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What Billiard Balls to Buy?

What Billiard Balls to Buy?

I am researching what billiard balls I should buy and I have a lot of questions. Where to buy the best billiard balls? What size billiard balls should I buy? Should I buy specialty billiard ball sets?

I have a one piece slate, coin-op, 8ft Valley pool table that I bought used from a music vending supplier. I love the pool table. My dad had one just like it when I was a kid.

To start off here, I'm familiar with two games; 8-Ball and Cutthroat. As it turns out, there are many Billiard games to enjoy. A lot can be played using a standard Billiard ball set.

But some cue sport games, like Snooker, use special ball sets of their own. I want to find some of these unique ball sets, however there are lots of complicating factors. I love Aramith pool ball sets, but they are way out of my budget. Also, there are different sizes for each set.

So. A few of the games I am interested in playing are: Snooker, Casino, Poker, and Russian Pyramid. Can these be played on an 8' pool table and if so, what is the best size and type of pool ball set to get to accommodate these games?

For an 8 foot pool table, should I use 2 1/4" billiard balls or 2 1/8" billiard ball size?

There are other games I've seen; Carom, Bumper pool, Yotsudama, Bocetta... Are these games that would work on a standard 8ft pool table?

Also, the numbered Snooker, Casino, Poker, and Russian Pyramid balls set... Does anyone know where I can find them online for a good price? Aramith sets are nice, but if I can find a less expensive quality brand, I'd be happy till I can afford those expensive Aramith sets. I'd prefer Phenolic resin sets that are not painted or silkscreened but inlaid instead if I can find them.

Finally, can anyone recommend any complete billiard rule books? Are there any out there? I seem to only find books on technique or "how to" guides. I'd like to find a nice thick book containing tons of rules for Billiard and pool table games to keep on the book shelf in the game room. I have Hoyle's Games and Willie Mosconi on Pocket Billiards, but that's all I can find other then the internet.

What Billiard Balls to Buy?

Replies & Comments

  1. blackflagsailorDavid Reby on 10/13/2011 1:03:01 AM

    Hello there, I'll try to help a little bit.

    Most of the "foreign pool games" are designed to be played on a certain sized table. Russian Billiards, Kaisa, & English Snooker on 12 foot tables (different pocket configurations and cloth requirements though). American Pool (8 ball, 9 ball, cut throat, etc) on 7, 8, or 9 foot tables. Carom games on 10' pocketless tables.

    • Snooker - Unidirectional cloth like Milliken Strachan 6811 (EXTREMELY expensive)
    • Russian Billiards, Kaisa - any medium fast to fast cloth
    • American pool - Any slow to fast cloth (personal taste)
    • Carom - Simonis 3000 Rapide
    • Yotsudama, Bocetta - unsure

    I am not sure of the table requirements for Yotsudama or Bocetta, but I would assume that Yotsudama, as a carom game, would be played on a pocketless table.

    Can these unusual games be played on an 8' table? Except for the carom games which require tables with NO pockets, yes. Would it be tournament sanctioned on an 8' table? No.

    While I run an extremely upscale pool room, I have run into the same pricing issues with Aramith products. There is no doubt that they are MUCH better quality than non-Aramith products, the prices are quite prohibitive. Because of the commercial environment, Aramith is an absolute MUST. Home use is another story.

    Really lousy English snooker balls can be had for about $35, while Aramith Pro 2 1/8 run about $180. American snooker balls usually have the numbers on them, English snooker balls usually don't. Sub-par Carom balls for $40, Aramith Pro Cup $175. Non-Aramith Russian Billiard Balls $100, Aramith Russian Billiard Balls $225.00 American pool balls, entry level $35. American Pool balls Aramith/Centennials $250-420.

    • Snooker Balls - 2 1/8"
    • American Pool - 2 1/4"
    • Carom - 61.5mm
    • Bocetta - 59mm
    • Russian Billiards - 68mm
    • Yotsudama - 65mm

    Try Cuestix.com, cueandcase.com, muellers.com, sterling-gaming.com or Aramith North America at preciballusa.com

    Unless you have a commercial pool hall environment, there should be no problem playing most of the pool games on an 8' table, but your guests need to understand that you're "making do"....

    Phenolic resin balls are NEVER painted or silkscreened. Basically they are made of "dust" that is heat and pressure fused to form a homogenous product. In a home environment, they should last literally a lifetime. In my commercial environment, they are still lustrous, vibrant and unchipped after 15 years.....but you pay for that longevity.

    Hope this helps a little.

    Players Billiards
    Eatontown, NJ

  2. blackflagsailorMitch Alsup on 10/13/2011 11:20:08 AM

    "Can anyone recommend any complete rule books?"

    Unfortunately pool (pocket billiards) is in a state where each sanctining body obeys a different set of rules--mainly its own.

    Also, unfortunately, due to a list of soft break maladies in the years 2000-2003 the pool "powers that be" are trying to fix (what in many minds is not broken) by trying different rules to see what sticks. This includes, placing the key ball (8-ball or 9-ball or 10-ball) on the head spot rather than the lead ball (1-ball) on the head spot. It also includes various rules (which have shown to be disasterous) on getting a certain number of balls 'up table' on the break.And so on.

    Thus, the "game' is worse off today than it was before the "powers that be" started to muck with the rules.

    About the only thing everyone agrees upon is a) any manufactured pool table is legal for use, b) if it looks like a pool stick you can use it (less than 60 inches and 24oz), c) the 'normal' rules still apply so 8-ball still plays like colloquial 8-ball, however the devil is down in the details.

    BCA rules are different than APA rules which are different than ..... when you get down into the nitty gritty.

  3. blackflagsailorPhretless on 2/5/2012 8:26:07 PM

    If your looking for a complete rules book. There was one released late last year that covers close to 400 games from the 1600's to the present. The book was written in English and is relatively inexpensive for what you get. Around $35 including shipping. You can find out further information at the website www.300ways.com

  4. blackflagsailorMitch Alsup on 2/6/2012 1:21:39 PM

    There are a couple of books by Phillip Chapelle. In those books he devotes a chapter to the rules of the game, comparing and contrasting the 5 major sets of rules in play these days. So, in the book "Play your best 8-ball" he annotates the subtle differences in the various sets of rules for 8-ball.

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What Billiard Balls to Buy?

  • Title: What Billiard Balls to Buy?
  • Author: (Brent Harrison)
  • Published: 2/7/2011 12:58:29 PM