Be a Good Sport

One of the first things many children learn about playing a game is not to gloat and make other players feel bad and not to complain when you lose. Those are the first rules of being a good sport. Those rules certainly apply to pool. Pool is not football — there are no jigs or “happy dances” when you pocket a ball or win the game. Of course, you can smile and be happy about it, but don't do it in such a way that will make your opponent feel bad.

A sign of good sportsmanship is to be honest. If you know you fouled and your opponent didn't see it, it's not fair game to try and sneak your way to the next pocket. To announce that you fouled and point out the foul to your opponent is admirable and it is a quality that will be respected in poolrooms, leagues, and during casual play. Pool is a dignified sport and should inspire the players to behave in a dignified manner.


Some of what you see in the movies is not appropriate behavior in the poolroom. Even though Tom Cruise looks super-cool when he flips his cue stick around with cocky confidence in The Color of Money, that is very “uncool” in the real world of pool. Cue flipping will make you look arrogant and goofy, not suave like Tom.

There are other rules of etiquette that you should follow — in general — and you may find that from pool hall to pool hall there are other little rules that are part of that particular pool culture. The more you play, the more you will become familiar with the etiquette of the game. All of these rules will eventually become second nature to you.

Here is a list of other rules to live by:

  • Don't walk away from the game without telling the other players where you are going.

  • When you are given a tray of pool balls at a pool hall, don't flip the tray over causing the balls to slam on the table. Take the balls out of the tray one at a time and place them quietly on the table.

  • Don't leave the cue sticks lying around on the floor where someone may trip over them.

Following these simple rules of pool hall etiquette will help you have a long and enjoyable journey ahead of you as you expand your pool-playing skills.

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