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How Do Pool Tables Know Which Is The Cue Ball?

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Have you ever gone to play pool in a pool hall or bar and wondered how a pool table always knew which ball was the cue ball? Maybe you even hit the cue ball in the pocket the exact same time as a regular ball, but the cue ball came back out. How does a pool table know which ball is the cue ball? Well, in this article we will go over everything you need to know about pool tables and how they know which ball is the cue ball. 

So how do pool tables know which is the cue ball?

Most coin operated pool tables will have one of two methods to know which pool ball is the cue ball. They will either have a magnetized middle, or the cue ball will actually be a little bigger than the other balls on the table. Both of these are how a pool table knows which pool ball is a cue ball. 

If you want to know more about pool tables and cue balls, you will want to keep reading. You can also check out this video to learn exactly how a pool table knows the difference between a pool ball and a cue ball. 

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Is pool still popular?

Pool is one of the most exciting games in the tabletop gaming era. Everybody wants to play this game for many different reasons. Not only is it fun to play, but it is also a great way to meet new people. To play pool, different types of balls are needed. It is also a must-have to have a pool table. There are several ways a pool table recognizes a pool cue ball. Below are the reasons a table can know the difference. 

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Different types of pool balls

Pool balls are needed to play a pool game. You can see different types of pool games available such as eight-ball, nine-ball, and one-pocket. In different countries, they are referred to as different names. In North America, they are known as billiard balls. These balls are smaller than the carom billiard balls but larger than the snooker. When it is time for looking at the cue sports, you may see there are typically two primary types of ball. 

The standard balls and the Aramith balls are those two types of balls. There is some difference between them. If you look at the standard balls, you can see that it comes as standard in every pool table. It is a good set with which you can start your game smoothly. 

Different types of hardened plastic are used to prepare such a ball. It gives a solid outer shell to the ball. For this, they are fairly easy to buy. They are also easier to replace. As they are cheap, they are the most ideal ball in commercial environments. The plastic response will not be as good as the Aramith ball. Even, this plastic will produce more friction on a table cloth. 

On the other hand, Aramith balls are the professional one that is very good in quality. Even, they are better than the standard ball. It is for professional players. It is manufactured in Belgium. It is not built with the same metals of standard balls. Though standard balls are prepared with the cheaper materials, Aramith balls are built with costly metals. 

Tougher phenolic resin is used to prepare this Aramith ball. The resin gives the balls a better response in the time of playing. It also reduces the friction between the playing surface and the balls. It also gives the ball a vivid color and impeccable shine. It also goes through more testing processes compared to the standard balls in the time of manufacturing. As they are very rich in quality, they have become the first choice of cue sport.

How the pool table recognizes a cue ball

If you are thinking of becoming a pool shark, you may consider a very important thing about the pool table. It is also very mysterious that a non sentient product like a pool table will recognize a cue ball. It can tell the difference between the cue ball and the other objective balls in the pool game. Most tables can do that automatically. They can spit the cue ball back out after a player scratches the ball accidentally dropping it into a leather pocket. 

If you look at the coin-operated pool tables, the whole thing will be more clear. In this table, players deposit some money. As a result, it allows the table to release the balls from a storage area under the game surface. At that time, the balls return to the collection area, if the extra needed money is not inserted. It is because players are sinking each ball. Besides, a cue ball does not go to the same depository, if it is sunk. Moreover, because of the size of a pool cue ball, a table can easily detect the balls. There may be two ways of detection. One way is the size of a pool ball. If the ball is slightly larger and about ⅛ inch much bigger than the standard 2.25-inch billiard ball, a table may recognize it. 

The other is the center position. If the ball is housing a magnetized center, then it will also be easier for the pool table to recognize. You can see, if the ball is oversized, it won’t be able to go through the return chute. It will instead be changed its direction to an accessible slot. It will do such performance if it becomes a failure to clear a shunt that is just a hair over 2.25 inches. On top of that, if the ball is magnetized, a process will trigger a sensor. It will reroute the ball along a track. Thus, it will immediately spit the ball back out. As a result, the players can continue the game. 

You can find some cue balls that are covered with metal. For this, a magnet inside the table will pull the magnet into position. However, these methods typically work for casual play, but they are not compatible with advanced players. They will find fault with them. A larger ball can feel off, while the magnetized ball can roll in other ways. Those balls are covered with metal and are recognized as mudballs. They are frowned upon for their uneven surface. 


It is not difficult for a pool table to recognize a cue ball. There are several types of cue ball available. For playing a pool game, a pool ball is obviously needed. They should also be good in quality. Only then, you can play a game properly. The table should also be good in quality, and the capability of detecting the ball is also needed. Following these ways, it will be easier for a pool table to recognize a pool cue ball. You can see the standard and Aramith ball. They are different in qualities. You can choose the Aramith one for your professional-level game. It will be easier for a table to recognize a pool cue ball easily with an Aramith ball. 

No matter where you are playing pool, each table has their own method of recognizing a cue ball. As long as you are having fun and playing the game the right way, then there should be no problem with the pool table knowing which ball is the cue ball.