Definition of play the percentages

Using knowledge of the game and one's own abilities and limitations to choose the manner of shooting and the particular shot from an array presented, that has a degree of likelihood of success. This often requires a player to forego a shot that if made would be very advantageous but does not have a high likelihood of success, in favor of a safety or less advantageous shot that is more realistically achievable.

24 Random Essential Billiards Terms

Slang for a mechanical bridge.
Term for object balls in the game of Chicago that are each assigned as having a set money value; typically the 5, 8, 10, 13 and 15. In games where multiple balls must be pocketed in succession to score a point, such as cribbage pool or thirty-ball, when the last ball necessary to score has been potted, the points given is referred to as a way.
One of two sharp, jutting curves of the cushions either side of a pocket at the points where cushion and pocket meet, forming the jaws of the pockets. Also known as a point, a tittie or a horn.
Same as cloth (deprecated; it is factually incorrect).
New Zealand Billiards and Snooker Association.
This is a tool used to keep your cue tip from mushrooming. This small tool slides over the tip and turns to refine the sides, keeping your tip shaped the way it should be.
This is when a player has scratched and the foul in one pocket calls for them to spot a ball, but not able to be spotted at the time. In this case a coin is usually placed on the side of the table to keep tabs.
In eight-ball, when all object balls are balls-on for either player.
A description of a break shot in which the rack (pack) is spread apart well. See also the open break requirement in some games' rules, including eight-ball and nine-ball.
In carom billiards, descriptive of play in which the balls are not gathered.
This is a shot in snooker where the cue ball follows a struck object into the pocket.
The World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association, founded in 1968 and based in Bristol, England, United Kingdom is the governing body of professional snooker and English billiards. It sets the sports' rules, organises tournaments and the pro-am and pro tours, and engages in various promotional activities.
This is a handicapping method where one player gets the break, and is allowed to choose any ball afterwards to put in their pocket.
Verb: "To Clock" To carefully note the abilities or betting inclinations of other players for future reference.
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.
This is a tool that is used to shape a cue stick. It holds the cue in place while rotating it along a cutting edge. This tool can also be used to hold the cue in place while constructing or repairing other parts on the cue.
Artistic pool is a trick shot competition, inspired by the related discipline of artistic billiards.
A shot played with stun, but not quite enough to completely stop the cue ball, allowing for a little follow. It is played so that a follow shot can be controlled more reliably, with a firmer strike than for a slow roll. It is widely considered as one of the most difficult shots in the game to master, but an excellent weapon in a player's armory once it has been.
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).
Describing a shot which requires one or more balls to be played off several cushions, such as an elaborate escape or a positional shot; "he'll have to send the cue ball round the angles to get good position."
This is a particular shot where the potential for a miscue is higher because of the amount of draw that is attempted on the cue ball.
The sides of a table's frame upon which the elastic cushions are mounted. May also be used interchangeably with cushion.
A highly abrasive tip tool used to shape an unreasonably flat new cue tip, or misshapen old one, into a more usable, consistently curved profile, most commonly the curvature of a nickel or dime (or equivalently sized non-US/Canadian coin) for larger and smaller pool tips, respectively. Similar to a scuffer, but deeper and rougher.
USA Pool League. A pool league structured exclusively around eight-ball match play.
An abrasive tip tool used as a grinder to roughen the cue tip to better hold chalk after it has become hardened and smooth from repeated impacts with the cue ball. Tappers serve the same purpose, but are used differently. Similar to a shaper, but shallower and less rough.
This is another name for One Pocket pool.