All about Billiards and How to Pot by Arthur Peall - Read Online
All about Billiards and How to Pot
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Originally published in the 1930s. Every stroke discussed and advised on in this book has been played and measured by the author who was the finest billiards instructor of his day. The numerous diagrams and photographs will prove of inestimable value to all who are keen on improving their game. Contents Include: Playing Conditions; Ball Contact; Cannons; Safety Play; Use of Side Screw and Side Angles; Spectacular Strokes; Common Faults; Losing Hazards; Ball to Ball Contact; How to Pot Billiard; Knowledge etc.
Publicado: Read Books Ltd. el
ISBN: 9781447486398
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MR. ARTHUR F. PEALL, son of Mr. W. G. Peall, the all-in champion and spot-stroke record-holder, is the well-known coach at Thurstons, and has by far the largest connection of any billiard instructor. He is admittedly the finest billiard teacher in the country to-day, and in his book covers all the ground he enters upon when giving his complete course of lessons. He gives such a thorough insight into the game and writes in so lucid a manner that the reader, be he the veriest novice or an old hand at the game, cannot fail to glean much useful information. Being such an experienced instructor, Mr. Peall knows the faults and difficulties most common among players, and is thus able to warn the amateur against the pitfalls from which it is later so difficult to escape.

This is not the usual text-book, crammed with statistics and technicalities. The author’s knowledge of how to teach without allowing his pupil’s interest to flag and his clear and concise instructions seem, in very fact, to decoy the reader from his chair and to lead him up to the table, where he is shown how to stand, how to hold his cue, and is then told, step by step, how to use it. Indeed, Mr. Peall follows the actual method adopted when coaching his pupils.

From the important elements of cuemanship in general he goes on to show us how and where to strike a billiard ball, and describes the cause and effect of the various ball movements, and the nature and use of top, side and screw. After this he tells us about ball-to-ball contacts, and describes the use of full-ball, three-quarter-ball, half-ball, quarter-ball and fine contacts. Next Mr. Peall gives valuable advice on playing cannons and on the all-important subjects of ball control and after-position. His remarks on the study of angles and instructions as to how to pot a billiard ball are masterly in their lucidness. There is no doubt that Mr. Peall’s ALL ABOUT BILLIARDS is a very practical guide to billiard proficiency.

Every stroke dealt with in the book has been played and measured by the author, and full measurements are given whenever necessary. The diagrams have been specially drawn and give a distinctive personal note to the book and differentiate it from the stereotyped book on billiards, while the ten action-photographs, showing the correct methods of stroke production, will prove of inestimable value to all who are keen on improving their game.




IT is no use trying to play billiards—on a cloth untrue, with a twisted cue, and elliptical billiard balls, as W. S. Gilbert has it. Billiards is essentially a game of precision, and to play it at all well you must have the right implements to play with. A cue of your own is not a luxury, it is as much a necessity as his own clubs are to a golfer. Of late years, Willie Smith has set the fashion for a heavy cue tipped with a brass ferrule. His cue weighs 18 oz. John Roberts said: As regards the weight of a cue, I think 15 oz. to 16 oz. is heavy enough for anyone. The length of a cue should be from 4 feet 8 1/2 inches to 4 feet 9 inches. Tom Newman uses a 17-oz. cue measuring 4 feet 10 inches in length, and as Smith’s is heavier still, it is evident that the best of modern billiardists favour distinctly heavier cues than were used by the old past master of the game.

Weight and Length of Cue

I advise my readers to be up to date as regards using a cue of useful weight. The reason is mainly this—as I shall tell you again later on, one of the principal things in billiard playing is to let the weight of the cue do the work. Therefore, provided it does not feel clumsy and awkward in your hand, you should select a cue which is heavy rather than light. Then the weight of the cue will do all the work you want it to perform; there is a lot more in this than you may think. Newman and Smith do not play with seventeen and eighteen-ounce cues for no particular reason. They know that the weight, properly placed in the cue and correctly applied by the player, equals cue-power, and I advise you to keep this in mind when you are selecting a cue for your own use. Another point in favour of a fairly heavy cue is that, if it is made as it should be, it will have enough wood in it to be stiff. And the stiffer a billiard cue is the better it is. A cue which shakes and quivers as it strikes a ball is good for but one thing—to lend to the man you want to beat.

Which reminds me that when you get a cue of your own, it is not clever to lend it. A bad player may spoil it, a good player may keep it if it is a first-class cue which suits his play—lending cues is about ten times more risky than lending books—don’t do it! Pick a cue with a fair-sized tip, have it fitted with a brass ferrule, and polish it with a dry cloth, plain paper, or constant play, the latter preferred. If you are in the habit of sandpapering the woodwork of your cue, buy a cheap one, the cheaper the better, because it will only be fit for firewood before long, and it is a mistake to pay too much to keep the home fires burning. In any other case, pay enough for your cue to get one of the best from a firm of standing and reputation.

Balls, Composition and Ivory

As regards balls, there is no getting away from the fact that composition balls are the kind officially recognized for the championships, which makes them the standard ball for billiards. For this reason, all the strokes in my book have been played with these balls of equal size and weight. At the same time, I fully realize that ivory balls are still used by some people. A set of ivories worth playing with are an expensive luxury, and a set of ivories fit for first-class play is worth a fancy price.

In the first edition of my book, All About Billiards, published some years ago, I foretold the change which has taken place. Ivory suitable for the manufacture of billiard balls was rapidly getting scarce and the supply unable to meet the continual demand, and the makers of composition balls were concentrating on the production of a composition ball which would come off at as near the ivory angle as possible. Lindrum’s visit to this country and his wonderful play eventually brought about the change and the Billiard Association and Control Council decided on the change over from ivory to composition.

Angle Differences with Composition and Ivory Balls

I will, however, do what I can to help those who play with ivory balls. Fig. 1 is drawn for this purpose. It shows the usual half-ball loser played from hand off the red on the centre-spot. To make the top pocket with a normal set of ivories, you should place your ball 7 1/2 inches from the centre-spot of the D in the direction of the pocket you wish to score. At least, this is the general way of teaching it, and as it will serve my present purpose, I do not propose to question it. Very well, if you place your ball 7 1/2 inches to the right of the centre-spot of the D, a true half-ball will make the top pocket as shown in Fig. 1, if you are using ivory balls. But with composition balls, I think you want to place your ball an inch and a half further to the right to make the long loser into the top pocket. To show what this means even more clearly, Fig. 2 shows the difference in position, illustrated by balls drawn standard size, on the baulk line. The plain ball represents the ivory, the black ball shows how much further over the composition ball has to be placed to obtain the same effect when playing for the top pocket.



To a varying extent, this difference applies in every stroke on the table. When playing forcers with composition balls, however, you must make the angle relatively wider still. In actual play there is no great difficulty in allowing for the difference between ivory and composition balls. With the help of the two diagrams I have given, any beginner can gauge the difference after a few trial shots. The trouble is that you cannot readily change from ivory to composition when you begin to play real billiards. It takes a man some time to get used to the change, and this is the main reason why composition balls have taken the place of ivories in billiards at the present time. All the British professionals now use composition balls for match play, and are content to leave it at that—there being no apparent reason why they should trouble to get used to the ivory ball; and over-seas climatic conditions give the composition ball decided preference.


Cloths, Woollen and Napless

More recently a new factor in playing conditions has been introduced by the advent of the napless cloth. This cloth is the next thing to indestructible, you cannot cut it with an ordinary penknife, and its durability is incontestably superior to that of the woollen cloth. Thousands of tables are now covered with it, and there is every indication that in a few years woollen cloths and ivory balls will be things of the past, still clung to, perhaps, by the few who like them and who may be prepared to pay for them, though the bulk of billiards is now played with composition balls on napless cloths.

Be this as it may, my business at the moment is to prepare my readers for what playing difference there may be between the napless cloth and the woollen article. I have scored very many thousands of points on each kind of cloth, and my experience is that every shot can be made on the napless cloth exactly as on the other kind, with this important exception: When playing against the nap of a woollen cloth, a ball moving slowly and carrying strong side will turn in the contrary direction to the side imparted to it, whereas it will drift in the direction of the side when playing with the nap. On the napless cloth, however, this complication is eliminated, a ball intended to be deflected by the use of side will always move in the direction of the side employed. For all practical purposes, you can play your ordinary game on the napless cloth, the most marked difference in the case of the average amateur being that he can make his jennies with equal facility whether playing up or down the table.


As regards cushions, if a ball jumps, that is, rebounds more or less off the surface of the table when a ball strikes the cushion while travelling at a good pace, those cushions are not fit to play billiards on. Of course, by employing smashing strength at short range you can make a ball jump from the best cushion ever made; you can even make it leap clean off the table if you strike it hard enough and high enough. But this is not what I mean; I am talking about the cue-ball jumping when you play to make a cannon all round the table, or the object-ball jumping when you play a forcer off it. When this sort of thing happens, the cushions are no good; all the correct angles are spoiled, and it is not the least use trying to play real billiards on a table with such cushions. I hope you have something vastly better to play upon, that you have a good cue, a true set of balls, and a cloth in fair condition. Given these, you can follow my instructions with advantage, but I fear I cannot help you if they are lacking. That is why I have commenced my book with a reference to playing conditions. The point is vital; no book, no teacher, can make a cueman of you if the playing conditions do not permit it.



THERE are a few people who have a natural cue action which enables them to strike a billiard ball properly without any training. This applies to about one player in a million, I should say, the remainder have to be taught how to hold a cue and swing it to advantage. The first thing I want you to understand is that you must strike your ball so that you make it both move and spin. For plain ball shots, the spin will be directly forward. If you put side on your ball, the spin will be in the direction of the side imparted. Should you use screw, you will require backward rotation. These ball movements are often seen in combination, and there are others I might mention. But I have said enough to make my point clear, which is that for the vast