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Billiards is an age-old game and to some, a serious sport. While you're idea of fun might involve a casual game of snooker or eight ball, you should also possess a general knowledge of the grand old game of billiards.

The rules of billiards are quite simple, and not too unlike the barroom sport you're more inclined to play.

* In billiards, all of the balls within the racking triangle must be touching. If you take the break shot, strike the cue ball with your cue stick to initiate play of the game. Anything other than a direct strike of the cue ball can result in your disqualification.

* In regulation billiards, it is essential to call every shot. If you are playing under these rules, you must call the shot out loud before the stroke of the cue stick, indicating the ball you are shooting for and the pocket or combination you are attempting to hit. If you do not pocket your shot, your turn comes to an end. Any extra balls that are pocketed however, are credited to you.

* A billiards ball is only considered pocketed when it falls into the pocket and stays there. This includes balls that may fall through the pocket onto the floor. If the billiards ball bounces out of the pocket and back onto the table, it is not considered pocketed and the ball is still in play.

* Each of your shots must be made with both feet set firmly on the ground. Any billiards shot that you make with one foot raised off the ground, even slightly, is cause for disqualification.

* As the shooter, you can also be disqualified from the billiards game if you make a shot while one or more balls are still in motion. Billiards players must wait for all of the balls to come to a complete stop before taking the next shot.

* At any time, if the cue ball is pocketed on a shot, that player's turn is over.

* If a billiards ball jumps off of the playing surface as a result of a shot, that shot is considered foul. The ball can jump, but not leave the playing surface (rail or floor) without penalty. If your ball lands on the floor or rail, it is considered foul and must be replaced after all other billiards balls from the shot have stopped moving.

You never know when a new opponent might challenge you to a game of billiards. If you know the rules you'll be ready to join in the fun. Besides, having an understanding of proper billiards might just help you to become a better pool or snooker player.

Submitted by:

Jennifer Brown

Jennifer Brown writes for several online magazines, on sports and recreation topics.


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