How to Play Pool – Tips for Beginners

How to Play Pool – Tips for Beginners

When people talk about the pool game, they usually refer to the cue sport that is played on the pocket billiards table. But do you know, there are different types of pool games that are played on this billiards table? Yes, you read it right. If you are new to the world of pool, here is an article on how to play pool.

The popular pool games include 8-ball, straight pool, 9-ball, and many more. In order to learn how to play pool, you need to understand the pool basics, language, equipment used, pool rules, and skills to master the game. The article combines all the elements to guide you to play pool like a pro. 

Familiarize Yourself with Pool Basics

In order to understand how do you play pool, it is essential to learn pool basics. Once you familiarize yourself with the basics, you would be able to better understand the game. 


Three things are required to play the game – table, pool balls, and cue stick. 

Pool Table – Pool tables are available in three sizes: 7 feet, 8 feet, and 9 feet. You need to choose your cue according to the table size on which you are playing the game. 

Cue Stick – You should choose a cue stick that is suitable for your size. Most cue sticks are 58 inches in length. However, longer and shorter cue sticks are also available. The tip of the cue is its most important part. It is the narrow end that you use to hit the ball. There are different types of tips of cue sticks varying from soft to hard. If you are a new player, it is better to opt for a medium-soft tip for a cue stick. 

Pool Balls – In pool balls, there are solids and stripes, and evens and odds. The most important are the eight balls and the cue ball. The cue ball is heavy and solid whit, and it is the only one that should be directly hit during the game.


It is essential to learn the terminologies and language to play the game. Learning the terminologies will make it easier to learn the pool game. 

Break – It is the first shot when you play pool. It happens when in the beginning, the player breaks the fifteen balls of the pool. Some players break at an angle, while others break straight.  

Scratch – It happens when the cue ball jumps and gets off the table. It also occurs when the ball rolls into a pocket. It is better to determine the scratch rule before starting the game. Any player who doesn’t receive scratch is allowed to place the ball in the kitchen wherever they like upon their subsequent turn. 

Kitchen – This area is located between the head string and the headrail. Or in a simple language, it is present between the second set of diamonds and the edge. 

Pool Rules

There are different pool games, here are rules of a standard 8-ball game. In order to play the game, it is necessary to learn the rules. 

  • First of all, rack the 15 balls using a triangle. People have different preferences for the setup. However, make sure to keep the 8-ball in the middle. 
  • If any player makes a pool ball in the pocket, then it breaks. The player claims the type for the game and shoots again. The other players get the variation, and they do not get the opportunity to claim. 
  • If the player can make a ball of each variation, they are allowed to choose the type they prefer.
  • Players skin all the balls into the pocket of the pool table until only the 8 ball is left. The player who sinks the 8 ball is the winner. 
  • If any player sinks the 8 ball before all the other balls, then he/she loses the game.
  • If any player by mistake scratches on the 8 ball during the game, then also he/she loses the game. 
playing pool with proper pool rules

How to Play Pool

Now that you know the pool rules, you are ready to learn how to play pool. 

Learn how to Stroke 

  • Everyone has their preferred hand positions. Always try to keep your index finger on the top of the cue stick while keeping your thumb at the bottom. It is a basic way to hold the stick and keep the hand in position. It allows you to have total control over the stick. It also allows you to hold it tight. 
  • Some people try to put the stick on their index finger. Some people keep the stick in a flattering style between their fingers. Try a few positions in order to find out the best one for you. 
  • You should not move your hand while shooting. You only need to move your back arm. 
  • Try to keep your feet a little bit wider and at an angle of 45-degree. 
  • While practicing strokes, switch your eyes from the contact point of the cue ball to the point on which you are aiming.

Master the Shots

In order to make a shot follow the below-mentioned tips.

  • Try to hit the cue ball straight. Moreover, do this with adequate power. 
  • Try to aim as you are trying to hit the object ball. Focus on the spot that you would hit if you were allowed to do it. Now try to get the cute ball to the decided spot on the object ball. 
  • Try with easy and slow shots. A softer shot will allow your ball to ride the table’s edge. It can also help the ball to stay in a defensive position. 

Other Pool Games

Once you learn the language, rules, and 8-ball pool game, you should also try the other pool games.

9-ball Pool

This game can be a little bit about luck. The main aim in this game is to sink the ball in the pocket following a numerical order, from 1-9. Each player tries to sink the ball up to 9 balls. The player who does it successfully wins the game.

Cutthroat Pool

In this game, each player selects a section of the numbers on the correlating pool balls. For instance, if there are two players, then they have to choose 1-7 and 9-15. The aim is to sink the balls of the opponent and have your balls left on the table. The player with a ball on the pool table is the winner. 

Final Words

Now that you know how to play pool, what are you waiting for? Go and enjoy the game with your friends. Always keep in mind to focus on the ball. Do not get frustrated or confident; the game can turn in a second. Try to improve the shot rather than winning, it will help you in becoming a professional pool player. If you find the above-mentioned tips helpful, drop a comment. 

rashmi saini

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