Another big decision facing a pool table buyer is what size pool table is the best “fit”. “What size is a regulation pool table?” I’m often asked or “What do the pros play on?” is another. First, there is no regulation size. A pool table is “regulation” as long as it’s twice as long as it is wide. For the second question, the answer is all of them! You will see pro and open pool tournaments being played on everything from 3 ½’ x 7’ bar boxes to 5’x10’ big foot tables. First and foremost is what size is the room you intend to put the pool table in? Now is not the time to guess at your room size. Get a tape measure and measure it out. This can save you from a headache come install time. Otherwise, you may end up looking like the guys on that Seinfeld episode where they set up a pool table in a bedroom. Hilarious to watch, but not much fun if you actually try to play on that table.
The common belief is that the smaller the pool table, the easier it is to play well. Have you ever played on a 7’ table? Generally speaking, it is easier to pocket balls on a small table and that includes the cue ball! Pocket sizes typically don’t vary with table sizes so if you don’t have good cue ball control skills you’ll be giving up ball in hand quite frequently. The break shot is another unique challenge on a 7 footer. If your break is strong you may have to dial it back a little because it is a whole lot easier to foul on the break on a smaller table. Side pocket shots, particularly coming from a steep angle can be poisonous. A detailed analysis of this can be found in the book “The Eight Ball Bible: A Guide to Bar Table Play” League players should also be aware that most national championships are played on 7 foot pool tables.
9 foot tables are a common sight at professional tournaments but not nearly as much in home game rooms due to their larger room size requirements. Higher pricing and less availability are also factors to consider if you’re thinking about one of these. If you ever need or want to sell your pool table a 9 foot table may be harder to unload as the market for these is usually limited to serious league and professional players.
8 foot pool tables are the most common residential size and provide a happy medium between the two other common table sizes. If you play pool in places other than your home table it won’t be too much of a stretch no matter what size tables they may be. In many instances, your pool room may be of adequate size to fit a table in with the exception of 1 corner or a pole in the way. The good news on this is you can buy a Troubleshooter or Balance Rite short cue ranging in size from 24 to 52 inches in length and they are weighted to feel like a full size cue.
Fundamental skills like stroke mechanics, cue ball control, position play and ball pocketing are all utilized and can be practiced on any size pool table. So what’s it going to be? 7, 8 or a 9 foot table? You can find a pool table room size guide here: