Definition of balk

An area defined on a billiard table, in games such as pool, snooker, English billiards and bagatelle, by a single balkline (drawn or imaginary) that runs across the table near the head (bottom) end; exactly where depends upon table type and size. This balk is where the cue ball is placed in lagging for lead, for making the opening break shot, and sometimes for other purposes, depending upon the game.

24 Random Essential Billiards Terms

The first shot in a game - aimed at a set of racked balls.
To execute the first shot in a new game.
In snooker this term can be use to indicate a series of successive shots completed by a single player.
A stroking technique in which a player releases his gripping hand briefly and re-grasps the cue farther back on the butt just before hitting the cue ball.
To "give someone weight" is to give them a handicap so the game is more even in skill level. If one player is significantly better than the other in a game, then you can add some weight, more or less balls for someone, to even the difficulty load between each player.
Principally British: In snooker, if a player wins a match without the need for the final session to be played (for example, if a player wins a best-of-25-frames match split into three sessions - two sessions of eight frames and one of nine - by a margin of say, 13 frames to 3), then they are said to have won the match "with a session to spare".
Also straight eight-ball. Same as bar pool. Not to be confused with the games of straight pool or straight rail.
Side spin on the cue ball that causes it to unnaturally roll off a cushion (contacted at an angle) against rather than with the ball's momentum and direction of travel. If angling into a cushion that is on the right, then reverse english would be right english, and vice versa. The angle of deflection will be steeper (narrower) than if no english were applied. The opposite of running english, which has effects other than simply the opposites of those of reverse english.
The table reserved for games played for money or the best table in the house. This table is always of better quality and regularly maintained. Money tables are most commonly reserved for big action.
In snooker and other British usages, a break of 50-99 points (100 points or more being called a century), which involves potting at least 12 consecutive balls (i.e. the last 3 reds with at least 2 blacks and a pink, followed by all the colours).
Chiefly American, and largely obsolete: Same as referee.
This term refers to a cue stick that is bent or warped, so that the straightness, or lack thereof, of the cue offers less than ideal play. This can occur from storing the cue in the wrong atmosphere, i.e. too warm or humid, or from the quality of wood used during construction. Some cues are coated with fiberglass, carbon fiber or graphite in order to avoid warping.

1- Short for "pool shark", poolshark (US); sharp, "pool sharp" (British)

2- Verb: To perform some act or make some utterance with the intent to distract, irritate or intimidate the opponent so that they do not perform well, miss a shot, etc. Most league and tournament rules forbid blatant sharking, as a form of unsportsmanlike conduct, but it is very common in bar pool.
Noun: Another term for hustler.
Noun: A very good player. This usage is common among non-players who often intend it as a compliment and are not aware of its derogatory senses .

A thin sheet of rigid material in the size and shape of a physical ball rack (e.g. a diamond for nine-ball), with holes drilled though it, which is used to make permanent divots in the cloth of the table, one at a time for each ball in the racking pattern, by placing a ball in one of the holes in the carefully placed template and tapping it sharply from above to create the cloth indentation. The holes are spaced slightly closer than the regulation ball width of 21/2 inch (57.15 mm) apart, so that when the balls settle partially into their divots, the outer sides of these indentations create ball-on-ball pressure, pushing the balls together tightly. The purpose of the template is to do away with using a physical rack, with racking instead being performed simply by placing the balls into position, and the divots aligning them into the tightest possible formation automatically. This prevents accidental loose racks, and also thwarts the possibility of cheating by carefully manipulating the ball positions while racking. The European Pocket Billiard Federation (EPBF, Europe's WPA affiliate organization) has adopted this racking technique for its professional Euro-Tour event series.
This term refers to a foul in snooker golf.
Chiefly American: The half of the table in which the object balls are racked (in games in which racked balls are used). This usage is conceptually opposite that in British English, where this end of the table is called the top. Contrast head.
This describes a shot in snooker where the cue contacts more than one object ball.
A particular shot where the object ball hits or grazes another object ball on the way to its pocket or toward hitting yet another object ball.
This describes a shot where you bank the object ball off of a rail and then sink it in a corner pocket.
This is the ball that sits in the front, or apex, position in the rack.
Named after Chicagoan J. E. Parker, it is a 3½ × 7 inch box drawn on a balkline table from the termination of a balkline with the cushion, thus defining a restricted space in which only a set number of points may be scored before one ball must be driven from the area. Now supplanted by anchor spaces, it was developed to curtail the effectiveness of the anchor nurse, which in turn had been invented to exploit a loophole in balkline rules: so long as both object balls straddled a balkline, there was no restriction on counts, as each ball lay in a separate balk space.
Also striped ones, striped balls. The ball suit (group) of a fifteen ball set that are numbered 9 through 15 and have a wide colored bar around the middle. Compare bigs, highs, yellows, overs; contrast solids.
Also lows, low, low ones. In eight-ball, to be shooting the solid suit (group) of balls (1 through 7); "you're low, remember", "you're low balls" or "I've got the lows." Compare solids, reds, little, spots, dots, unders; contrast high.
This is a style of playing a pool game with a partner playing on your team. You can either take turns or play in a tag team style. This works well when there are a lot of people around that want to play.
A form of team play in which two players compete against another team of two players in any given frame or match. In a doubles game, the first player from the breaking team is the only one who shoots during the opening inning, with control of the table passing to a member of the opposing team at the end of that inning, then upon the end of the opponent's inning to the doubles partner of the original player, and next to the second opponent, play proceeding in this doubly alternating manner until concluded. Contrast Scotch doubles.
To disguise the level of one's ability to play in various ways such as using a lemonade stroke; intentionally missing shots; making an uneven game appear "close"; purposefully losing early, inconsequential games. Sandbagging is a form of hustling, and in handicapped leagues, considered a form of cheating. See also dump and on the lemonade.
Random method for pairing of opponents when setting up a bracket system for a tournament.