Saturday, 13 Jul 2024

Cue Sports (Billiards)

Cue sports, also known as billiards, encompass a wide range of sports played with a cue stick on a billiard table. The origins of cue sports can be traced back to outdoor stick and ball lawn games. In some countries, the term “billiards” specifically refers to the game of English Billiards.

The Cue Stick and Billiard Balls

The cue stick, which goes by various names such as cue, pool cue, billiards cue, and snooker cue, is primarily made of wood. It measures approximately 57 inches (1.5 m) in length and weighs around 16-20 ounces (450-600 g). On the other hand, billiard balls vary in color, type, number, pattern, diameter, hardness, resilience, and friction coefficient, depending on the specific cue sport being played.

The Billiard Table

A billiard table is a bounded table with a flat, cloth-covered surface and rubber cushions. The design of the table minimizes the loss of kinetic energy when the billiard balls are in motion. For example, in pool, there are six pockets located on each corner and on the sides of the table, where players aim to move the billiard balls using the cue stick.

Varieties of Cue Sports

There are two main categories of cue sports: carom and pocket. Carom games are played on pocketless tables and include disciplines such as straight rail, Balkline, three-cushion billiards, four-ball, and five-pins. On the other hand, pocket games are played on tables with pockets and include popular variants such as pool, snooker, and English Billiards.

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Some Carom Games

  • Balkline: In this carom billiards discipline, players score points by making their cue ball contact both object balls in a single stroke. The table is divided by balklines on the cloth to mark playing regions.
  • Cushion Caroms: This cue sport and carom billiards discipline is played on a pocketless table with two white balls and a red ball. The objective is to carom off both object balls, with at least one rail being struck before hitting the second object ball.
  • Five-Pin Billiards: Popular in Italy and Argentina, this carom billiards discipline involves using one’s cue ball to knock over pins and score points.
  • Four-Ball: Played on a pocketless table with four balls (2 red, 2 white), players score points by caroming on any two other balls. In Asia, a variant of this game called Yotsudama is played.
  • Three-Cushion Billiards: A challenging cue sport and carom billiards discipline where the aim is to carom the cue ball off both object balls and contact the rail cushions at least three times before hitting the last object ball.
  • Kaisa: Mainly played in Finland, this cue sport is a type of carom billiards.
  • Yotsudama: An East Asian variation of Four-Ball carom billiards.
  • Artistic Billiards: Players score points for performing 76 preset shots of varying difficulty. It is sometimes referred to as fantasy billiards.

Some Pocket Cue Sports

  • Snooker: This game is played on a table with six pockets and involves potting a combination of red and colored balls using a white cue ball.
  • Eight-Ball: One of the most popular variants of pool, played with 15 colored balls numbered from 1 to 15.
  • Kelly Pool: A type of pocket billiard game where players select numbered markers and compete on a standard pool table.
  • Straight Pool: A pocket billiards game that requires players to call which object ball they will pocket and in which pocket.
  • Speed Pool: A Pocket Billiards game where players aim to pocket the balls in the shortest amount of time possible.
  • One-Pocket: In this version of Pocket Billiards, players aim to pocket all the object balls into a single pocket.
  • Nine-Ball: A version of Pocket Billiards played with nine balls numbered 1 through 9, where the player who legally pockets the nine-ball is declared the winner.
  • Bank Pool: Another version of Pocket Billiards involving banking shots.
  • Russian Pyramid: A cue sport popular in the former Soviet Union.
  • Artistic Pool: A trick shot competition on a pocket billiards table, with players scoring points for performing 56 preset shots of varying difficulty.
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Other Cue Sports

  • English Billiards: Also known as Billiards, this game requires two cue balls and a red object ball. Players score points by performing cannons (caroms) and pocketing balls.
  • Novuss: A national sport in Latvia, resembling carrom and pocket billiards. It is played on a 1-meter square wooden board with pockets in each corner, using a small cue stick to strike a puck and hit small discs into the pockets.


Q: What are cue sports?

Cue sports, also known as billiards, are a range of sports played on a billiard table with a cue stick to hit billiard balls.

Q: How long is a cue stick?

A cue stick is typically 57 inches (1.5 m) long.

Q: What are pocket games in cue sports?

Pocket games are cue sports played on tables with pockets, including popular variants like pool, snooker, and English Billiards.

Q: What are carom games in cue sports?

Carom games are cue sports played on pocketless tables, such as straight rail, Balkline, three-cushion billiards, four-ball, and five-pins.

Q: What is the purpose of a billiard table’s rubber cushions?

The rubber cushions on a billiard table enhance the movement of the billiard balls by minimizing the loss of kinetic energy.


Cue sports, also known as billiards, offer a wide variety of games that cater to different playing styles and preferences. From carom games played on pocketless tables to pocket games played on tables with pockets, there is something for everyone. Whether you enjoy the precision of carom billiards or the strategy of snooker, cue sports provide endless hours of excitement and competition.

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For more information about cue sports, visit Auralpressure.