Long-time fans of pool may realize the different makes of the billiard balls set on the table. Often made phenolic resin or polyester, these billiard balls are made to withstand weeks or even months of hits. One such ball that stands out most, however, must be the cue ball. This unmistakable white ball is often covered in 6 red dots across the surface.
So, have you ever wondered – why do cue balls have red dots on its surface? Well, there’s more than just aesthetics to this. The red dots on a cue ball are mainly made to help players monitor the spin of the cue ball. For the professionals, this visual aid is how they can learn and improve their strokes, game after game.
The red dots – also known as the measles by the official manufacturer, Aramith, allows players to visualize the ball’s rotation following a stroke. Bearing this in mind, it’s important to note that most official cue balls will only feature 6 red dots across the surface. Some knockoffs have been known to feature 8 red dots and may not necessarily provide the same amount of visual assistance.
If you’re learning to play pool and hope to make it professionally, a cue ball with these red dots will help you master the various types of hits you can make. This is a great way for you to judge the effects of hits like the sidespin, backspin, and topspin during a game of pool.
What Are the Different Types of Cue Balls?
Before the cue balls with red dots came to be the official cue ball for professional pool games, there were a variety of cue balls that were put in play. Let’s look at some of the different types of cue balls that have been in use in pool historically.
- Blue Dot: The blue dot cue ball is also known to be the old-time cue ball. They are usually lighter than the other billiard balls, which can make your gameplay less than satisfactory due to the ball’s inability to hold a zing around the table.
- Blue Circle: Blue circle cue balls are a long-time favorite in billiard. They are usually supplied together with any original Brunswick Centennials sets. The blue circle cue balls are comparable to the official Red Circle cue balls that are used in professional games, as seen on TV and billiard tournaments.
- Red Dot: The red dot cue ball is a heavy-type cue ball that has mostly been discontinued after 1995. They are made to be an ounce heavier than most billiard balls, making it difficult for players to make perfect stop shots.
- Red Circle: The red circle cue ball (also known as the Aramith Red Circle cue ball) is the official cue ball that you will often see being used in most professional games on TV and various billiard tournaments. They feature 6 red dots across the surface of the ball and is a favorite among players due to the lightweight but sturdy construct.
Are All Cue Balls the Same?
Separately, it’s also worth noting that there are different sizes to cue balls, depending on the type of game you’re playing. While most games may use the standard cue balls that measure at 2 inches in diameters, this could change if you’re looking to try different billiard games. Here are some of the different sizes known to be used in various games.
- Standard cue ball: This is the most used cue ball. The standard cue ball regularly measures at 2 inches in diameters and must meet specifications such as weight, sturdiness, glossiness, and ball density to be accepted as the official cue ball.
- Snooker balls: Measuring at 2 and 1/6 diameters, snooker balls are often used for – as you would have guessed it, snooker games. They feature a different weight as the standard cue balls, hence cannot be used for professional billiard games.
- American cue balls: American cue balls usually measures at 2 and a quarter in diameters. While this may seem like the size of the standard cue ball, American cue balls often vary in weight, making them distinguishable from the standard cue ball used in tournaments and other games.
What Is the Best Cue Ball to Buy?
One of the best cue balls on the market is made by the company by the name of Aramith. Their top of the line balls are created with phenolic resin. All of their cue balls balls are manufactured and tested to the strictest calibration, sphericity, weight and diameter specifications in the world.
This strict testing allows for maximum longevity of their billiard balls. The Aramith Super Pro Cup Cue Ball, found on Amazon, is an excellent choice for a red dot cue ball.
Using a cue ball with red dots is a great way to visualize the way a cue ball spins. It’s very useful for improving your stroke as it can help you determine what part of the ball you are hitting.
Remember, not all cue balls are created equal. Depending on the type of game you are playing, the cue ball may be slightly smaller or larger. When searching for a new cue ball, be sure to double check the the balls diameter is what you are exactly needing.
Mastering pool can take years and years of hard work and perseverance. Using every tool to your advantage, like a cue ball with red dots, will help immensely with increasing your skill and accuracy.