Call it pool, snooker, billiards – the idea is to put the ball in the pocket and it’s still a popular game after decades of being played.
Most of the history of the game is clouded by cigarette and cigar smoke in a low roof building populated by shady characters. The landscape has changed quite a bit.
“It’s a very social sport, you’ll meet lots of people, you’ll have lots of friends,” said Lorne Brooks, co-owner of the Corner Pocket pool hall in Red Deer.
He’s been around the game since his early teens when he helped clean tables, rack balls and other odd jobs.
The original game was snooker, played on a six by 12-ft. table with 15 red balls and then six other coloured balls.
The object is to sink a red followed by one of the other balls.
“Until all the reds are gone, then you shoot the colours down in order of yellow, green, brown, blue, pink and black.”
One of the more popular games is eight ball or solids and stripes, played on the smaller table, with the eight ball being the last to go down.
Nine ball is another game gaining in popularity and the rules there are to sink the nine after dropping the rest in order but you can use one of the other eight to knock in the nine, ending the game earlier.
“As long as you hit the lower numbered ball first and you make the nine you win the game,” he said.
There are some high school students who chalk up a cue as part of their rec. ed class. Brooks says not every kid is a football player or basketball player so this gives them something to do outside of studies.
“They all look forward to coming. They all have a good time,” he said.
There has been a suggestion for the game to become an Olympic competition and Brooks says we would do quite well on that stage. Some very good players come out of Canada, including former Canadian and World champion Cliff Thorburn, he said.
One thing preventing this from happening is different leagues have house rules with each of the games.
In order for that to happen all these leagues are going to have to come to some kind of agreement on common rules, he said.