Definition of position play

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).

24 Random Essential Billiards Terms

This is an attempt where one player answers the other players successful shot or run with a successful shot or run.
A tournament format in which a player must lose two matches in order to be eliminated.
To determine the order of play, players (representing only themselves, or teams) each simultaneously shoot a ball from the kitchen (or in British games, from the baulk line) to the end rail and back toward the bottom rail. Whichever shooter's ball comes to rest closest to the bottom rail gets to choose who breaks the rack. It is permissible but not required for the lagged ball to touch or rebound from the bottom rail, but not to touch the side rails. Lagging is usually a two-party activity, though there are games such as cutthroat in which three players might lag. In the case of a tie, the tying shooters re-lag. The lag is most often used in tournament play or other competitions. In hard-break games like nine-ball and eight-ball the winner of the lag would normally take the break, while in soft-break games like straight pool would likely require the loser of the lag to break, since breaking would be a disadvantage.
When a particular ball is given as a handicap in nine-ball, designating that ball in turn means that it must be made in rotation, when it is the lowest numerical ball remaining on the table, and cannot be made to garner a win earlier in the game by way of a combination, carom or any other shot. For example, if a player is spotted the 8 ball, he only wins by making that ball after balls 1 through 7 have been cleared from the table.
A fast paced offensive game similar to 9-ball but only using balls numbered 1 through 7.
Pocketing the 7-ball wins the game. Under the current pro rules of 7-ball, any missed shot gives your opponent ball-in-hand.
This is a slang term created by Freddy Bentivegna to refer to a cluster of balls on your side of the table that do not lend to easy pocketing in a game of one pocket.
A chiefly British term for a set of mechanical bridges. British-style rests differ from most American-style rake bridges in shape, and take several forms: the cross, the spider and the swan (or goose neck), as well as the rarer and often unsanctioned hook. When used unqualified, the word usually refers to the cross. Rests are used in snooker, English billiards, and blackball.
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.
The tip of your cue is the smallest but most important piece on all of the stick. Ranging between 12 mm and 14 mm depending on the taper of you shaft, the average and most common tip size is 13 mm. The tip is usually made from treated and compressed leather and is attached at the top of your cue by screw or glue to the ferrule. There are variances in cue tip resistance from soft to hard. The softer offering more chalk retention, and the harder offering more longevity and power transferred through your shot (the hardest, phenolic tips are often used on the break). Because the surface of the tip is beveled it offers you control on the spin and direction of the cue ball in your shot. To keep this control, it is important to scuff up the surface of your cue a little so as to enhance the chalk retention potential. In addition to keeping you tip chalked, you want avoid it mushrooming over the ends of the ferrule after too many impacts without refinement. To much use, and not enough care with proper tools can hinder your ability to master the control from your cue tip to your shot.
This is to lay down the money on the table in a betting game before play begins to ensure pay up at the end.
This is any game of pool played with money on the line. You can "put some action" on the game.
A soft joint-like plastic or linen base material. It lets the cue whip, putting more English on the cue ball.
A point bead on a scoring string.
This is a handicapping method where one player gets the break, and is allowed to choose any ball afterwards to put in their pocket.
The collar is the portion of the joint that is attached to the top of the forearm. This is often stainless steel, wood, ivory, or molded phenolic resin, but in any case, made out of a solid material. This portion of the cue is glued on and threaded to reinforce the pin at the end of the shaft, and to offer a stabilized shot out of its solid construction.
Also nurse shot, nursery shot. In carom games such as straight rail, balkline and cushion caroms, where all the balls are kept near each other and a cushion, and with very soft shots, can be "nursed" down a rail on multiple successful shots that effectively replicate the same ball setup so that the nurse shot can be repeated again (and again, etc.). Excessive use of nurse shots by players skilled enough to set them up and pull them off repeatedly at will is what led to the development of the balkline carom billiards game variations, and repetitive shot limitation rules in English billiards. A clear example of why: In 1907, Tom Reece scored a record break of 499,135 consecutive points over a period of five weeks, without a miss, using the cradle cannon nurse shot.
A bridge formed by the hand where no finger loops over the shaft of the cue. Typically, the cue stick is channeled by a "v"-shaped groove formed by the thumb and the base of the index finger.
This is a term used more in snooker to refer to a follow shot, when the cue ball is hit above center to allow it to follow the object ball after impact.
Three equally spaced diamonds are normally between each pocket on a pool table. On a carom table, the pockets themselves are replaced by additional diamonds. Diamonds get their name from the shape of the markings traditionally used; though many today are round, square, etc., these rail markings are still referred to as "diamonds".
This is an object ball that essentially covers up a path necessary for sinking the desired object ball.
Sandbagging, in any handicapped sport, is the unethical practice of deliberately playing below your ability in order to alter your handicap so it does not reflect your true ability.
This is a long distance shot that is given to your opponent as a challenge to make because it often works well as a safety (defense) when a better one is not available.

Noun:
1.In pool games such as nine-ball, a specific handicap given (e.g., "what spot will you give me?").
2.In snooker, any of the six designated points on the table on which a colour ball is replaced after it has left the playing surface (usually after it has been potted).
3.An (often unmarked) point on the table, at the intersection of two strings. See foot spot, head spot, center spot for examples.
4.In UK eight ball, (when not playing with a reds-and-yellows colour ball set) any of the group of seven balls, other than the 8, that are a solid colour with just a circled number on the surface. In the US, these balls are usually referred to as solids or more colloquially as lows, littles or smalls, while British terms include dots and unders. Contrast stripes.
5.Alternate name for a table's diamonds.

Verb:
1.In pool, return an illegally pocketed object ball to the table by placement on the foot spot or as near to it as possible without moving other balls (in ways that may differ from ruleset to ruleset).
2.In snooker, to return a colour ball to its designated spot on the table. Also called re-spot.
3.In nine-ball, the giving of a handicap to the opponent where they can also win by making a ball or balls other than the 9 ball (e.g. "she spotted me the seven ball").
4.In eight-ball, one-pocket and straight pool, the giving of a handicap to the opponent where they have to make fewer balls than their opponent does.
5.In some variants of pool, to place the cue ball on the head spot or as near to it as possible inside the kitchen/baulk, after the opponent has scratched.

A situation in which a ball strikes another ball which is close to a rail and the struck ball rebounds back into the ball it was hit by; usually but not always unintended.