Gathering around the billiard table is something that my family does every holiday. We take turns playing against each other and Dad always gets to play the winner. Why? Not because he’s the patriarch of the family but because he truly is the best player among us – no matter how much I practice!
But whether you are playing in a home game room or at a local pub, there is always going to be that one person – that one stickler – who gets upset when you’re not playing by the book. In my family, it’s usually friends that we bring over who end up being the sticklers, but no matter who it is, you need to be ready for it. If not, you’re likely to get scolded for eating those Cheetos while sitting on the edge of the table.
1. Stop trying to mess up your opponent’s shot.
Yes, my brothers and I try to sneeze and make all manner of loud, shocking noises to mess up each others shots. Rule followers do not enjoy that sort of thing. So, don’t try to distract the shot of someone else, unless you know that they’ll take it in good stride.
2. Keep those pants up
Playing pool involves a lot of bending over. And though your significant other may enjoy seeing your plumber’s crack, the rest of the players might not. So, keep that in mind when you dress for the game.
3. The table is not for people
Sure, when I’m playing against my brothers, we sit, climb, lean and sprawl on the table to take our shots. But those rule sticklers prefer that everyone stays off the table. For safety reasons, you could get hit with the ball if you’re sitting on the side when someone else takes a shot. Also, you can actually damage the felt on the table or at least get those Cheetos crumbs on it, which interferes with how the balls roll.
4. This is not the kitchen table.
Speaking of food crumbs, resist the urge to have drinks and food at the pool table. As mentioned, crumbs (as well as drink ring spots) can affect how the balls roll. And definitely do not have cigars and cigarettes because accidentally burning a hole in the felt would be terrible.
5. Chalk it up
You chalk your cue stick and then what do you do? The correct answer is place it chalk side up. Why? Because if you put it chalk side down, that chalky residue gets everywhere. And if it gets in the felt, then it can be a pain to get out. Plus, if you don’t listen and sit on the edge of the table where you’ve place the chalk side down, you could have blue chalk on your rear end.
6. Trick shots are for pros
I know we’ve all seen those cool trick shots on ESPN. Remember, those people are pros and if you attempt them, you can end up putting a hole in the felt, flinging a ball off the table and into another player or into something breakable.
7. Store the sticks properly
Isn’t is so easy to just lean the cue stick up against the wall when you’re done playing? Too bad that doing so causes them to warp! And warped sticks mess up your game. So, lay them flat or store them in a wall rack only.