How to Learn The Game Of Pool Without A Pool Table
I began playing pool in my mid-teen years, as best I can recall. There was a Community Gym in our town, and they had some pay-tables. Whenever I could scratch up a few quarters, I would grab one of my buddies or one of my brothers, and go there to play. Then one of my older brothers got married and bought his own house. One of the first things he did was to get a pool table for his basement. I recall that the basement was quite small (as was the whole house!), and the pool table was in an area that was sufficiently long, but not sufficiently wide. The walls were only about two feet from either side of the table, which often made it difficult to make shots from the sides.
Things You’ll Need:
- PC with Internet connection
- Membership to Yahoo! Games (free)
- Good eyesight!
- Straight-edge (cheat gadget)
For fun or competition?
We struggled the best we could, and eventually I crafted a special “shorty-stick” which we would use on shots made from the sides of the table. Not a very great way to learn the game, but we had fun anyway!
Realizing the need to understand the math:
My older brother was quite mathematically inclined, and he was always right on top of the geometry and physics of how pool works. I, on the other hand, was not all that fond of math, nor did I really understand the physics and technical forces at work, so I often bungled my shots, but again, we had fun anyway!
Then, of course, I grew up and moved away to start a career and family. My brother’s pool table became more of a joke than anything else, and my pool pastime was put on hold for a number of years. Once in a while I would go to a Billiards Parlor with a friend or two, but those were more social than competitive, and still I did not really understand (or care, I guess!) the physics, or how to use English (spin) to control shots or position for upcoming shots.
Enter the computer and Internet age:
I was told by my older brother (yeah, the one who had the funky pool room in his basement) that Yahoo! had an online Pool Room where one could play pool with other players from around the world! The Yahoo! Pool membership was free, so I joined. At first, it was quite intimidating, just trying to learn how the game worked was frustrating sometimes. And, try as I might, I seemed to flub many shots there, too!
Learning the physics and geometry:
After a while, I began to learn more and more about how English affects shots, and how the cue ball will react with certain English applied; not only on the shot being made, but after the cue ball strikes the object ball, and where the cue ball will end up. The more I played, the more confident I became with my skills as a pool shark! I learned how to play fairly accurate position, and how to “throw” object balls using English; and how to bank balls using English; and much more! Now, after playing online at Yahoo! Pool for some time, I have become quite skilled at their game! I have learned what English does, and I have learned how to use it quite effectively.
Putting the math to the test:
I have not played on a real table in quite some time, and I have no idea if I could apply what I have learned at Yahoo! on a real table. Yahoo! does a great job at making their pool game work like the real thing, so I am confident I could play the real game with a lot more insight than I once had! Thanks, Yahoo!
Tips & Warnings
- Join Yahoo! Games site. Membership is free, unless you want to become an “all-star” member. See link below.
- Yahoo! Pool can be very addictive!
- Be sure to stop for food, water and other survival needs.
- See also my article about Winning at Yahoo! Pool .