Definition of head rail

Chiefly American: The short rail at the head of the table. Traditionally this is the rail on which the table manufacturer's logo appears. Compare bottom rail, baulk rail; contrast foot rail.

24 Random Essential Billiards Terms

In eight-ball and related games, describes the situation in which neither player has yet claimed a suit (group) of balls. Often shortened to simply open: "Is it still an open table?" "Yes, it's open."
The pocket chosen to house the selected ball in your called shot.
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 rare and extremely difficult trick jump shot that turns into a massé upon landing. Requires very precise application of spin in addition to the precise application of ball pressure to effectuate the jump. Turn-of-the-20th-century World Balkline Champion Jacob Schaefer Sr. was known to daringly perform jump massés in competition.
This is a blemish added to the table in order to help execute a shot; these marks are not allowed and result in a foul.
This is a shot on the cue ball that will push through to a frozen ball on the cue ball. If the contact is made on the object ball while the cue stick is still contacting, essentially pushing the second ball, then it is usually considered a foul.
This is a toned down masse shot. The cue is elevated a little and will curve a little in the direction the spin is applied. This is used to sneak around difficult shots.
This refers to the cluster of balls remaining in a similar position to where they were within the break
The sides of a table's frame upon which the elastic cushions are mounted. May also be used interchangeably with cushion.
To create contact with the cue ball or an object ball.
In one pocket pool this means that you change your play based on where the count is during the game. If you are ahead you might choose more conservative shots, and if you are behind you could choose more aggressive shots.
The profile of the shaft of the cue as it as it increases in diameter from the tip to the joint. A "fast" or "slow" taper refers to how quickly the diameter increases. A "pro" taper describes a shaft that tapers rapidly from the joint size to the tip size so as to provide a long, untapered stroking area.
Four-ball is a carom billiards game. The game is played on a pocketless table with four balls, usually one light red, one dark red, and two whites (or just two reds and two whites). Each player is assigned one of the white balls as his own cue ball. A point is scored when a shooter caroms on any two other balls. Two points are scored when the player caroms on each of the three other balls.
The 5 out (meaning the player getting the handicap can win by making the 5, 6, 7, 8 or 9 balls).
In snooker, a shot where a player fouls by missing the ball on altogether. The miss rule allows for his opponent to have the player play exactly the same shot again, or at least as accurately as the referee is able to reproduce the ball positions. A miss usually occurs when a player makes an unsuccessful attempt at escaping from a snooker. It is a controversial rule aimed at formally discouraging deliberate fouls. In professional snooker, a referee will almost always call a miss on any foul where the player misses the ball on altogether, regardless of how close the player comes to hitting it, however no miss can be called when either of the players requires snookers to win the frame. If a player is called for a miss three times in a single visit while not snookered, he forfeits the frame; to avoid this, players almost always play an easy hit on their third attempt, even if it is likely to leave a chance for the opponent.
The way in which a player holds the butt end of the cue stick.
The wrap of the cuestick where the hand is placed, also known as the "grip area."
British term referring to the base or metaphorical "feet" of a ball that rattles in the jaws of a pocket before eventually dropping. Usually said of an object ball for which the intention was to pot it.
The ball required to guarantee victory in a match. Sometimes used figuratively to mean the last difficult ball required (chiefly British and usually used in multi-frame matches, particularly snooker).
Used in snooker in reference to the position of the cue ball. It is above the object ball if it is off-straight on the baulk cushion side of the imaginary line for a straight pot (e.g. "he'll want to finish above the blue in order to go into the pink and reds"). It is also common to use the term high instead.
Extreme application of draw. This when the draw back of the cue ball is your first priority, and you apply extra draw to the hit of the cue ball.
A phrase used in snooker to describe the scenario whereby there are not enough available points on the table to level the scores for the frame, therefore the trailing player needs his/her opponent to foul in order to be able to make up the deficit. The name comes from the fact that this would normally have to be achieved by placing the leading player in foul-prone situations such as difficult snookers.
A shot in which the cue ball is potted after caroming off another ball. In snooker and most pool games doing this would be a fault (foul), but the move will score points in many games in which hazards (as such) apply, such as English billiards, or in the final or game point in Cowboy pool. The term derives from this hazard costing the player points in early forms of billiards.
The ball meant to be struck and sunk in your called shot.
Also bar rules, pub pool, tavern pool. Pool, almost always a variant of eight-ball, that is played by bar players on a bar table. Bar pool has rules that vary from region to region, sometimes even from venue to venue in the same city, especially in the U.S. Wise players thus ensure understanding of and agreement to the rules before engaging in a money game under bar rules. Typical differences between bar pool and tournament eight-ball are the lack of ball-in-hand after a foul, the elimination of a number of fouls, and (with numbered ball sets) the requirement that most aspects of a shot be called (including cushions and other object balls to be contacted) not just the target ball and pocket. Bar pool has evolved into this "nitpicky" version principally to make the games last longer, since bar pool is typically played on coin-operated tables that cost money per-game rather than per-hour. Competitive league pool played on bar tables, however, usually uses international, national or local/regional league rules, and is not what is usually meant by "bar pool".