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

A pejorative term for an improper rack in which the balls are not properly in contact with their neighbors, often resulting in a poor spread on the break.
Chiefly British: Short for side spin. In Canadian usage, the term is sometimes used as a verb, "to side".
See overcut.
The object ball involved in a key shot.
This is to watch a match with such intensity that there is worry, usually because of a wager on the game.
Side spin on the cue ball that causes it to roll off a cushion (contacted at an angle) with rather than against the ball's natural momentum and direction of travel. If angling into a rail that is on the right, then running english would be left english, and vice versa. The angle of deflection will be wider than if no english were applied to the cue ball. But more importantly, because the ball is rolling instead of sliding against the rail, the angle will be more consistent. For this reason, running English is routinely used. Also called running side in British terminology. Contrast reverse english.
Same as position. "She got good shape for the next shot". See also position play, leave.
The precise center of the pool table.
Also known as a "power draw", means applying very powerful draw on the cue ball thereby causing the maximum amount of draw.
Principally British: In snooker, if a player wins a match without the need for the final session to be played (for example, if a player wins a best-of-25-frames match split into three sessions - two sessions of eight frames and one of nine - by a margin of say, 13 frames to 3), then they are said to have won the match "with a session to spare".
Technique using different wood inlays to create picture designs on the butt of the cue.
A shot played slowly and with heavy draw and follow-through so that the cue ball can be struck firmly but with a lot of the pace taken out, allowing more control than just a gentle tap that would travel as far. Also called "Drag Draw".
A player who was not shooting well during a match but suddenly turns it around and starts playing better and more accurately. e.g. "He was misisng everything for the first part of the match, then found a stroke to come back and win."
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.
A two-piece cue constructed to resemble a house cue, with a near-invisible wood-to-wood joint. The subterfuge often enables a hustler to temporarily fool unsuspecting fish into thinking that he or she is an unskilled banger with no regard for finesse or equipment quality. Many league players also use cheap but solid sneaky petes as their break cues.
This describes a shot where you bank the object ball off of a rail and then sink it in a side pocket.
This is a bank in which the object ball hit will cross the path of the cue ball on the way to its destination.
Hitting the object ball with not enough of a cut angle; hitting the object ball too full or "fat". It is a well-known maxim that overcutting is preferable to undercutting. See also professional side of the pocket.
Same as foul
Describes the propensity of a player losing small sums of money at gambling to suddenly sharply increase the stakes; often continuing to lose until broke. Compare Chasing one's money.
On a shot, the extension of the cue stick through the cue ball position during the end of a player's stroke in the direction originally aimed.
A type of safety shot in the middle of a safety exchange that is not intended to put the opponent in a difficult situation regarding their next safety, but rather played so as to not leave an easy pot on. A typical example in snooker, which sees the most shots of this kind, is a slow roll-up into the pack.
This describes a shot in carom games where the cue ball is driven all the way across the long rail, crossing the table, to score a point.
A three cushion billiards shot in which the cue ball first strikes two cushions before hitting the first object ball then hits a third cushion before hitting the second object ball. So called because the shot opens up like an umbrella after hitting the third rail. Umbrella shots may be classified as inside or outside depending on which side of the first object ball the cue ball contacts.