Angel is a pool enthusiast who has been playing at least four nights a week for the last three years. Her favorite game is 8 ball.
Gifts for Billiards Lovers
Whether someone you love is developing an interest in billiards that you'd like to foster, or they're a seasoned pro and you want to gift them with something that shows your respect and admiration for their craft, this guide is for you. Read on to discover the best gift ideas for the pool fanatic in your life!
What Are the Best Gifts for Pool Players?
- Cue tip tool
- Mini tabletop pool game
- Cue case
- Pool cue
- Magic Rack
- Training cue ball
- Cue shaft smoother
What does every pool player need? Ask any of us and we'll tell you—the answer is chalk. Good players know you should chalk up before pretty much every shot; therefore, it's something that we'll always need, and we'll really appreciate it if you buy some for us.
Aside from the house chalk at my local billiards bar, I like to use Predator chalk. I think it creates a longer-lasting coat than Master chalk, and I prefer its darker blue hue. I don't feel the need to chalk up as often when using the Predator brand.
The only real downside is that this chalk tends to get all over me. I almost immediately find that it's bled all over my left hand, filled the cracks between my fingers, and even dirtied the cue ball. However, I still find that its texture and quality are far superior to Master and other brands. I find myself miscuing far less often when I use my Predator chalk.
Some pool players are picky about the kind of chalk they use, so if the player you're buying for has a preferred brand, make sure you find out what it is before buying. However, I think any novice player would greatly appreciate the quality of Predator chalk, although it is a bit pricier than Master.
What's the deal with gloves and billiards? Wearing a glove virtually eliminates any friction from moving your cue back and forth on your bridge hand as you position your shot. My mom got me these CUESOUL gloves for my birthday last year and I fell in love with them!
Often, chalk and dirt from your hands build up on your cue stick and make it feel stickier to the touch. This makes it more difficult to aim and make shots, and results in more frequent miscues. Wearing a glove eliminates this problem.
The ones I bought are bright blue (my favorite color), but you can find gloves in pretty much any color you can imagine. For the most part, gloves designed for playing pool cover your thumb, forefinger, and middle finger while leaving your pinky and ring fingers free. The reason for this is that those three fingers are generally the only ones you use when forming the bridge used to hold the cue while aiming your shots.
When I got my glove, I cut the tips off of the fingers. I prefer to feel the felt with my fingers, and the slipperiness of the glove made me nervous about my fingers slipping on the table while holding my bridge in position. This is especially true when you are using a difficult bridge, such as when the cue ball is up against the object ball and you need to use an awkward, raised bridge. Snipping the tips off eliminated this concern for me.
3. Cue Tip Tool
I bought this Cuetec Bowtie 3-in-1 tool for myself a while ago, and my friends are always asking me to let them borrow it. It fits in your pocket and provides 3-in-1 cue-shaping action by enabling you to shape, scuff, and poke your cue tip into the shape you desire.
Why does a pool player need a cue tip tool? Well, if you play a lot, you'll notice a certain level of wear and tear on your tip. This tool can elongate its life by giving you the means to roughen the tip and increase its chalk-grabbing capabilities. It can also help you shape the tip on a new cue, or reshape a tip that's been compacted over time.
These or similar tools are essential for any intermediate or advanced pool player to have in their arsenal. I recommend checking out the video below for instructions on how to properly use the tool so as to not damage your tip.
4. Mini Tabletop Pool Game
This is more of a fun gift than something useful for a serious pool player. I bought myself the Mini Tabletop Pool Set on Amazon, and it's super cute! Obviously, it doesn't work in the same way as a real pool table, but it's fun to pull it out when I'm with friends and fellow pool enthusiasts. The set comes with a rack, brush, chalk (the quality of the chalk is terrible, but it isn't super useful during gameplay anyway), two cues, and 16 balls.
Skill on a seven-foot or nine-foot pool table does not equate to skill on this mini table, where the balls are essentially slightly larger than your average marble. I wouldn't try to make a bank or combo shot on it, either, as the rails are pretty dead and trying to use english is a waste of time due to the scale of the table, balls, and cue stick. But it is a fun and inexpensive gift idea that is sure to bring a smile to any pool player's face!
5. Cue Case
Is the pool player in your life carting their stick around without a case? Or perhaps their case is on its last legs, ragged and falling apart? If that's the case, you might want to look into buying them a new case.
There are tons of cases out there, and it can often be difficult for a pool player to pick out their own case, let alone for someone else to pick one for them! However, if you're willing to take a risk and buy a case as a gift, here are some tips that will help you pick out the best option.
Things to Consider When Purchasing a Cue Case
- What is their favorite color?
- How many cues do they have?
- What kind of accessories do they have/take with them while shooting?
I have four cue sticks, but I only carry two with me while playing (the cue I play with and the one I break with), so my case has slots for two butts and two shafts (the two elements of a two-piece pool cue). It's black (because it matches most of my clothing) and oval shaped.
Most players will likely only need a small case with room for one cue, but even then it's difficult to pick one out. There are hard cases, soft cases, leather cases, and box cases. A few well-known brand names are Action, Outlaw, Poison, and Predator. Or, perhaps the pool player you're buying for would prefer something more original, in which case you can purchase or request a custom-designed case on Etsy.
6. Pool Cue
Buying a cue as a gift is another tricky venture that must be handled delicately. Pool players can be quite finicky about their sticks, so it's best to know a bit about cues before you purchase one as a gift. Here are some things you might want to consider before buying someone a pool cue.
How much money are you looking to spend on a cue? In general, I wouldn't recommend purchasing one that's under $100, unless it's a starter cue for an absolute novice.
Professional cues can go for $500+, so you really need to think about how much you're willing to spend on a new stick for that special pool player in your life. What is their skill level? And, more importantly, what is your budget?
The cue's weight is very important, and the player's preferred weight is something you'll definitely need to know before buying them one. Cues typically start at 18 oz and go up to 21 oz in 1/2-oz intervals, with some exceptions. The cue stick's weight can typically be changed by removing the weight bolt inside of the butt (the bottom part of the pool cue). In general, novice players start out with a 19-oz or 20-oz cue.
Why does weight matter? The heavier the cue, the faster the speed of the object ball, and the slower the speed of the cue ball. If the cue stick is lighter, the cue ball moves faster. If the player is struggling with cue ball control, they may need a lighter stick, while if they struggle with drawing the cue ball (because it's sluggish), they may need a heavier one.
It's definitely a good idea to check in with the pool cue recipient before making your purchase, especially if they're a more advanced player. They'll have valuable insight into their own level of skill that will be invaluable in determining what kind of cue you should purchase for them.
3. Performance/Type of Cue
A novice player may not care as much about a cue stick's performance, but a more advanced player certainly will. Predator, McDermott, Katana, and other brand-name billiards companies produce low-deflection shafts, which reduce cue ball deviation when a player uses sidespin (english, or left or right spin on the cue ball to redefine its trajectory). An advanced player who uses english might greatly appreciate receiving a low-deflection shaft as a gift, as they can be expensive (in the $100-300 range for a shaft).
Is your pool-playing friend, well, kind of a shark? Then you might want to think about purchasing them a Sneaky Pete. If you've ever seen a house cue, then you know that they look pretty boring and most of them look pretty much the same. A Sneaky Pete is a two-piece cue that looks just like a house cue so that players can "hustle" unsuspecting bar patrons with their own sticks while pretending to use a house cue.
If they already have a playing cue, you might be interested in purchasing them a break cue. It's always a good idea to have separate cues for breaking and playing because the impact of breaking can compact the cue tip and wear it down over time. Break cues have a harder tip and stronger ferrules and are designed for breaking without damaging the tip or shaft of the cue.
So, the recipient of your pool-related gift already has all of the cues listed above. Well, what about a jump or masse cue? It's not impossible to make these kinds of trick shots with a regular cue, but having a specialized stick sure makes it easier. They tend to have harder tips and lighter weights than traditional cue sticks and are generally much shorter. Check out the video below to see Florian "Venom" Kohler, a record-winning trick shot artist and artistic billiards player, film a tutorial on the masse shot.
Now that you've determined what kind of cue stick you're going to get and how much you're willing to spend, it's time to think about style and aesthetics—think about what color, brand name, and material the gift receiver might enjoy.
There are many, many designs out there, from elegant burned-wood patterns to floral designs (like the Athena brand, which was specifically designed for female players). My break cue is a pretty 5280 with a mother-of-pearl inlay.
It all comes down to what the gift recipient likes, but I guarantee that a novice pool player with a passion for the game will appreciate any cue you give them!
7. Magic Rack
Want to rack like the pros? Then order a Magic Rack! When I started watching professional pool matches on YouTube, I was struck by the pros' use of a strange-looking triangle with tiny ridges. They meticulously placed the balls on the ridges and inside of the triangle, and it was a perfect rack and break every time. I was shocked to find out that I could order the very same product on Amazon for about $15!
I was stoked to order one for myself and, yes, it does deliver the promised perfect rack every time. The set I ordered comes with an 8-ball rack, as well as a 2-in-1 9-ball and 10-ball rack.
The bar where I usually play is pretty much exclusively designed for 8-ball play, and there's not a single 9-ball or 10-ball rack in sight. Plus, most bars or billiards halls come equipped with a wooden rack, which doesn't always give you the tightest rack. With the Magic Rack, you're guaranteed perfect results every time.
8. Training Cue Ball
A friend gifted me this pool cue training ball when I was first starting out. The red dots on its surface help you with aiming, and you can better see the effect of spin on the cue ball.
There are six red spots spread evenly around the ball's surface. I highly recommend getting one for yourself, or for a friend who's attempting to learn how to use english to control the cue ball. When the cue ball is plain white, it's quite difficult to see how quickly the ball is spinning, but with the training ball, you'll be astonished to see just how much spin you really put on the ball with that shot!
Warning: These balls are non-magnetic, which means you should not use them while playing on a coin-operated pool table unless the table is open.
9. Cue Shaft Smoother
I bought the Tiger Pool Cue Shaft Smoother and Burnisher on Amazon and I truly believe it's a stellar product. It's a small, double-sided sanding tool that smooths your shaft, allowing for a cleaner stroke. The rougher side cleans and smooths the shaft, removing chalk residue and dirt. The finer side allows you to fine-tune the smoothness of the shaft to your desired level. It's such a simple yet brilliant design.
Every time I remember to use it, my shaft feels brand new! Gearing up to make a shot is like running your fingers over a satin pillowcase. At under $15, I highly recommend this as a gift for any pool player who has their own cue(s).
I was gifted this Q-Claw pool cue holder by a friend and was really struck by its subtle usefulness. Most pool halls and billiards bars don't have designated areas for you to keep your cues (the one I go to has a few small ridges, big enough for one cue, every five feet or so).
This Claw enables you to keep all of your cues together in one place. Simply stick it on the edge of the bar, table, or ledge, and place your cues in between its ridges. Its weight and material give it enough gripping power to hold your cues in place.
This gift is best for a more seasoned player with multiple cues. I've seen them sold as two-cue, three-cue, or five-cue holders.
Other Gift Ideas for Pool Fanatics
Here are a few more ideas for the pool lover in your life:
- 8-ball or 9-ball keychain
- Billiards-related artwork, jewelry, phone case, or clothing
- Books on pool strategy
- Chalk holder
- Slip-on bridge
Here are a few more ideas for the pool player with their own table at home:
- Custom pool balls
- Personalized signs or artwork for their billiards room
- Cue stick wall mount
I hope you've found this billiards gift-giving guide useful! Feel free to add your pool-themed gift ideas in the comments below.
© 2018 Angel Jennings