How to Play Pool : Familiarize, Rules, Pro Tips and Tricks

How to play pool while getting to know it for the first time can feel like an art! There are different strategies, many variations, and special terminology to learn following the rules. It is not just getting the ball into the pocket of the board. But it is worth learning as you will have fun so much that you will forget the pain of learning the new things and it won’t feel at all to you. Therefore, read on to start learning and master your skills.

How to Play Pool : Getting Started

Familiarize with the equipment.

There are basically three things that are being used which you can probably understand better which is what.:

  • Cue stick
  • Table
  • Pool balls

Pick a cue stick in accordance with your size.

Most of the cue sticks are 58 inches (147 cm) in length, but there are shorter and longer ones also available to match the length of the arms of the children who start playing at a very young age. The most important part of a cue is the Tip which is on the narrow end from where you’ll be hitting. Tips characteristics vary from soft to hard. The new and inexperienced pool players are served with a medium to medium-soft tip to get a feel of hitting with the right amount of force.

Get a table.

There are three standard sizes available for a pool table: 7, 8, and 9 feet (2.7 m). The Billiard Congress of America has defined a “regulation” pool table must have a double-length as it has breadth. In case you are playing on a smaller table, you will have to get a shorter cue. You can browse for brunswick pool tables for sale to find the right fit for you.

Pool balls are must.

As for the pool balls, there are called evens and odds, solids and stripes, and, the 8 ball and the cue ball is the most important one. The cue ball is the solid white ball. It is a bit heavier. It should be the only ball which can be directly hit during the game.

Learn the language.

You have to understand the terminology and rules in order to play the game. To make it easier and quicker to learn, familiarize yourself with the vocabulary of the game.

BreakAt the beginning of the game when a player breaks up the fifteen pool balls.It is the first shot. Some players break straight on while others break at an angle.
ScratchCue ball jumps off the table or rolls into a pocket.Determine the scratch rules before starting the game. Common for the player who did not receive the scratch to be allowed to place the cue ball anywhere in upon their subsequent turn.
KitchenIt is the area between the head-rail and the head string, or you may want the area between the edge and the second set of diamonds.

Get the rules down.

Let’s just stick to standard 8-ball as you are starting to learn the game for the first time. Knowing the rules helps in winning it.

  • Use the triangle for “racking up” the 15 pool balls.
  • Different people have different preferences for the set up
  • Ensure the 8-ball is in the middle.
  • A player breaks.
    • If player makes a ball into a pocket, then claims that type for the duration of the game and shoots again.
    • The other player receives the variation they did not claim.
    • If the player makes a ball of each variation, they get to choose which he/she is going to prefer.
  • Both players sink all pool balls into the pockets until just the 8 ball is left.
  • The first player to sink the 8 ball is the winner.
    • Inadvertently sinks a ball of the other player’s, it counts to the other player’s benefit.
    • Inadvertently sinks the 8 ball before all other balls are in, they lose.
    • Scratches on the 8 ball, they automatically lose as well.

How to Play Pool : Playing the Game

Master the stroke.

Each person has a preferred hand position.

  • Right-handed player: Holds the base of the stick with right hand and rest the narrow end on left.
  • Left-handed player : Does the opposite.
  • Good hand position : Put index finger on the top of the stick and thumb at the bottom of the stick for a total control of the stick. Hold it tight.
  • Some rest the stick on index finger while others rest the cue in between fingers in a flatter style. Experiment to see what suits you the best.
  • Hand making a stand for the cue never moves. Only move back arm when shooting.
  • Feet should be a little wider than shoulder-width and apart at an angle of 45-degree.
  • During practice strokes, eyes should switch from the contact point on the cue ball to the point of aiming for on the object ball.

Make the shots.

Align the pool tip with the cue ball, aim, and hit. As a beginner, focus on hitting the cue ball straight and with power. Aim to look like that you were going to hit the object ball directly. Aim to get the cue ball to a hitting spot on the object ball. Experiment with easy and slow shots. A softer touch helps the ball to ride the edge of the table. It is better to stay in a defensive position.

Switch it up.

Try “Cutthroat Pool.” Each player has an option to choose a section of the numbers on the correlating pool balls. The aim is to sink the opponent’s balls and only have yours left on the table. The last one with a ball (or balls) on the table wins. 

Try 9-ball. This is a bit about luck, but it is true for most of the games. The object of the game is to sink the balls in the pockets in numerical order. Each player takes turns going up to the 9 balls. The one to sink the 9 ball wins. One may sink 1-8 and still lose, which is the beauty of this version of the game.


Always focus and keep an eye on the ball. Cancel distractions as best as you can. Neither gets too confident nor frustrated. The tables can turn any second. Focus on improving shot, not winning. Play a game to warm up. Once the shouting, murmuring and giggling slows down or turned off, and muscles start reacting to what you’ve learned to make the much-needed improvement.

Now, as you have gone through how to play pool, try and practice to excel in it.