How To Play Pool: A Step By Step Guide


Setting out on the excursion to figure out how to play pool is similarly basically as exciting as the actual game. Assuming that you love the game, you realize that pool isn’t just about hitting balls into pockets — a completely exhilarating test request for both system and expertise. Before you jump into the universe of billiards with a signal stick, we should investigate a few critical tips and rules for various pool varieties. Prepare for a thrilling ride.

Understanding Sizes and Features

Before you learn how to play pool, let’s talk about something crucial—pool table sizes in billiards. We’re going to investigate the marvellous universe of pool tables and the different kinds they come in. These tables can be basically as little as 6 feet or as extensive as 12 feet. We should dive into the subtleties.

Pay attention to the more common sizes like the 7-foot “bar box” tables you often find in pool halls and the 8-foot tables in homes.

Understanding these size differences is super important when you’re looking for the perfect pool table for your space and preferences. Keep in mind, regardless of the size; all pool tables have a similar fundamental plan with four corner pockets and two side pockets.

Realizing this will assist you with settling on shrewd decisions while picking the best pool table for your necessities, whether you’re playing for no particular reason or becoming more focused on it.

Pool Equipments

Get to know the different gear you need for a game of pool. When you’re playing pool, it’s important to understand why each piece of equipment matters.

Here’s a breakdown of the main stuff:

Pool Balls

  • You’ll be using a set of sixteen colourful billiard balls.
  • Seven are solid colours, numbered one through seven.
  • Another set of seven is striped, numbered nine through fifteen.
  • Plus, there’s a solid black 8-ball and a solid white cue ball.

Pool Cue Sticks

  • Cue sticks come in different lengths, but 58 inches is the standard.
  • Custom cue sticks might be a bit longer or shorter by an inch or two.
  • Shorter sticks, like the 52-inch and 48-inch ones, come in handy when space is tight.

Pool Chalk

A game-changer, pool chalk is a small square. You use it to add grip to the cue stick’s tip when you’re aiming for that white cue ball.

Pool Racks

  • Triangular racks are your go-to for setting up the balls at the start.
  • If you’re getting into a 9-ball pool, diamond-shaped racks are what you’ll use.

Mechanical Pool Bridge

  • Think of this as a specialized cue stick with something extra on the end.
  • It’s your secret weapon for those tricky, longer shots or situations where reaching the table or rail is a challenge.
  • Understanding why each piece is important helps you get a grip on the game and makes playing pool a lot more fun.

How To Hold Cue Stick

Getting really good at playing pool involves learning how to hold and move a cue stick properly. The way you position your hands is super important because it affects how accurate and in control your shots are.

Let’s break down some different ways to position your hands:

Open Bridge

  • Put your hand on the pool table with your fingers spread out.
  • Slide the cue stick between your thumb and index finger, and adjust your hand arch for height control.

Closed Bridge

  • Make a loose circle with your thumb and index finger.
  • Slide the cue stick through the circle for stability during shots, which is great because it’s reliable.

Rail Bridge

  • If you’re shooting near the rails, put your hand on the rail or against its side.
  • Slide the cue stick through the “V” between your thumb and index finger, wrapping the index finger for stability.

Elevated Bridge

  • Lift your palm off the table and put your pinky and index fingers on it.
  • Adjust your thumb height and slide the cue stick into the “V” for a higher bridge in specific shots.

Mechanical Bridge

  • Use the mechanical bridge for shots that need a longer reach.
  • Put it near the cue ball to keep it stable.
  • Slide your cue stick into the grooves on the bridge for precise alignment.

When you’re figuring out hand positions or trying the mechanical bridge, go for what feels comfy for you. Trying out these techniques will help you find a natural and effective way to play. Having a consistent and comfortable hand placement makes your shots more accurate and makes playing pool more fun and successful.

How To Make Your Shots Perfect in Pool

If you want to level up your game and make those colourful balls drop with style, it’s time to learn the art of taking shots. Follow these easy steps to boost your accuracy and control on the pool table:

Get Your Hand or Bridge Ready: Place your hand or the mechanical bridge on the table to create a solid base for your shot.

Bend Down and Aim: Once your hand or bridge is in position, crouch down a bit to see the cue ball and the colourful ball you’re targeting.

Line Up Your Shot: Focus on aiming the cue ball perfectly at your target. Take your time to make sure it’s a straight and accurate shot.

Take the Shot: With your aim set, smoothly push the cue stick forward to hit the cue ball.

Control the Power for Accuracy: Adjust how hard you hit the cue ball to control its speed and force. Use gentler strokes when you need precision, especially in tight spaces.

Give these steps a shot during practice, and you’ll notice an improvement in your ability to control your shots. Whether you’re aiming for precision or tackling tricky situations on the pool table, experimenting with different ways of hitting the ball is key to finding your groove and levelling up your overall game.

How To Play Pool: A Step By Step Video Guide

How To Play Pool: Pool Variations & Rules

8-Ball Pool Rules

The 8-ball pool is a widely played variation featuring 15 object balls divided into solids and stripes. The black 8-ball is crucial, and players aim to pot all balls of their designated group (1-7 for solids or 9-15 for stripes) before legally potting the 8-ball for victory.

Key Rules for 8-Ball Pool


  • Arrange the object balls in a triangular rack at the table’s lower end.
  • Place the black 8-ball in the centre of the third row.
  • Position the white cue ball behind the service line.


  • Strike the balls to prevent the cue ball from pocketing and ensure four balls hit the cushions.
  • A potted 8-ball during the break necessitates a re-rack.

Game Progression

  • Players continue shooting as long as they pot balls from their designated group.
  • Foul or miss results in the opponent’s turn.

Eight-Ball Shot

  • Players must pot their designated balls before attempting the 8-ball.
  • Specify the pocket for the 8-ball; failure leads to the opponent’s turn.
  • Placing the 8-ball in an unspecified pocket results in a loss.

9-Ball Pool Rules

The 9-ball pool follows a rotation style with ten numbered balls (1-9) and a white cue ball. The player playing the 9-ball during the game wins.

Key Rules for 9-Ball Pool:


  • Arrange balls in a diamond shape, placing the 9-ball in the centre.
  • Position the cue ball behind the head string.


  • Start with the 1-ball, pocket a ball, or hit four numbered balls to the rail.
  • Fouls during the break result in penalties.

Game Progression

  • The breaker continues until a miss, foul, or legally potting the 9-ball.

10-Ball Pool Rules

The 10-ball pool involves calling shots before each attempt. Players must specify the ball and pocket, targeting the lowest-numbered ball first.

Key Rules for 10-Ball Pool:


  • Set up a triangle rack with the 1-ball at the front and the 10-ball in the middle.

Shooting Sequence

  • Target the lowest-numbered ball first.
  • Only shots where the called ball goes into the specified pocket count.

Calling Shots

  • Every shot must be called, with one ball per shot.
  • 10-Ball Pocketed Early
  • If the 10-ball is pocketed early, it is respotted before the next shot.

Winning Shot

  • The winner pots the 10-ball into the named pocket.

15-Ball Pool Rules

15-ball pool, an American pocket billiards game, involves 15 numbered object balls and one white cue ball. Players earn points by potting balls, and violations result in point deductions.

Key Rules for 15-Ball Pool:


  • Arrange balls in a triangular shape with the 15-ball on the footpot.
  • Violations result in three-point deductions.

Bumper Pool Rules

The bumper pool is played on a table with fixed cushioned barriers. Players shoot simultaneously to sink balls, aiming to be the first to pot all five.

Cutthroat Pool Rules

Cutthroat pool involves three or more players aiming to be the last person with their balls on the table. Players eliminate opponents by pocketing their balls.

Straight Pool Rules

The straight pool features a white cue ball and 15 numbered balls. Players earn points by potting balls without fouls, aiming to reach a set point target.

One Pocket Rules

One pocket is played with each player or team aiming to score into one designated pocket. The winner is the first to successfully pocket eight balls into their pocket.

Bank Pool Rules

Bank pool exclusively involves bank shots, where players take turns shooting object balls into any pocket. Players must call the ball, plan the cushion’s path, and pocket before each shot. The first to reach the necessary winning count wins.

How do beginners get better at pool?

  • Perfect Your Grip: Many beginners tend to grip their pool cue like a baseball bat, so make sure to refine your grip for better control.
  • Dive into Billiard Practice Drills: Boost your skills by incorporating various billiard practice drills into your practice sessions.
  • Fine-Tune Your Bridge Techniques: Work on creating a stable bridge by practising and refining your bridge techniques.
  • Discover Your Aiming Lines: Enhance your accuracy by identifying and concentrating on your aiming lines during shots.
  • Develop and Follow a Shot Routine: Establish a consistent shot routine to improve your overall performance on the pool table.
  • Turn Your Arm into a Pendulum: Aim for smoother arm movements by envisioning your arm as a pendulum during your shots.
  • Master Proper Posture: Learn to maintain the correct posture while playing pool to optimize your playing experience.


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In summary, delving into the world of learning how to play pool is as thrilling as the game itself. Mastering important techniques like holding the cue stick and exploring popular variations like 8-ball and 9-ball adds excitement and strategy to your gameplay. Whether you’re just starting out or a seasoned player, the diverse world of the pool offers endless opportunities for enjoyment and improvement. So, grab your cue stick, practice those shots, and dive into the exciting realm of pool, where each shot is a chance to boost your skills and truly understand how to play pool with finesse.


Q: What are the main rules of the pool?

A: Using a pool cue, the player strikes a cue ball, initiating contact with the object balls. The goal is to adeptly pocket these object balls into the six designated pockets positioned along the cushion boundaries. Each game has its own set of rules, specifying which balls are considered legal targets and outlining the conditions required for winning a match.

Q: Is pool an easy game?

A: It’s a bit of a mixed bag. While placing balls in the pockets is relatively straightforward, achieving true mastery in controlling the white ball, consistently securing wins, and performing effectively under pressure can become quite intricate. What distinguishes billiards from other sports is the distinct challenge it offers.

Q: Can I hit my opponent’s ball first in the pool?

A: In accordance with the established rules, it is crucial to understand that you are not allowed to strike your opponent’s object balls initially when taking a shot. For instance, if you are playing with solid-coloured balls and your opponent has striped ones, your cue ball must first make contact with a solid ball before hitting any striped ball.

Q: What is the two-shot rule in the pool?

A: In case of a foul, the player on the opposing side is granted two consecutive shots, and these shots maintain their sequence (even if a ball is pocketed on the first shot, the player still retains two shots). When a player has two shots, they have the flexibility to lift the white ball and place it anywhere behind the line.