From the outside, all billiard balls look the same. But different materials have been used to make billiard balls over the years. There was a time when the balls were made from celluloid, which was a volatile inflammable material. With that being said, the quality and material of the balls impact the accuracy of your game. Even professional players often point out faulty balls as the main reason behind a shot going awry instead of the table. So let’s discuss what you should consider when it comes to selecting the right billiard balls.
Table of Contents
History of Billiard Balls
Back in the day, billiard balls were mostly made from stone. But with time wood and clay replaced stone due to the weight of the stone itself. It made the balls quite heavy that made it nearly impossible to pocket them. Then, it wasn’t until the 1600s when ivory billiard balls were introduced.
However, ivory billiard balls were both expensive and time-consuming. Neither could everyone afford them nor could they be prepared within a day. Since tusks were the main source of ivory, each tusk yielded 4 to 5 balls, which was another time-consuming factor.
There weren’t simply enough tusks to meet the demand. In addition to that, the balls had to be cured for years before they could be used. This was done to prevent them from cracking or chipping. Since elephant tusks differ, soon the difference in the quality of billiard balls was also observed. At the time, as the population of elephants declined, the need to use another material to make billiard balls was felt.
Today, if you are wondering, billiard balls are made from both plastic and resin. The material is both uniformly dense and moldable, it offers the perfect high-quality play for each game.
Important Factors in Billiard Ball Selection
When it comes to selecting the right billiard balls, there are three factors to consider. First is the manufacturer’s diameter tolerance. The diameter tolerance is basically what determines the perfectly round shape. While the ball is machine the ball’s diameter is set. Since high-quality balls are used at professional events, they are held at strict tolerance to prevent any variations or defects. These balls are the closest you can get to perfectly rounded balls.
Meanwhile, for lower quality balls the same quality standards are not followed. For these balls, the tolerance is set for the diameter. As a result, these balls are made to appear round but their shape might not be perfectly round after all. Since the quality is comparatively low, certain minor defects and shortcomings are accepted to save costs during manufacturing.
The second important factor is the density of the ball. If the density of a billiard ball is consistent, it will roll true and straight. This is because the ball is evenly distributed interms of the weight and as a result, it rolls effortlessly when the player strikes it. On the other hand, billiard balls with uneven density do not bank properly and play erratically as well. You will observe a zig-zag movement, which is exactly due to the same reason.
While playing, if you notice the ball rolling in an unusual way, you should check the balls instead of blaming the table each time. More often, it is also the uneven weight distribution that causes the most problems.
And the third factor tends to be elasticity. Elasticity is the energy that is transferred from the strike ball to the object balls. Ideally, if a ball is made the right way, it should transfer 100% of its energy to another ball. If you notice that the strike ball after striking another ball continues to travel evenly during a stop shot, there is a lack of elasticity. It can also be due to wear and tear but is most common with lower quality balls.
Billiard Balls Selection
Billiard balls depend on the type of game being played. Not every game utilizes the same number, size, and type of balls. This is why you need to pick the right balls for the right game.
For instance, Kaisa and Russian Pyramid use balls that are 68 mm in size. Additionally, the Russian Pyramid involves sixteen balls similar to the pool, but fifteen are white and numbered while the red is usually the cue ball. On the other hand, Kaisa utilizes five balls, which include two red object balls, a yellow object ball, and two white cue balls.
On the other hand, if you are playing Carom then the balls for this game are different as well. The Carom pool balls are 61.5 mm in size. The balls are offered as a set of two cue balls with one colored and an object ball.
Standard pool balls are of 57.15 mm. These balls are the most popular in the world and mostly used in pool competitions. Different racks are prepared for different games. For example, “Blackball” sets tend to be similar but consist of yellow and red balls instead of stripes and solids referred to as the “casino” style. At the same time, snooker balls are much similar to American-style pool balls with a diameter of 52.5 mm. English billiard balls tend to be of the same size but are offered in sets of three balls.
High-quality billiard balls are worth the investment. You can save costs by purchasing low-quality balls, but they will negatively influence the quality of your game. Moreover, you also run the risk of ripping the table cloth and damaging your sticks. Therefore, spend a bit more on balls that stand the test of time.