All About Billiard Table
A billiard table is a table on which billiards games are played. Pocketless carom billiards tables are used for such games as three-cushion billiards, straight rail (carambole) and 18.2 balkline.
A Larger billiard table table may require multiple lamps to properly light the playing surface.
Regulation carom billiards tables are perfect rectangles, with the bed of the table (the playing surface) measuring 10' by 5' (though 9' x 4.5' are increasingly common).
Pocket billiards tables, sometimes called pool tables, are specific to the various pool games such as eight-ball, nine-ball, straight pool and one-pocket.
As the name implies, pocket billiards tables have pockets; normally six of them — one at each corner of the table ("corner pockets") and one at the midpoint of each of the longer sides ("side pockets").
Many players erroneously refer to a pool table as "regulation" based on table length alone.
An actual regulation table has its length of the playing surface exactly twice the width.
Measurements are made from cushion nose to cushion nose. As an example, a 9' tournament size table is "regulation" when the side to side internal width is 50" and the length is 100" when measured cushion-to-cushion.
For home use, 8' tables are somewhat common.
Most professional tournaments are played on 9' tables, although in previous generations 10' tables were standard, and can still be found as antiques in some upscale pool halls
Seven-foot coin-operated tables are typically found in bars due to limited space, and are also used for the Korean game of "four ball".
Coin-operated pool tables use multiple ways to determine the cue ball from the object balls, including light sensors, different ball sizes/weights, or magnetic triggers.
The very similar tables used in snooker are typically 12' long, with smaller pocket apertures.
While most tables are perfect rectangles, there are other tables which are round, hexagonal and even zig-zag shaped.
These variants, however, are all far less popular than the ubiquitous, traditional rectangular tables.
On the sides of all varieties of billiard table are "rails" (or "cushions"), which are made from elastic materials such as synthetic or vulcanized rubber.
The cushion's purpose is to rebound balls without letting them lose too much kinetic energy.
The playing surface (the "bed") on all quality tables is made of 3/4"-2" thick slate, typically imported from Italy, Brazil or China.
Cheaper table surfaces are usually made of artificial substances such as Slatron or some composite wood variant like medium-density fiberboard.
These surfaces are usually more susceptible to warping and do not have the same playing qualities as slate.
Both the rails and slate beds are covered with 21-24 ounce billiard cloth which is most often green in color (representing the grass of the original lawn games that billiards evolved from), and consists of either a woven wool or wool/nylon blend called baize.
Most bar tables, which get lots of play, use the slower, thicker blend cloth because it can better withstand heavy usage.
By contrast, high quality pool cloth is usually made of a napless weave such as worsted wool, which gives a much faster roll to the balls.
This "speed" of the cloth affects the amounts of swerve and deflection of the balls, among other aspects of game finesse.
Snooker cloth traditionally has a directional nap, upon which the balls behave differently when rolling against vs. toward the direction of the nap.
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