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A Guide to Pool Cue Types

Pool cue sticks are an essential piece of equipment for any pool enthusiast, and the variety of cues available is staggering. From standard playing cues to specialized jump, break, and carom cues, the options are seemingly endless.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the different types of pool cue sticks and fill up our imaginary pool cue case with one of each type. By the end, we’ll have a cue case filled with a diverse array of cues, ready for any situation on the pool table.

Standard Playing Cues

Let’s start with the most common type of pool cue stick, the standard playing cue. These cues are designed for general-purpose use, suitable for all types of shots. They usually feature a 12 to 13 mm cue tip and are made of various materials, including maple, ash, and more exotic woods. Some players might choose cues with carbon fiber or fiberglass shafts for added durability and unique hit characteristics.

Our first cue in the case is a standard playing cue, perfect for everyday use.

Breaking Cue Sticks 

Next, we have the break cue, specifically designed for the opening break shot. Break cues are typically heavier and more rigid than standard playing cues to deliver maximum power and force to the cue ball. They also feature a harder tip, often made from phenolic resin or a similar material, to withstand the high-impact nature of break shots.

Adding a break cue to our case ensures we have the right tool for powerful break shots.

Jumping Cue Sticks

Jump cues are designed for executing jump shots, where the cue ball is intentionally lifted off the table to clear obstructing object balls. These cues are shorter and lighter than standard playing cues, allowing for better control and a more comfortable grip during jump shots. The tip of a jump cue is also harder, often made from phenolic resin, to provide the necessary energy transfer for a successful jump.

Our cue case now includes a jump cue, ready for those tricky jump shots.

Jumping/  Breaking Combo Cues

A jump break cue is a hybrid cue that combines the features of both jump and break cues. These cues usually have a three-piece design, allowing you to remove the middle section to create a shorter jump cue or keep it assembled for break shots. Jump break cues offer flexibility and convenience, making them a popular choice for players who want a single cue for both purposes.

By adding a jump break cue to our case, we have a versatile option for both break and jump shots.

Sneaky Pete Sticks 

Sneaky Pete cues, also known as “hustler cues,” are designed to resemble a standard, one-piece house cue. However, they are actually two-piece cues with a hidden joint, offering the performance and feel of a high-quality custom cue. Sneaky Pete cues are often used by experienced players who want to disguise their skill level, giving the impression that they are using a less advanced cue.

Our cue case now has a sneaky addition, perfect for those undercover games.

Carom Pool Cues

Carom cues are specifically designed for carom billiards, a game that involves pocketless tables and focuses on cue ball control and precise shot-making. These cues have a thinner shaft and smaller tip, usually between 11 and 12 mm, allowing for better control and accuracy. Carom cues are also shorter and lighter than pool cues, providing a more delicate touch for carom games.

With a carom cue in our case, we’re ready to tackle the challenging world of carom billiards.

One-Piece Cues

One-piece cues are the simplest type of pool cue stick, made from a single piece of wood or other material. They are commonly found in pool halls and bars, offering a cost-effective option for casual play. One-piece cues lack the customization and performance features of two-piece cues but can be a reliable choice for beginners or recreational players.

Our cue case is unable to accomidate a one-piece pool cue, because a one-piece pool cue can’t be broken down into two smaller pieces. We’ll leave our one-piece cue on the pool table for now, and our remaining six cues can be stored safely in our cue case. 

Other Cue Considerations

In addition to the various types of pool cue sticks mentioned above, you may also encounter custom cues made by skilled craftsmen. These cues can feature unique materials, intricate inlays, and personalized specifications, tailored to the individual player’s preferences.

It’s also essential to consider cue accessories, such as cue tips, chalk, and shaft maintenance tools, to keep your cues in top condition.

Short Cues

Short cues, also known as “trouble” or “bar box” cues, are designed for use in tight spaces where a standard cue length would be difficult to maneuver. These cues are shorter, usually ranging from 36 to 48 inches in length, making them ideal for shots close to walls or other obstructions. Short cues are particularly useful in bars or game rooms with limited space, ensuring that players can still execute shots without sacrificing control or accuracy.

Final Cue Case Count

Now, our imaginary pool cue case contains eight different types of cues. To store all of these cues, we’ll need a cue case with the capacity to hold at least seven butts and seven shafts. A 7 x 7 or 8 x 8 cue case would be perfect, providing space for our standard playing cue, break cue, jump cue, jump break cue, sneaky Pete cue, carom cue, and our newly added short cue. There are even 20 x 20 cue cases, which are often used to transport large amounts of pool cues, to professional pool events or trade shows. 

With cue cue case fully stocked, we’re prepared for any situation that may arise on the pool table, from tight spaces to specialized shots. By understanding the various cue types and their uses, you can fill your cue case with a collection that suits your playing style and needs.