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Carom billiards - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Three-cushion billiards is the most popular carom billiards game played in the U.S. today, where pocket billiards (pool) is far more widespread. Three-cushion retains great popularity in parts of Europe, Asia, and .

Carom billiard cues have specialized refinements making them different from the typical pool cue with which many people are more familiar. Such cues tend to be shorter and lighter overall, with a shorter , a thicker and , a wooden joint (in high-end examples) and wood-to-wood joint (for a one-piece cue "feel"), a fast, conical , and a smaller diameter as compared with pool cues. Typical cues are 140–140 cm (54–56 in) in length and 470–520 g (16.5–18.5 oz) in weight—lighter for straight rail, heavier for three-cushion—with a tip 11–12 mm (0.43–0.47 in) in diameter. The specialization makes the cue significantly stiffer, which aids in handling the larger and heavier billiard balls as compared with pool cues. It also acts to reduce (sometimes called "squirt"), which may be defined as displacement of the cue ball's path away from the parallel line formed by the cue stick's direction of travel. It is a factor that occurs every time () is employed, and its effects are magnified by speed. In some carom games, deflection plays a large role because many shots require extremes of english, coupled with great speed; this is a combination typically minimized as much as possible, by contrast, in pool.:79, 240–1 The wood used in carom cues can vary widely, and most quality carom cues are handmade.[]

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The USBA is the governing body for all Carom Billiard games in the USA, in particular, 3-Cushion Billiards.



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Modern billiard balls are made from highly resilient with a typical diameter of 61.5 millimetres (2.42 in). They are significantly larger and heavier than their pocket billiards counterparts, ranging between 205 and 220 grams (7.2 and 7.8 oz) with a typical weight of 210 g (7.5 oz). While UMB, the -recognized world carom billiards authority, technically permits balls as small as 61 mm (2.4 in), no major manufacturer produces such balls any longer, and the standard is 61.5 mm (2.42 in). The three standard balls in most carom billiards games consist of a completely white cue ball, a second cue ball with typically a red or black dot on it (to aid in differentiation between the two cue balls), and a third, red ball. In some sets of balls, however, the second cue ball is solid yellow. Both types of ball sets are permitted in tournament play.

There is a large array of carom billiards disciplines. Some of the more prevalent today and historically are (chronologically by apparent date of development): , , , and . There are many other carom billiards games, predominantly intermediary or offshoot games combining elements of those already listed, such as the , an intermediary game between straight rail and balkline, as well as games which are hybrids of carom billiards and , such as played on a table and its descendant games, , and .