Activities Sports & Athletics Top Reasons to Love Pool and Billiards Share PINTEREST Email Print Sports & Athletics Billiards Equipment Shots & Strokes Baseball Basketball Bicycling Bodybuilding Bowling Boxing Car Racing Cheerleading Cricket 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 is an experienced pool and billiards instructor and the author of "Picture Yourself Shooting Pool." our editorial process Matthew Sherman Updated April 22, 2018 Few sports offer the color, drama, and tradition of Pocket Billiards, known to most Americans simply as "Pool". Pool has been suffering an image crisis in America for decades. In Great Britain, Snooker (a game similar to pool but with different size equipment) approaches soccer and American football in popularity and is aired on television nearly 365 days a year. In the US, pool, more infamous than any game, occasionally hits cable television around 3 AM. People who choose pool shooting as a career obviously prefer smoke-filled rooms and gambling to sunshine and peace of mind. 01 of 08 Like No Other Love (A Bad Rap) The American Pool Hall was once an exclusive realm of men who behaved indecently. These individuals smoked cigars and drank beer while they growled and spit tobacco. Young truants cleaned the tables and floors and racked the balls for a new game, while they learned pool hustling and miscreant behavior. 02 of 08 Revived, Reborn (The New Chic) From misbegotten days, gambling and brawling legends abound, building the mystique. Odds are small you've heard of Ping-Pong hustlers getting fingers broken. Have you seen a shady-looking character thumb through $100 bills at a Chess club? Pool's seamy side and portraits of misspent youth are still an attraction for hustlers and rebels. Despite its sour reputation, however, pool revived to become the pastime of the 1990's and then the 21st Century. Pool, now chic and the darling of the media, is exciting, fun and "in". Nearly every other TV or magazine ad shows people enjoying a cool time, playing America's hottest game. 03 of 08 From Poolrooms to Dream Centers Poolrooms have become upscale pleasure centers where people mingle, playing and listening to pop music while eating croissants with jam and drinking Perrier. (The occasional truant needs to be chastised.) 04 of 08 What A Game! Shooting pool luckily requires less athletic ability than a sharp mind and thoughtful play. Good pool is not skillfully making very difficult shots. It's controlling the movement of the cue ball at will. There are some hand-eye wizards who make the occasional spectacular shot. Typically these showoffs send the cue ball who-knows-where. They will be defeated nearly every time by the consistent, careful shooter who concentrates on making five, six or seven simple shots in a row without a mistake. This site instructs even novices on how to send the cue ball backward, forwards, sideways; wherever it needs to roll. 05 of 08 The Pros Are Astonishing Pool's best, the pros, add countless hours of practice to sharp concentration and years of competition. To maintain status as the sport's elite, their repertoire of shots and strategies grows continually. Though bearing nicknames like "Fats" and "Slowpoke", on the felt, pool's best seem to defy physical laws, caroming balls around the table like Spaghetti Western gunshots. Be confident, reader. Anyone applying this site's information can learn the finer points, a bit of practice and you'll amaze your friends and maybe win a few bucks. Pool is a pastime enjoyable for life! Only failed eyesight can retire a player. 06 of 08 Getting Up Close And Personal Pool fans everywhere sit ringside for the action to cheer for their favorites. At the big money tournaments in Vegas, Atlantic City, LA, etc., the great shooters duel like medieval knights wielding thousand-dollar pool cues in place of swords. Wearing black tie creative or dresses, they joust in the dazzling glare of hot spotlights under watchful eyes of TV cameras. Football stadiums, unlike poolrooms, rarely let spectators come close enough to see the very sweat on the players' faces and hands. Pool tournaments are fun! 07 of 08 Pros Love Fans Pros and hustlers are old or young, men and women, fat or thin. Pool pros are always happy to meet and talk with an appreciative fan! The pros are genuine, down-to-earth people, or at least blue-collar Americans. Like Boxing, most of pool's top competitors come from places like Brooklyn NY, Chicago, or Philly. Unlike Boxing, you don't need superior strength or coordination to become a fine pool player. 08 of 08 You Can Do It! The good news is anyone can master pool! Most stick-and-ball sports apply a set of similar movements to any shot. Pool's basics are simply learned, and apply to any of a million pool possibilities. Only slight adjustments are needed for power shots, difficult to see shots, etc. This About.com site follows a clear, simple plan to teach pool's basics (and some of its more advanced techniques) painlessly. Some of pool's deepest secrets are inside, having never appeared elsewhere. An extensive pool equipment guide is posted. The thorough glossary of pool terms is filled with tips, hints, and anecdotes. Live and let pool!