Artistic Pool

How to Play Artistic Pool | Becoming a Trick Shot Pro (2024)

Artistic Pool, an intriguing blend of creativity and skill, elevates the traditional game of pool to an art form. It highlights the player’s precision and ingenuity, transforming standard cues into tools for spectacular trick shots. This guide to How to Play Artistic Pool offers detailed insights into mastering this captivating variant. Whether you’re a seasoned player or a curious newcomer, our comprehensive guide aims to equip you with the techniques and knowledge needed to excel and impress in the realm of the artistic pool.

Artistic Pool, often referred to as trick shot pool, is a discipline within cue sports that combines the technical skills of traditional pool with the creativity and flair of performing arts. It’s a game that transcends the conventional objectives of pool, focusing instead on the execution of complex and visually impressive shots.

Definition: Artistic Pool involves executing pre-determined trick shots, each with varying degrees of difficulty and artistic value. These shots often require a high degree of skill, including precise cue ball control, spin, and speed.

Historical Background: The origins of the artistic pool can be traced back to the early days of billiards, where players began experimenting with elaborate shots as a form of entertainment. Over time, these trick shots evolved into a formalized discipline with its own set of rules and competitions. The 20th century saw a significant growth in its popularity, with players and enthusiasts developing new shots and techniques.

Objective: Unlike standard pool games where the goal is to pocket balls in a specific order or pattern, artistic pool focuses on the successful execution of complex shots, often involving multiple cues, jumps, spins, and banks.

Scoring System: In competitions, players are judged based on their ability to execute these shots successfully. Each shot has a difficulty rating, and players score points based on their performance.

Jump Cues: These are lighter and shorter than standard cues, designed specifically for jump shots. They allow greater control and height on the ball.

Masse Cues: Heavier and with a larger tip, masse cues are used for shots requiring extreme spins and curves.

Break Cues: For shots that require a lot of power, such as breaking a rack or performing a powerful jump shot, break cues offer the necessary weight and strength.

Artistic Pool, renowned for its complex and visually stunning shots, follows a set of rules and scoring systems that are distinct from traditional pool games. These rules are designed to evaluate a player’s technical skill and creativity.

Shot Categories: Artistic Pool is divided into several shot categories, each testing different skill sets. These categories typically include trick and fancy shots, special arts, draw shots, follow shots, bank and kick shots, masse shots, and jump shots.

Scoring: In a competition, each shot is assigned a difficulty level, generally ranging from 1 to 10 points. Players attempt these shots and are awarded points based on successful execution. The difficulty of the shot directly correlates with the point value.

Shot Attempts: Players usually have three attempts to successfully complete each shot. Points are awarded only for successful attempts, with the highest possible score being the total cumulative points of all shots attempted.

Judging: Artistic Pool often involves judges who score based on the shot’s successful completion and adherence to the predefined requirements of each shot.

Fouls: Similar to traditional pools, fouls in artistic pool include cue ball scratches, wrong ball contact, and failing to execute the shot as described. Fouls usually result in a loss of that shot’s attempt without point accumulation.

Trick and Fancy Shots: These shots are known for their visual flair and often involve complex setups and cue ball manipulations.

Special Arts: This category includes unique and creative shots that may involve props or unconventional cueing techniques.

Draw Shots: Shots that require the cue ball to be drawn back after hitting the object balls.

Follow Shots: Shots where the cue ball is made to follow through after contact with the object balls.

Bank and Kick Shots: Shots involving rebounds off the cushions to hit the object balls.

Masse Shots: Highly skilled shots where extreme spin is applied to the cue ball, causing it to curve dramatically.

Jump Shots: Shots where the cue ball is made to jump over obstacles to hit the object balls.

Advanced trick shots in the artistic pool elevate the game to an art form, showcasing a combination of precision, creativity, and technical prowess. These high-scoring shots often become the highlights of competitions, captivating audiences with their complexity and flair.

Multiple Rail Shots: Shots where the cue ball travels across several rails, often changing direction, before achieving its goal.

Prop Shots: Utilizing props like extra cues or racks, these shots involve navigating the cue ball through a series of obstacles.

Jump-Masse Shots: A combination of a jump shot and a masse shot, where the cue ball jumps over an obstacle and then curves or spins dramatically.

Sequence Shots: Shots where multiple balls are pocketed or moved in a specific order, requiring precise positioning and timing.

Time Shots: Shots where one ball is set in motion and a delayed action causes another ball to react just in time to complete the shot.

Challenge Shots: Often unique to individual players, these shots are known for their high difficulty and are a signature of the player’s skill and inventiveness.

Understand the Mechanics: Study the physics behind each shot. Understanding angles, spin, and force is crucial for executing complex trick shots.

Start with the Basics: Build a strong foundation in basic cue control and shot-making skills before attempting advanced shots.

Step-by-Step Approach: Break down each shot into smaller steps. Practice each step individually before attempting the entire shot.

Consistent Practice: Regular practice is key to mastering these shots. Dedicate specific practice sessions to working on advanced trick shots.

Use Training Aids: Consider using training aids like instructional videos or books specifically focused on trick shots.

Learn from the Pros: Watch demonstrations by professional artistic pool players and try to replicate their shots. Pay attention to their technique, stance, and cueing.

Record and Analyze: Record your practice sessions. Watching your attempts can help identify areas for improvement.

Patience and Persistence: Mastering advanced trick shots requires patience and persistence. Some shots may take numerous attempts over a long period to perfect.


Artistic pool is a journey through skill, creativity, and precision. From mastering basic trick shots to tackling advanced, high-scoring feats, it challenges and rewards in equal measure. This guide offers the foundation to start that journey. Embrace the unique blend of artistry and technical prowess that the artistic pool demands. Whether you’re performing for an audience or challenging yourself, the world of artistic pool promises a captivating blend of entertainment, skill, and endless creative possibilities.


Yes, an artistic pool focuses on performing intricate trick shots with specific challenges and rules, unlike a regular pool which is centered on pocketing balls in a particular order.

Key skills include precise cue ball control, the ability to apply various spins and strikes, creativity in shot planning, and a deep understanding of pool physics.

Begin with basic trick shots to build your skills. Utilize instructional resources and practice consistently to gradually advance to more complex shots.

Yes, there are various artistic pool competitions at different levels, ranging from local and amateur tournaments to professional world championships.

A good artistic pool player combines technical skill with creativity, patience, and a strategic mind. Being able to execute shots consistently and adapt to different scenarios is also crucial.

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