Pool (cue sports)

Dutch pool player Niels Feijen at the 2008 European Pool Championship.
A person setting the cue-balls

Pool is a classification of cue sports played on a table with six pockets along the rails, into which balls are deposited.[1][2] Each specific pool game has its own name; some of the better-known include eight-ball, blackball, nine-ball, ten-ball, seven-ball, straight pool, one-pocket, and bank pool.

The generic term pocket billiards is sometimes also used, and favored by some pool-industry bodies, but is technically a broader classification, including games such as snooker, Russian pyramid, and kaisa, which are not referred to as pool games. In most parts of the world, it is commonly referred to as just "billiards", analogous to the term "bowling" being commonly used to refer the game of ten-pin bowling.

There are also hybrid games combining aspects of both pool and carom billiards, such as American four-ball billiards, bottle pool, cowboy pool, and English billiards.


Historic print depicting Michael Phelan's billiard saloon in New York City, January 1, 1859.

The etymology of "pool" is uncertain. The Oxford English Dictionary speculates that "pool" and other games with collective stakes is derived from the French poule (literally translated "hen"), in which the poule is the collected prize; alternatively it could derive from the verb to pool in the sense of combining objects or stakes. The oldest use of the word "pool" to describe a billiards-like game was made in 1797 in a Virginia newspaper.[3] The OED defines it as generally "any of various types of billiards for two or more players" but goes on to note that the first specific meaning of "a game in which each player uses a cue ball of a distinctive colour to pocket the balls of the other player(s) in a certain order, the winner taking all the stakes submitted at the start of the contest" is now obsolete, and its other specific definitions are all for games that originate in the United States.[4] In the British Empire for most of the nineteenth through early twentieth century, pool referred specifically to the game of life pool.[5]:143&187

Although skittle pool is played on a pocketless carom billiards table, the term pool later stuck to all new games of pocket billiards as the sport gained in popularity in the United States,[5]:186 and so outside the cue sports industry, which has long favored the more formal term pocket billiards, the common name for the sport has remained pool. The OxfordDictionaries.com definition no longer even provides the obsolete meaning found in the print edition, and refers only to the typical game "using two sets [each] of seven coloured and numbered balls ... with one black ball and a white cue ball" on a table with pockets.[6]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Pool (spel)
беларуская: Пул (більярд)
čeština: Pool
dansk: Pool
Deutsch: Poolbillard
Esperanto: Poŝbilardo
한국어: 포켓볼
Kiswahili: Mchezo wa pool
Nederlands: Pool (sport)
português: Bilhar americano
русский: Пул (бильярд)
Simple English: Pool (cue sports)
suomi: Pool
ไทย: พูล
українська: Пул (більярд)
中文: 花式撞球