Pool (cue sports)
Pool, also more formally known as pocket billiards (mostly in North America) or pool billiards[silly foreigners!] (mostly in Europe and Australia), is a game played by people who frequent drinking establishments (a.k.a. bars/pubs) and who happen to have less talent than their cousins, the snooker players, who in turn are also just sloppy bangers compared to their more talented counterparts, the three-cushion billiards players. Pool players actually call their games a "sport".
The game of pool is played on a cloth-covered table, similar to a snooker table but small enough to actually fit in the building. There are usually seven solid-colored balls and seven striped ones, with numbers, plus 1 black (the 8 ball) and 1 white (the queue ball, call thus because you have wait around to shoot with it). However, in some establishments you will find an extra stripe or solid with the word black written on it instead of an actual black. There is another variation without stripes and solids, just unnumbered yellow and red balls - but most people get confused with this since they all look alike, and it should be avoided at all cost, except in Engaland and its colonies like Austria and New Zealand.
Each player uses a cue stick to poke the balls around the table in the hope that some of them might fall into little holes in the side called pockets. The stick has a blunt end and a pointy end. The stick has a bit of leather stuck on to the pointy end. This is furiously rubbed (ha!) with green or blue chalk between each shot. This ritual is believed to ward off evil spirits who try to make the player miss a ball. Unfortunately the rubbing of the chalk doesn't always work, and the evil spirits often cause the balls to jump into the air and often off the table completely, to the amusement of all observers. It has even been known for a ball to land in an observer's pint of beer, causing further problems for the player.
Origin of Pool
The game of pool was invented in 1502 to confuse the Irish. The green felt that is traditionally found on pool tables is reminiscent of the lush green field of Ireland, and of the sea. The number of balls was the average number of children in an Irish family. Originally the game was played by rolling the white ball with the hand, but that was soon replaced with the advent of the pool cue. The cue was used mainly as a lethal weapon, still in use to this day in modern combat (see video games).
Since untreated tap water is an ideal breeding ground for many disgusting diseases, it is highly recommended that a new pool be filled with water containing copious quantities of chlorine (a poisonous chartreuse-colored gas). It will also inevitably become full of more and more urine (though few people need to be told). Nothing, however, kills the AIDS that is present in all pools, everywhere.
There are a few people who will hit the ball so badly that it will do unexpected things such as curve around another ball. When this happens most players will pretend that they meant it and this is called a trick shot. Whenever the player tries to reproduce the same shot it usually results in him making an ass of himself. Of course this should be encouraged at all times, especially if you gamble. The added pressure will almost certainly mean laughter for you. How this relates to the pool water remains unclear.
One unwritten rule of pool is that whenever you pull off a "fluke" shot, such as described above, you MUST always act like you intended to do it. This rule is paramount to being considered "good at pool".
Classic Pool Rules
The following rules are considered classic pool rules:
- The person who breaks must be able to break. Failure to do so will result in being considered a n00b
- You must drink whilst playing, heavily.
- However, over-indulging may result in drowning, so a lifeguard should be on duty at all times, especially during a pool party.
There are many different games of pool. The most common is eight-ball, played all over the world as a way to waste time, wager beers, and fail to impress women. The game nine-ball is the one everyone sees on TV, usually played by rather attractive women because male pool pros are too ugly and beer-gutted for TV. Another favorite is marco polo, from which the sport of water polo evolved, clearly demonstrating pool's ancient connections to golf, mugging, baseball, cricket and and other games involving wooden clubs.
A technique employed by many players in Engrand is referred to as "a Blair". (The British think this is "recognized internationally", by which they mean that people in nearby Ireland, the Isle of Man and France also sometimes know who Tony Blair was and care.) "A Blair" is where one player allows his/her opposition to pot nearly all their balls, generally leaving one or two. (Potting is also called "pocketing" or "sinking" balls; sinking makes more sense, since they do not float in the pool water.) At this point the player who has all of his/her balls on the table now has a relatively clear table and thus can pot all their balls easily. Up to this point they should have been strategically positioning their balls around the pockets. Allowing for an easy win after potting all their balls. Hopefully by this stage in the game the black should be in a convenient position for the player to make a simple pot. One may hear in a pool hall players saying, "He's going to do a Blair" or "I'm doing a Blair". Many are unsure of the origins of the expression "to do a Blair" or "to Blair". Some believe that the term's origins lie in the historical pool game between Tony Blair and one George Bush or the other, on Friday, May 26, 2006 Americans have no idea what this refers to, since they are simply relieved when their President takes foreign trips, and don't pay any attention at all to what he's doing. Or maybe they just selectively forget American losses. Anyway, another theory is that it refers to Tony Blair's pro-tobacco-pool association.
In the rest of the world, the goal in eight-ball is to pick either the solids or the stripes (yes, or yellows or reds), and sink all of them, then the 8 ball, and to prevent your opponent from doing like wise. The classy way to do this is to simply never miss, and thus never let the hapless victim shoot at all. The easiest way to do this is to distract the victim and cheat like hell. Having a hot girlfriend in a bikini is helpful in this regard.
In the game nine-ball, the preferred game of professionals because it is fast (good for television, and good for pros to take your money when they sucker you into playing for 20 per game), the goal is to sink the balls in numerical order, 1 through 9, and to prevent your opponent from doing likewise (e.g. by crafty play or by "accidentally" whacking them in the testicles with the cue stick; be careful, though - the 10 through 15 balls are not used in this game, so they are probably on a table nearby and make very handy projectiles). The lack of numbering on the red and yellow balls used in the Commonwealth makes it impossible to play this game, just like lack of scones and crumpets makes it impossible to have teatime in uncivilised places. This is why the British can't play nine-ball to save their lives, and Team Europe doesn't want any more of them for the Mosconi Cup, despite this Europe vs. US annual pool grudge-match being Steve Davis' idea in the first place. No, really.
The classic pool game, as in The Hustler, was called straight pool. It was basically randomly banging balls around and hoping they went into nominated pockets. Some people still play this today because they can't handle a game with more complex rules. Similarly, checkers still survives in the face of chess and Age of Empires.
There are numerous different variants of pool. In Europe, most involve how many free shots you get to shoot if you sink the white ball, or your opponent's ball. In America, it's mostly about how many shots your opponent has to buy you if they lose. Basically, depending on who your opponent is, or your skill level, or location will determine if special game variants will be used. Examples of which include:
- If you sink the white ball at any point, your opponent gets a free shot.
- If the white ball is resting against the edge of the table, you may opt to move it slightly away from it to allow easier shooting.
- NO JUMP SHOTS - you cannot do one, live with it. If you tear the felt you will be beaten with the cues until everyone has become tired.
- Redneck pool - EVERY DAMNED THING about EVERY DAMNED SHOT must be "called" (specified in detail), like "I'm gonna hit the rail first, then go off this one to pocket THAT one right here, and it'll go in off your ball here." This level of nitpicking specificity is, of course, generally enough to start at least three fights per night in average establishments. The availability of girls as a distraction may reduce the level of violence (especially since cheating becomes much easier, in both senses).
- NO DIVING! This usually only applies when the pool water is shallow, or at night when people are trying to sleep.
- Women get to "re-do" bad shots. This means that they generally suck so badly at sports that they believed they are entitled to have special rules just for them.
- Women that have large boobs and low cut tops are allowed (and encouraged) to bend over in front of males taking their shots in an attempt to perform a "psyche-out" (see BASEketball). While they believe this is to their benefit, it is of course only for the enjoyment of men everywhere.
- Women usually wear bikinis or swimsuits, while guys wear shorts.
In an article by Rev. Jesse Jackson labled, "Pool: the White Man has Done it Again," the good reverend explains how and why he believes the game of pool to be a crime against all people of African descent:
- My brothas and sistas - huh. We - huh - have to assemble and RISE UP against the evil and tyranny that is the game of billiards - yessa. This is a White Man's gaaame - no doubt - and one that is a direct link to Mephostapholes hisself - huh! I - sweet lord - sincerely believe - mmm hmm - that playing any sport, hobby or recreational activity - praise Jeebus - that invo-o-olllves a WHITE BALL violently FORCING around another ball, that HAPPENS to be BLACK - dear God - is a direct insult to all Black people!