Spotting and Lining Your Billiard Table
Depending on what game you play and the size of your table, you are going to have lines and spots on different places. Marking your table for snooker play will allow you to play both pool and snooker. If pool is the only game you currently play, we recommend that you only mark your table for pool, as the markings for snooker may be added later.
To mark your table you will need spots, a felt tip permanent marker, a tape measure, long straight edge and either a piece of chalkboard chalk or chalk string.
Spots come in two types; small ½ inch black spots, and large 1 ¼ inch black with a white dot. The smaller spots are recommended for spotting a table for snooker, while the larger master spots are best for marking for pool. The reason we use smaller spots for snooker is because there are many more spots, six in total, while pool requires only one. Spots are easily adhered, simply wet the back of the spot (the shiny side), just like the postage stamps of old, and press firmly into the cloth on the position you desire.
The permanent felt tip marker is used to mark the baulk line in both pool and snooker, and the “D” in snooker. A good way to be sure you are marking the cloth correctly is to use chalk to mark a guideline first, before using a permanent marker. Remember that billiard cloth is expensive to replace, and it is always best to measure at least twice before marking your table.
The first step is to find the centre line of the table. Measure across the width of the table from the front of the cushions and mark the centre of the table with a piece of chalk. Repeat this process on the other end of the pool table and then “Snap” a chalk line from one mark to the other thus marking a line down the centre of the table.
Next we should measure for the lines needed on your table. To measure the baulk line, used in both pool and snooker, we should measure from the tip of the rail at the top or the head of the table (the end you break from). Depending on the size of your table, this measurement will differ. A 4 x 8 table will have a baulk line that is 19 3/8 inches from the tip of the head rail while a 4 ½ x 9 table will have the line 21 ¾ inches away.
The other line, the “D”, is only used in snooker. To accomplish marking the “D”, find the center of the baulk line. Make a mark 7 ½ inches down-table on the centre line from the bulk line with a piece of chalk. Next, tie a length of string to your marker. Place the unattached end of the string at the center point of the baulk line, placing your finger firmly on top of it to prevent slipping. Pull the string tightly so it is on the 7 ½” mark you made, and then starting from the baulk line, and going towards the head of the table, drag the marker until you reach the other side of the baulk line. You should now have a semi-circle on the baulk line, facing the head of the billiard table. This should be tried with a piece of chalkboard chalk a few times, until you are absolutely sure that you will have the desired result. If you are unsure, it is highly recommended that you should have a professional mark your table for you. Remember, billiard cloth is expensive to replace.
After having all the appropriate lines on your table, spotting your table should be relatively easy. If you are spotting for pool, the Apex spot is the only spot required. This spot marks where the triangle will be placed, when racking up the balls prior to a break. The Apex spot is half way between the tip of the foot rail and the center spot, and of equal distance from either side rail. This is 22 inches the foot rail on 4 x 8 billiard tables. This spot is also required in snooker. All other spots on the table are required only for snooker.
The Pyramid Spot marks the pink ball in snooker. It should be 23 inches from the foot rail and centered on either side. It is important to note that when the pink ball is spotted it should not touch the head ball in the triangle after the balls have been racked.
The Spot marks the black ball in a snooker game, and can be used in pool to spot scratched balls in a push or pull game, but is not necessary. This is measured to be 8 ¾ inches from the tip of bottom or foot rail, and should be of equal distance from either side rail.
The Center Spot marks the blue ball and is in the direct center of the table, 44 inches from either the head or the foot rail, on 4 x 8 billiard tables.
The next three spots are on the baulk line. Two are at the intersections of the “D” and the baulk line, and the last is at the center of the baulk line.
Now your table is spotted and lined and you’re ready to play. While marking your table it is important that you measure at least twice before you mark, and it is a good idea to mark with chalk first as a guideline. If you are not sure about what you are doing, allow a professional to accept the responsibility for you. It will cost you much less to have someone experienced to mark your billiard table, than it would to recloth your table.