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A Guide to Billiard Etiquette

Lately, I’ve been seeing more and more pool etiquette infractions being committed around league play so it got me thinking - what gives? Most violators don’t know they’re breaching pools’ code of conduct as they have never been taught the do’s and don’ts. Hopefully, this article should clear up some of the confusion and give our new and old players some perspective.

  • Shaking hands - the most known and expected custom. Continuing this ritual before and after your match is a common way to exhibit good sportsmanship regardless of the outcome of the match or your feelings towards your opponent.

  • When you are in the line of sight of a player that is in a shooting position, try to remain still and motionless. Your movements and actions can be distracting so exercise awareness when at the table.

  • When you are the non-shooting player or in close proximity of a competitive match, please give the shooter plenty of space. Crowding around the table waiting eagerly for your turn can be seen as unsportsmanlike. Instead, find a seat or a place to stand that is out of the way until it’s your turn at the table.

  • When you are in close proximity of a competitive match, having quiet conversations out of the shooting players’ hearing range is recommended. Loud conversations during a game can be disruptive or distracting to the shooting player and can cause them to miss.

  • Be aware of your surroundings. Walking backwards or taking extra time admiring or critiquing your shot can disrupt the games around you. If you are taking extra time, make sure to check your surroundings for players waiting for you to take your shot.

  • If you are unaware of what your opponent is calling or you feel you may need a referee, ask your opponents what their intentions are before they get into the shooting position. Interrupting when they’re about to shoot can be seen as a sharking or hustling technique and is frowned upon.

  • Celebrating is good… most of the time. When your opponent misses, it’s okay to get excited but keep your celebrations internal as some players may find it offensive. 

  • Conceding your game or match. If a player starts to unscrew their cue or starts walking towards the table to start a new game, it is an automatic loss. Generally speaking, it’s bad etiquette to concede any game before all the balls are pocketed so the safe bet is to finish every game no matter how easy the game winning shot(s) is.

  • Take your time… But not that much! Being late for your matches or consistently taking too much time on your shots can be seen as unsportsmanlike. Try to be on time for league and if you know your game is coming up, delay on that cigarette break. Additionally, if you have the slightest inclination that you might be a slower player, ask your teammates what they think and/or get them to time you on your shots. If you’re averaging over 45 seconds per shot or more, you are most likely a slow player.

By adhering to these customs and rituals, you help maintain the standards we try to uphold in all our divisions!


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