Adjusting to the cloth

When playing under different conditions, get on with it and don't moan about the cloth. It is part of the game to be able to adapt to various conditions.

Cloth with a nice nap

This is the best cloth to play billiards on. The side will take and this makes shot such as long jennies much easier to play. Longer range shots that need check side or running side can be played from positions that would not be considered 'on'. To play well on this type of cloth you must have a good understanding of the nap .

Worn cloth

For the novice, these can be easier to play on because the cue ball does not turn so much when you impart side. However, because of this you will not be able to get the same effect on the cue ball; side will not take so much and it will be harder to screw or stun a ball. Often, these worn cloths are much faster than a new cloth and if the cushions are worn, they are liable to bounce.

Shaved cloths

These are the match cloths that are used for professional snooker tournaments. They are very responsive to screw and stun but the cue ball does not 'turn' when side is imparted; the cue ball will push off line as it is struck and will not come back to the standard path. Therefore, these cloths take some getting used to, to say the least. Furthermore, as side has a minimal effect on the nap, Long Jennies and similar shots that make use of the nap, are much more difficult.

Cloth Condition / Friction

If the cloth is damp or dirty, you will find that the conditions are less responsive to side and screw. If the cloth is damp, the friction between the ball and the cloth is increased, which means that any screw or side does not last as long. The same can be said when the cloth is dirty, again friction is increased.

The reason why polishing a ball makes it more responsive is the fact that this reduces the friction between the ball and the cloth, so the side and screw stays on for longer. For a bit of fun you can polish the cue-ball with some furniture polish and you will be amazed at how easily you can screw back. You should never polish balls and then play a game with them.