hockey

Air Hockey Table with Digital Scoreboard

The Stratosphere air hockey table comes with a unique LED digital scoreboard that keeps track of the score. It also has a docking station with built-in speakers that let you play music while you play your game.

The most important thing you need to get started is the air hockey table itself. Most air hockey tables come with a digital scoreboard that keeps track of your points, but if yours doesn’t, you’ll need something to track this manually. You’ll also need a puck, which is the name for the disk passed back and forth between players. Lastly, you’ll need two mallets (aka strikers), which are the pieces players use to hit the puck. Here’s an example of puck and striker sets. Equipped with all these things, you’re ready to begin.
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The Pool Table Buyers Guide You Won’t Want to Miss

Buying a pool table is an investment. While there are cheap recreational billiards tables out there, most people choose to purchase models designed to last a lifetime. In fact, a high-quality table  becomes a family heirloom, like a grandfather clock or grand piano, so it’s important to consider your options carefully.

Pool table triangle

Photo credit: Fernando Prado under Creative Commons license.

In this pool table buyers guide, you’ll find the key factors to consider when purchasing the perfect high-quality pool table.
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