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Bilyard Master: Learn How to Play 8 Ball and Straight Pool Like a Pro

Bilyard: A Fun and Challenging Cue Sport

If you are looking for a new way to enjoy cue sports, you might want to try bilyard. Bilyard is a game that is similar to billiards, but with some key differences. In this article, we will explain what bilyard is, how it is played, and why it is a great hobby for anyone who loves skill and strategy.


What is bilyard and how is it different from pool and snooker?

Bilyard is a game that is played on a pocketless table with three balls: one red, one yellow, and one white. Each player has their own cue ball (either yellow or white) and tries to score points by hitting the other balls with their cue ball. Unlike pool or snooker, there are no fixed rules for how to arrange the balls on the table or which ball to hit first. The players can choose their own shots and strategies.

The main difference between bilyard and other cue sports is that bilyard does not involve sinking balls into pockets. Instead, the players score points by making different types of shots, such as cannons (hitting both the red ball and the opponent's cue ball), pots (hitting the red ball into a cushion), or in-offs (hitting the opponent's cue ball into a cushion). Bilyard requires more precision and creativity than pool or snooker, as the players have to use angles, spin, and speed to make their shots.

What are the benefits of playing bilyard?

Besides being fun and entertaining, playing bilyard can also have many benefits for your physical and mental health. Some of these benefits are:

  • It improves your hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.

  • It enhances your concentration and focus.

  • It develops your problem-solving and decision-making abilities.

  • It reduces your stress and anxiety levels.

  • It boosts your self-confidence and self-esteem.

Playing bilyard can also help you socialize with other people who share your interest in the game. You can join a club, a league, or a tournament and meet new friends who can challenge you and teach you new skills. You can also play bilyard with your family or friends as a way to bond and have fun together.

History of bilyard

The origin of bilyard is not very clear, but it is believed that it evolved from a lawn game similar to croquet that was played in northern Europe in the 15th century. The game moved indoors to a wooden table covered with green cloth to simulate grass. The players used wooden sticks called maces to push the balls around. The word "billiard" comes from either "billart", one of the names for the mace, or "bille", the French word for ball.

The game became more popular and refined over time, especially in France, where it was played by royalty and nobility. The mace was replaced by a cue, a thinner stick with a leather tip, which allowed more control and accuracy. The table was also improved with cushions, rails, and pockets. The game spread to other countries and regions, such as England, Spain, Italy, and the Americas. Different variations of the game emerged, such as carom billiards, English billiards, pool, and snooker.

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Bilyard is one of the oldest forms of billiards, and it is still widely played in many parts of the world, especially in Europe and Asia. Some of the most famous bilyard players are Raymond Ceulemans from Belgium, who won 35 world championships in carom billiards, Torbjörn Blomdahl from Sweden, who won six world championships in three-cushion billiards, and Semih Saygıner from Turkey, who is known for his artistic and trick shots. Some of the most prestigious bilyard tournaments are the World Cup of Carom Billiards, the World Championship of Three-Cushion Billiards, and the UMB World Three-Cushion Championship.

Equipment of bilyard

To play bilyard, you need some basic equipment that can vary depending on the type of bilyard you play. Here is a list of the most common equipment:




A rectangular wooden table covered with cloth (usually green or blue) and surrounded by cushions. The size of the table can range from 7 to 12 feet long and 3.5 to 6 feet wide. The table has no pockets.


Three balls: one red, one yellow, and one white. The balls are made of phenolic resin and have a diameter of 2.42 inches. The balls weigh between 7.23 and 7.75 ounces.


A wooden stick with a leather tip that is used to strike the cue ball. The cue can be one-piece or two-piece and can have different lengths, weights, and shapes. The cue tip can also have different sizes, shapes, and hardness.


A substance that is applied to the cue tip to increase friction and prevent miscues. The chalk can have different colors, such as blue, green, or red.

Cue tip

A tool that is used to shape and maintain the cue tip. The cue tip can be scuffed, poked, or burnished with different devices.

Other accessories

Some optional items that can enhance the game experience, such as gloves, bridges, racks, scoreboards, cue cases, etc.

Rules of bilyard

The rules of bilyard can vary depending on the type of bilyard you play, but here are some general rules that apply to most variations:

  • The game is played by two players or two teams of two players each.

  • Each player has their own cue ball (either yellow or white) and tries to score points by hitting the other balls with their cue ball.

  • The game starts with the balls placed randomly on the table. The players decide who goes first by a coin toss, a lag, or another method.

  • The player who goes first must hit the red ball with their cue ball. If they fail to do so, they lose their turn and the opponent can place the cue ball anywhere on the table.

  • After the first shot, the players can hit any ball with their cue ball, as long as they score a point.

  • The players score points by making different types of shots, such as cannons, pots, or in-offs. The number of points depends on the type of shot and the type of bilyard. For example, in three-cushion billiards, a cannon is worth one point, a pot is worth two points, and an in-off is worth three points.

  • The players take turns until one of them reaches a predetermined number of points or a time limit expires. The player with the most points at the end of the game wins.

  • If the game ends in a tie, the players can play a tie-breaker or share the victory.

  • If a player commits a foul, such as touching a ball with their hand, moving a ball accidentally, or making an illegal shot, they lose their turn and the opponent can place the cue ball anywhere on the table. Some fouls may also result in a penalty of points or balls.

  • Different variations of bilyard may have different rules for how to arrange the balls, how to score points, and how to deal with fouls. Some common variations are straight rail, balkline, cushion caroms, three-cushion billiards, four-ball billiards, and artistic billiards.

Tips for playing bilyard

Bilyard is a game that requires skill, strategy, and practice. Here are some tips that can help you improve your game and enjoy it more:

  • Improve your stance, stroke, and aim. You should stand in a balanced and comfortable position, with your feet shoulder-width apart and your dominant foot slightly forward. You should hold your cue in a relaxed and firm grip, with your forearm perpendicular to the floor. You should aim your cue at the point where you want to hit the cue ball, and follow through smoothly and consistently.

  • Use the diamonds and cushions to make shots. The diamonds are the small markings on the rails of the table that can help you measure angles and distances. The cushions are the padded edges of the table that can help you bounce your cue ball off them. You can use these features to make shots that would otherwise be impossible or difficult.

Practice and learn from others. You can improve your game by practicing regularly and trying different shots and situations. You can also learn from other players who are more experienced or skilled than you.


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