Definition of key ball

The object ball involved in a key shot.

24 Random Essential Billiards Terms

A cue dedicated to jumping balls; usually shorter and lighter than a playing cue and having a wider, hard tip. Also referred to as a jump stick.
Any mechanical aid that serves to extend the length of the player's cue, normally added to the end of the butt either by clipping around the end or screwing into the base. Though extensions are used for pool, it is more common in snooker because of the significantly larger table size.
In a tournament where players get limited time to make their shots (common in televised matches), an extension is extra time granted before making a shot; players have a limited number of extensions in each frame.
This is a shot where the cue ball double kisses in order to direct the object ball toward the pocket.
Also split shot. In pool, a type of shot in which two object balls are initially contacted by the cue ball simultaneously or so close to simultaneously as for the difference to be indistinguishable to the eye. In most sets of rules it is a foul if the split is one in which one of the object balls is a (or the only) legal target (ball-on) and the other is not; however, such a split is commonly considered a legal shot in informal bar pool in many areas if it is called as a split and does appear to strike the balls simultaneously).
Chiefly British: bank shot played up and down the longer length of the table off a short rail and into a corner pocket, as opposed to the more common bank across the short length into a center pocket or corner.
This is when you aim at one particular object ball that is not meant to go in the pocket, but is instead meant to contact another object ball which will continue the combination process or be pocketed.
The forward rotation of the cue ball that results from a follow shot. Also known as top spin or top, follow is applied to the cue ball by hitting it above its equator, causing it to spin more rapidly in the direction of travel than it would simply by rolling on the cloth from a center-ball hit. Follow speeds the cue ball up, and widens both the carom angle after contact with an object ball, and angle of reflection off a cushion.
The Valley National 8-Ball League Association. Founded in 1979, VENA is a non-profit organization established to promote the game of pool on coin-operated equipment. The membership is comprised of men, women and junior players, coin machine operators and manufacturers.
Short for left english (side), i.e. spin imparted to the cue ball by stroking it to the lefthand side of its vertical axis. Contrast right.
Skilled playing in which knowledge of ball speed, angles, post-impact trajectory, and other factors are used to gain position (i.e. a good leave) after the target ball is struck. The goals of position play are generally to ensure that the next shot is easy or at least makeable, and/or to play a safety in the advent of a miss (intentional or otherwise).
An imaginary line drawn from the desired path an object ball is to be sent (usually the center of a pocket) and the center of the object ball.
In blackball, a situation where the player cannot see any of the balls she/he wants to hit due to obstruction by other balls or the knuckle of a pocket. The player must call "total snooker" to the referee, which allows a dispensation to the player from having to hit a cushion after contacting the object ball, which is otherwise a foul.
A misnomer for hand talc.
Used when describing perfect cue ball position play.
A line, sometimes imaginary (especially in American pool), sometimes drawn on the cloth, that runs horizontally across the table from the second diamond (from the head rail) on one long rail to the corresponding second diamond on the other long rail. In most pool games, the opening break shot must be performed with the center (base) of the cue ball behind the head string (i.e. between the head string and head rail). The head string intersects the long string at the head spot, and delimits the kitchen (and, in European nine-ball, the outer boundary of the break box). The head string's position is always determined by the diamonds, in contrast to the similar but different baulk line, the position of which is determined by measurement from the bottom cushion (head cushion).
An exhibition shot designed to impress either by a player's skill or knowledge of how to set the balls up and take advantage of the angles of the table; usually a combination of both. A trick shot may involve items otherwise never seen during the course of a game, such as bottles, baskets, etc., and even members of the audience being placed on or around the table.
A bye is a missing team or player on a league schedule or tournament bracket. In other words, a person or team does not have an opponent that date (schedule) or round (tournament bracket). If a team or player has a bye on a scheduled date, they will not be playing that day. If a team or player has a bye on a tournament bracket, they automaticly advance to the next round without having to play another team or person.
When a ball is given as a handicap it often must be called (generally tacit). A wild handicap means the ball can be made in any manner specifically without being called.
This game is played on a smaller octagonal table filled with bumpers in the middle and two more bumpers surrounding a hole on each side of the table. The game is played by trying to sink the balls into the opposite pocket by hitting the object ball directly instead of using a cue ball.
The Billiards World Cup Association. The Billiards World Cup Association (BWA) was a governing body for carom billiards, like its competitor and successor, Union Mondiale de Billard. After staging several three-cushion billiards championships, BWA met its demise in 2004 due to financial problems and failing relations with the UMB, leaving the latter as the only carom governing body.
A form of Carom billiards for the masters of the game. Played the same way with two cue balls and a single object ball. Except, in between hitting the opponent's cue ball and the object ball your cue ball must bounce off of three rails (this game is played with an unpocketed specially sized table).
In nine-ball, especially in the UK, a break shot that pots the 9 ball without fouling, in which case the player wins in one shot. See also on the break/snap.
The angle at which a ball approaches a rail, as measured from the perpendicular to the rail.
Also pro side of the pocket and missing on the professional (or pro) side of the pocket. Sometimes "of the pocket" is left off the phrase. To err on the side of overcutting a difficult corner pocket cut shot rather than undercutting in nine ball; "missing on the professional side of the pocket." So called because experienced players understand that on a thin cut, overcutting the object ball to a corner pocket will far more often leave the object ball in an unfavorable position for the incoming opponent than will an undercut, which often leaves the object ball sitting in front of or nearby the pocket it had been intended for on a miss. By contrast, in eight-ball, except when both players are shooting at the 8 ball, the incoming player after a miss is shooting for different object balls, so this maxim does not apply, and the opposite may be good strategy as, if the object ball stays near the pocket through an undercut, it is advantageously positioned for a subsequent turn and may block the opponent's use of the pocket.