Pool Etiquette 101 – How To Be Courteous

Imagine, if you will, you are in a crowded bar or pool hall. You have had a perfect run on the table and you are about to go for the 8 ball off bank into the side pocket (or whatever shot suits you), you bend over, carefully lining up and relining up your shot. All of a sudden, a face looks down over the table at you and says “You should be able to do this with your eyes closed, don’t choke now!” and they walk off laughing. You try to reline up your shot again, you pull back your cue only to have someone walks up behind you and purposely bump your cue…

If you are anything like me, after the first act of rudeness, I would’ve stood up, walked away from the table, and sat down. I love shooting pool and have no tolerance of others rudeness when playing. Most pool table etiquette is based off of common courtesy and common sense.

Let’s take a look at a basic list of pool etiquette.

  • Don’t put your drinks on the table. With everyone moving around the table, other drinkers, pool cues being used, and random bad shots where a ball may fly off a table can knock a drink either onto a table or onto the floor. Getting the pool cloth wet not only can mess up a game, but ruin the cloth itself. If it gets knocked on the floor, it stops the game being played so it can be cleaned up, not to mention makes a mess that someone can get hurt on.
  • Never stand in someones line of sight when they are shooting. Distractions in a bar can be bad enough without someone purposely walking around in front of a pocket you are trying to line up a shot with. It considered polite to actually not be in the shooters line of site, but if you can’t help but be in that general area, then stand as still as possible until they have made their shot.
  • Don’t yell. There is nothing more annoying than someone at the next table yelling repeatedly every time they make a ball. While pool is only a game to some, there are some of us there to practice or play seriously.
  • If you are with a group of people, and they are standing around watching the game, and you notice someone at another table trying to shoot, be polite and call their attention to it so they can move. There should not be more than the number of people playing anywhere near the table.
  • If you jump your ball off a table, and it goes under another table, wait until the other table is done with their shot before retrieving it.
  • When racking the balls, don’t just drop the balls onto the table. Not only is it disruptive but can damage the table as well.
  • When you are finished playing, be polite and put your stuff away. Just propping up a house cue somewhere can cause it to be knocked over. These cues are used by many different people and when they are damaged or the tip is broken off, it makes them hard to use.
  • If you and another person are shooting at the same time and bump each other, make an apology and offer them to go ahead. Let them make their shot and then make yours. If you are polite to them, if it happens again, you may find the politeness returned to you.
  • If you accidentally bump someone who is down to shoot, be courteous, apologize, and move so they can make their shot.
  • Keep your attention on the game. Nothing is more aggravating than have to chase down an opponent when it’s their turn to shoot.
  • It’s just good form to congratulate your opponent on a well-played game, whether you win or lose. It costs nothing to do, shows good sportsmanship, and will earn you respect.
  • Avoid putting your quarters down on a table where someone is shooting. This can break their concentration and will not likely be appreciated.
  • Don’t lean on or put the cues over your shoulders and wrap your arms over it. This is how cues get warped.
  • Avoid coaching other players on how to play. We all have our own style and find it rude for you to tell us how to play if we haven’t asked you.
  • If we are calling pockets, and you hit a slop shot, don’t try to act like you meant to do it. I know that you banking the cue ball off four rails and into any random pocket was not what you planned. If it was, you would have called it that way. If it’s slop, admit it and save us both the embarrassing comments that may follow.

So there we have a list of common Pool Etiquette. Depending on where you play, different bars have different rules, as does Billiards rules. And I am sure there are many more rules out there, these are just the ones that I find tend to annoy me the most. As I stated before, most of these are common sense and common courtesy.

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