Cue sports are games played with balls on a cloth-covered table that has rubber railings (called "cushions") around it to keep the balls on the table. Two or more people use sticks (called cues) to make one ball (the cue ball) hit other balls. In the past, all cue sports were called billiards, but that term has various different meanings in different areas.
There are different kinds of cue sports, including:
- Pool or pocket billiards, in which the goal is to use the cue ball to knock other balls into "pockets" (holes cut into the rubber cushions, so that the balls can drop down into nets or a collection tray). There are many different pool games, such as "eight-ball", "nine-ball", "cutthroat" and "killer". Pool is usually played with either nine or fifteen balls (besides the cue ball).
- Carom billiards, usually played with three balls, uses a table without pockets. The goal is to use the cue ball to hit one of the other two balls, then hit one or more of the cushions, and finally hit the second other ball. There are several different kinds of carom games, too; they are different mostly because of how many cushions must be hit.
- Snooker, which is similar to pool, is played on a large (6 foot wide by 12 foot long) table, with small balls and small pockets, making the game very challenging. Snooker also uses more balls than pool.