Cue Balls

In pool, billiards, snooker, and other cue sports, the cue ball is the ball that the player strikes with his or her cue. More than 80% of cue balls and other balls used today by fans of pocket sports like pool are manufactured by a Belgian company called Saluc under the Aramith brand name.

What are cue balls made from?

All Aramith pool balls, snooker balls, and billiard balls, including the cue ball, are made from a phenolic resin with unique thermal properties. Once this resin sets after melting, it cannot be melted again. Pool balls and billiard balls can produce quite a bit of friction when they slide across the felt, and friction creates heat. Since Aramith balls are made from a material that doesn’t melt, Aramith balls won’t soften or change shape no matter how much heat they generate.

How does the cue ball function in pool?

Pool is played with one white cue ball and 15 numbered pool balls. One opponent uses the cue ball to knock solid-colored balls, which are numbered from 1 to 7, into the hole at the edge of the table. The other opponent uses the cue ball to hit striped balls, which are numbered from 9 to 15, into the hole at the edge of the table. The eighth ball is the 8-ball; players can’t attempt to pocket the 8-ball until they’ve taken out all their other balls. The opponent who pushes the 8-ball off the table by hitting it with the cue ball wins the game of pool.

At the beginning of the game, the cue ball is placed on a small marking along the central axis of the pool table about a quarter of the way along its length. An imaginary line called the “head string” travels through this axis. All 15 of the pool balls are set up inside a triangular rack on a corresponding spot along the head string at the other end of the table. The pool game officially begins when a player hits the cue ball with his or her cue so that it crosses the head string.

What are novelty cue items?

The Cue balls used for pool and similar sports are typically white. However, Saluc manufactures several different kinds of Aramith novelty items with unusual appearances, and other companies manufacture novelty pool items, too. Often, these novelty items are customized with company logos or with personalized sentiments such as “Happy Birthday” or “Happy Graduation.” Novelty items can be embossed with a wide range of stylized graphics.

What does this cue ball jargon mean?

The sport of pool has contributed some colorful jargon to the English language, including the following expressions:

  • Dead ball shot: A shot in which the cue ball hardly moves at all, and its energy is transferred to the ball that’s hit.
  • Kiss shot: A shot in which the cue ball makes more than one contact with the object balls.
  • Natural English: Sidespin force applied to the cue ball that gives it additional speed.
  • Scratch: When a shot accidentally pushes the cue ball into one of the pockets, it’s called a “scratch.”