Cue Tips

Cue Tips
One of the most crucial elements of the game of pool or snooker is also one of the smallest – the tip on the end of your cue will often determine whether the shot is a good one or not.
Here we have a closer look at your cue tip; what it is made from, how it is made and how it affects the shot played.

Basically, the tip on a pool cue is a hardened, rounded piece of leather that makes contact with the cue ball during a shot. Usually made from pig leather, because it is tougher than other animal hides, the tip varies in length, width and shape but affects the outcome of every single shot played irrespective of whether you are a first time social player or a seasoned professional.

Why hardened leather? Soft leather would be too spongy and would affect the shot by absorbing much of the power of the shot. Some cue tips are made from a mixture of leather and artificial polymer resin to give extra durability.

Tournament pool players sometimes prefer to use a cue with a tip made from phenolic resin to ensure that the full force of the stroke is transferred to the cue ball. This type of cue tip is much harder and has very little absorption in it. Many American pool players will use a separate cue with this special hard tip to break with as they do not wish to damage their main playing cue. A hardened resin tip is much more difficult to control and is not recommended for regular play or for snooker which requires a higher level of control and accuracy.

Why is the tip rounded? This allows smooth but firm contact between the tip and the ball. If the tip had a squared edge which stuck up from the end of the ferrule there would be too much contact between tip and ball therefore increasing the chance of a miscue. You would have less control over your shot.

The Ferrule is a plastic section between tip and wood of the cue – it prevents shudder transferring to the wooden cue shaft and stops damage to the wood which can split if hard shots are used on cue ball. Ferrules are made from hardened polymer plastic or nylon.
American pool players tend to have a slightly longer and wider ferrule which is 13mm, possibly because most pool players hit the ball hard though the typical ferrule width in English pool is 8.5mm.

Snooker cues also have a much shorter ferrule than US pool cues probably because most of shots are softer so ferrule width of 9.5mm is sufficient. The subtler style of play in snooker also affects the type of tip fitted to cues. More on this below.

There are two types of leather tip
1. Solid leather hardened, cut and shaped
2. Multiple thin layers of leather glued together, then shaped

Layered cue tips are more effective at putting spin onto the cue ball. I don’t know why but comparative tests prove this is true beyond any doubt.

Cue tips also come in 3 levels of hardness. A soft tip allows longer contact with the ball which makes it easier to impart spin on the cue ball. Soft tips also wear more quickly and will need to be replaced more frequently. A hard tip, as you would expect, has less time in contact with the cue ball but does not produce the same amount of control during the shot. Hard tips also last longer.

Most players would not be able to notice the difference as we are talking milliseconds here but a professional player undoubtedly would be able to feel the difference in shot and would choose a tip which suits their style of play. Some Pros even have 2 or 3 different cues each with a different tip.

The majority of cues on sale will have a tip with medium softness as a compromise between feel and wear. Only by changing the tip yourself or by specifying the type of tip required will you be able to get a specifically hard or soft tip. Custom made cues are quite expensive, as you would imagine, so for 99% of players it’s cheaper to fit a tip yourself. It’s fairly easy as the video shows and it’s a good skill to have as it is advisable to change your cue tip every couple of months.

Why do players chalk their cue tips? So the tip doesn’t slip when it hits the ball. It controls the friction between the tip and the ball.

Cue tips get damaged during play. Small pieces of leather fall off. Flat patches appear. The typical dome shape found in most tips wear down and flatten out. This wear and tear is natural and cue tips can be attended to during a game. Chalk allows a rougher surface on the leather of the tip and increases the friction between the tip and the ball. This reduces the chance of a miscue if the tip slips or does not make clean contact with the cue ball. This is especially true when a player is trying to put spin on the cue ball.

In previous times (19th Century / early 20th century) chalk was rather like blackboard chalk – almost raw carbonate of lime however, modern cue chalks do not contain any real chalk.

Fitting a Tip

Fitting a tip to a cue is relatively easy but some simple guidelines should be followed to ensure a satisfactory finish. Choose your tip. Glue it to the end of the ferrule using a good quality gel-like glue (nothing special required here, just get a clear tube of glue from a local hardware store) and apply a small blob the flat end of the tip (or the ferule if you prefer). Don’t use super glue as it sets too quickly and will not allow you to re-position the tip if it is not quite right. A gel like glue takes about 10-15 minutes to set and allows you to adjust the precise position of the tip during the setting process.

You need to make sure that the tip is held in position during the setting process. There are clamps you could use but this is not necessary as you can hold it in place with your thumb or simply stand the cue on its tip in a vertical position and apply gentle pressure for 15 minutes.

Next you need to trim the tip so it is flush with the ferrule. Use a sharp modelling knife to trim away the edges of the tip. Never cut horizontally through the tip as you will weaken the structure of it (especially if it is a layered tip), Cut away from the ferrule until the tip and ferrule edge are flush with each other.

Further trimming and shaping is done with abrasive paper. Create a rounded dome effect. This can be shaped by using a rough or medium grade of sandpaper. Always stroke down from the centre of the tip, never upwards.

How much should the tip stick up? That is up to you and depends on your style of play. All tips wear down eventually but more effective shots are played with shallower tips than deep ones.

Here is a great 3 minute video showing how to fit a new tip;     How to Fit a new Cue Tip

Tip shape and depth is down to personal preference but most players stick to the dome model. The surface of the leather dome should be rough not smooth so that chalk will cling to it easily.

Tip Shapes

There are several types of shape that are popular

Domed

dome cue tip

Simple Dome Cue Tip

 

Very common tip and has a neat large dome on the top of the tip, this is certainly the tip shape that is most widespread.

 

 

 

Mushroom Flat

oversized mushroom tip

 

 

Oversized mushroom shape that some players prefer for control and spin

 

 

Coned Mushroom

coned mushroom cue tip

Coned Mushroom Cue Tip

 

Similar to above but smaller with less overlap; note that edges are not burnished in line with ferrule

 

 

Flat

flat domed cue tip

Flat Dome Tip

 

Smaller, flatter tip but still slightly domed; edges are burnished in line with ferrule

 

 

Burnishing is the term given to trimming the edge of the new tip around its’ outer edge or circumference. The best way to do this is to stick some masking tape around the ferrule so the edge of the tape level with the end of the ferrule where the new tip touches it. Now use some fine grade sandpaper or a tip tool to smooth the edge of the tip so it is in line with ferrule. The masking tape protects the ferrule so you don’t scratch it.

Now you have a good tip that is perfectly shaped you can use it to put spin on the cue ball.

Types of Spin

It is possible to control the cue ball during a shot by putting spin on it to help position it for the next shot. Back spin used to make the cue ball roll back after contact between the cue ball and object ball. Top spin makes the cue ball roll forwards after the shot and side spin makes the cue move left or right. Back spin is the most used to stop the cue ball or make it roll backwards.

Experienced and skilled players may use a combination of spin types to gain a favourable position.

How to impart spin.

Putting spin onto the cue ball is not easy and takes a lot of practice to get it right. When playing a long shot, where there is a large distance between the cue ball and the coloured ball, the cue ball picks up forward motion from the felt on the table therefore the cue ball will naturally roll forward after it strikes the object ball. This is the most common cause of players ‘following the ball in’ to the pocket with the cue ball, especially if the shot is straight and the cue ball doesn’t rebound off the object ball at an angle. Putting back spin onto the cue ball prevents this happening but it is difficult to control, especially on long shots.

Tip Care and Maintenance

Cue tips are critical to accurate shots and a consistent game and should be treated with care and respect. Ongoing maintenance is permitted during a game at all levels. This usually involves maintaining the shape of the tip and ensuring it has a rough surface that accepts and retains chalk. Almost any tools that can be used simply are allowed and many professionals have these as part of their equipment.

Two popular tools are shown here, however most players (including experienced Pros) will always have a piece of emery board or a nail file handy to adjust their tip when required.

Here are some typical cue tips. Notice the layered structure of the leather which usually comes from pig hide.

layered cue tip

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Below is a simple pool cue tool with various parts used for shaping, trimming, roughing and burnishing the leather tip.

Pool Cue Multi tool

Cue Tip Multi Tool

 

 

 

 

This tool is used for roughing up the surface of the tip; it is made of a series of hardened spikes and is very effective.

pool cue tool

cue tip tool

 

 

 

 

 

The tip of your cue is possibly the most important part of the cue so look after it and it will help you make consistently good shots.

Shoot Out

The Clock is Ticking
There’s a new game in town. Snooker Shoot-Out. It’s snooker but not as you know it.

Snooker Shoot-Out is based on snooker but with a few variations. Each game lasts a maximum of ten minutes which is why younger players are raving over it. Traditional snooker was perceived as a slow game for old men by many young people. The game was not only slow paced but lasted too long. Pool was seen as a more attractive option. No longer. Snooker Shoot-Out is a quick fire fast paced game that anyone can play.

There is little doubt that snooker is the most skilful multi-ball game played on a table but younger people prefer a short fast game that pool offers. Snooker shoot-out mixes snooker with some rule changes that produce a quicker sharper game that is proving very popular.
So, what’s different about it?

It’s one frame only. Each game can last a maximum of ten minutes, whoever has the higher score after that time is the winner.

There is a time limit to play your shot. No time to sit down between shots, you need to on your feet all the time. In the first five minutes players have 15 seconds to play a shot. In the second 5 minutes player shave 10 seconds to play a shot. If you fail to play your shot in time you give a 5-point penalty to your opponent, who then carries on from wherever the white ball is.

Each shot must hit a cushion or pot a ball. Failure to do this incurs a 5-point penalty.

The clock is ticking all the time and starts from the second the balls from the previous shot stop rolling.

Fouls produce the usual penalty points but if you pocket the cue ball, the white ball is ball in hand which allows your opponent to place the ball anywhere they wish for their next shot.

No coin toss to decide who plays first. It’s a Lag-Start. Both players place a white ball on the baulk line and hit towards the top cushion with the aim of finishing as close to the baulk cushion as possible but not touching it. Rebounds off the bottom baulk cushion are allowed. Closest to the cushion chooses whether to break off or not.

In tournament events audiences, traditionally silent and respectful during play, are encouraged to shout and cheer (or jeer). In some ways it’s like a Pro–darts contest (without the beer bellies).

Tactical play can happen in the final minute or so if scores are close. You may take slightly longer to play your shot to run down the clock. Safety play is still important but getting points on the board quickly is a priority. Some tournament finals have variations such as best of three or five frames. You could do this too.

Like Chinese 8-Ball this variation on the traditional game of snooker retains all the skills of the old game but makes it more attractive to a wider variety of players. As with Chinese 8-Ball many top professionals have embraced the game which now has several televised tournaments and is proving a popular addition to the game’s appeal.

The World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) have adopted the game which is now an approved Ranking Tournament where players can gain points that influence their world ranking.

Although shoot-out snooker has been around in some form since 1990, the first World Ranking Tournament was held in 2017 in the UK. The event is sponsored by Coral. Winner and current Snooker Shoot-Out World Champion is Anthony McGill. Audiences are rising. Sponsorship and Prize Money are increasing. The future looks bright for Snooker’s latest innovation.

Here’s the Face Book page.   https://www.facebook.com/WorldSnooker1/

The 2018 World Championship is in February. Go have a look. With over 20 former top 50 snooker professionals playing it could be quite an event.

Snooker was once described as ‘chess with balls’. Snooker Shoot-out is speed-chess with balls.

The game has a real buzz. Quick-fire play is the tone. No hanging around. No slow play. Quick thinking, quick movement. It’s almost athletic. It won’t get your pulse racing but it will certainly get your adrenaline going. Try it out.

Tick tock tick tock……….

The clock is ticking. Is yours?

Ban Gaming Consoles from Games Rooms

Ban Gaming and VR from Games Rooms

Many people have said to me over the past few years that they don’t think video and games consoles should be allowed in a games room. A games room should be for ‘real’ physical table games such as pool and table football.

Hmmm. Well, I see their point of view but I don’t agree with it. A games room should be for relaxing in. It’s an escape room. Somewhere you can unwind and lose yourself; somewhere to get away from the stress of your daily routine; somewhere for playing whatever games you like: pool, football, hockey, shuffleboard, darts, cards, pinball, or video games.

Console and PC games add a new dimension to a games room. Don’t hesitate about putting the latest Playstation or X-Box games on a big screen in your game space.

There are thousands of video games available now and what better place to play these than in your own games room. You could customise the video game space so you have a large dedicated screen to view them on.  It’s even possible to get super comfortable custom made seating specially designed for playing video games; we’ll look at those a little later in a new article.

Playstation, X-Box, Nintendo whatever your preference hook it up in the games room and go for it. Some of the latest games are extra awesome when played on a large screen. I played a Star Wars Battlefront game on a 50” TV screen recently. Absolutely brilliant.  Another mate had a VR version so I got to fly an X-Wing fighter for real. (OK …..I crashed it after 10 seconds the first time; VR takes a bit of getting used to).

Retro games are proving popular. Why? Because many people think that a lot of modern games are just too sophisticated, too clever, too difficult to understand and enjoy with their endless levels; because of that, many family members choose not to play them and get excluded from the games room (unintentionally maybe, but it still happens). Families usually have a games room that all members of the family can enjoy at some time. Sophisticated video gaming can turn some people off so they avoid the games room completely. Not good for family harmony. Not good for extending relationships. Not good for anyone.

Retro games are great fun for everyone regardless of age. Who can remember the SNES (apparently Nintendo are re-releasing SNES next year with some extras.  What was your favourite retro game? The original Super Mario is mine. Zelda has been developed and copied in various forms but the original is still the most popular among ‘senior’ players. Who can remember Donkey Kong?

Which original game system did you have? Atari, SNES, Sega, Wii? Do you still use it? Or have you moved on to a more sophisticated set up?

There really isn’t a problem with putting a games consoles in a games room. The only thing you need to remember is this space is for everyone. Don’t hog it.  Pool, football, air hockey, darts and increasingly table tennis seem to be the most popular traditional games for the family games room. Anyone and everyone can play these games, irrespective of age.  Games Rooms are stress busters and relationship builders. Everyone needs this space. Value it and share it.

Enjoy your games room.

Chinese 8 Ball Pool

Chinese 8 Ball Pool

This the ‘New Kid on the Block as far as cue ball games go.  Chinese 8-ball pool has taken the pool world by storm and is fast becoming the most popular variant of the great game of pool.

Chinese 8-ball is basically similar to standard pool but with some rule changes and subtle game-play changes that make it faster and more challenging to play and more exciting to watch. This new game tales some of the best features of pool and snooker and combines them into an innovative game format that makes it a great spectator sport and superb TV viewing.

The game has been around in China for over ten years and has grown rapidly, initially in China but also across Asia.  Europe and the US have now also caught the bug and this fast play pool variant looks here to stay. Multiple sponsored tournaments are already in place with several individual tournaments offering winning prize money of over $300,000.

Chinese 8 Ball Pool Table

A top quality 8 Ball Pool Table from Joy

What’s all the fuss about? What’s so different about Chinese 8-ball pool?

It’s a combination of the three most popular cue ball games – 9-ball and 8-ball pool and snooker.  To be exact it takes some features from those games and combines them into a fast and exciting game that is very challenging to play.

It’s played on a 9ft table for a start. This requires more skill and attracts snooker players who are used to playing on a larger table.  It uses full-size American pool balls so it appeals to American pool players but has smaller snooker style pockets which makes it tough to play.

Some subtle changes to the rules and game play make it great to play and visually exciting to watch. TV audiences in China are massive and it is starting to get very popular elsewhere because it is very watchable.  The game has been promoted by some of the world’s greatest snooker professionals such as six time world champion Stephen Hendry, John Higgins, Ronnie O’Sullivan and current champion Mark Selby.

In the US major 8-ball and 9-ball pool tournament winners are now starting to play and promote the game as tournament prize money continues to grow. Major players such as Shane van Boening, Darren Appleton and Johnny ‘The Scorpion’ Archer have acknowledged the skill level required to play Chinese 8-ball pool.

It has been slow to penetrate in the US but Chinese 8-ball is here to stay and an increasing number of commentators are beginning to say it will eventually dominate the professional game because the skill level is so much higher.

Make no mistake, American Pool is a great game. It’s fun. It’s a sociable game. Anyone can play it. For fun or for money. But………… there is one big problem with American pool……………..it’s too easy. There’s no real challenge to a skilled player.  Trick shots and fancy play are OK up to a point but the pockets are so darned big that even a blind guy could pocket balls. The skill level is actually quite low. The game is over too quickly.

More and more serious cue sport players have realised that a new variant is needed.  Snooker is a far more skilful game but has never really caught on in America and the space required for such a large table reduces its appeal as a game room choice. Chinese 8-ball pool is a viable alternative and is catching on fast.

What are the rules for Chinese 8-ball pool?

The basic rules for the game are pretty much the same as normal 8-Ball Pool, but with some slight modifications.

Rules have been amended to make the game more attractive for audiences and exciting for TV viewers. There is a timed format for gameplay: players can play first to 13 frames wins or, most frames won in a pre-agreed time period, like 1 hour or 140 minutes.

Other rules:

  • The cue ball or the object ball must touch a side cushion after a shot (unless it is potted).
  • You cannot pocket an opponent’s ball unless you have pocketed your own ball first.
  • Pocketing the cue ball is a foul shot, as in all other pool games.
  • A foul shot gives away a free ball where the cue ball can placed anywhere on the table.
  • Pocketing an opponent’s ball results in a loss of turn not an extra shot.

All of these rule changes speed up the game and encourage attacking play which makes Chinese 8-ball pool a great spectator sport. Live games screened in China attract millions of viewers.

The game has even developed its own special cue which is like an American pool cue but has a thicker butt and is more tapered and also has a stronger ferrule to allow heavy hitting of heavier balls. A Japanese style Kamui tip allows backspin and accurate side spin shots to be played.

Pool Table

JOY are the leading maker of Chinese 8 Ball Pool Tables

A Chinese 8-ball table looks and feels like a smaller snooker table. It’s a heavy, solid 9 foot table with a slate base and has the same high quality woollen cloth with a nap allowing greater accuracy with shots.  Cushions have a steel reinforced back with northern rubber to produce consistent bounce with every shot. The leading manufacturer of Chinese 8-ball pool tables is Joy. Visit their Facebook site by clicking here.  https://www.facebook.com/8balljoy/

Look out America. Chinese 8-ball is the new kid on the block and is here to stay for sure.

Pool Billiards Snooker

Pool, Billiards and Snooker

What’s the difference between these three games? Which is the more popular? Which is the most skillful?

In the US, pool and billiards are basically the same thing. Some people prefer to call it billiards, while others call it pool. Either way it’s the same game with some small variations in rules. In the UK,  billiards is a completely different game and has largely fallen out of use because, although it does require a lot of skill,  it is slow, tedious and boring.

However, there are two different versions of pool with massive differences in rules; even table sizes, pocket size, ball size and cue sizes vary considerably . The two games are US or American pool and UK or English pool.  Most bars and arcades in the US play American Pool but English pool is played quite widely in the US and Canada. It’s difficult to say which is better; it comes down to personal choice.  There are some interesting variations on American Pool which can make it a more exciting game  to play.

American Pool:  uses larger tables between 8 feet and 9 feet. Official tournaments are played on a 9 foot table. The balls are larger and heavier; 2 1/4  inch (weight 196 gms) as opposed to the 2 inch balls used in England which only  weighs 118 gms.  All balls are the same size and weight. The pockets are larger on an American Pool table, they are double ball width; corner pockets have angled sides to help the ball fall into the pocket but side pockets have a sharp angled edge which makes it much more difficult to pot a ball from an angle.  The playing surface on American Pool tables is smoother and faster which makes games quicker but players have less control over the balls, especially on slower shots, which are more difficult to control. If you are buying an American Pool table and have enough space we recommend going for the large 9 foot table as it produces a better game.

 

 

English Pool: usually played on tables between 6 feet and 7 feet. Official tournaments must be played on a 7 foot table. Balls are smaller at 2 inches and lighter 118 gms. The cue ball is slightly smaller (17/8 inches) and lighter at 96 gms. Why? Because English Pool is mainly played in pubs on coin operated tables which allow the cue ball to return to the baulk end ball return area separately from the main balls.  Pockets are noticeably smaller but are curved to make pots slightly easier.  The playing surface on an English Pool table is made from woollen cloth which has a nap (like the pile on a house carpet) which makes the ball roll much slower but more accurate. If you want to learn more about the nap and how it affects the way the ball rolls then click here  to read an article about it.

As with the American Pool table always go for the larger table if you have the space.

Any of these tables are good value for money:


Rules: The rules of the two games are similar but not the same. There are many variations that make the two games very different.

English Pool is fairly straightforward and simple game which involves potting either 7 red or yellow balls followed by the black ball to win the frame.

American Pool has many types and variations. There is 8 ball pool which is similar to the English game except that it has spotted or striped balls. A completely different game is 9 ball pool where the balls are numbered and both players are trying to pot the same balls before trying to pocket the final black ball. It’s a completely dissimilar game with different tactics.

Variations: some areas of the US have interesting variations on the basic game which make the game more interesting.

Other things to be aware of:  American Pool is faster. The balls move more quickly across the surface. This generates heat in the ball. When the ball stops this heat is transferred to the cloth, so a well-used cloth on an American Pool table will possibly have hundreds of small ‘ball burn’ marks on the table. The cloth is also thinner and wears more quickly due to the heavier balls. These two factors mean it is often necessary to replace the cloth more often.

Snooker

Snooker is a very popular game that originated in England. Snooker is a professional sport played by hundreds of players from many different countries with top level earnings to be won. It now has worldwide appeal and is played extensively in UK, China, Canada and Europe. There are many international tournaments held across the globe most of which are heavily sponsored and televised. The game is very skilful and makes good TV viewing.

Snooker is played on a large table with a slate base and woollen cloth playing surface. The table is heavy and a full sized table has a playing surface which measures about 12 feet by 6 feet. Although slower and more complex than pool it is an incredibly skilful game that requires years of practice to reach a consistent professional standard. The only similarity with pool is that players try to win by pocketing balls to score points.

Game play and rules of snooker are very different from pool. There are 15 red balls worth one point each and six coloured balls worth 2-7. Players score points by potting a red followed by a colour of their choice; when all the reds have gone the colours have to be pocketed in a specific order.  The maximum break for a player is 147 and there are huge tournament prizes for players achieving this in one visit to the table. The “147 Club” has relatively few members. The large playing area plus smaller pockets and balls, mean the potential for a missed shot is much greater than in pool. Additional points can be gained through fouls (pocketing the white cue ball or the wrong colour and also by ‘snookering’ an opponent to make it more difficult for them to play their next shot.

Everything considered it is without doubt the most skilful of all the ball and cue table games. Nothing else comes close. The major drawback is the space needed to house a snooker table which requires a space 22 feet by 16 feet to allow for cueing room.

snooker table

Billiards

Traditional billiards is also an English game that is played on a full sized snooker table. Only 3 balls are used (white, red and spotted white or yellow) and players try to score points by pocketing the red or other white ball, by going into a pocket off another ball (going ‘in-off’) or hitting both other balls, which is called a ‘cannon’.  Breaks of several hundred are common. The world record break is 3,262 set in 1929.

The game is skillful but incredibly slow and boring and wouldn’t be considered for TV broadcast. It is still played in Australia and New Zealand but has largely died out elsewhere due to the popularity of snooker which is more interesting to play and makes great TV viewing and attracts huge sponsorship.

For Billiards read Pool

The word billiards has become synonymous with pool in most American states and there are several local variations in rules within billiards that make the game slightly different from standard American Pool.

 

Unusual Tables

There are many examples of unusual pool tables out there.

Some are clever. Some are weird. Others look real fun. Many will have you scratching your head, wondering “How do they play on that?” or “Why do they play on that?”

Get your head round these…………………

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Might need a few drinks to survive this one. A pool table shaped like a doughnut.                           With14 balls each to pot this must be a fascinating game. 

 

The Banana Table made by designer Cléon Daniel and carpenter Julien Forder

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ref: ekaandoto.com             Left or Right? No quick games on this oddball table.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

car pool

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brit Drive-In     based on a Mini Cooper car

 

Shelby Drive-In

 

Ice Cool Pool

 

Sponsored round table 

 

Digital glow pool

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Could you seriously play a game of pool on this? Looks like a headache waiting to happen. It’s called Cue Light by Obscura Digital. The Hard Rock Cafe in Vegas has one installed; watch the video here (Ref Trend Hunter & Obscura Digital)

 

FAQs

OK Here are the main questions that people think about when buying a new table.

What’s the best pool table to buy?

Impossible to answer. What’s best for you? How much space do you have? You’ll need extra space around the table to allow for cueing so add another 5 feet minimum to the table dimensions.

Should I buy new or used?

New. You never know how well a used table has been looked after.

They all look good but which one’s best?

Some tables are built to look good but they are poorly designed, badly made from cheap materials. Buy a table from a reputable manufacturer. Avoid Supermarket special deals. Go for substance over style – every time.

Why do prices vary so much?

Because quality varies so much. There are some cheap crappy tables out there. Be careful. Expect to pay top dollar if you want a custom built luxury stylish pool table. $20,000 will not buy you anything particularly special. A reputable manufacturer will have a top of the range table for between $4k and £12k. They will also have good quality sturdy tables for home use for a fraction of that price.

How long will it last?

How long do you need it to last? Some families only need a budget table for the kids that will last a couple of years. Other people want a table to last for years. Golden Rule here is – you get what you pay for. Lower priced tables are low cost for a reason (they use cheaper, lower quality components and they are poorly designed).  However there are some rip-off tables at the higher end of the market that are grossly overpriced. Beware. Ask questions. Look at reviews. There are good value tables in the high, mid and budget sections of the market. Look at our review section. Buy with confidence.

What guarantees do I get?

Difficult to give an answer. Many so called ‘guarantees’ are worthless. Two golden rules here. 1. For extra protection always buy through Amazon. 2. Buy from a reputable manufacturer who has been around for a while. The simple fact is that many sellers do not make the tables they sell and will try to get away with anything they can.

Slate or non-slate?

Slate – if you have the budget. Slate tables are usually better quality, produce better games and hold their value over time. However the quality of non-slate tables has really improved over the past 5 years. Slateron and Accuslate are particularly good.

Will it fit? How much room do I need?

Allow for cueing room. You need a lot of space around the table to allow you to play your shots. Imagine the cue ball tight up against the cushion on all four sides. A standard cue is 53” long. You also need to spread your feet apart to get balance, and you need to move the cue backwards to start your shot. A couple of feet isn’t enough! Let’s assume you will use a 57” cue. FIVE feet minimum is what you need. OK you could use a shorter cue but that’s not the proper way to play the game and it will ruin your shot play. When you play on a different table somewhere else it won’t feel right. Trust me. FIVE feet minimum, seven or eight if you have the space.  Measure from the inside edge of the cushion, not the edge of the table. That’s FIVE feet at both ends and both sides. So, for a 7’ table that means the minimum playing area should be 17’ x 14’.

If you allow any less you will soon get frustrated and you simply won’t play as often as you would like (or you’ll get rid of the table). More space = better games.

Is it true that most tables are made in Asia?

Yes and No. Most companies that sell pool tables and football tables do not make them. The majority of tables in the lower price range are made in the Far East. Even some reputable sellers of table games import and rebrand tables so they have a wider range to sell. There are, however, a number of reputable companies that do manufacture their own tables and sell them in the US.

Who are the best manufacturers?

Brunswick, Olhausen, Diamond, Presidential, Legacy, Gabriels all have a long standing reputation for quality. These are possibly the best and most expensive but there are many others who are worth looking at.

What should I look out for?

Cheap tables sold at supermarkets. Special deals. Look at the table weight – it’s often a good guide to quality. Lighter tables are usually made of cheaper materials and are less sturdy. Read reviews.

What else could I put in my Games Room?

The choice is endless. Make sure those who come to your game space like what’s there. Pool, football and hockey are the 3 most popular but don’t be afraid to introduce something different. Table tennis is great – if you have the space. So is shuffleboard – if you have the money. Two good lower cost games are darts and shove halfpenny. Anyone can play these two games and they are good fun. Hey! How about a pinball machine? A bar. Some comfortable relaxing furniture is a must.

Pool or football? What should I buy for a first table?

It’s up to you. What do your mates like to play? Most people go for pool first, then football, then air hockey. Darts is becoming increasingly popular as an extra game. Video games have also got more popular in the past 3 years with game consoles or a big game screen in front of some comfortable seating.

What’s the Golden Rule when buying any table?

Always buy the largest, best quality table that you can afford that fits into your space.

Table games are great  but don’t put yourself in debt just to buy a table that impresses the neighbours.

Luxury Pool Tables

Luxury Pool Tables

Brunswick top of range pool table

This top of the range Brunswick pool table will set you back $9,000

Who’d like to own a luxury pool table with a stylish modern design that impresses the moment you catch sight of it? Most people for sure. However, the price tag that comes with the most luxurious deluxe tables put them within reach of only the super-rich. Only the very top film stars, pop stars, sporting heroes at the pinnacle of their game plus of course jackpot lottery winners need fill out the enquiry form.

Unusual or unique design and style are the usual hallmarks of a top of the range deluxe pool table. Most are custom made, sometimes from unusual materials such as glass or marble. A high price tag allows designers to unleash their creative best as the desire to own something completely different from anyone else is often the first instruction on their building instructions.

A glance through some of these incredible images reveals designs of an unusual and varied nature with much thought going into the legs that support the playing surface. Traditional solid wood legs at each corner made from oak or cedar or slanting supports that rise gracefully from a central point towards each end of the table or a central stalk-like structure that robustly holds the playing surface in a perfectly horizontal level plane.

Really want to impress your visitors? Have a circular pool table! Or one shaped like a banana. How about one with a hole in the middle to help access those awkward shots – a polo table? Some designers have created a table based on a car design where the seats have been replaced with a pool playing area. (See our Bizzare & Unusual Pool Tables post).

At this level, slate is usually the first choice but where weight is a factor slim line tables may utilise glass, gold, plastic, fibre glass or some other man-made material to strike that unique note.

lightweight luxury pool table

A lightweight powder coated Fusion table for $10k

 

 

These tables are not off the shelf. Each one is custom designed often after hours of discussion with the       potential new owner and many weeks of specialised construction on each table to deliver the desired effect.

 

 

 

 

 

 

There a small number of exclusive specialist table manufacturers. Some of these are established pool and billiard table makers with years of experience. Others are experienced furniture makers with a great reputation who are able to turn their skills and craftsmanship to making a top quality pool table.

There are also a few specialist craftsmen who have the skill, wherewithal and facilities to make custom table to order.

However, beware the high profit margins on these extortionately priced tables have also attracted some chancers with more marketing prowess than craftsmanship. The result is often a very good looking poorly made table that won’t stand up to the rigours of a tough, competitive game of pool being played regularly. The end result is usually frustration, disappointment, a dented bank balance and law suits over refunds. A custom made table usually isn’t wanted by anyone else.

We couldn’t begin to put together a list companies that claim to have exclusive custom made pool table design capabilities but the following list of long standing manufacturers is a good starting point for enquiries about ordering a top end deluxe or customised pool table for your Rec Room: Brunswick, Olhausen, Imperial, Presidential, Shelti, or Empire,

Deluxe luxury pool tables don’t come cheap. They are extortionately expensive. For some of course having an expensive pool table in the lounge or game room is a badge of honour. The most expensive table we have come across so far is $67,000. (Let us know if you have found one higher, please). Tables costing $15,000 to 30,000 are fairly common with many reputable manufacturers with even more tables in the $5,000 to $15,000 range.

modern luxury pool table

A Cosmopolitan Contemporary Pool Table from B A Tables

Profit margins on these tables are massive. If mistakes are made, refunds are rare and keenly fought over because no one wants some-one else’s table. A reasonable point perhaps. Would you?

So who buys these outrageously overpriced tables? People with a sense of style. People wanting to impress someone else.

Customised pool tables are often found in private, exclusive clubs where members pay high membership fees to ensure privacy and exclusivity ………………and the right to play pool on a masterpiece of design and style.

Where can these luxury tables be found? In private clubs, homes of the super-rich, houses and villas of the stars of stage and screen and sporting superstars. Not everyone likes pool course but often a luxury pool table is seen as a must have accessory so a visit to many mansions, palaces or villas, will reveal a table to swoon over. Exclusive clubs and bars have such tables.

Many, of course, are found in the ubiquitous man-cave; be that a sumptuous outhouse in the garden of a large house or the penthouse apartment of a rich singleton who wants to impress his mates.

They look good. They feel good. Their owners are proud of them and are ultra-protective of them. Some are for display only! Yes, really. I know some people who will only allow ‘selected’ friends to play a game pool on their precious jewel and would actually prefer if they declined. What a waste.

Unfortunately a lot of people get ripped off when buying pool tables. It’s an unusual purchase. One that isn’t made very often and, unless you are a professional player or a pool hall manager, it involves making decisions about something you will have very little real world knowledge about. So it is with most people to whom a luxury pool table is petty cash. What they end up getting may look good but often doesn’t produce a good game of pool and, truth be known, probably won’t get used very often.

slim line pool table

A very neat slim line table from the UK maker Michael Allen

Still, let’s not allow that small thought to put us off. Feast your eyes on this range of de-luxe tables (manufacturers are shown with each one if you are tempted.

Such luxury brings it’s own set of problems of course. Warranties and guarantees often turn out to be worthless with many opportunistic sellers of deluxe tables. The files of many top lawyers are full of disputes over quality, delivery, unexpected damage. One particular case comes to mind where the new owner of a glass topped pool table in California for which he paid $73,000 was furious to discover he should have used specially coated balls that were supplied with the table. He didn’t and ruined the table after the first game was played on it with a set of standard pool balls.

Apparently the makers did include a note in the packaging which clearly stated that only the specially supplied balls which allowed a silent roll at a cloth like pace should be used on this ultra modern table. Claim and counter claim took place. This case dates back to 2012. Try as I have I can’t find the outcome. Does anybody know?

Here it is. The especial expensive glass top table in question.

I don’t even like it………….. wouldn’t have paid $100 for it.
I’m pretty sure that my judgement would have been the same as 99.9% of people that read this article).

Oh Well! There you go. More money than sense. A problem in some places!

Home Games Room

A games room is a wonderful method of bringing friends and family together and taking part in an area of ‘light’, friendly competition, depending who the competitors are! Whether you’re stuck inside on a rainy Sunday or a cold winter season’s eve, this is the ideal method for everybody to pass the time and unwind. It’s a fantastic alternative to having your brain decomposed by unlimited, meaningless television.

Be motivated by the popular escape video games and get some ‘away space’ by producing a devoted area in your house for gameplay, relaxation and gold old fashioned fun. Sport and game-inspired ideas are most popular, with all the inspiring visual components of play crossed with useful and helpful furnishings, lighting and devices.

Games spaces are increasingly becoming an important part of the modern house. Be it ping-pong, billiards, pool tables or darts, house members and guests will love being involved. If you have kids, gaming will become an essential element; they may choose an Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, a PlayStation 3 or a VR system; you can practically include an game corner to any space in your house with these easy concepts.

Be innovative with the design to make the best of the environment. Great design concepts can motivate any ages to accept the brand-new space, enabling them to integrate that spirited aura into their house. If you’re a video game lover or are just trying to find summertime vacation concepts for the kids, then be influenced by these amazing games room concepts to consist of in your space embellishing plan.

You might change a barely utilized dining space into a games room with a pool table taking centre phase. A pendant light hanging over the table will supply the ideal job lighting.

Recreate the Olympics by developing your own garden Olympic Games. You can go full-scale with a competitive video game of archery or keep it light-hearted with a conventional egg and spoon race. Bunting that showcases each sporting country is a great touch.

When the sun comes out it’s time for an area of alfresco amusing. Another fantastic garden games room concept is to spread carpets and cushions on the yard to develop a prolonged and more casual zone for visitors to unwind, specifically if they are playing garden parlor game. Croquet is the natural option as everybody can participate in, however crosses and noughts, skittles and Jenga will likewise work well.

 

If you’re a video game lover or are just looking for summertime vacation concepts for the kids, then be influenced by these amazing games room concepts to consist of in your space embellishing plan.

You might change a barely utilized dining space into a games room with a pool table taking centre stage. Practically any space can be altered into a games room, (OK possibly not the kitchen area).

Odd shaped room? If you have an L-shaped space or unused nook, change the corner into a video games location marking the area with sports art and adhering to one game, table football perhaps, as the main focus. 

A large garden space or outhouse is the ideal location for a games room. Set up a table tennis table and delight in playing all through the year– best for damp summer nights!

Get everybody in on the job. Get input and concepts from all the household. By including others you are more more likely to get them to buy into the concept.

 

 

Keep it very simple. If you’re fortunate adequate to have an extra bedroom that isn’t really needed for kids, visitors or office area, turn it into a games room for your preferred video game. Nearly any space can be become a games room, (OK perhaps not the cooking area).

There’s no reason the living-room cannot be your video gaming space. A perfect space established for players ought to stabilize convenience with a selection of innovations to make playing a casual video game or longer sessions similarly pleasing. Place a couple of large cushions on the floor for simple convenience and comfort, essential while taking pleasure in an extreme video gaming session with the PlayStation 3 console.

As with table football, ping pong and pool tables, video games spaces are terrific locations for showing collections such as preferred art, certificates and household photos. Use imaginative decor. Give your space lots of character by producing an image wall of the important things you like, be it household photos, landscapes or perhaps your preferred sporting stars.

If you have area, devote one space to kids’s toys– an ideal location to keep a range of video games simultaneously and fantastic for shutting the door on mess at the end of the day. As a pool table, rocking horse, train tracks and board video games, a bureau is a great area for saving books and for kids to do research. A natural-fibre carpet provides a contemporary nation feel and bare floorboards below are terrific for pull-along toys.

A games room is most likely to draw in great deals of attention, particularly with family and visitors investing lots of time in there. Make it additionally comfortable with plenty of easygoing seating, ideal for lazing while others play late into the night.