Essential Pool and Billiards Accessory Checklist

Pool Accessory Checklist

Playing pool is just like any other sport – if you want to play your best you need some quality billiards accessories and equipment. Besides the table, the cue stick, and a place to play, there are a number of items that any well-equipped pool room should have on hand.

Cue Chalk

That cue stick needs to be chalked to insure good contact with the cue ball. In addition to cue chalk , many folks like to use some hand chalk for a nice smooth stroke. It comes in the form of solid or talc.

One of the basic essentials in pool and billiards play is pool cue chalk. Without a well-chalked cue stick, it’s almost impossible to get the kind of cue ball control and finesse you need to play a quality game of pool.

Skilled pool players chalk their stick before nearly every shot to insure good cue contact and prevent miscues.

Chalk is cheap, and its also cheap insurance against a bad hit on a crucial shot in an important pool match. It’s important to keep your cue tip in optimum condition so it holds on to the chalk until you strike the cue ball.

If your cue tip is too slick, the chalk will just flake off after it is applied, and won’t be there to give you the right friction on the cue ball that is so necessary for the use of English and top and bottom spin. A little cue maintenance to rough up the tip occasionally will really help in this regard.

If you play pool anywhere but at professional tournaments or in your own home, there’s a chance that the supplied cue chalk may not be very good, or there may not be any available at all.

For this reason many players like to bring their own chalk with them so they can be sure to have some quality chalk on hand. There are several devices on the market that enable a pool player to keep his personal chalk handy and convenient.

The object on the left is a chalk holder that clips to your clothes and features a spring-loaded string that extends out up to 30 inches. When you need to chalk your stick, you just grab the chalk, pull out the string, chalk up, and the string retracts back into its case, out of the way and ready for the next use.

On the right is a chalk holder that has a pencil-sized shaft attached. With this device, you chalk up your cue and then slip the shaft into a pocket, where it is conveniently held in between shots.

The next two chalk holders are slightly different configurations of the same device. They both feature a magnetic holder that clips to the belt and a metal chalk case that magnetically sticks to the holder.

Pool cue chalk comes in many colors. It is advisible to buy it in a color that matches your table felt color to minimize the messy look of chalk dust on the table surface between brushings. Below are just a few of the many colors available.

Hand Chalk

Essential for every pool or billiards game.

Hand chalk is used in pool and billiards play to reduce the friction of the sliding motion between the bridge hand and the cue shaft. This friction is usually caused by perspiration but could also be caused by other moisture or stickiness on the fingers. Anything other than a smooth friction-free stroke is a distraction and a disadvantage to playing the best pool and billiards possible.

Hand chalk comes in two forms – as a solid and in powdery talc form. The cone-shaped chalk shown below is a popular style seen in many bars and pool halls. The portion of the bridge hand that contacts the cue shaft is rubbed across the cone and the chalk transfers to the hand.

Cone chalk is either placed directly on a horizontal surface or ideally, is used in conjunction with one of the cone chalk holders shown below – the basic version on the left and a more elegant in-wall version on the right.

The talc form of chalk is used at some locations, and I have seen a shaker bottle of baby powder supplied before, but what grown man wants to smell like a baby? A better solution is to use some of the billiard talc that is scent-free and designed specifically for the purpose. Billiard talc is available in a shaker bottle as shown on the left, or loose in a package like on the right.

Loose powdered talc must be used with some form of dispensing device. 

Pool Glove

Don’t like chalk on your hands? Then you’ll probably want a pool glove. 

Some pool players don’t like getting chalk on their hands. For these folks there’s the pool glove. The thumb, index finger, and middle finger – the bridge fingers – are the ones covered by this accessory.

The glove permits a nice, smooth, consistent stroke by cutting down on the friction between the fingers and the shaft and also prevents the abrasive action of hand chalk on the cue shaft that happens over time.

The glove on the left comes in the various colors shown and is reversible for use on either hand. The one on the right is for right-handers only and has the fingertips cut off to afford a more positive feel on the felt. It also features a leather palm and a velcro fastener at the wrist.

Cue Tip Repair

Occasionally the cue tip will need to be reshaped or replaced. There are kits available for this. See the pages on cue tip repair and cue maintenance for info on doing this job.

Cue tip kits make it very convenient to do your own cue tip repair and cue maintenance. Just about every thing you’ll need is included for one low price. While the individual components are not the best quality you can buy, they will get the job done.

This second kit is the Rockwell Home Repair Kit. It includes cement, cue tips, ferrules, tip clamp, shaft slicker, scuffer, sander, chalk, spots, and tip trimmer.

Cue Case

You’ll need a cue case case to protect your baby from harm. Different types are available as well as cases that carry multiple sticks.

To carry your pool cue you need either a soft or hard cue case.

Pool Ball Rack

Of course you can’t even start to play until you’ve racked the balls. You’ll want a triangle rack for that, or, if your game is 9-ball, you’ll need a diamond-shaped rack .

Pool ball racks are essential accessories around a pool table. Before the game can start the balls need to be racked. Most pool and pocket billiards games use the triangle to rack the standard fifteen balls.

The only exception I know of is the diamond-shaped rack for the nine balls of the game 9-ball. Ball racks are generally made of wood or some type of plastic or acrylic.

The following racks are pretty much standard issue – the one on the left is wood, while on the right side it’s an acrylic rack.

These are the diamond-shaped racks made for 9-ball. On the left we have natural wood and on the right black painted wood.

Pool Bridge

For those shots that you just can’t quite reach there’s the bridge.

It’s time to haul out the pool bridge when you get a shot where you just can’t comfortably reach the cue ball. There are several types available. Here are a few…

First we have the old pool room standby, the aluminum bridge. An old cue stick is inserted in the hole and is held in place with a screw..

Next we have basically the same thing only in plastic. It also slides onto the stick and attaches with a screw.

This next pool bridge is pretty interesting. It slides on the end of your cue stick and rolls back and forth as you move the cue. It’s approved by the APA and BCA so you can use it in your pool league.

This next bridge comes as an assembly. The stick unscrews into two pieces and the bridge part slides off, making this a good one to take on the road.

Pool Table Brush

A pool table brush will keep your table looking great and shooting straight.

Every pool table should have at least one of the different types of pool table brushes handy.

Chalk, dust, ashes, and dirt collect on the table surface and need to be swept away occasionally.

Cue chalk is abrasive to the felt, and can, through the action of ball movement, start to eat away at the nap of the cloth.

The ideal way to use the brushes would be to sweep everything in one pile and vacuum it up, but most people I’ve seen just sweep it into a pocket hole. Kind of like sweeping it under the rug. Whatever.

One type of pool table brush is called the tri-brush for obvious reasons. It has three rows of bristles – the shorter ones for brushing the table and the longer for getting under the rails. The brush on the left is made of horse hair and the one on the right is nylon.

The next type of brush is the one I’ve seen most often. Again there are two lengths of bristles for cleaning the table proper and under the rails. On the left horse hair, on the right nylon.

This brush is purpose-made for sweeping under the rails. It has a handle, nylon bristles, and is used in a horizontal manner for when you want it REALLY clean under those rails.

While pool table brushes do a pretty good job of cleaning off your pool table, they don’t remove everything. The really fine stuff gets pushed down into the nap of the felt where the bristles can’t reach it.

Here is a product called “Quick Clean” that works differently. It is a spray that you mist on to the table cloth that turns into a foam. The foam grabs the dirt and chalk particles out of the nap and holds them in suspension where they can be removed by wiping off the foam. Pretty neat.

Pool Table Light

To insure you can see those shots perfectly, a pool table light is a necessity. There are several styles to choose from.

Pool table lights are an attractive and often necessary addition to a pool table. They light up the billiards table in an otherwise dark bar and they can add a real touch of class to a home recreation room.

Since the lights are meant to light up the pool table surface and not the room, they are usually mounted from 32″ to 36″ above the table surface, depending on what looks right. And what size light should you get for your size table? The following chart gives you some idea.

7 Foot Table: 40″ – 57″ Table Light

8 Foot Table: 48″ – 60″ Table Light

9 Foot Table: 57″ – 83″ Table Light

Whether you are a professional or college sports fan, a beer drinker, or just a person who likes beautiful things in their home, there’s a light that is made with your taste in mind. The following are just a few of the hundreds of styles and designs of table lights available.

The standard in pool table lighting is the three-light fixture. The following are a couple on the lower scale of the spectrum.

Moving up the design scale a bit in three-light fixtures are the following entries.

For a longer 9 foot table, the following four-light fixtures will fit the bill.

If you enjoy the ambiance of stained glass, these table lights should be to your liking.

For the beer drinking fans in the house, there are plenty of beer logo lights. Here are a couple.

And for the hardcore sports fans, the following pool table fixtures are available in your favorite college or NFL team’s logo.

Score Keeping System

If you are a straight pool shooter you’ll need some sort of score-keeping system . There are a couple of options for this- the abacus style or the overhead string and bead type.

Billiards scoring systems used to be standard items in the billiard rooms of the past when straight pool was in its heyday.

Anyone who has been in an old pool room or billiards hall would probably recall seeing the long strings of scoring beads along the ceiling.

With the decline in popularity of straight pool lately, I don’t believe there is as much call for scoring devices as there used to be. However, if you are a straight pool player, they are still available, and here are a couple different types.

This is the old-style score beads of yesteryear. They are usually stretched along the top part of a wall or suspended from the ceiling and are manipulated with the cue stick.

The following billiards scoring system is quite attractive and elegant and hangs on the wall of your pool room. It’s made of brass and mahogany and features sliders on a track for each player to keep his score.

Pool Cue Rack

A must for keeping the pool room neat and tidy is the pool cue rack . Wall-mounted and free-standing are the most popular types of these pool accessories available, with styles ranging from super simple to very extravagant.

Pool cue racks help keep your pool room nice and organized.

Leaning your cue sticks on the wall can leave chalk marks all over and will warp your cues eventually.

This can also lead to the sticks tipping over on to the floor and knocking the tips off.

A good cue rack will prevent these problems and, depending on the style you have, may also hold your table brush, ball racks, spare chalk, and extra balls.

There are many styles available and there’s a good chance that you can find one to fit your room decor. Many of the wooden racks are available in different stain colors and wood types.

If you’ve ever played pool in a bar you’ve seen one of the following type cue racks. This is the most basic configuration and is naturally the cheapest, but it does the job. The pool cue shaft clips into the first one and slides in the hole in the second.

Wall racks of course come in much fancier configurations. These racks are a step up from the basic rack, moving more into the realm of furniture than just basic utility. The rack on the right has ball counters for two players and an accessories drawer.

Fancier still, these cue racks hold just about all your pool table accessories in one attractive package. As mentioned earlier, these pool cue racks come in a variety of woods and shades to match your existing room and furniture.

Also available are cue racks which fit right into the walls of your pool room. These racks give a nice slick look to your pool table area. They do take some carpentry work to install, but it’s nothing that couldn’t be tackled by your everyday handyman.

Pool cue racks also come in many different floor models, some simple, some fancy. These racks have the advantage of being portable in case you want to move things around once in a while. Depending on which type you buy, they can also double as tables for your drinks and whatnot.

Furniture

You can’t just have a pool table sitting naked in the middle of your billiards room can you? Different kinds of furniture for the pool room can be obtained. Spectator chairs, tables, or even a bar can spice up your billiard or game room.

Your billiards area just won’t look complete without some quality pool room furniture. From spectator chairs and tables to lamps to a fully stocked bar – it all adds up to a comfortable, functional, and attractive place in your home to relax and entertain.

Besides the usual entertainment units, end tables, and overstuffed chairs and couches, specialty pool room furniture can make the difference between a so-so billiards room and one you can be proud of.

If you plan to have guests over to play pool you’ll need some place for them to sit and enjoy the action. Spectator chairs are made with the seat raised to the proper level for viewing the table surface. The following models come complete with drink holders and cue stick rests.

These chairs are made for multiple people, with the one on the left including a convenient table.

The following table lamps come in various college team logos while the hanging lamp sports a billiards logo.

Maybe a bar is more to your liking. In that case, as usual, there are many styles available. Two are shown below.

Of course you’ll need some bar stools to go with your new bar. Several different styles are shown below.

Maybe you don’t have room for a free-standing bar or you just want something unusual. One or more of the following attractive, in-wall, recessed mini-bars could be installed in your billiard room. The unit on the left has a liquor dispenser and on the right is a wine cabinet.

Pool Table Cover

When you’re all done playing for the day a pool table cover is just the thing to keep your table clean and dust-free for the next time. There are different options here too.

A pool table cover is an easy way to help keep your pool table looking great. Compared to the cost of a nice table, they are very inexpensive and easy to find. Covers prevent dust and dirt from collecting on your pool table and protect against scratches and dings in the felt or rails.

On the left are some of the various colors available in the standard weight PU. On the right is a heavy-duty version and the colors it comes in.

Like many other pool accessories, pool table covers are also available in sports team logos. A couple different college teams are represented below

Final Thoughts

As with most things in life, you won’t regret buying good-quality billiards accessories. Your pool table can last for generations, and with proper care, the supporting supplies and accessories that go with it will as well.