How Billiards Etiquette Compares to That of Other Strategic Games

Generically categorized under “cue sports”, billiards is a gentleman’s game developed in the 19th century. The game is played with a cue stick and the players must move balls strategically around a felt-covered table. Although people tend to assume that billiards is synonymous with the game of “pool,” a carom billiards table, for example, does not contain pockets for balls to drop into. Rather, the objective is to strike the opponent’s ball using your cue ball.

Fast forward many years later from its birth and the game is a popular choice of entertainment for many with even mobile application equivalents available. Regardless of the type of cue sport you choose to play – whether it be English billiards, pool, in-person, or online – one fact remains: these games are strategic competitions in which players behave in specific unspoken ways in order to succeed.

Etiquette matters when it comes to strategic games because everyone needs to be on the same page. Participants must not only learn how to play the games, but also the way in which to behave while playing. Billiards comes with its own set of etiquette rules that every player must be aware of. Interestingly, the etiquette of billiards is similar to other classic strategy games such as poker and chess; let’s take a look at how.

Like many sports and games, there are a specific set of rules that must be followed by all players for a fair game 


Whether you are new to billiards or have been playing for many years, there’s no denying that the game requires a certain amount of skill, background knowledge, and strategy. There are some huge parallels when it comes to poker etiquette and that of billiards. For example, as billiards and poker are each games that rely on the actions and moves of other people, it is vital that everyone at the table pay attention closely. One missed moment can be a potential loss for everyone, so eyes need to be fixed on the game at all times.

In addition to this, respect for opponents must come first and foremost. In billiards it is especially important to give a person space for their shot and not overcrowd them. Just like in poker, the players at the table should never feel like they are being infringed upon, as this is a common cause of angle shooting.

Along the same lines as showing respect, it’s advisable to remain silent during shots in billiards as noise can cause distractions, delays, and even disrupt performance. Likewise, speaking out inappropriately during a round of poker can cause more than one problem at the table. When it comes to respecting the table itself, drinks should be kept off both surfaces as felt material can be easily damaged if it is not taken care of.


Like billiards and poker, chess is a game that requires absolute concentration and silence; even the smallest disturbance can affect gameplay in a negative way. When it comes to both billiards and chess, one commonality in etiquette is to never rush your opponent when it’s their move. Exclaiming “your turn, go, move!” or anything similar can be greatly disrespectful and interrupt the overall flow of the game. Also, in both strategy games you should never ask for advice from your opponent (s).  In billiards for example, asking someone what they think is the best positioning for a cue ball is extremely bad etiquette. Likewise, in chess, asking for unsolicited advice is not advisable.

As poker and billiards players must respect their opponents’ game space and personal space, chess players must as well. Although the game only consists of two opponents, touching the other player’s pieces during a tournament or match is only done when removing winning pieces. However, removing a queen by knocking it over harshly is a sign of disrespect and should never be done. Similarly, moving your opponent’s balls in billiards can result in a player’s dismissal. The bottom line: be respectful and kind, always bearing appropriate gaming etiquette in mind.

The earliest forms of chess are said to have originated in the 6th century, although modern etiquette concerning the game is continually evolving