Learning how to play billiards can provide you endless hours of entertainment, and give you something fun to do while hanging out with friends. Billiards is fairly simple to understand, but it can take a lifetime to truly master the game.
If you want to begin playing billiards, you need a few basic pieces of billiards equipment: billiards cues, a billiards table and billiard balls. Some real enthusiasts have extra cues and racks, but these basics are all you need to get started. Pool halls and bars often have everything you need to play, but experienced players prefer using their own cues.
A billiards table may range in size from 3.5 x 7 feet at the small end to 5 x 10 feet at the large end. When shopping for a billiards table, it's important to find a table that's absolutely flat and has good cloth, so the balls run true and the table doesn't change the shots.
Playing in Public
You don't have to buy a pool table to get started playing. If you're interested in learning how to play billiards but don't want to spend all that cash, or simply don't have the space, head to your local billiards hall. As you get better, you might want to buy your own billiards cues to bring along when you play so you can ensure consistency in your shots and improve control in your game. You'll generally pay a per-game fee to play at bars and a per-hour fee to play in billiard halls. Keep an eye out for discounted time in pool halls, which provides a great opportunity for solo practice.
Know the Games
When you're playing billiards, you can play several different variants.
Turn to the Pros to Learn Technique
You can begin playing billiards immediately, but without some effort, you won't learn the technique that enables you to win games consistently and decisively. When you're ready to get serious with your billiards playing, consult how-to books, videos and online resources.
Regular practice and drills are also a must to learn how to make shots. You'll find ideas for good drills online; one common drill has the player line up the balls a few inches apart from one another in a straight line down the center of the table, then pocket them one by one from one end to the other.
Four-ball billiards is less common in the United States, but European and Asian versions are extremely popular. Learn about these variations and their scoring.
The history of billiards is a long, rich subject. The billiards game you play today has come a very long way from its origins as a lawn game in France.
The rules of billiards have a lot of variations, but this basic set of rules applies to almost every game.