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MsK
10-17-2008, 02:02 AM
Unfortunately for this particular scene in my story, I haven't spent any time playing pool nor hanging out in pool halls, so any help would be appreciated.
My character has a pool table in his home and I'm looking for casual terminology that would apply to what he is doing.
First, he grabs his lucky stick ( I know they are called cue sticks, right?), racks the balls (Is there a different way of saying that?), then he breaks the rack (Sounds strange to me???).
Since he is by himself, he shoots (???) the balls one at a time (I'm thinking in numerical order) saving the eight ball for last. (Would that make sense? If not, any suggestions how a person might shoot pool on his own?)
It's his last day in this home and he's in a melancholy and reflective mood as he sinks (???) each ball.
I've googled and wikipedia'd, but haven't come up with lingo I feel sounds natural and casual.
Thanks in advance for any help you can provide.

jennifer75
10-17-2008, 02:14 AM
Rack'em
Break'em
Jump balls (thats when your ball flies off the table from your overzealous shot)

Not numerical order...you are assigned which ever you sink on your break, solids or stripes. You then have to sink the remainder of those balls. 8 ball is last. Typically you can choose which hole you want to sink the 8 ball, some rules have it that the 8 ball has to get sinked into the hole that your last ball (solid or stripe) went into.

And don't ever drive your stick into the fabric table top. That's a no-no.

You've got to call the hole before shooting the 8.

People tend to make the rules up when it comes to the 8 ball.

In pool halls, most groups play in pairs/teams. 2 on 2.

And ladies in short skirts playing pool aren't sexy, they're trashy. Ha!

That's all I got.
;)

jennifer75
10-17-2008, 02:15 AM
Also, if you don't want to go to an actual pool hall, check out yahoo pool and hop in a room and ask questions. I'm sure somebody will help you out.

TheIT
10-17-2008, 02:26 AM
Some games require the balls to be sunk in numerical order (nine-ball).

The basic game is stripes & solids which is what jennifer75 described. Lots of variations. If the character is just sinking balls for fun, he might choose numerical order as a challenge. By choosing a pattern, it forces the player not to always take the easy shots.

If he's melancholy and it's an old pool table, he might notice how the felt is worn in some places. The surface of the table and the cushioned bumpers are covered in felt which is usually green. When getting ready to shoot, the player "chalks the cue" which means covering the tip of the cue with chalk so that it won't slip when he hits the cue ball. Chalk is usually blue and is a small cube about the size of a large dice which is paper coated except for one side with an circular impression.

MsK
10-17-2008, 02:35 AM
Also, if you don't want to go to an actual pool hall, check out yahoo pool and hop in a room and ask questions. I'm sure somebody will help you out.

Thanks jen- I owe you a bee-yah. ;) Funny, I came across all of these online pool halls when I was googling.


Some games require the balls to be sunk in numerical order (nine-ball).

The basic game is stripes & solids which is what jennifer75 described. Lots of variations. If the character is just sinking balls for fun, he might choose numerical order as a challenge. By choosing a pattern, it forces the player not to always take the easy shots.

If he's melancholy and it's an old pool table, he might notice how the felt is worn in some places. The surface of the table and the cushioned bumpers are covered in felt which is usually green. When getting ready to shoot, the player "chalks the cue" which means covering the tip of the cue with chalk so that it won't slip when he hits the cue ball. Chalk is usually blue and is a small cube about the size of a large dice which is paper coated except for one side with an circular impression.

Thanks IT. Those are some great suggestions. He's walking away from a life that included lots of time spent at that pool table and heading in a different direction, so noticing the worn felt and chalking his cue in between shots would be a great activity as he reflects.

TheIT
10-17-2008, 02:37 AM
Another thing - if you have cable, some of the sports stations broadcast pool tournaments. Might be helpful to see the professionals play. For movies, try The Hustler or The Color of Money.

MagicMan
10-17-2008, 02:40 AM
I'm an old pool pro. First, there are different games. Billiards, snooker, spots and stripes, 8 ball, and others.

Billiards is very demanding, involves skill beyond most casual players, with careen and cushions and no pockets.

Snooker is extremely popular, 15 reds with 6 colors. A red must be sunk (dropped in a pocket), after which the player may shoot any of the colors for added points. Player with the most points wins. This can be played solo for practice quite easily. Red=1, yellow=2, green=3, brown=4, blue=5, pink=6, black=7.
Top of the table has green, brown and yellow, middle is where the blue is spotted, the pink is spotted in front of the rack, the black is near the bottom, behind the rack. A miss is penalized by -4 or if the miss is on, or hits one of the higher colored balls, it is a negative of that balls value.

Spots and strips use pool balls numbered 1 to 15 with the black ball #8 being the last ball sunk. If sunk by mistake, it ends the game with the shooter losing. First ball dropped identifies the type Spot or Stripe the player must clear (none left on the table) before the player can shoot the eight ball for the win. A miss when shooting the eight ball results in a loss. People will attempt to create a hook or snooker, where the eight ball is obstructed from the white ball/cue ball by another ball(s).

Pool is 9 balls racked with the 1 at the top and 9 in the middle of a diamond rack. The object is to sink the balls in numerical order, or sink the 9 ball after sinking the numerical ball you are currently pursuing.

The cue is the stick. Many are two pieces, twisted together by a metal screw in the middle. Good ques are made of Ash, which holds straight and tends to warp less than other woods. The cue is chalked (blue powder) on the tip (Plastic holder for a felt glue on tip. Some are soft, some are hard.) The smaller the tip the more stuff, English, spin can be put on the ball.

When the cue ball is struck below center it causes it to spin backward, which causes it to stop or move backward after hitting a ball straight on. This is called draw.
When the cue ball is struck above center, it cause the cue ball to roll forward after striking the object straight on. The is called follow or top spin, topper.
Right and left strikes do not have common terms.

Lots more,
Smiles
Bob

Read the posts that went up while I was composing.

Chalking is an art. Some move the cube back and forth, others spin the cube on the tip, some just drag it the same direction every pass. A serious player will stand and observe the table, playing out the future shots, as many as 6 shots in the future, in their mind. Deciding if it is better to hook the opponent, give them a bad position, or go for it and try to pocket as many balls as possible for the win.

Strength of the stroke when shooting the ball determines reactions. I use to hit the ball so hard, the object ball would go in the pocket so fast, and with so much spin, that when it hit the bottom of the pocket, it would follow the curve and jump two/three feet in the air and end up back on the table. Other times, I would hit lightly for position and the object ball would hang on the edge of the pocket and not drop in.

The top of the cue is placed in a bridge made by the hand on the table. The thumb is pointed upward, with the four fingers spread on the table for stability. The upward angle of the thumb creates a v for the cue to rest in. The player leans forward until the fore arm is at a ninety degree angle to the floor, and the upper arm is parallel to the floor. The fore arm then pivots back and forth for the stroke.

Position is the common term for placing the correct spin on the cue ball to cause the cue ball to come to rest in a favorable position to shoot and sink the next ball after the object is pocketed.

Cushions are also called rails.

A ball tapping another is called a kiss.

dpaterso
10-17-2008, 02:58 AM
There's some good "how to play pool" videos on YouTube, e.g.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLtBopWm4DY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E4kSn6knAZE

The second one has a whole bunch of similar videos in its "related videos" list. (The first is better, but for some reason lists a bunch of political debates in its related list.)

-Derek

Del
10-17-2008, 05:12 AM
Unfortunately for this particular scene in my story, I haven't spent any time playing pool nor hanging out in pool halls, so any help would be appreciated.
My character has a pool table in his home and I'm looking for casual terminology that would apply to what he is doing.

We all know the 8ball...cause we've been behind it. :)

You heard RACK which is what you do to put the balls in a triangle. The wooden or plastic triangle is the rack, a noun, but it is also used as a verb, "rack 'em!" But there is a rack on the wall as well that holds the assortment of cues.

Did anyone mention the cue Ball? That's the white one with no number. You hit it with the tip of your stick.

Cue - The stick. Some are cheap and solid and tend to curve. Some cost more than a new car, screw together in the middle, have replacable weights on the handle, and are kept in a case. Many good ones are custom balanced. Most are weighted and usually marked. You will always see someone choosing his cue by picking it up, staring down its body to see if it is straight, shaking it for rattles (some times the weights come lose and it changes the energy) and checking its weight. He will repeat this until he finds one he likes. You never use someones private cue - "stole my daddy's cue to make a living out of playing pool." Rod Stewart. :) - you are safer using his wife. The right cue is important. The very next thing he does after chosing is chalks it. He might chalk it after every shot. I chalk every now and then.

Tip - the cork button on the end of the cue. They fall off a lot. Some glue on. On an expensive cue it will likely screw on.

You chalk the cue to keep it from slipping when it strikes the cue ball. When that happens it is a MISS-CUE. The chalk is the little square blue thing that is always setting on the rail...in the way.

The rail is actually the long rubber bumpers that run around the inside of the table. Some players insist on playing a certain number of rails...meaning you have to bank (bounce) every shot.

The slate is the hard surface that the balls roll on. Sometimes it really is slate. :) But a lot of times it is just thick particle board.

The cloth is called the green. Some call it the green even when it is red.

There are 6 pockets. Now sometimes a pocket drains into a channel and collects the balls all together in a bin or hopper. That is a POOL TABLE. Sometimes the pockets are just drops into a net. Balls don't drain and have to be pulled from the pockets. That is a BILLIARDS Table. Usually you find pool tables in bars where you pay by the game...3-5 quarters in the silver slide. In pool halls you ordinarily pay by the hour so they can often be billiard tables.

There are REGULATION tables that are at specific dimensions. I do not know what the dimensions are. There are BAR ROOM tables that are small because bars don't want to give up their seating space for a big table. And home tables usually fall somewhere in between. The size of the table isn't so important but most are built on a scale...if the length is such-a-such then the width HAS to be so-n-so.

Most tables aren't level. :) Some even have warped slate...well not usually the slate ones...that's why they use slate. :) You often find a cheap table with a matchbook or coaster under one leg to try and level it.

If you want some terminology:

A duck - as in sitting duck - is any ball that is so close to the pocket you cannot miss. You usually leave these hoping your opponent will sink it accidentally. Shooting your ducks is like LOW. You don't want to let anyone think you passed up a skill shot to take a duck. It's embarrassing.

Spot the cue ball - when you SCRATCH, meaning accidentally sink the cue ball, you're opponent will SPOT the cue ball, meaning put it on the dot that it was first shot from on the break, never on the rack side...but actually he only has to put it somewhere behind the lateral line that is marked by the spot and the dots on the rails. He CANNOT shoot any ball that is also behind the line unless he BANKS the cue ball off of a rail that isn't behind the line. Essentially if you can get the ball into the legal play area and bounce it back you are legal. You cannot play scratch on pay tables. They eat the balls. Bar rules can be different because of this.

Jump ball - I love these. I do them all the time. If a ball you cannot hit is in front of one you want to hit you might JUMP the illegal ball by striking the cue ball near the bottom. That makes it hop over the ball you cannot touch. Huh? Oh...the cue ball has to hit YOUR ball before it hits any of your opponent's or the eight ball or the shot is counted as a miss. So you can jump anything in your way if you know how...but a lot of places with throw your butt out for it...because it tends to break lamps and windows. :)

English - spinning the cue ball by hitting it off center will cause it to curve or roll in an arc. Through this the ball seems to do impossible things, like go around obstacle balls like it is being driven. It is safer than a jump ball but harder to hit your mark.

Revers English or Back Spin - striking the ball with an elevated downward plunge, you can spin it backward as it rolls forward. This is good if you have a likely scratch shot and need to keep the cue ball on the table. I used to be good enough at it to make the cue ball roll half way across the empty table and come back too me.

Bank shot - banking any legal ball off of a rail.

Ball rolled or moved - There is a rule that if the cue ball rolls or moves at all, like from a miss-cue, then your shot is done. Some give it an inch. Missing the ball completely just makes you look stupid, but you get to shoot again. :)

Combo or combination shot - making any series of balls with one shot

Bridge - this is a shooting aid. It looks like brass knuckles on a stick. Usually shorter than a cue. It extends your reach. Rules say at least one foot on the floor always so you can't sit on the side and lean unless you are only six and playing your uncle. Hold the stick with one hand and place the tip end of the cue across the bridge next to the cue ball. Hit ball with cue.

Eight in the corner - eight in the side - self explanatory. Children play call the eight and SLOP the other balls in, meaning almost anything goes. CALL YOUR POCKET means call EVERY ball. Five in the side, two in the corner...6 in the corner and eight in the side...it depends on the table rules established or assumed at the start of the game...I call only the first ball of a combo. And, i.e. if someone says eight in the corner, it is bad etiquette to challenge someones call i.e. "Are you sure you meant THAT corner?" Just as if you intend to bank the ball you should declare it, "eight in the corner off the rail."

If you are playing on a pay table (coin operated) it is the custom for challengers to place their quarters on the rail. I've seen quarters lining a table almost completely. The winner of the last game has table rights. He gets to break. The challenger racks. Turns go in that fashion. The table might pass or the same player might keep it by winning all the games.

Some play "eight on the break" wins. Most play "scratch on the break" loses.

Characteristics:

There are always cigarette burns on the rails. People put their cigarettes down to shoot. There seems to always be ash on the table too. People rub it in so there are gray spots in the green.

A well used table nearly always has rips in the green. It will be an inch to two inches. Foot long rips are for situation comedies. :)

The coin door can stick. It is a slide and after so much beer has been spilled down the side of the table they tend to not come back out. The balls do not drop until it is retracted.

Small tables almost always have a wall in the way. There is a shorty cue that might be somewhere in the corner.

If I were depressed or melancholy as is your character, I'd just shoot like I was playing...best opportunity. If I wanted to practice I'd shoot in numerical order to force myself to be creative in my shots.

Hope this gives you what you need. If you go to pool halls...check their reputation before you go in, just so you know you'll come home. ;)

If you need to check syntax of any of your lines...well, that's what we are here fore.

MelancholyMan
10-17-2008, 05:24 AM
What an opportunity. Pools halls are a blast. No better place to people watch.

JB

chevbrock
10-17-2008, 06:02 AM
If you walk into a pub or pool hall (at least in this country) and there is someone playing on the table, you may notice a few coins in a row on the side of the table. If you want to play, you go and put a coin in the row, and you play the winner of the previous game.

Some people like to play for beer, and if you're good at pool, you can have a very cheap night out this way!

RJK
10-17-2008, 05:33 PM
Unless you are 'shooting' to be a professional, playing pool by yourself is about as exciting as watching paint dry. It is practice, no different than shooting baskets by yourself.

Your character could be formalizing it with a game of progressive (sinking each ball in numerical order), or he could just call the pocket. It would still be just for practice and out of bordom.

I don't know your story line, but it would be a much more interesting scene if there were a second player.

C.bronco
10-17-2008, 05:54 PM
Unfortunately for this particular scene in my story, I haven't spent any time playing pool nor hanging out in pool halls, so any help would be appreciated.
My character has a pool table in his home and I'm looking for casual terminology that would apply to what he is doing.
First, he grabs his lucky stick ( I know they are called cue sticks, right?), racks the balls (Is there a different way of saying that?), then he breaks the rack (Sounds strange to me???).
Since he is by himself, he shoots (???) the balls one at a time (I'm thinking in numerical order) saving the eight ball for last. (Would that make sense? If not, any suggestions how a person might shoot pool on his own?)
It's his last day in this home and he's in a melancholy and reflective mood as he sinks (???) each ball.
I've googled and wikipedia'd, but haven't come up with lingo I feel sounds natural and casual.
Thanks in advance for any help you can provide.
Straight pool. Go watch Paul Newman in The Hustler. Peaple don't really play straight pool anymore- it's all 9 ball and 8 ball these days.

In 8 ball, each player has either stripes or solids. When a player sinks all of his balls, he shoots the eight ball last to win. If you're playing 8 ball, and sink the 8 ball before your balls are gone, then you lose.
When playing another person, you have to call ball and pocket (which ball you are hitting into which pocket) before you take your shot, e.g. "Three ball in the side."

If you are going to bank a ball, it means you are hitting it into the bank before it travels to its pocket.

A scratch is when you sink the cue ball. A table scratch is when you don't hit the intended ball.

Usually if you scratch, your opponent gets "ball in hand," which means he can place to cue ball anywhere behind the headstring to take his shot.

In a tournament, the two players have to "lag for the break," to determine which person gets to break. This is done by placing two balls behind the headstring. At the same time, both players bank their balls all the way down the table. The one who gets his ball closest to the headstring bank gets to break.

In a pool hall, it's usually "loser racks, winner breaks."

You should watch The Hustler and The Color of Money.

PM me if you have a specific question. I spent all of my free time in college at the pool tables with my friends.

C.bronco
10-17-2008, 05:57 PM
P.S. Delarege has the low down.

Regulation size pool tables are 9 feet long. Most people have 8 foot tables in their homes because they fit better, but an avid pool player would get a regulation sized table.

Juping the ball is called a "masse shot." People often do this improperly by hitting the bottom of the cue ball. The correct way to do it is by hitting the top of the cue ball. Mases are done also to put a ridiculous amount of spin on a ball so that it will actually curve around another bal.

You can't combo by hitting your opponent's ball first: that's also a scratch.

MsK
10-17-2008, 06:34 PM
Wow, thanks for all of the great information everyone- I like hearing the terminology from those of you in the know.
As far as how this fits into the story, my character is a man who has played professional baseball for several years and due to an injury, he won't be returning to the game. It's taken him some time to come to terms with this and at this part of the story, he is taking one last walk down memory lane in his tricked out bachelor pad as he moves forward into a more private and quiet future for himself.
He's shooting pool, but his mind is in a different place, filled with memories, regrets, etc...
The stop at the pool table is just one of the stops he makes on his memory walk before he closes the door to that home and to that part of his life forever.

Eg:
As the orange ball sank into the corner pocket, Rob moved into position for his next shot, the red ball, and began chalking his cue.
How could he have been so stupid? He had everything. Everything. Now what?
Rob placed the chalk on the ledge of the table and bent forward to take his next shot- red ball in the middle pocket- which would be an easy shot if the blue ball wasn't directly in his line of fire.
Obstacles- always obstacles. Small ones; no problem. This one, he didn't know. He just didn't know.
The red ball landed in the pocket with that familiar 'thump' he had heard a million times.
Etc...

This is pretty much the way the scene will play out, although with greater detail. He will make a move or two on the pool table and then his reflections will be shown, another move, more reflecting...

RJK
10-17-2008, 06:43 PM
Don't say "orange ball" and "Red ball" name them by their numbers 1 through 15.

MsK
10-17-2008, 06:46 PM
Don't say "orange ball" and "Red ball" name them by their numbers 1 through 15.

Thanks. And yes, most definitely I will be naming numbers; I know the color naming doesn't sound as natural or realistic to the way a pool player would be thinking. Thats why I'm lucky to have you guys. :)

I don't even know what color goes with what number, but will look it up on the internet. I'm guessing there is a standard format for that (All red balls are 6, etc...) And I don't know that red is 6, just using as an example until I actually look this info up. ;)
Would it sound right if I said, "Red 6 ball in the middle pocket?"
Hmm... probably not- 'red striped 6 ball in the middle pocket' just wouldn't sound right.

ETA: I'm thinking that MagicMan may have given me the correct numbers which means red would be the 1 ball.

MsK
10-17-2008, 07:00 PM
If I were depressed or melancholy as is your character, I'd just shoot like I was playing...best opportunity. If I wanted to practice I'd shoot in numerical order to force myself to be creative in my shots.



This is what he will be doing.

C.bronco
10-17-2008, 07:12 PM
Yellow 1
Blue 2
Red 3
Purple 4
Orange 5
Green 6
Dark red 7
Black 8
Yellow stripe 9
Blue stripe 10
Red stripe 11
Purple stripe 12
Orange stripe 13
Green stripe 14
Dark Red stripe 15

There are only corner pockets and side pockets. If you call a ball by color and not number, the pool hall folks will laugh at you.
"Three ball in the side." "Fourteen in the corner." "Eight ball cross-side."

MsK
10-17-2008, 07:32 PM
There are only corner pockets and side pockets. If you call a ball by color and not number, the pool hall folks will laugh at you.
"Three ball in the side." "Fourteen in the corner." "Eight ball cross-side."

So what I wrote earlier- 'Red ball in the middle pocket' would probably be enought to get me thrown out of the pool hall. :roll:

MsK
10-17-2008, 07:39 PM
Reworded with the better lingo I have gathered from this thread.



Eg:
As the five ball sank into the corner pocket, Rob moved into position for his next shot and began spinning the cube of chalk around the tip of his cue.
How could he have been so stupid? He had everything. Everything. Now what?
Rob placed the chalk on the rail of the table and bent forward to take his next shot- three ball in the side pocket- which would be an easy shot if the two ball wasn't directly in his line of fire.
Obstacles- always obstacles. Small ones; no problem. This one, he didn't know. He just didn't know.
The three ball landed in the pocket with that familiar 'thump' he had heard a million times.
Etc...

melaniehoo
10-17-2008, 07:46 PM
Reworded with the better lingo I have gathered from this thread.

I think this sounds accurate, but I'd go one step further and drop the "ball" (no pun intended) after you say it the first time. Once you say "the five ball", I'd continue by saying "the two", "the three", etc. I grew up playing pool and consider myself a serious player (ALWAYS call shots) and I just say "three in the corner" and lift the stick a little to indicate which one.

jennifer75
10-17-2008, 07:50 PM
Thanks jen- I owe you a bee-yah. ;) Funny, I came across all of these online pool halls when I was googling.



Yahoo Games has a Pool game that is real fun. I love it, and before AW I spent hours and hours each day playing. I learned how to play pool that way. Really. Once I stepped into an actual pool hall, and lined my cue stick up with my ball, I knew how to aim. Call me crazy, but I swear, virtual pool taught me the game. Not the "rules" of course, but the skill for the most part.

I even play in the Intermediate rooms, no more Beginner for me, baby!

jennifer75
10-17-2008, 07:52 PM
Another thing - if you have cable, some of the sports stations broadcast pool tournaments. Might be helpful to see the professionals play. For movies, try The Hustler or The Color of Money.

Ooooh goooooooood points!

Oberon
10-18-2008, 01:39 AM
I think it might be better to say, "After sinking the five in the corner pocket, Rob moved to line up his next shot, idly rubbing the well-used chalk onto his cue tip." He would think only "the rail," not the rail of the table.

Good luck.

MsK
10-18-2008, 04:18 AM
So far, my character has had a duck shot, made a jump shot, banked a shot just for the fun of it. He chalks up his cue, lays the chalk on the rail, notices an area where the felt is more worn...
Thanks guys. I may be back with more questions, but this sure helps.