Billiards Information

Billiards has been a popular indoor game throughout history. Over the years the equipment has improved so that those with a thorough understanding of physics and steady nerves can do very well. Our Pool Trick Shots section has information on various trick shots in pool.

Pool Posters and Art Prints

Check out these Pool Posters and Art Prints by Michael Harrison, Inka Zhang and other fine artists.

American Fifteen-Ball Pool otherwise known as Sixty-one Pool was played in the U.S. in the 1870s. American Fifteen-Ball Pool is the ancestor of modern Pool games. It is based on the the game of Pyramid from England, a precursor of Snooker. When a player was able to sink a ball he or she would receive the number of points equal to the number of the ball. The sum of the ball values in a rack is 120 or 15! or (15+1)*(15/2)=16*15/2=8*15=120. The first player who got more than half the total, or 61 , was the winner. Continuous Pool took the place of Fifteen-Ball Pool as the championship game when, in 1888, it was reasoned that it would be more fair to count all the balls equally as opposed to using their numeric value. thought more fair to count the number of balls pocketed by a player and not their numerical value . After 1900 Eight-Ball Pool was invented it is still widely played today.

Nine-Ball Pool took shape around 1920. The balls must be hit in sequntial order in Nine-Ball starting with the 1 ball. Once the object ball is hit first any ball that goes in lets the player continue play. The first player to sink the 9 ball with a valid shot wins the game. A valid 9 ball shot can be made via combination or after balls 1 through 8 have been sunk. In other words if balls 2 and 3 have been sunk then a player can win the game by hitting the 3 ball into the 9 ball into a pocket. A player can also win the game by sinking the 9 ball directly once balls 1 through 8 are out of the way.

I remember playing pool several times as a kid. When we lived in Pasadena, my parents had friends in San Marino who owned a pool table. I also have early memories of seeing Bobby Brady playing pool in the garage on the Brady Bunch. I think Bobby got pretty good and even won a bet or two.

As I got older billiards became a fun hobby for me. I enjoyed the competition of playing pool against my friends Perry, Junior and Art. We are all very competetive so we took the pook games seriously. We played 8 ball using different rules depending on the setting. Sometimes we ruled that scratches meant the other player had to start from behind the line. Other times we ruled that scratches meant that the next player had "ball in hand" such that he could put the cue ball anywhere on the table. I enjoyed many fine games with Art at the Fourth Dimension in Monrovia. We also played at Jake's, the Muse and Qs off of Colorado Street in Pasadena. Perry, Junior and I played at many of these same locations. Perry, Junior and I also played pool on our skiing trips in Lake Tahoe and other spots.

After college I played a lot of pool with my friends Matt and Tony. Matt and I played billiards at The House of Billiards on Wilshire near Santa Monica.

Eventually my friend Tyson bought a pool table and put it in the front room of his house. Having Tyson's pool table in his house took things to the next level. We no longer had to worry about playing by the hour or stopping the pool action at 2am. We played so much pool at Tyson's that eventually we started to try 9 ball. My brother and our friend John often played billiards with us at Tyson's. Nine Ball is a very different game from 8 ball and I believe it made us all better players because we were forced to not only make the current shot but plan the setup for future shots as well. This is not to say that you don't have to do this in 8 ball, but in 9 ball it is much more crucial. The placement of the cue ball after each and every shot becomes critical. We often played for drinks such that the loser had to take a shot of whatever the winner put together. No one wanted to take shots of unknown alcohol so we always concentrated when we played and did everything we could do get better.

English is a huge part of pool. After playing years and years we fine tuned the use of English to control both the cue ball and the target ball. I usually prefer to hit the bottom half of the cue ball and bring it back rather than hitting the top portion and following the target ball.

Billiards and Pool Posters and Art Prints