Who hasn’t seen the star basketball player massaging the basketball before a game? Who hasn’t seen the batter in the on-deck circle swinging the bats over and over? These players are not doing this to attract the cameras or entertain the fans, they are doing it to get comfortable with the equipment of their game and billiards is no different. If you are a self-proclaimed billiards expert or simply someone trying to take up the “noble” game of billiards for the first time, you need to know the equipment.
Regulation tournament sized billiards tables come up about four and one half feet off of the ground and are somewhere around twice that long. The playing surface for the regulation billiards table usually measures around 50” by 100”. These numbers are important to remember for those who like to practice their billiards techniques at home or at the local community center. Some places that offer billiards tables for purchase or offer you to come in and rent time to play the game do offer billiards games, but may not be regulation size.
It is important in the game of billiards to know the dimensions of the pockets you are aiming for. The angles of the corner pockets are roughly 142?, give or take a couple, and the angle for the side pockets are roughly 103?, give or take a couple. Off the top of your head these numbers may be completely meaningless, but billiards has as much to do with geometry as any game in the world.
The use of regulation billiards equipment is in the hands of the user when it comes to the cue, which should have a 14mm wide tip, 25oz weight, and 40” length. The billiards ball should be around 5.5 to 6 ounces in weight and 2 ¼” in diameter. The playing surface of the billiards table should be a flat, slightly raised (between .20 and .40 inches), and cushioned in a way to provide some English for the ball when it is hit just right.
Billiards is a game like many others in that it can be played by the casual observer and still is enjoyable, but it is vital to any player looking to achieve something to know the equipment. A billiards player with knowledge of how the game should be set up and how it should be played will surpass all others who play the game. This will happen, not because of the raw talent or god-given ability of the player, but because they trained with regulation equipment.