Win or lose there’s never any excuse for poor manners around the pool table. Although seen by some as the more rough and tumble half-brother of classic billiards and snooker – two games steeped in displaying attention to etiquette – fact is pool has an unwritten code of conduct too. Nothing makes a race to ten more frustrating than when playing an opponent who doesn’t conduct themselves well around the table. Some of these tips to good conduct are obvious, others much more subtle.
Nobody likes to play a gloating winner or a sore loser, so no matter how the session develops it’s essential to always respect your opponents play. Obviously there’s a little more leeway if playing someone you know well, but if taking on a stranger these rules are very important indeed. Serious pool players, especially in match or tournament play will always abide by these no matter how intense their personal rivalry may be.
1) Securing A Table
Unsurprisingly in public places especially bars or sports clubs there’s often a lot of action going on around the pool table. If the table is unattended then you should be good to go, but be sure to check nobody has any coins marking their place in the order of play. Leapfrogging the queue is never a good move. If there is an order of play it’s usually a case of winner stays on unless the winner of the previous game chooses to bow out.
2) Establish & Adhere To ‘House Table Rules
Some places tend to have local variations of the rules. While not as common as it used to be it’s savvy – and good manners – to establish the rules just in case, especially in a new venue. In some serious venues there may be a handicapping system especially for 9-ball. Negotiate this before hand.
3) Leave Cellphones Alone
Hey Buddy you can’t play games at your online casinos here! It’s very poor form to take a call while a game is in progress, let alone to fiddle about with games or other apps. Doing so not only shows disrespect to your opponent, but also holds up play which aggravates people waiting for their turn on the table. Don’t be ‘that guy’!
4) Respect Your Opponents Space & Line Of Sight
It’s not as common as it used to be to have that many chairs dotted around pool tables anymore. Venue owners are nowadays more inclined to maximize the number of tables they can squeeze in a space. Therefore it’s generally good manners to stay on your feet and move according to your opponents play. Keep a good three feet minimum distance from the table and player, and never be directly in front of your opponent when they are lining up a shot. Just move a little to the side. Obviously don’t talk while your opponent is at the table either.
5) Uphold The Integrity Of The Game
Accidents happen when lining up shots which may be extremely subtle and not noticed by your opponent (for example accidentally grazing a non object ball). Always own up right away and accept your mistake, and politely insist that the other player accepts the foul. The pool gods frown on those who fail to do so – and you also never know who else may be watching over your shoulder. Accept mistakes graciously and earn a reputation as a good sport.
6) Look After The Table
There’s few sadder sights that an abused and battered pool table, covered in beer stains and maybe even the dreaded ripped cloth…. Never do anything which may accentuate this damage. That means no drinks on the rail, sitting on the rail between games, and take great care when attempting any jump or extreme masse shots (use lots of chalk).
Bonus Tip: No matter what the outcome of the match, always shake your partners hand and congratulate their play. You never know when you’ll be facing each other down again.