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

Nearly table-length distance between the cue ball and target object ball, or near cue and object balls and target pocket, i.e. a potentially difficult shot ("you sure left me a lot of green on that one").
The cloth covering the table.
Also massé shot. A steep curve or complete reversal of cue ball direction without the necessity of any rail or object ball being struck, due to extreme spin imparted to the cue ball by a steeply elevated cue. For Example: shooting with extreme english by holding the cue at a position of 30-90 degrees while applying left or right spin.
One-on-one game play.
Any game which uses a rack composed of less than 15 balls.
Chiefly British: The rail at the Top of the table. Compare foot rail; contrast Bottom rail.
This is when you strike a cue ball off center to gain control on the movement on the cue ball.
Also Gentleman's call. An informal approach to the "call-everything" variation of call-shot, common in bar pool. Obvious shots, such as a straight-on or near-straight shot for which the shooter is clearly aiming and which could not be mistaken for another shot, need not be called. Bank shots, kicks, caroms and combinations are usually less obvious and generally must be called, though this may depend upon the mutual skill level and shot selection perception of the players. An opponent has the right to ask what the shooter's intention is, if this is unclear.
A two-piece cue constructed to resemble a house cue, with a near-invisible wood-to-wood joint. The subterfuge often enables a hustler to temporarily fool unsuspecting fish into thinking that he or she is an unskilled banger with no regard for finesse or equipment quality. Many league players also use cheap but solid sneaky petes as their break cues.
See overcut.
A foul where the rules are blatantly, intentionally violated, with a stiffer penalty (e.g., loss of game) than normal.
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.
This is the playing surface for billiards games. Consisting of 6 pockets, cushions on the side, and a felt layer covering the hard table portion, the length is usually twice as long as it is wide, but varies depending on the game at hand.
Describing a ball that is safe because it is in close proximity to one or more other balls, and would need to be developed before it becomes pottable.
When two objects balls are lined up so that you aim to pocket the nearest object ball, the second object ball will pocket. "That was an easy combination shot, the six ball was wired to the four ball". Also wired combination/combo, wired kiss.
Either of the two shorter rails of a billiards or pocket billiards table.
A type of nurse shot used in English billiards in which two coloured balls are positioned on either side of the mouth of a snooker table pocket but not touching and, thus placed, can be successively contacted and scored off over and over by the cue ball without moving them.
"Pocket billiards," or a game in which balls are shot into pockets.
A natural is an easy shot requiring no side spin. A shot is said to be natural if it does not require adjustments, such as a cut angle, side spin, or unusual force. A natural bank shot, for example, is one in which simply shooting straight into the object ball at medium speed and with no spin will send the object ball directly into the target pocket on the other side of the table.
Same as duck. Derives from an easily shot ball "hanging" in the pocket.
Also highs, high balls, high ones. In eight-ball and related games, to be shooting the striped suit (group) of balls (9 through 15); "you're high balls" or "I've got the highs" ("you're high" is rare, because of the "intoxication" ambiguity). Compare stripes, yellows, big ones, overs; contrast low.
This is a slang term created by Freddy Bentivegna to refer to a cluster of balls on your side of the table that do not lend to easy pocketing in a game of one pocket.
The area on the table behind the head string.
The origin of the term has been the subject of some speculation but the best explanation known is that in the 1800s, many homes did not have room for both a billiard table and a dining room table. The solution was a billiards table that had a cover converting it into a dining table. Kept in the dining room, play on such a table was often restricted by the size of the room, so it would be placed so that the head rail would face the connected kitchen door, thus affording a player room for the backswing without hitting a wall. A player was therefore either half or sometimes fully (literally) "in the kitchen" when breaking the balls.
To bungle a shot in a manner that leaves the table in a fortuitous position for the opponent. Contrast sell the farm.
Chiefly American: The short rail at the foot of the table. Frequently used imprecisely, to mean foot cushion. Compare top rail; contrast head rail.