Definition of open play

A description of play in carom billiards games in which the balls remain widely separated rather than gathered, requiring much more skill to score points and making nurse shots effectively impossible, and making for a more interesting game for onlookers. Most skilled players try to gather the balls as quickly as possible to increase their chances of continuing to score in a long run.

24 Random Essential Billiards Terms

Modification of the rules and/or scoring of a game to enable players of variable abilities to compete on a more even playing field. Examples of handicapping include spotting balls and giving games on the wire to an opponent. In league play, other forms of handicapping include awarding compensating points to a lesser-skilled team, or using numerical player ranking systems to adjust final scores between opponents of different skill levels.
Also known as Free-stroking. This is slang for when a player begins to play untroubled and relaxed because they have built up a substantial lead.
The placement of the balls, especially the cue ball, relative to the next planned shot. Also known as shape.
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 lady's aid or girly stick. A denigrating term for the mechanical bridge.
The inside walls of a pocket billiards table's pockets.
When you hit the object ball you are aiming for (or the manditory next ball) without the cue ball hitting other object balls first.
This refers to the cluster of balls remaining in a similar position to where they were within the break.
Same as break.
Exact opposite of fast, all senses.
This is what happens when a player sends the cue ball into a cluster of balls that will in turn spread out in an unpredictable fashion.
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.
A rare and very difficult trick jump shot that turns into a draw shot upon landing. Requires precise application of spin in addition to the precise application of ball pressure to effectuate the jump. Jump draws are fairly often seen in professional trick shot competition.
The game of snooker. This is a very demanding game that isn't played as often in the U.S. as it is in other countries. The table needed is slightly larger, and there are 15 red object balls needed in addition to six color balls. After the balls are set up according to the rules, play resumes in turns with points scored as one on each red ball, and as is denoted with each other colored ball sunk. This is a challenging game that demands skill and excellent execution.
To leave the opponent (accidentally or by means of a safety) so that a certain shot on a preferred object ball cannot be played directly in a straight line by normal cueing. It most commonly means that the object ball cannot be hit, because it is hidden by another ball or, more rarely, the knuckle of a pocket (see corner-hooked). It can also refer to the potting angle or another significant point of contact on the object ball, blocking an otherwise more straightforward shot, even if an edge can be seen. A common related adjective describing a player in this situation is snookered. Also known as "to hook", for which the corresponding adjective "hooked" is also common. See also free ball.
An instance of this situation (e.g. "she's put him in a difficult snooker"). A player can choose a range of shots to get out of a snooker; usually a kick shot will be implemented but semi-massés are often preferred, and in games where it is not a foul, jump shots may be employed that often yield good results for skilled players. "Snooker" is used loosely (when used at all; "hook" is favored) in the US, but has very specific definitions and subtypes (such as the total snooker) in blackball.
When a player is on the receiving end of a devastating safety where it is very difficult or near impossible to make a legal hit on an object ball.
A denigrating slang term for the mechanical bridge.
To create contact with the cue ball or an object ball.
Same as angle of reflection.
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."
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.
Short for top spin, i.e. same as follow.
Chiefly British: 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 North America, where this end of the table is called the foot. In snooker, this is where the reds are racked, nearest the black spot; this is the area in which most of the game is usually played.
Chiefly American: Exactly the opposite of the above - the head end of the table. No longer in common usage.
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.
Anything that causes a foul according to the rules of a game.
Same as gutter table. A table with a ball return system, as opposed to a drop pocket table.