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Official WPA Pool Table and Billiard Equipment Specifications

Official WPA Pool Table and Billiard Equipment Specifications

When designing a home billiard room and purchasing equipment, many enthusiasts ask about the official WPA pool table and billiard equipment specifications so that they can try to match them with their own billiard equipment. Official WPA pool table and billiard equipment specifications are somewhat lengthy and complicated, so we've attempted to simplify them for you. See the full set of official WPA pool table and billiard equipment specifications at the WPA web site. (wpa-pool.com)

Official WPA Pool Table and Billiard Equipment Specifications

Official WPA pool table and billiard equipment specifications are meant to ensure that all tournament equipment is uniform and will, thus, play the same for the most part.

Only tables that are officially recognized by the WPA may be used at a WPA-sanctioned or recognized billiard event. In WPA-sanctioned competitions, a minimum space of six unobstructed feet (1.83 m) are required between the outside edge of the table's rail in every horizontal direction, and any obstacle. Obstacles include, but are not limited to, tables, chairs, rails, and so on.

The official WPA pool and billiard table specifications indicate that the bed height is to be between 29 1/4 inches and 31 inches. (74.295 cm and 78.74 cm) This is the height of the bed from the floor. Tables may not have any sharp edges, and must remain stable under all conditions of play.

Slate also has its own official WPA pool and billiard table specifications. The slate's thickness is to be 1 inch at minimum. (2.54 cm) The pool table's playing surface is to maintain an overall flatness that falls within + .020 inches lengthwise and + .010 inches through the width. (+ .508 mm lengthwise, + .254 mm widthwise) These specifications deal with flex of the playing surface, and say, essentially, that less is better. Additionally, it's additional deflection should not exceed .030 inches when a concentrated static force of 200 pounds is exerted in the center. (.762 mm, 90.7 kg) The joints of the slate pieces must also be level and on the same plane. They must be within .005 inch when leveled and shimmed. (.127 mm) Billiard tables must have a set of three equally sized pieces of slate, to be held on a wooden frame measuring at least 3/4 of an inch in thickness. Slate pieces must be secured to said frame with screws or bolts, with countersunk heads.

Official WPA pool table and billiard equipment specifications for the playing surface are as the list below specifies. The playing surface must be rectangular, and must be symmetrical when pocket configurations are included as follows:

  • 9 foot official pool table specifications - 100 (+ 1/8) x 50 (+ 1/8) inches (except cushions)/ [2.54 m (+3.175 mm) x 1.27 m (+ 3.175 mm)]
  • 8 foot official pool table specifications - 92 (+ 1/8) x 46 (+ 1/8) inches (except cushions)/ [2.3368 m (+3.175 mm) x 1.1684 m (+ 3.175 mm)]

To meet official WPA pool table and billiard equipment specifications, the rails must be between four and seven and a half inches inclusive of the rubber cushions. (10.6 cm and 19.05 cm) The rails must have 18 sights (diamonds) which are to be flush with the rail cap. There may also be one name plate in the place of one sight. sights must be:

  • 12 1/2 inches (31.75 cm) from sight to sight on a 9-foot regulation table
  • 11 1/2 inches (29.20 cm) from sight to sight on a 8-foot regulation table.

The sights, or diamonds, which should be either round (between 1 x 7/16 and 1 1/4 x 5/8 inch in size) or diamond shaped (between 1 x 7/16 ([25.4 x 11.11 mm) and 1 1/4 x 5/8 inch in size (31.75 x 15.875 mm)) sights , shall be located 3 11/16 (+) inches from the edge (nose) of the cushions. (93.6625 mm (+ 3.175 mm)) Name plates or counters should also be flush with the rail tops. In addition to this, all rail bolts should be located in such a way that produces a quiet and optimal rebound form any point on the cushion, when properly torqued.

Triangular rubber cushions should be between 1 7/8 and 2 inches (4.76 cm and 5.40 cm) when measured from the outer edge of the feather strip to the nose of the cushion. The cushion's height should be 63.5% (+1 %) or between 62.5 and 64.5 % of the diameter of the ball when measured from nose-line to the table-bed.

The rubber in the table's cushions should rebound an object ball 4 to 4 1/2 lengths of the table (back and forth) without causing the ball to jump, when the ball is shot from the head spot through the foot spot using center ball English, a firm stroke, and a level cue.

Pocket jaws must be rubber facings with a thickness between 1/16 inch to 1/4 inch, but preferably 1/8 inch thick. (1.5875 mm to 6.35 mm, preferably 3.175 mm) Each side of the facing must be of the same thickness, and facings must be affixed to the cushion and rail with hard reinforced rubber glue. They must also be fastened to the wood so as to prevent shifting. The rubber of the facings should be moderately harder than that of the cushions.

The pocket opening for pool tables are measured between opposing cushion noses. This is done at the point where the direction changes into the pocket. This is from pointed lip to pointed lip, and is called the "mouth."

The official WPA pool and billiard table specifications for pockets are as follows:

  • Corner Pocket Mouth: between 4.5 and 4.625 inches (11.43 cm and 11.75 cm)
  • Side Pocket Mouth: between 5 and 5.125 inches (12.7 cm and 13.0175 cm)
  • The mouth of the side pocket is generally 1/2 inch (1.27 cm) wider than the mouth of the corner pocket.
  • The vertical pocket angle or the "back draft" is to be 12 degrees minimum to 15 degrees maximum.
  • The shelf is measured from the center of the imaginary line that runs from one side of the mouth to the other side, where the nose of the cushion changes direction, to the vertical cut of the slate pocket cut. The shelf includes bevel.
  • Horizontal pocket cut angle is to be the same on both sides of a pocket's entrance. The cut angles of the rubber cushions and their rail liner wood backing for each side of the corner pocket opening must be 142 degrees (+1). The cut angles of the rubber cushion and its rail liner wood backing for both sides of the side pocket opening must be 104 degrees (+1).
  • Corner pocket shelf is to be between 1 and 2 1/4 inches (2.54 cm and 5.715 cm)
  • Side pocket shelf is to be between 0 and .375 inches (0 and .9525 cm)

The official WPA pool and billiard table specifications for pocket liners indicate that the liners and boots should be of long wearing plastic, rubber or leather. The material should not mark or stain the cues or balls in any way. The upper portion of the liner must be designed so that should a ball hit the pocket liner wall below the rim, it will be directed downward.

Drop pockets and automatic ball returns, should they be used, should be both as noiseless as possible, and be installed as such so that balls are not sprung back up on to the table, or off of the table.

The official WPA pool and billiard table specifications for pool table cloth indicate that the cloth is nap-free, non-directional, non-pilling, non-backed, and non-fluffing billiard fabric. 100% combed worsted wool fabric is preferred, but a maximum combination split of 85% worsted wool and 15% nylon is admissible. WPA specifies that only yellow-green, blue-green or electric blue colors are acceptable for competition.

There is even an official WPA pool and billiard table specifications for attaching the cloth to the billiard table. The slate should be first covered with a strip of canvas which is to be glued to the vertical pocket cuts of the slate, and the wooden slate liner. The cloth must be stretched to proper tension then attached with staples or tacks to the wooden slate liner. The fasteners should be spaced with a maximum of 1 inch on center, and with at least .375 inch penetration in to the wooden slate liner. (.9525 cm)

Proper tension is attained through the following official WPA pool and billiard table specifications:

  • Length of the cloth should be manually stretched as tightly as possible, and then relieved 1/2 inch (1.27 cm) before attachment
  • Width of the cloth should be manually stretched as tightly as possible, and then relieved 1/4 inch (.635 cm) before attachment.

Cloth must be evenly and consistently stretched over the cushions while inserting the feather strip, and afterward. While it is stretched lengthwise, it should then be stretched through the width to the point just before indentation of the nose of the rubber cushion occurs. At this point, it should be affixed underneath the wooden rail with fully driven staples or tacks spaced no further than 3/4 inch on center with a minimum of 3/8 inch penetration into the wood. (1.905 cm on center, and .9525 cm.

For the side pocket openings, there should be a minimum overlapping of fabric over the facings. No overlappings may cause balls to leave the table bed during play. No folds are permitted over the facings of the corner pockets.

The official WPA pool and billiard table specifications for cleaning pool table cloth recommend that only blue or green chalk be used. For cleaning cushions and the table bed, it is advised to use soft horse hair brushes and a cloth cleaner made with billiard fabric, or a brush less vacuum cleaner. Avoid any brush or device which sheds bristles.

The official WPA pool and billiard table specifications for lighting are specific, and are as follows:

  • The entire bed and rails of the table must receive at least 520 lux (48 footcandles) of light at every point.
  • A reflector or screen configuration should be used so that the center of the pool table bed does not receive noticeably more lighting than the rails and the corners.
  • If the light fixture above the table is movable, the minimum height of the pool table light fixture should be no lower than 40 inches above the bed of the table. (1.016 m)
  • If the light fixture above the table is fixed, and not movable, the fixture should be no lower than 65 inches above the bed of the table. (1.65 m)
  • Light directed on the players should not be blinding. Blinding light starts at 5000 lux (465 footcandles) in direct view. The remainder of the venue such as the bleachers, should receive at least 50 lux (5 footcandles) of light.

A complete set of billiard balls consists of one white cue ball and fifteen color coded, numbered object balls. Billiard and Pool balls are to be made from cast phenolic resin plastic, unpolished, unwaxed, and measure 2 1/4 (+.005) inches in diameter (5.715 cm (+ .127 mm)) and weigh 5 1/4 to 6 oz. (156 to 170 gms)

Balls should be cleaned with a towel or cloth that is free from dirt and dust, and that may be washed with soap and water. If balls are contaminated with a slippery substance, treated with polish, rubbing compound, and/or waxed, they must be de-waxed and cleaned with a cloth that has been moistened with diluted alcohol before play commences.

This may seem obvious, but here is the proper numbering of the set of balls. The object balls must have their numbers highly visible. To accomplish this under the official WPA pool and billiard specifications, there must be a number printed twice on each ball, opposite one another. Additionally, their orientation must be reversed, meaning that if one is right side up, the other must be upside down. The numbers must be printed in black on a white background. The object balls numbered 1 through 8 have solid colors and are matched as follows; the 1 ball is yellow, the 2 is blue, 3 is red, 4 is purple, 5 is orange, 6 is green, 7 is maroon and 8 is black. The object balls numbered 9 through 15 must be white with a centered ring or band of color as follows; the 9 ball is yellow, the 10 is blue, the 11 is red, the 12 is purple, the 13 is orange, the 14 is green and the 15 is maroon. As you would imaging, the two printed numbers 6 and 9 are underscored.

The object balls should be racked with a triangular rack made from wood. The rack must ensure that the balls are properly aligned and in contact with each other.

Rack construction should be as such that both surfaces making contact with the table bed when moving loaded rack forward and backward and side to side should be extremely smooth. They should be so smooth so as not to incur any damage to the cloth underneath. Plastic racks are not recommended as they are not solid, flexible, and have a tendency to deform, making proper racking of balls almost impossible.

Official WPA pool and billiard regulation number 17 is specific to cue sticks. Cue Sticks used at WPA competitions should comply with the following specifications and measurements during play at table.

  • The length of cue should be a minimum of 40 inches (1.016 m) with no maximum.
  • The weight of the cue should be a maximum of 25 oz. with no minimum.
  • The width of the cue tip should be a maximum of 14mm, with no minimum.

The material of construction for the cue tip may not damage or scratch the cue ball. Materials for the cue tip may consist of a snippet of processed leather or other pliable of fibrous material that conforms to, and extends the natural shape and line of the cue shaft. The ferrule is open to various specifications. There is one specification that states that if the ferrule is of a metal material, it may not be more than 1 inch in length. (2.54cm)

The rake, mechanical bridge, rest, or crutch is meant to be an accessory to billiard play. It shall be made from a stick (similar to a cue stick) and should have a bridge head mounted at it's end to support the shaft of the cue stick. The purpose of the mechanical bridge is to replace the hand bridge for shots that are difficult to reach. The bridge should have three rests of varying heights that should allow the cue stick to rest at different angles. The bridge's contour should be smooth, and perhaps rounded so as not to scratch or otherwise destroy the cue stick or pool table cloth during use.

Official WPA Pool Table and Billiard Equipment Specifications

  • Title: Official WPA Pool Table and Billiard Equipment Specifications
  • Author: (Billiards Forum)
  • Published: 6/10/2007 9:50:27 PM
  • Last Updated: 6/10/2007 10:14:19 PM
  • Last Updated By: billiardsforum

Official WPA Pool Table and Billiard Equipment Specifications Comments

  1. RajRaj from CT, United States on 1/17/2010 7:58:43 PM

    I read the Pool Table and Billiard Equipment Specifications article here, but it is not easy to understand.

    I was wondering if you have picture of the pool table with all specifications labeled on it? That might make the document easier to understand.

  2. PraveenPraveen from India on 3/1/2010 9:28:31 AM

    I second that. Adding a picture showing the pool table specs would help explain a lot for the beginners. Please consider doing so.

  3. Rick TaylerRick Tayler from Richardson, TX on 3/7/2010 7:41:00 PM

    What is the standard official height of a pool table from the floor up?

    How is pool table height measured, and how do you level a pool table in such a way so that the final, leveled pool table meets the official pool table height standard?

  4. StofieStofie from Kroonstad, Free State on 2/20/2011 11:19:31 AM

    Thanks for these pool table specs.

    I am trying to learn about all of the measurements and specifications of a pool table.

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