For those of us not blessed with a table in our home, there are many places to play pool if you are interested in learning the game or are already an experienced player. Many towns now have public pool halls where tables are rented out hourly. These businesses will be listed in phone books or you may find them online.
The public pool hall does seem to carry a stigma with it somewhat in comparison to that of tattoo parlors. The initial thought is of a smoky, dimly lit room with “shady” characters. That is not at all the case. There are many pool halls that are non-smoking, very clean and a pleasure to play in. You will have to seek out a few and see what environment you would like to play in. Many pool halls are now set up for the family. Some have arcades on one side, and pool tables on the other, most often connected by a place to sit and eat. You will usually have access to a bar, so choose wisely if you are bringing children along.
Most bars also have pool tables. Though there are not as many as you would find in a pool hall, it is still an opportunity to play. Most times, bar room pool tables are of lower quality. If you are looking to practice certain techniques, I would suggest not to play on a bar room table. On the other hand, if you just want a friendly game, go for it. You should know ahead of time that bar pool tables are primarily coin operated. This wouold mean once a ball enters a pocket, it cannot be retrieved. The only ball you will have continuous access to will be the cue ball.
Many towns and cities also have pool and billiard leagues available for both men and women. It’s best to ask around and get to know the various places in which you can play. Most leagues will have tournament style play as well as some trick shooting competitions. Even if you are not looking to join a league, it is still a great place to go watch and learn from other players.
Finally, if you’ve had a long week and just don’t have the energy, turn to technology! There are endless web sites that offer virtual pool games. This is really a great way to learn your angles and practice rail shots. Most sites will not charge you to play, and offer one, two and three player games. Again, this is a wonderful way of having a “virtual tutor.” Many times, software programs will have tips to offer and will explain rules as you go along. It could be a great introduction to the game if you are unsure whether you want to make the investment.
If you are the lucky owner of a pool table, you will probably progress at a much faster rate that other beginners. The more you play, the better you get, and since you will have more access to a table by owning one, your game will improve much quicker than the player playing on the outside.