A contact where the line of aim through the
centre of the cue-ball passes the outside
edge of the object-ball by one-quarter of
See:- Ball Contacts
A difficult or awkward scoring stroke made after good position has been lost during a break.
See:- Shot to Nothing
The official in complete control of the game or match. He is responsible for seeing
that the rules of the particular game being played are strictly enforced.
Rests were originally developed from the mace and have been made in a variety of
lengths and designs to help the player reach shots that he would otherwise be unable to play.
See:- Half-Butt · Jigger · Long-Butt · Mace · Spider
Right-Hand Spot of the 'D'
The spot on the right-hand edge of the 'D'.
See:- Left-Hand Spot of the 'D' · Spots
English Billiards -
For spotting the non-striker's cue-ball if the centre spot
of the 'D' is occupied, and only after the striker has made
fifteen consecutive hazards - and only when it is off the
table as a direct result of the non-striker's last stroke.
For spotting the Yellow ball.
Refers to strokes in which the cue-ball travels in more or less the same direction as
See:- Follow · Follow-Through · Stun Run-Through · Top
Left or right-hand spin applied to the cue-ball to increase
the angle of reflection and the speed it travels after contact with a cushion.
See:- Angle of Reflection · Check Side · Side
A position from which it is very difficult, or impossible, to score.
See:- Safety Strokes · Shot to Nothing · Snooker/ed
The defensive part of games where the striker attempts to leave the balls in a position
from which the opponent will find it very difficult to score or play a safety stroke. The
intention being to force a mistake from the opponent that leaves an easy shot.
See:- Containing Safety · Safe · Shot to Nothing · Snooker/ed
Extreme back-spin applied to the cue-ball that makes it revolve in the opposite
direction to that in which it is travelling. On a straight shot screw will cause the
cue-ball to return along its original path. (Further information can be found here)
See:- Back-Spin · Bottom
In the last thirty years or so the distinction between 'Plants'
and 'Sets' seems to have been forgotten, and both are now
generally known as 'Plants'. But they are different. In a
'plant' the ball struck by the cue-ball enters a pocket, and
in a 'set', a ball that touches one struck by the cue-ball is
For a 'set' to be 'on' an imaginary line drawn through the
centres of the touching balls needs to form a direct line to
the pocket, but if this line is just slightly off it can still be
made. At the top of the diagram an example shows the first
red being struck on the right to send the second red to the
left and into the pocket.
The thinner end of the cue which is normally made of ash
or maple. On two-piece cues the shaft ends at the joint.
See:- Butt · Cue · Half-Butt · Long-Butt · Tip
Short-Jenny - English Billiards
Any in-off similar to that shown in the
diagram. In the example given the shot
would be played with strong left-hand
(check) side to spin the
cue-ball into the pocket.
When played correctly the red should
be left in the middle of the table.
See:- Long Jenny · Losing Hazard
Shot to Nothing - Snooker
A stroke in which the player attempts
to pot an object-ball and leave the
cue-ball in the baulk area of the table.
If he misses the pot no easy scoring
shot will be left, but if he does pot the
red the cue-ball may finish favourably
for one of the three baulk colours.
See:- Safe · Safety Strokes
Side-spin is applied to the cue-ball by striking left or right of centre. It has
little effect until the cue-ball strikes a cushion at an angle, when the cue-ball will
either speed up (Running Side), or slow down (Check Side) as it leaves the cushion.
See:- Check Side · Pocket Side · Running Side
The beds of full-sized tables are made
from five pieces of perfectly matched
slate with each piece weighing nearly
four hundred pounds.
In the past, various materials have
been used or experimented with,
including: cement, iron, marble and
Snooker / Snookered - Snooker
Describes the position of the balls when the ball 'on' cannot be hit directly due to an
intervening ball; or, after a foul stroke, when a portion of the ball 'on' is covered by a
Now the most popular billiards game in
the U.K., and well over 100 years old.
The basic structure of the game has
remained unchanged although many
rules have been added since the first
official ones were published in 1901.
In its earliest days the game was
called 'Snooker Pool' or 'Snooker's Pool',
and while fifteen reds have always
been used, the colours were sometimes
placed or valued differently than they
are today. The rules in J.P. Buchanan's "Pyramids and Pool Games" (pub. 1896)
show only five colours being used and they were placed as shown, but each had
the same value as they do today.
The current rules are published on the website of the World Snooker Association.
See:- English Billiards · Snooker Plus · Volunteer Snooker
Snooker Plus was invented by Joe Davis
who added a purple (10 points) and
orange (8 points) to the normal set.
He thought snooker was dying and
hoped this new variation that allowed
greater chances for break-building and
a higher maximum of 210 would help
to revive the game. At the end of the
frame the six normal colours would be
taken in their usual order, and then be followed by orange and purple. If the
frame was tied, the purple was respotted on the black spot. He introduced it to the
public on October 26th 1959 during the News of the World Tournament.
See:- Snooker · Volunteer Snooker
A high rest that allows a player to cue over an intervening ball.
It takes its name from the long 'legs' that give it extra height.
See:- Half-Butt · Jigger · Long-Butt
Used for marking the table to show the exact position where certain balls must be
placed according to the rules of the particular game being played. The spots are
self-adhesive and usually made from paper, fabric or silk. In professional tournaments
these spots are marked with a lead pencil or chalk to allow truer running of the balls.
Spot White - English Billiards
Refers to the cue-ball marked with one or two black spots to differentiate it from
the plain cue-ball. This has been the case for centuries, but in recent times the
'spot' white has been replaced by a yellow ball for the benefit of the spectators.
See:- Cue-Ball · Object-White · Plain Ball · Striker's Ball
Spot Stroke - English Billiards
A favourite of the old-time professionals who used it to make very large breaks
until it was banned in 1898. It consisted of repeatedly potting the red ball off its
spot, and W. J. Peall was a master of it. He made 3,174 points by the stroke in a
break of 3,304 in 1890, and 634 consecutive pots in a break of 1,922 in 1885.
Under the current rules the red can only be potted off its spot twice. It is then
respotted on the centre spot (or if occupied the Pyramid Spot); and if potted
again it is then replaced on its own spot. The maximimum number of consecutive
pots now allowed is 15.
See:- Hazards · Winning Hazard
Refers to the the way the player stands when at the table and ready to play.
The amount of force used to play a shot. The stroke is said to be hard or soft
according to the strength it is played.
Striker's Ball - English Billiards
Sometimes used to differentiate between the two cue-balls used in the game.
See:- Cue-Ball · Plain Ball · Spot White
String / Stringing - English Billiards
The method used to determine the order of play in English Billiards. Stringing, is to
play from the baulk-line to the top cushion and back to leave the cue-ball as close as
possible to the baulk cushion. Before a serious match the players string simultaneously
and the winner has the choice of balls and the option of playing the first stroke.
See:- Choice of Balls · Cue-Ball · Plain Ball · Spot White
A sharp, powerful stroke played to strike the centre of the cue-ball. On a straight
shot the cue-ball will stop dead on contact with an object-ball, or be forced away
at a near right-angle on an angled shot. (Further information can be
See:- Stun Run-Through
An ordinary Stun but with the cue-ball struck slightly higher. The tiny amount of
top-spin that is applied then allows the cue-ball to "run-through" an
inch or two after contacting the object-ball. (Further information can be found here)
A curved line of travel given to the cue-ball by striking down to the left or right of centre.
On any angled shot, this describes the
curved path taken by the cue-ball as it
is "thrown" away after striking the
object-ball. The effect is widely known
by those who play billiards but less
understood by snooker players. The
diagram shows one of the basic billiard
shots, and a snooker player, seeing the
object-white directly between the red
and the pocket, would be less likely to
realise that the in-off was not only
possible but quite easily made. The shot requires no side-spin and should be played
hard enough to bring the red back into the baulk half of the table. The deviation shown
in the diagram is exaggerated, so if your unfamiliar with the shot it's worth setting it up
to experiment with. You should aim for a half-ball contact and play it either as a plain
ball or with a hint of top.
See:- Force an Angle · Forcing Strokes