There are four essential elements to a game of pool:
- The Players - Obviously the talent level of the players makes up a huge element of how a game is played and often who wins.
- The Table - The condition of the playing surface is absolutely key to how a game goes. If you spent moderate time playing pool, especially on public tables, you no doubt have had to play on a pool table that was:
- Had torn felt
- Had worn out rail rubber etc.
3. The Balls - Chipped and dinged balls can not only be a distraction but a major impediment to winning.
4. The Cue Sticks - Who hasn't at some point been the victim of a "house stick" that was clearly misused, being bowed or splintered?
Some would argue, and rightfully so, that the rack and chalk are also essentials. That aside, let's take a look at the first four, with special attention paid to the fourth one.
Ask any moderately good to an expert player what can affect the game the most, and they will very likely tell you that your cue stick is by far the most important element to winning a game of pool. A good cue stick can help you to overcome the first three; talent, table, and balls. This is the main reason that you see good players wield their own custom made cue sticks.
Billiard Stick Sizes, Snooker Cue Sizes and What Makes For a Great Billiard or Snooker Cue Stick
Billiard stick sizes and Snooker cue sizes can vary based upon the American Poolplayers Association (APA) regulations, and or the purpose of their use.
- A standard one-piece billiard cue stick is 57 inches in length, from butt to tip. Commonly known as "house sticks", these cues are the ones you'll usually find in your local bar or pool hall.
- Two-piece billiard stick sizes are slightly longer at 58 inches. Two-piece cues are measure an equal 29 inches for the shaft and 29 inches for the butt.
For players that are extra tall or extra short, there are options outside of these standard billiard stick sizes. Some players will special order cues as long as 61 inches. For smaller players, junior cues are available in 48" and 52" lengths. In addition, the world of billiards has recently welcomed an accessory called a "cue extension". As the name implies, cue extensions are made to attach to the butt end of a player's cue stick, allowing access to hard to reach shots.
Snooker cues sizes are similar to billiard stick sizes, although snooker cues are slightly lighter, weighing in about 2 ounces less. While both are typically composed of ash or maple in the shaft and rosewood or ebony in the butt, snooker cues are not tapered like billiard sticks.
7 Essential Elements of a Great Billiard or Snooker Cue Stick
- Overall Quality - You should be able to run your fingernail along the entire shaft without a snag, and the finish should be smooth without scratches, nicks or glue.
- Ferrule & Tip - The ferrule should be flush to the shaft and the tip should be flush to the ferrule with no glue visible.
- Joint & Pin - The joint of the cue should be flush to the wood and match when screwed together. There should be no light showing at any point between the shaft and butt facing when screwed together.
- Wrap -The wrap should be smooth and flush to the body of the cue.
- Buttcap & Bumper - Should be flush at all points with no glue or wood chips visible.
- Rings -Any rings should be flush and nicely done with no bubbles under the finish.
- Straightness -The assembled pool cue should roll without any wobble on a flat surface.
Now that you know the different sizes of cues available and what makes for a great cue stick, go out and find the stick that's just right for you.