Definition of key ball

The object ball involved in a key shot.

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 heavy, finely milled rock (slate) that forms the bed of the table, beneath the cloth. Major slate suppliers for the billiards industry are Italy, Brazil and China. Some cheaper tables, and novelty tables designed for outdoor use, do not use genuine slate beds, but artificial materials such as Slatrol.
To reach a certain position in a tournament. "I placed 17th." "She will probably place in the money this time."
Local Bylaws are additional rules, policies, and procedures unique to an area in addition (or subtraction) to established Pool/Billiards/Snooker league rules. They are designed to cover local situations.
Same as foul
A pool cue designed for breaking. Along with sometimes having unusual weight or balance to build maximum speed for the cue ball, some break cues have stiffer shafts and special breaking cue tips to transfer energy more efficiently to the cue ball.
This is the running score of a player during his inning of play. The sum of the continuously scored points, or where the player stands in the run on the table.
A point bead on a scoring string.
Also slop shot. A luck shot. Compare fish, fluke and Lorengo; contrast mark and call. Also sloppy. Descriptive of any game where the rules have been varied to allow luck shots not normally allowed or where no foul rules apply.
A term used in snooker for the potting of all the balls that are racked at the beginning of the frame in a single break (run). The minimum total clearance affords 72 points (barring multiple reds being potted on a single stroke), in the pattern of red then yellow repeatedly until all reds are potted, then all of the colour balls. The maximum break is 147 (barring a foul by the opponent immediately before the break began).
Describing a difficult pot: "the awkward cueing makes this shot missable."
Exact opposite of fast, all senses.
The material which covers the bed and cushions of a pool table. The cloth used to cover a pool table is very special and can come in a variety of grades. Along with the general quality of the table itself, the cloth play a very important role in how a particular table plays.
In snooker, any of the three colour balls that get spotted on the baulk line: the yellow, green or brown ball.
The break box is a zone in the "kitchen" of the head (British: bottom) of the table, from which the break shot must be taken with the cue ball,
Also shortstop, short-stop. This is a player that is excellent at pool, but tends to fall short of number one. A shortstop is the best player relative to a particular scene. A second-tier professional who is not (yet) ready for World Championship competition. It can also be applied by extension to a player who is one of the best in a region but not quite good enough to consistently beat serious road players and tournament pros. The term was borrowed from baseball.
A shot that only a novice or fool would take. Usually because it is a guaranteed scratch or other foul, or because it has a low percentage of being pocketed and is likely to leave the opponent in good position.
To shoot without taking enough warm-up strokes to properly aim and feel out the stroke and speed to be applied. One-stroking is a common symptom of nervousness and a source of missed shots and failed position.
Same as position. "She got good shape for the next shot". See also position play, leave.
This is a table that offers poor conditions for play; it is either dirty, wet, or overall poor quality.
Also known as "Break and Dish". In pool games, when a player breaks the racked object balls, pockets at least one ball on the break, and commences to run out the remaining object balls without the opponent getting a visit at the table.
This is an imaginary player that you can attempt to run a rack against when playing a practice or training game.
Also shot to nothing. A British term for a shot in which a player attempts a difficult pot but with safety in mind, so that in the event of missing the pot it is likely that the opponent will not make a meaningful contribution, and will probably have to reply with a safety. The meaning refers to lack of risk, i.e. at no cost to the player ("for nothing" or coming "to nothing"). Compare two-way shot.
Hitting the object ball with too large of a cut angle; hitting the object ball too thin. It is a well-known maxim that overcutting is preferable to undercutting in many situations, as is more often leaves the table in a disadvantageous position on the miss than does an undercut. See also professional side of the pocket.