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10 curiosities about billiard

The world of billiards is filled with curious unknowns, myths and difficult questions. Why sometimes the white ball is white and in other occasions it suffers chickenpox? Why are snooker tables so big? Why did the Americans list the balls, and the French and the English did not? In today's article I will try to respond to 10 of these billiards curiosities, although I already advance that some are a true mystery..


1- Why do the English call "English" for purposes?

What for us is a shot with "effect" (hit the white on one side), for the Anglo-Saxon world is to use "side spin" or "english." The first thing makes sense because it is the literal translation, but the second is not so much. It is named after Jack Carr, an English teacher, who discovered in the mid-nineteenth century that by putting chalk you could shoot on a side of the white without making a fuss and was the first to use effects.

2- Does the white measure and weigh the same as the other balls?

In the American pool of competition, yes. It measures and weighs the same. But it is normal that in bars or recreation rooms the white is different from the rest (usually larger), to separate it from other balls when it falls into a pocket. In English billiards or blackball, the white one is smaller than the yellow ones and the red ones.

3 - What are the red points of white?

There are many types of white: the classic, which has a red circle, the magnetized ... And the most famous of all is the one suffering from chickenpox. Why is this white with 6 red dots? The main reason is to allow the spectator (and the players) to better see the rotation and effects of the white. There are those who say that Aramith created it so that on television it differs from the yellow ball, but it is not proven.

4- Why are snooker tables so big?

Good question for which there is no clear answer. If you know, please let us know in the comments. My friend Guillermo Garcia points out an interesting idea: it measures 12 feet to differentiate it from the other modalities of billiards and to establish it as the queen measure.

5- Do you need two shots?

In bar billiards it is common to play with this two-shot rule, but it is not used in the American pool regulation. In blackball there are both shots and it is very likely that has influenced billiards recreational level.

6- What are the billiard balls made of?

Some time ago, they were made of ivory. Now, of phenolic resin. Here you have all the details of the anatomy of a billiard ball.

7- Why the ball four is sometimes purple and some others pink?

Most billiard ball games are the same color, but the Aramith Pro Cup TV set has some differences over the rest: the tones are lighter and the balls 4 and 12 are pink instead of purple. It is so that in televised matches people do not confuse them with the 2/10 (blue) or the black.

8- Why the Americans put numbers to the balls and the rest did not?

Look, American pool is the only one that is played with numbered balls. In snooker, blackball or carom there are only colors. Why? Again, there is no clear answer. The Americans wanted to count from 1 to 15 although in reality it was enough to differentiate them as smooth and striped. 

9- Why are Snooker cloths still green and pool cloths are blue?

As a matter of tradition (the snooker respects it more and therefore keeps the color green on the cloth) and also to avoid staining chalk on the rug. In American pool the most frequent is to use blue chalk, so the cloths are blue. In snooker, chalk is green and the cloths are green.

10- How do snooker players calculate shots per band?

The pool players and the carom players we have the aid of the diamonds, but the snooker players go blind. How do they calculate the shots per cushion and predict the rebound of the white? Pure intuition? It has much merit. I do not know the answer so anyone who knows will get us out of doubts in the comments.

Can you come up with more billiard curiosities? There are so many!