Activities Sports & Athletics Why 4 x 9's Are The Best Pool Table Size Share PINTEREST Email Print Nayef Hajjaj / EyeEm / Getty Images Sports & Athletics Billiards Equipment Shots & Strokes Baseball Bicycling Bodybuilding Bowling Boxing Car Racing Cheerleading Extreme Sports Football Golf Gymnastics Ice Hockey Martial Arts Professional Wrestling Skateboarding Skating Paintball Soccer Swimming & Diving Table Tennis Tennis Track & Field Volleyball Other Activities Learn More By Matthew Sherman Matthew Sherman Matthew Sherman is an experienced pool and billiards instructor and the author of "Picture Yourself Shooting Pool." Learn about our Editorial Process Updated on 07/14/18 A billiard table, billiards table, or pool table is a bounded table on which billiards-type games are played. In the modern era, all billiards tables provide a flat surface usually made of quarried slate, that is covered with cloth (usually of a tightly-woven worsted wool called baize), and surrounded by vulcanized rubber cushions, with the whole elevated above the floor. More specific terms are used for specific sports, such as snooker table and pool table, and different-sized billiard balls are used on these table types. A pool table, or pocket billiards table (as the sport's governing body prefers to call it), has six pockets – one at each corner of the table (corner pockets) and one at the midpoint of each of the longer sides (side pockets or middle pockets). One of the most interesting things about pool, infuriating to some, is that there's no one standard size for a table. For every person who turns their nose up at a 7-foot bar box for being a toy, there's another who fears and avoids the extended green of a 9-footer. To each their own, but there are different aspects and strategies to consider in regards to your game depending on the size of the table. Learning to adapt your skills to a variety of formats pays dividends; don't pass up the opportunity to hone your skills on a different table. American Vs. English An American table tends to be and the English pool tables are really mini-tables, even diminutive 6-footers! The minis tend to crowd the balls together excessively into little clusters that create frustration when you attempt to pry them apart. Of course, the pockets on American tables are larger to yield wiggle room for the bigger object balls. 4 x 9 Pool Table The 4' x 9' table size is the best, commonly used for top tournament play, and here's why. The "four by nine", for short, refers to a table with a playing surface of approximately 4½' wide by 9' long. This is the size most commonly used for top tournament play, and it makes for a challenging table with space for balls to spread apart. Playing well on 9-foot tables requires developing a strong and effective stroke, pinpoint aim and excellent cue ball control both in speed and angle. A four by nine at home is a delightful table to shoot pool upon. If you can at all afford this size table, and the extra space taken by its girth in your home poolroom, get it. Stay patient, beginner, and learn on this glorious playing field! When visiting your local pool hall, use four by nines only where you can. You'll be glad you did, especially if you foray into a competition such as leagues, many of which nationwide use smaller than 4 x 9's. You'll feel like the table is small and easy to shoot on by comparison!