Definition of slate

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.

24 Random Essential Billiards Terms

This is a ball that is positioned near your pocket that can be used to kiss off of when sinking another object ball.
Also semi-massé shot. A moderate curve imparted to the path of the cue ball by an elevated hit with use of english (side); or a shot using this technique. Also known as a curve (US) or swerve (UK) shot. Compare massé.
A foul where the rules are blatantly, intentionally violated, with a stiffer penalty (e.g., loss of game) than normal.
To maneuver a ball on a shot so that it will be favorably positioned for later play into a particular pocket, even at the expense of sacrificing position or the inning to achieve that result.
You can cheat the pocket by angling your shot to go in at the right or left of the pocket opening when sinking a shot. This permits the cue ball to strike the object ball at a different contact point than the most obvious one.
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.
British: Same as cling, and kick.
A rack in the form of an equilateral triangle. There are different sizes of triangles for racking different games (which use different ball sizes and numbers of balls), including the fifteen ball racks for snooker and various pool games such as eight-ball and blackball. A larger triangle is used for the twenty-one ball rack for baseball pocket billiards). The smallest triangle rack is employed in three-ball (see illustration at that article) but is not strictly necessary, as the front of a larger rack can be used, or the balls can be arranged by hand.
The object balls in triangular formation, before the break shot, after being racked. See also pyramid.
This is the point on the object ball where the cue exactly impacts or the point at which two balls touch when they impact.
Also bigs, big balls, big ones. In eight-ball, to be shooting the striped suit (group) of balls (9 through 15); "you're big, remember", "you're big balls" or "I've got the big ones". Compare stripes, yellows, high, overs; contrast little.
Chiefly American: The half of the table from which the break shot is taken. This usage is conceptually opposite that in British English, where this end of the table is called the bottom. Contrast foot. See also kitchen.
In snooker, a phrase used to describe a situation where the player has an easy pot and in general the balls are in a position to go on to make a sizeable break.
The person in charge of the game whose primary role is to ensure adherence by both players to the appropriate rules of the game being played. Other duties of the referee include racking each frame, re-spotting balls during the course of a game, maintaining the equipment associated with the table (e.g. keeping the balls clean), controlling the crowd and, if necessary, controlling the players. Formerly sometimes referred to as the umpire.
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.
The overall competition between two players, two pairs of players or two teams of players, usually consisting of a predetermined number of frames or games (sometimes organized into rounds).
Playing an opponent for money who has no chance of winning based on disparity of skill levels. The term robbed is also sometimes used humorously in exclamations when a shot that looks like it would work did not, as in "Oh! You got robbed on that one!"
A set practice routine.
In British terminology, a bank shot.
Derived from "sitting duck", usually referring to an object ball sitting close to a pocket or so positioned that is virtually impossible to miss. Same as hanger (US, colloquial), sitter (UK).
This is a location where a player can go inexpensively to refine their pool skills. These establishments began as horserace betting houses, and are still often filled with games involving money action. If you get thirsty, many pool halls offer cold refreshments, however, be careful you are not there just for the refreshments. In that case, you may as well be playing at a bar with a bent cue on a rain table.
Be in a game where either because of disparity in skill level, or because of a handicap given, it would be very difficult to lose.
The use of the correct amount of cue ball speed in position play to achieve proper shape for a subsequent shot.
Also pills, tally balls and shake balls. Small, round markers typically numbered 1 through 15 or 16, which are placed in a bottle for various random assignment purposes, such as in a tournament roster, to assign order of play in a multiplayer game, or to assign particular balls to players in games such as kelly pool.
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.
In snooker and other British usages, a break of 50-99 points (100 points or more being called a century), which involves potting at least 12 consecutive balls (i.e. the last 3 reds with at least 2 blacks and a pink, followed by all the colours).