Pool Jargon List

This is a collection of various words and phrases that are common to pool, especially down in Florida where the list was originally compiled by Paul Moyland. Any additions, corrections, comments or contributions should now be sent to jewett@sfbilliards.com
See also the site Billiards Dictionary


action:  As in,  "At the Pool Room,  there's action around the
	clock".  Action is another word for gambling.

around the world:  A common way to keep track of games won when
	playing for small money is to use a coin that is placed
	under the rail next to the diamonds on the rail.  The
	center diamond at the head of the table is taken as zero,
	and each diamond from that is considered to be one game. 
	To go 'around the world' is to beat your opponent so
	badly that the coin travels all the way around the
	diamonds on the table. 

bad hit:  To fail to make a legal shot.

ball in hand:  A rule that when one player commits a foul or scratch, 
	his opponent can place the cueball anywhere on the table,
	and start shooting from that point.

barrels:  As in,  "I have ten barrels at $20 a game".  A barrel is
	how much money per game a player is betting.  

firing/shooting air barrels:  As in,  "That s.o.b. can't pay up,  he
	was shooting air barrels the whole time".  Refers to
	a person gambling when he has no money. 

clean:  As in,  "Shots on the eight must go clean".  This means that
	when shooting the eight,  it has to go into the pocket without
	contacting any other balls.  This is a common bar rule, but not
	included in any official rule set.

(to) clock: To carefully note the abilities or betting inclinations
	of other players for future reference.

a dime:  As in,  "We were betting a dime a set.".  One thousand dollars.

dog the nine:  In nineball,  to have a simple shot on the nine,  but to 
	miss it due to the pressure.  Can apply to missing any shot,
	as in "Joe dogged it".

even up:  As in,  "Let's even up".  To pay whatever money is owed to 
 	the winner before continuing.

freeze up the money:  Same as 'money in the rack'.

front runner:  As in,  "Joe is a strong front runner".  Refers to
	a player's ability to win a race when he is already ahead
	by a few games

frozen:  For a ball to be touching the rail or another ball.

get in gear:  To play at one's highest level.  Sometimes heard in the 
	form 'high gear'.

go off:  As in,  "Joe could go off at any time".   To start playing for
	small money,  and after losing at that, to raise the stakes 
	and keep losing until one is broke.

hanging in the pocket:  Describes a ball that is right in front of
	the pocket.

hold your man:  Refers to when a player in a ring game misses and
	leaves no shot for the next player.

hook(ed):  As in,  "Joe is known as Captain Hook".  Whenever
	one of the players shoots and misses, but by luck or
	design leaves his opponent no shot.  Often used without the
	connotation of luck.

horse: A player who is playing for another's bet, either by
	mutual agreement or as the result of a calcutta.

house rules:  Many pool halls/bars have their own twists on the standard
	rules to the game.  Find out what they might be before you
	start to play.  The convention is that when you play in
	someone else's pool room,  you are playing by their rules.

house win:  When two players break even,  and the only money to change
	hands is that given to pay for table time.

hustle:  As in, "Joe has a good hustle going".   This means misleading
	others about your true ability and taking advantage of it 
	by gambling with them and others.  Also refers to cheating
	in general.  

in jail: As in, "I put him in jail".
	Without a shot; safe.

(to) jack up:  As in,  "When shooting over another ball,  you have to jack
	up your cue".  Refers to elevating the butt of the cue
	higher than one normally does to shoot.

jawed:	When the object ball bounces between the two tits of a pocket and
	fails to fall into the pocket--as in "Frank just got Jawed".

kick shot:  Where one shoots the cue ball into one or more rails before
	it contacts the object ball.

last two:  A spot at nine ball in which
	the spottee wins if he pockets the ball before the nine ball.
	Different from "the wild eight" in that if the eight is sunk early,
	it is not special, and the seven is promoted.

(to) lemonade: To intentionally play below ones speed.  Also, to go on the lemon.
	See "stall"

liking it:  As in,  "Joe beat him out of $300,  and his opponent was
	liking it so much he wants to play Joe some more!".
	To believe that one has real winning chances,  even when
	one is losing.  

(a) lock:  As in "this game is a lock for Joe".  This means that
	he has no chance of losing.  The result is "a robbery."

lock/handcuff artist:  Someone that will only gamble when he is
	sure he will win.

money ball:  The ball,  that when pocketed,  wins the game.

(put the) money in the rack:  When playing for a significant amount of
	money, having the players put the money on a table to 1)
	show that they have it, and 2) keep the loser from running
	out the door without paying.  Also, "to post the money."

nit: Player or side-better not willing to bet high enough
	in the eyes of the accusor.  Often, anyone who is unwilling to
	take any chance with money.  "He's such a nit, he wouldn't
	bet that water's wet."

(the) nuts:  As in, "Joe has the nuts".  The player who has 'the nuts'
	is  heavily favored to win.  Sometimes heard as 
	'the Brazilian nuts',  'the Brazilians',  or 'the stone
	cold nuts'.  Basically means a sure thing.  If it is 
	really bad,  you might hear 'the stone cold Brazilian
	nuts',  but that is overdoing it a bit. 

On the hill:  A player is said to be 'on the hill' when he needs to
	win just one more game to win the set.   Sometimes
	expressed as 'hill-hill' or 'double-hill' if both players
	need just one more win to claim the set.   If you win
	the set you have managed to get 'over the hill'.

on the side: As in,  "I will bet you $50 on the side".  A bet made by a
	bystander with one of the players in a match.

put/turn on the heat/torch:  When a player begins to beat his opponent 
	very badly.

race to:  As in,  "A race to seven games",  or just "A race to 
	seven".  The first player to win seven games wins.  Means
	the same as "a match to seven games".		

rat in:  As in,  "Joe rat in the nine-ball". To make a ball by luck.  
	Typically said of shooting a ball for a given pocket,  
	and having it fall in some other pocket.  To 'shit in' a 
	ball means the same thing.  Commonly said in nine-ball.

ring game:  A nineball game played by more than two players.  The
	players shoot in some fixed order,  with winner breaks.
	There is no playing safe in this game.  Always played for

road player:  As in, "Buddy Hall is the best road player ever".
	A pool player that travels around and makes his living
	gambling at the game.  Same as a `road warrior'.

roll:  As in,  "Joe got a bad roll".  Refers to when the player 
	shooting has something unlucky happen to him.  

rolling the cheese:  To either another ball into the nine-ball,  or carom
	into the nine-ball,  in the hopes that it will find a 
	pocket.  Also known as 'riding the nine'.

run out:  To break and shoot in all the balls without giving your
	opponent a chance to shoot.

(make a) score:  To win a large amount of money.

(to) sell out:  To leave a good shot for the next player.

session:  A session consists of one or more sets.  Typically,  a
	session is over when someone is broke,  or when both players
	decide they need to get some sleep.  A session can last
	for a couple of days non-stop.    

set:  As in,  "They are playing a set for $300".  A set consists
	of a predetermined number of games or race(s) that are played
	for a fixed amount of money.  

(to) shark:  As in,  "He sharked me!".  To shark someone is to distract
	them while they are in the act of shooting.

shortstop: A second-rank player who will beat most or all of the
	local room players but who will need weight from a touring pro.

six-ahead:  Whoever wins six games more than the other player
	wins the set.  Also 'Five-Ahead', 'Seven-ahead',
	'Nine-ahead',  etc...  If you are playing 'six ahead' for
	$30 it is the same as playing   for $5 a game and
	'locking in' at least a 6 game swing before you pay.

speed:  As in, "Joe and Fred have the same speed".  Refers to how
	well a person plays the game.  'Top speed'  refers to the
	best that person can play.

spot (noun and verb): A handicap or to give a handicap.
	In nine ball, the weaker player may need to win fewer games to win a
	set, or may win if he pockets the eight ball, or seven, etc.  More
	exotic spots include playing wrong-handed or one-handed.  See also:

stake horse:  A person with money who backs a player who has
	no money or no willingness to bet his own money.  See "horse"

stall:  As in "Joe get off the stall, I know you're a better player
	than this."   The person is playing below his ability in 
	order to obtain a more favorable match at a later time.   
	Hiding your true skill.

straight up:  As in,  "Let's play straight up."  To play a match where
	there is no handicap.

sweating the action:  As in,  "People were sweating the action all
	over the room".  Refers to people other than the
	players betting on the game. 

the table's wet:  A table where the balls are moving slower than usual
	due to high humidity ( a Florida specialty ).

ten-game $500-freeze-out:  To play for $50 a game,  but to fix it so
	that one of the players has to lose $500.  

tip-tapper:  As in,  "It's a tip-tapper!".  Describes a shot where one
	has a chance to miscue.  Usually heard in reference to long
	draw shots.  Comes from the tool ( a tip tapper ) used to
	scuff the tip of a cue so that it will hold chalk.

the tit:  As in, "the ball ran straight into the tit".   The 'tit'
	is used to refer to the corner of the side pocket on pocket
	billiards tables.   Many shots meant for the side and even
	rail shots that have to pass by the side end up hitting
	the side 'tittie',  usually causing a miss.

tournament tough:  a player who during the course of a tournament  does
	not lose focus.  Typically said of those players that
	regularly make it to the finals of a tournament. 

weight:  As in,  "You're a champion.  To play you,  I need some
	weight".  Basically, a mutually agreed upon modification
	to the game so that players of disparate skill levels can
	compete against each other in a meaningful way.  For
	example,  if you are playing someone much worse than you
	at nineball,  you can make it so that if they make the
	eight-ball,  they win.  One can either 'give weight' or
	'get weight'.

whitey: The cue ball.  Also, "the rock."

wild: At nine ball, a "wild eight" is a handicap
	such that the weaker player wins if he pockets the eight
	ball at any time.  This is a large spot between weak
	players, but not much of a spot between champions. 
	This spot can be extended to more or lower balls, such as 
	the wild five and seven.

(on the) wire:  As in,  "Joe got two games on the wire in a race to nine".
	A form of handicapping where the player getting games
	'on the wire' has to win fewer games than his opponent.
	In the example cited,  Joe only needs to win seven games,
	while his opponent needs to win nine.  Sometimes referred
	to as "across the strings",  from the markers on a string
	that are used to keep score.


Thanks to: ortl@kimbark.uchicago.edu (Head Junkie)
and moyland@uful07.phys.ufl.edu (Paul Moyland)

Other terms not yet included:
dump (to throw a game, also double dump, triple dump)
business (arrangements to throw a game)
saver (agreement between two players to split prize monies)