Pocket billiards, a term more commonly used in North America, and more commonly referred to as just "pool", is a cue sport, played with a cue stick, a set of object balls, and a cue ball. The objective of the sport is the same as any cue sport, to simply strike the object balls into the pockets in a specific order. The sport is very popular in the United States and the UK.
There are many pool games - popular versions include Three-Ball, Eight-Ball and Nine-Ball, as well as Ten-Ball, Straight Pool, One-Pocket and Bank Pool. Only one type of game, the nine-ball, is played at a professional level with several tournaments.
The variations of the sport each differs in the total number of balls used, the color of balls used, the order in which the balls have to be pocketed, and the scoring system. There could easily be over a hundred variations of pocket billiards, and most of them are used for recreational play only.
All variations of pocket billiards is played in a table that has six pockets. Some common aspects of all variations are, balls have to be pocket in a pre-defined order, and pocketing a cue ball or pocketing a ball out of order results in a disqualification.
- Eight-Ball — Played with 15 balls, seven colored, seven striped and a black eight-ball. The objective is to pocket all balls of one type and the black eight-ball. It is the most popular type of pool played at a recreational level.
- Nine-ball — the game is played with nine balls, numbered 1 through 9. A player who legally pockets the nine-ball is the winner. Most professional tournaments are conducted for the nine-ball format of pool, of which the two major tournaments are, the U.S. Open Nine-ball Championship and the Nine-ball World Championship.
- Kelly Pool — type of pocket billiard game played on a standard pool table, with fifteen numbered markers which player select from.
- Straight pool — a type of pocket billiards game in which a player is required to call which object ball they are going to pocket and to which pocket.
- One-Pocket — a version of Pocket Billiards where the objective is to pocket all the object balls into a single pocket.
- Snooker — played on a table with six pockets. It is played using a cue and 22 snooker balls: one white cue ball, 15 red balls and six balls of different colors. Points are awarded for using the cue ball to pot the red and colored balls.
- Artistic Pool — a trick shot competition on a pocket billiards table in which players score points for performing 56 preset shots of varying difficulty.
- See Cue Sports (general)