All about Trick Shots


Pool has often been thought of as a fun leisure-type game where the object of the game is to pocket certain balls before your opponent.  However, aside from traditional pool, there is also an artistic side that focuses more on tricks and what are called trick shots.  As an organized cue sports discipline, trick shot competitions is known as artistic pool.


Trick shots are shots that are generally played on a pool table that seem unlikely or impossible to do, and require significant skill.  There are many competitions and tournaments which pit one player’s skills against another, which provide money prizes to players and are televised.


There are eight different disciplines within artistic pool, all dealing with the different aspects of pool, or disciplines in core cueing techniques.  Some of disciplines also deal with using the pool table, the ball, and sometimes props or objects.


The eight disciplines as outlined by the APTSA (the Artistic Pool and Trick Shot Association) are trick and/or fancy, prop/novelty and special arts, draw, follow, bank/kick, stroke, jump, and masse.  Many of these disciplines deal with basic techniques in pool, but expand on them, and as mentioned earlier, often times setup a situation (of multiple balls lined up) or use objects.


Trick and and/or fancy shots, as mentioned, deals with set up shots, multiple ball configurations, and/or a shot where cue ball travels in a kick pattern.  This category also includes extreme cut shots and special skill shots not in other disciplines.


Prop/novelty and special art shots are unusual or new shots with props, such as cues, bridges, racks, coins, chalk, or other objects, and shots of a unique or special art form.  They are referred to as general amusement category.


Draw, follow, jump, and masse shots are all shots that generally deal with their traditional counterparts, albeit more extreme.  Bank/kick shots generally deal with the rails of the pool table and stroke shots generally deal with the cue ball being less than one half of an inch away from the first object ball for draw or follow shots, plus accuracy position, speed control and unique stroke shots


Often times, depending on the tournament, different stipulations are put into place to guide players as to what they can do.  For APTSA competitions, competitors have three chances to successfully perform tricks, earning full points if they accomplish them on the first try and fewer points on subsequent tries.

Altogether, trick shot competitions or artistic pool is a very aesthetically impressive and unique take on pool.  It challenges both the skill and the creativity of participants and draws crowds and audiences in.