Glossary Of Equipment Terms
Equipment | Competing | Shots
Apex Ball | This is the ball at the head or front of the rack or "apex" of the triangle and is placed on the foot spot.
related terms: head ball
Apex of Triangle | The front position in the grouping of object balls with the apex ball placed on the foot spot.
related terms: rack
Balance or Balance Point | The fulcrum point (usually balancing on three fingers) on a cue enabling the cue to remain level.
related terms: cue
Ball Return System | A table feature allowing balls to return to a central collection point when pocketed.
related terms: gully
Bed or Bed of Table | The flat, playable surface within the cushions.
Billiard Table | A rectangular shaped table with cushions surrounding the bed of the table. A billiard table is typically larger than a pool table, measuring ten feet long by five feet wide (10 x 5), and does not have pockets.
Bridge | The hand configuration that holds and guides the shaft-end of the cue during play.
Bumper | The rubber located on the very bottom of the butt which protects it when rested on the floor. Some incorrectly refer to cushions as bumpers.
Butt of Cue | The area where the cue is gripped including the bumper, wrap, inlays or other ornamentation. The end opposite the cue tip.
Center Spot | The exact center point of a table's playing surface.
Center String | A horizontal imaginary line crossing the bed of the table between the centers of the side pockets.
Chalk | A caked powder (usually found in a small cube) placed on a cue tip to increase friction and minimize slipping between the cue tip and cue ball on contact.
Closed Bridge | A closed bridge is formed by encircling the shaft of the cue with one or more fingers of the bridge hand and spreading the remaining fingers on the surface for stability.
Cloth | The material which covers the bed and cushions of a table available in a variety of grades and colors. The cloth plays an important role in how a table plays.
Cue | A stick typically made of wood, graphite or other material with a leather cue tip on the tapered end which is used to strike the cue ball or billiard balls during play.
Cue Ball | The white (typically), unnumbered ball struck by the cue to move object balls (numbered balls) during play.
Cue Tip | A processed material, typically leather, attached to the shaft end of a cue that contacts the cue ball during a shot.
Cushion | The raised, cloth-covered rubber mounted on the rails of a table. The rails and cushions form the outer perimeter of the bed of the table.
Diamonds | Inlaid markings on the rails used as reference points for mathematical targeting techniques. Tables typically have three evenly spaced diamonds between each pocket. Rail markings are referred to as diamonds regardless of the shape or color.
Drop Pockets | Pockets in the table which hold the object balls as they are shot in the pockets. These tables do not have a gully or ball return system.
End Rail | The shortest rails of a billiard or pool table located at the foot of the table and head of the table.
Ferrule | A sleeve of protective material (fiberglass, plastic, ivory or metal) fitted on the tip end of the shaft on which the cue tip is mounted. Also protects the wood of the cue from splitting upon impact with the cue ball.
Foot of the Table | The end of a pool or billiard table behind the foot spot where the balls are racked or positioned at the beginning of a game for the opening break.
Foot Rail | The end rail at the foot of the table.
Foot Spot | The point at which the foot string and long string intersect. Typically used as a reference point to place the apex ball when racking. Some tables have the foot spot marked with a decal.
Foot String | An imaginary line on the foot end of the table drawn horizontally from the second diamonds of the long rails and passing through the foot spot.
Forearm | The area of the cue between the joint and the wrap.
Fundamentals | The core technique of shooting which includes the stance, grip, stroke, and bridge.
Grip | The manner of how the butt of the cue is held in the hand.
Gully | A table feature allowing balls to return to a central collection point when pocketed.
Hand Bridge | The hand configuration that holds and guides the shaft-end of the cue during play.
Head Ball | The ball at the head or front of the rack or "apex" of the triangle.
Head of the Table | The end of a pool or billiard table behind the head string typically used as a cue ball boundary for the opening break.
Head Rail | The end rail at the head of the table.
Head Spot | The point at which the head string and long string intersect. Some tables have the head spot marked with a decal.
Head String | An imaginary line on the head of the table drawn horizontally from the second diamonds of the long rail and passing through the head spot.
House Cue | The cue establishments have available for patrons' use. These cues are typically of poor to medium quality.
In The Kitchen | The area of the table between the head rail and the head string.
Inlay | The material which is inlaid into the butt of the cue for ornamental purposes.
Jack Up | Elevating the butt of the cue higher than a player's usual stroke.
Jaw | The area between the points in the opening of the pocket.
Joint | The interlocking connections which are screwed or connected together between the butt and shaft ends of a two-piece cue.
Kitchen | The area of the table between the head string and head rail.
Long Rail | The rails extending from the head rail to the foot rail on the sides of the table.
Long String | An imaginary line from the center of the head rail to the center of the foot rail.
Mechanical Bridge | The grooved device is mounted on a cue or cue-like handle replacing the typical hand bridge support for the shaft of the cue during shots. Usually used when a shot cannot be comfortably reached with a hand bridge.
Object Ball | The ball a player legally strikes with the cue ball during a shot. Also referred to as all balls in play with the exception of the cue ball.
Open Bridge | An open bridge is created by placing your bridge hand on the table and resting the shaft of the cue on your hand without encircling the cue with fingers.
Pocket Shelf | The area between the points of a pocket and the edge of the slate where the ball drops into the pocket.
Pocket | An opening along the boundary of a table which balls fall into during play.
Points | Decorative inlays placed in the butt of the cue to form points for ornamental purposes.
Pool Table | A rectangular table with cushions and six pockets bounding the bed of the table.
Powder | Powdery substance such as talc or baby powder used to ease the movement of the cue shaft through a hand bridge.
Pyramid | The object balls position in a triangular grouping with the apex ball on the foot spot.
Rack | A geometric form made of wood or plastic used to tightly gather the object balls into the formation required by the game being played. The term is also applied to the act of setting the object balls and centering the apex ball on the foot spot for the opening break.
Rails | The outer trim at the top of the table, usually inlayed with a series of diamonds or dots. Typically used in conjunction or instead of the term cushions.
Rain Table | Describes the playing condition of a table when humidity causes the cushions to be spongy and the cloth to play slow. Object balls tend to lose friction because chalk, table dust and other debris causes difference in the way the balls play.
Slate | The typical material for the bed of a table under the cloth and is usually the heaviest piece of a table.
Sneaky Pete | A term for a high quality cue designed to mimic a house cue.
Shaft | The tapered end of a cue to which the ferrule and cue tip is attached and slides on a player's hand or mechanical bridge to strike the cue ball during a shot.
Spot | The decal marking the head or foot spot on the table's playing surface.
Stance | The way a player stands while in the shooting position.
Stroke | The motion of the cue when striking the cue ball.
Table | A general term for Billiard or Pool Table.
Table Roll | Used to describe how true a table is by how straight a ball rolls on the table. Primarily used negatively when a ball does not roll straight due to cloth, dirt, slate defects or because the table is not level.
Wrap | Covering designed for players to grip on the butt of the cue; usually covered with nylon string, leather or Irish linen.