Cue sports have historically been known as billiards (though in some countries billiards refers to the specific game of English Billiards). It is a general term use for a wide variety of sports played with a cue stick to hit or strike a billiard ball moving them around a billiard table. The sport is believed to have originated from outdoor stick and ball lawn games.
The cue stick (also known as cue, pool cue, billiards cue, and snooker cue) is mostly made of wood and usually 57 inches (1.5 m) long and about 16-20 ounces (450-600 g) in weight. The billiard balls come in various forms depending on the specific kind of cue sports that will be played. They differ in color, type, number, pattern, diameter, hardness, resilience, and friction coefficient.
The billiard table is a bounded table that has a cloth-covered flat surface and rubber cushions. With this structure, the billiard balls move around with much-minimized loss of kinetic energy. For a specific cue sport like pool, there are 6 pockets, 1 on each corner of the table and the other 2 on the sides. using the cue stick, this is where you should move the billiard balls to.
There are two main varieties of cue sport games: carom and pocket. Among the pocket cue sports, the main subdivisions are Pool and Snooker. There are also hybrid games combining aspects of both pocket and carom billiards, such as American four-ball billiards, cowboy pool and bottle pool.
The main Carom Billiards games are straight rail, Balkline and three cushion billiards, which are played on a pocketless table with three balls; two cue balls and one object ball. Players shoot a cue ball so that it makes contact with the opponent's cue ball as well as the object ball. Others carom games include four-ball and five-pins.
There is a large variety of pocket cue sport games, the most popular being the numerous Pool Games (Pocket Billiards) and its popular variant Snooker. Also popular, especially in Commonwealth countries, is English Billiards, which has similarities to Carom Billiards. Russian Pyramid and its variants are popular in the former Eastern bloc.
Some Carom Games
- Balkline — a Carom Billiards discipline. A point is scored each time a player's cue ball makes contact with both object balls on a single stroke. It is played on a pocketless table that is divided by balklines on the cloth marking playing regions. Its precursor was a game called Straight Rail.
- Cushion Caroms — a cue sport and Carom Billiards discipline, played on a pocketless table with two white balls and a red ball. The aim is to carom off of both object balls with at least one rail being struck before the hit on the second object ball.
- Five-Pin Billiards — a Carom Billiards discipline popular in Italy and Argentina, in which points are agined by using one's cue ball to cause the opponent's cue ball to knock over pins.
- Four-Ball — a Carom Billiards discipline, played on a pocketless table with four balls (2 red, 2 white), where a point is scored when a player caroms on any two other balls, and two points are scored when the player caroms on each of the three other balls. A variant played in Asia is called Yotsudama.
- Three-Cushion Billiards — a very challenging cue sport and Carom Billiards discipline, where the aim is to carom the cue ball off both object balls and contact the rail cushions at least three times before the last object ball. Also called three-cushion carom.
- Kaisa — a cue sport (type carom billiards) mainly played in Finland. (also known as Karoliina)
- Yotsudama — a variation of Four-Ball carom billiards played in East Asia.
- Artistic Billiards — a carom billiards discipline in which players score points for performing 76 preset shots of varying difficulty. It is sometimes called fantasy billiards.
Some Pocket Cue Sports
- 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.
- Eight-Ball — Eight-ball is one of the most popular variants of pool, using 15 colored balls numbered from 1 to 15.
- 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.
- Speed Pool — a Pocket Billiards game where the balls must be pocketed in as little time as possible.
- One-Pocket — a version of Pocket Billiards where the objective is to pocket all the object balls into a single pocket.
- Nine-Ball — a version of Pocket Billiards 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.
- Bank pool — a version of Pocket Billiards
- Russian Pyramid — a cue sport played in countries of the former Soviet Union (also known simply as Pyramid(s), Russian billiards or Russian pool.
- Artistic Pool — a trick shot competition on a pocket billiards table in which players score points for performing 56 preset shots of varying difficulty (probably not a sport).
Other Cue Sports
- English Billiards — sometimes just called Billiards, requires two cue balls and a red object ball. The game features both cannons (caroms) and the pocketing of balls as objects of play, scoring points for each of these.
- Novuss — a national sport in Latvia, with similarities to carrom and pocket billiards. Played on a 1-meter square wooden board with pockets in each corner. A small cue stick is used to strike a puck to hit small discs into the pockets.
- See also Footpool — a novelty version of billiards using soccer balls.
- Complete list of sports
- The Encyclopedia of Sports