Top of the Table Game: The Secret of Championship Billiards by John Roberts - Read Online
Top of the Table Game
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Top of the Table Game: The Secret of Championship Billiards by John Roberts, includes bonus chapters: Flukes, and Christmas Games and Strokes on the Billiard-Table. In this book you will learn how to play a winning game of English billiards. English billiards, called simply billiards in Great Britain, is a cue sport for two players or teams. Two cue balls (originally both white and one marked with a black dot, but more recently one white, one yellow) and a red object ball are used. Each player or team uses a different cue ball. It is played on a billiards table with the same dimensions as a snooker table and points are scored for cannons and pocketing the balls. English billiards has also, but less frequently, been referred to as "the English game", "the all-in game" and (formerly) "the common game". John Roberts Jr. (15 August 1847 – 23 December 1919) was a dominant Welsh professional player of English billiards. He was also a notable manufacturer of billiards cues and tables, and promoter of the sport.
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ISBN: 9781365725128
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Top of the Table Game: The Secret of Championship Billiards

By

John Roberts

Retired Champion of Billiards

Copyright © Richard Craft

Bibliographical Note:

This edition of Top of the Table Game: The Secret of Championship Billiards is an edited compilation of articles on billiards by John Roberts first published in The Strand Magazine in the June 1910 issue.

English billiards

English billiards, called simply billiards in Great Britain, where it originated, and in many former British colonies, is a cue sport for two players or teams. Two cue balls (originally both white and one marked with a black dot, but more recently one white, one yellow) and a red object ball are used. Each player or team uses a different cue ball. It is played on a billiards table with the same dimensions as a snooker table and points are scored for cannons and pocketing the balls. English billiards has also, but less frequently, been referred to as the English game, the all-in game and (formerly) the common game.

THE SECRET OF CHAMPIONSHIP BILLIARDS

THE degree of difference between championship billiards and that which can only be described as good is something akin to the distinction between genius and ability.  This distinction is a sealed book to the vast majority of those who watch first-class billiards, and I hope my book will be the means of enabling thousands of ordinary spectators to appreciate to the full the real champagne of billiards; to understand something of what is passing through the mind of the master cueist when he is at the table in earnest quest of points during a keen struggle for the premier honors of the game.

Such a player—and by such I mean one of the select few who are entitled to aspire to championship honors—must plan the whole strategy of his game on lines in harmony with his manipulative skills. He must have one dominant idea pervading his game from beginning to end, and must control the balls in accordance with his grand plan as surely and as scientifically as a general maneuvers his troops. Individual strokes of every type can be dealt with as they are presented by the fortune of the game, but at every opportunity the really great player tries to materialize his set plan of action—to give effect to the general idea which underlies the game of billiards as he plays it. Years ago the spot stroke was the one thing all the finest exponents tried their best to exploit to the last point, and to obtain the coveted position near the spot was then the billiard idea. But the spot stroke was killed by the dismal monotony of its own wearisome repetition. It was deadly enough as a game-winning agency pure and simple; but, as it was equally deadly to the best interests of the finest billiards, it had to be barred.

Note: a spot stroke is a type of nurse shot typically seen in English billiards, during which the red ball, which must be spotted to a specific location after every time it is potted before another shot is taken, is potted in such as way as to leave the cue-ball in position to repeat the same shot. The benefit of the spot stroke is that when it is done correctly, it permits a skilled player to rack up many points in a single break via a series of shots in one visit.

Then the top of the table game came into being, and as I am fairly claim to have originated this phase of billiards, I have ventured upon the difficult task of explaining to the uninitiated the most advanced side of billiards; namely, the means whereby the top of the table position can be obtained from varied groupings of the balls. This is the real secret of championship billiards. Once well set at the top, there are quite a number of good players who may reasonably be expected to keep the marker busy for a useful length of time. But I refer to a vary select company when I write of those who are skillful enough to attain the top of the table position in a variety of ways never