Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Cue sports

Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

This is a style guide for articles about cue sports. It describes spelling, terminological and other conventions for the article (and category) names and content of Wikipedia topics related to cue sports (billiards-family games). Snooker has further specialized style needs, as explained in WP:Manual of Style/Snooker.

The purposes of this guideline are to:

  • Describe conventions for referring to cue sports games and equipment, differentiating them from each other and from other usages, especially numerical, to avoid ambiguity and confusion.
  • Elucidate details of Wikipedia-wide policies and guidelines, such as WP:Manual of Style and WP:Article titles, as they apply to the naming and terminology of cue sports topics, including the handling of US vs. UK English, treatment of numbers, and neutral point of view.
  • Explain how other Wikipedia-wide policies and guidelines (e.g.
    ) may apply to cue sports articles in particular, as needed.

The overall intent is to ensure that cue sports article prose is comprehensible, by avoiding awkward and ambiguous constructions. Consider the sentence "While 9-ball is a 9-ball game, the 9-ball is the real target; it can be pocketed in a 9-ball run, but earlier is better." It is better to rephrase to avoid endless repetition and potential confusion between the names of games and descriptions. "While nine-ball is a game played with nine balls, the 9 ball is the real target; it can be pocketed at the end of a run, but earlier is better."

General terminology

  • Overarching terms
    • The concept, and the extant sports as a class, are the "cue sports", inclusive of non-sport games, and of ball-less variants (e.g. novuss, played with disks). The singular is "a cue sport" or "a cue game". Avoid the contracted "cuesport(s)" which has much less currency, and is ambiguous ("What's a port for cues?").
    • The entire family of games may be referred to by terms such as "the billiards family of games" or "billiards-type games" (the
      History of billiards
    • Like "water sports" and "martial arts", these are overarching terms, classifiers not frequently used in everyday speech and writing, versus specifics like "water skiing" and "kickboxing". Therefore, do not use "cue sport(s)" when something that is both non-ambiguous and more specific can be used.
    • Due to its ambiguity (see below), the umbrella term "billiard sports" is not very helpful on Wikipedia, as it can be taken to mean cue sports generally, or only those played on a pocketless billiards table.
  • Major cue sports disciplines
  • The term "billiards"
    • "Billiard(s)" is generally too ambiguous unless qualified (she is a professional player of English billiards or the game is played on carom billiards table), because its meaning changes not only regionally but contextually. Avoid a usage like He is a professional billiards player, unless the subject is a professional player of multiple major cue sports that all conventionally use the term "billiards". One who is a snooker, pool, and carom billiards player is best described as exactly that.
    • In a historical context, do use "billiards" (billiards, croquet, golf, field hockey, and lawn bowling all seem to have developed from the same class of ancient Eurasian outdoor game.) The term "cue sports" dates to the 20th or perhaps late 19th century, and is anachronistic when used to refer to the early history of the games.
    • Do not refer to English billiards or other specific games as "billiards" except in a context in which it is clear that the specific game is meant (usually because it has already been mentioned and linked to by name): He was a world-champion player of snooker and English billiards. ... His billiard career began in 1934, and he began competing at snooker in 1937.
  • The term "game"
    • "Cue game(s)" can be used, but should be reserved for activities that are not the subject of national or international competition bar billiards is a cue game that can be placed against a wall without affecting play). Link the first occurrence to Cue sports.
    • Conversely, a game that isn't the subject of non-trivial competition is not a sport, but simply a game or pastime.
    • A particular cue sport, or family thereof, may be referred to less formally (e.g., anywhere in the article other than the intro sentence of the
      Olympic games
      are sports referred to as "games").
    • The term "game" however, may have a more specific meaning in a context like tournaments or league play, so avoid any potential ambiguities.


The game

Nine-ball (colloquially also "9-ball") is a pool (pocket billiards) game [...]

  • The convention on naming of the game applies to all games, whether named for the winning ball or the number of balls or objects used. This applies to all games, regardless of whether the
    three-cushion, one-pocket

The ball and other numbered equipment

  • The ball itself should be called "the 9 ball", in all cases. The name of the ball is a number-as-adjective and a noun, not a compound adjective.
  • Plurals are formed in the same manner. Examples: "the 1, 2 and 3 balls", "the 1 through 7 balls". The format "the 1–7 balls" is deprecated, as using a dash in that fashion is incorrect usage.
  • An acceptable informal short version is "the 9", but not at first occurrence. To prevent repetitive wording, later references to the ball may omit the word "ball", provided that the meaning is entirely clear in context.
  • The "the" is generally required, except where the indefinite article, a more specific reference, or a clause providing such, precedes "9". Examples, respectively: "a 9 ball shot", "that 9 ball opportunity", "first shoot the 7 ball, then the 8 and 9" (emphasis added for clarity).
  • References to the count of or succession of balls should always be in the form "nine balls", "ninth ball", etc. To avoid confusion, they should be spelled out (no numerals like "9 balls left", "or sank his 9th ball in a row in the straight pool match"); it is generally accepted standard English usage to spell it out — and not hyphenate it, either — anyway.[1]

Organizations and publications

Names of organizations and titles of publications, because they are usually officially-registered and often trademarked designations, should be left as-is, but redirected-to from the name that would adhere to this guideline. An organization legally called the Aruba 9Ball Association should have its article appear at Aruba 9Ball Association, and have a redirect page to it at Aruba Nine-ball Association.

Statistics and winnings

  • References to wins, scores, ratios, placings, etc., by long-standing sports statistics conventions, should be given as numerals, not written-out words, as per
    WP:MOSNUM); their format and context is generally clear enough as to avoid any ambiguity with ball or game names. Example: "He won 10–4 in the race to 10, taking 3rd place and winning ¥

Other numbers

  • Ordinal numbers: Ordinal numbers below 12 should be spelled out in general prose, per
    , except when they are sports-statistical as noted above: "His third tournament victory of the season".
  • Other numbers as figures or words: While most style guides call for writing numbers above 12 (or even 10) in digits rather than words, in pool articles especially it is best to always spell them out if they are fifteen or lower, to avoid confusion with ball numbers. Except as noted here and above (with regard to sports statistics), generally follow
    WP:MOSNUM#Numbers as figures or words
    . Its point about spelling out numbers that are adjacent to other numbers that must be in figure form is often especially important in cue sports articles even where the balls are not numbered, and in sports articles more generally because of their reliance on numeric figures in multiple contexts. In a passage that has statistics, specifications, ball numbers or other numbers-as-figures, it is recommended to spell out all numbers below 100 that are not required to be figures, even if single-digit (A run-on example to illustrate words-vs.-figures usage: "In the thirty-second frame of the evening, the seventh and final frame in a tight 4–3 match between the two 1st-place speed pool challengers, world number 1 Johnson and number 4 Garcia, Johnson committed two fouls resulting in 5-second penalties...)".

Non-numeric game names

  • Game names that are fully compounded on an industry-wide basis remain that way in Wikipedia articles. As of this writing, there are only two known examples. The first is
    blackball, an internationally standardized (mostly British Commonwealth) variant of eight-ball. Please note that the term "the black ball" in reference to a ball rather than the game should not be hyphenated or compounded (just like "9 ball", "cue ball", etc.); see "The ball and other numbered equipment"
  • The numeric convention on naming of the ball also applies to non-numbered balls and object in all games, to the extent it is relevant. Hyphenation and direct compounding is not applied to non-numbered balls, e.g., "the cue ball", not "the cue-ball" or worse yet "the cueball"), including generic references ("the red balls", not "the red-balls" or "the redballs"), and references to custom ball sets that use symbols other than a number (e.g. "the star ball", not "the star-ball"). The same goes for non-ball accoutrements; do not use compounded constructions like "billiard-table", "snookerhall", or "poolcue".

Organizations, titles and competition

Respect for official organization names

The article for an organization should use the most official name of the organization (such as that found on contact or legal information pages at the organization's web site, without any legal abbreviations like "Inc.", "Ltd" or "GmbH", and expanding any organizational abbreviations in the name itself, e.g. "Southwestern Pool Assn." to "Southwestern Pool Association"). While the most authoritative official name should be used as the real article, any additional official or semi-official ones should exist as redirects to the former. A real-world example is the

World Pool Billiard Association
on several of their own documents; these sourceably attested alternates should certainly be redirects.

  • In the case of non-English-language names, the main article should be the official non-English name of the organization, with redirects from plausible (and especially sourceably in-use) English translations. An exception is when the organization itself supplies a preferred English translation, in which case that English name should be the main article, and the non-English one a redirect. If the name cannot be represented in Western European characters, the English name should be the main article. If it cannot be represented in unaccented English characters (the 26-letter English alphabet without accent marks or other
For the handling of numbers in names of organizations, see "Numbers: Organizations and publications", above.

Naming of rulesets

  • Do not capitalize a ruleset, unless referred to by its actual published title, or an unambiguous, reasonable shortening of it.
  • Do not change the published spelling when using the proper name of the ruleset, as with organization names (e.g., do not change "8-Ball" to "Eight-ball" if the original reads "8-Ball"). If there is an article on the topic, create a redirect from the spelling that agrees with the general recommendations of this guideline, to the real article at the official spelling.
  • Do not italicize the name of a ruleset unless it is being referred to as a publication per se, not the rules themselves as applied, and only then if it is a discrete publication, not a section of a larger one (in which case use quotations marks, as with any other chapter or article in a larger publication).

Naming of sporting titles

  • Capitalize a sporting title only when it is the official title, or a shortening or sensible rearranging thereof that is clear in the context.
  • Right: "Smith was the 2007 WPA Women's Division World Eight-ball Champion, the runner-up in 2008, and World Champion again in 2009."
  • Right: "Smith was the 2007 WPA World Eight-ball Champion (Women's Division), the runner-up in 2008, and World Champion again in 2009."
  • Right: "Smith is a world champion pool player."
  • Right: "Smith was a 2007 WPA World Championship winner."
  • Avoid constructions that truncate "Champion" or other official person-descriptor in the title, which will render a partial title that doesn't make sense:
  • Wrong: "Smith was the 2007 WPA Women's Division World Eight-ball victor." (There is no such thing as "World Eight-ball".)
  • Other terms: Terms such as "runner-up", "1st place", and "semi-finalist" do not qualify for capitalization. When using such terms, use an untruncated version of the event name (e.g. "World Eight-ball Championship runner-up"), or do not capitalize (e.g. "3rd place in the WPA world eight-ball event that year"). There is no such thing as a "World Champion runner-up", without "-ship". Also, in reference to a single event, there is no such thing as "a" runner-up, but rather "the" runner-up. Hyphenate "runner-up", "semi-finalist" and "quarter-finalist", as they are compound nouns (but usually not fully-compounded – avoid "quarterfinalist"). "Quarter finalist" suggests 1/4 of a finalist or a finalist in a particular quarter. Do not hyphenate or fuse "1st place", etc., as they are not compounds. Hyphenating adjectival use is optional ("a 1st-place victory", "a 1st place victory").

Naming of competitions and other events

  • Articles on competitions and other events should:
  • Use the official name to the extent possible
  • Use the clearest and least excessive official name when there are more than one, generally preferring that of the sanctioning organization (the supplier of the rules) over those of local organizers and
    especially of commercial sponsors
    , all other things being equal.
  • Precede the event name with the acronym (or where there is no acronym, the name) of the sanctioning organization, when this can be identified, and it is relevant: i.e. the event is a championship or qualifying match; if something like an
    exhibition match
    happens to use WPA (or whatever) rules, this is not a particularly relevant fact and should not be reflected in the article name, though if sourceable should be mentioned in the article.
  • Exceptions: If all or nearly all events in a sport are sanctioned by a single organization, do not add its acronym. Also, if the event's name is unique and unambiguous and likely to remain that way, then the organization acronym may be superfluous as unnecessary disambiguation.
  • Do not include the name of a commercial sponsor unless disambiguation would be severely hindered by omitting it, or it has been determined that this version is the
    for article titling purposes.
    (See "Commercial sponsors" below for details.)
  • However, if the event is referred to in some reliable sources by the name of the sponsor rather than by the name of the sanctioning body, also give that name as an alternative, secondarily, in the article introduction, and in bold. Example: the San Miguel Asian Nine-ball Tour (Guinness Asian Nine-ball Tour as of 2007), which is really the WPA Asian Nine-ball Tour. In articles titles and links to them,
    please use the sanctioner, not sponsor, version of the name
  • Use the singular (e.g. "Championship", "Tournament", etc.), unless the event has multiple, independent divisions, and multiple titles to win.
  • Real example: The event most often called by its primary sponsor the "U.S. Open 9-Ball Championships" (note "9", capitalized "Ball" after hyphen, and pluralized "Championships") but spelled various ways by other sponsors and by the billiards press, should be at the Wikipedia article title
    U.S. Open Nine-ball Championships
    (plural because there are multiple, independent divisions with separate "Champion" titleholders).
  • Recorded tournaments and italicization: If a tournament is broadcast (or recorded and published) in some manner (television, DVD, VHS, etc.), italicize the name/title only when referring to it specifically in the context of such a presentation. For example, for a hypothetical tournament called "Ten-ball Showdown", one might write "Jane Q. Doe won the 2009 Ten-ball Showdown" (the event), but "ESPN first broadcast Ten-ball Showdown in August 2009" (the show). If an event has no existence outside of its broadcast format (e.g. Pot Black), always italicize it. Also, when referring to the title as a recorded production, use the title as given for the show by the broadcaster/publisher, even if it does not agree with the article name or the name of the event as more generally known: "ESPN first broadcast 10-Ball Showdown Las Vegas '09 in August 2009". Article titles should avoid such constructions when possible, especially with regard to including sponsor names.
For the handling of numbers in names of events, see "Numbers: Tournaments and other events", above.
For the handling of non-English names of events, see "Organization names", above.
For the handling of "Championship" and "Masters" in event names, see "Other terms", below.

Games, frames, rounds and matches

In reference to game types that are played purely recreationally, the terms

in mind), and used consistently throughout the article.

For game types that are subject to organized competition (i.e., are sports), "game" refers to the game rules and subculture (e.g. "the game of Russian pyramid"), while "frame" is used in articles to refer to an instance of game play, regardless of English dialect. This terminological clarity is especially important for competitions that may involve multiple races to frames or rounds of frames. The term "round" is used to mean a segment of game play consisting (or potentially consisting) of more than one frame, but not constituting an entire match. A "match" is the entire competition between vying parties, (individual or team). Where the match consists of a single frame, or a single round, it should be referred to as a match, again regardless of colloquial use, for inter-article consistency. If a match conclusion is also the conclusion of a larger stage of tournament play, a term for that may reasonably be substituted for match (e.g., "She won the last frame 8–3, and took the semi-final [instead of 'match'] and will face Jackson in the final match" or "The World Championship [instead of 'match'] went to Shen after an eleven ball run.").

"Round" can be used more generically in reference to levels of play in a large competition, e.g., "the quarter-final rounds of the National Cup". When specific players or teams in opposition are being discussed, use "match" to describe their contest, and use "round" as recommended in the previous paragraph.

Other competition terms

  • "Final" (in the tournament bracket context) is singular – there is only one final match per event. The plural "finals" can be used in unusual constructions, e.g. "Doe was defeated in two UK Championship finals in a row, in 2008 and 2009", or "Jane Q. Public and John Doe won the 2009 female and male divisional finals, respectively". Do not capitalize "final[s]" except at the beginning of a sentence, in a heading, in the title of a cited source, or in another normally capitalized context.
  • "Semi-finals" and "quarter-finals" are plural when used as nouns, unless in the context of a particular group: "John Doe lost in the semi-finals" and "the quarter-finals were held on 14 July", but "Doe's quarter-final victory" (adjective usage), and "Doe advanced from the Group C quarter-final" (a specific, singular quarter-final group being referenced).
  • "Semi-final[s]" and "quarter-final[s]" are hyphenated, not single-word and not two separate words. When appearing at the start of a sentence or in another normally capitalized context, only the first part is capitalized, as with any other hyphenated compound, but as with "final" is never capitalized otherwise.
  • "Championship" is always singular when speaking of a specific event, and always plural when writing of a series or multiplicity of events. As a matter of convention, events such as the World Snooker Championship and WPA World Nine-ball Championship are given in the singular, even if they have multiple divisions since no division produces two tying champions. Some sources (including event organizers) use the plural form even for a single event, but Wikipedia does not emulate this potentially confusing misusage. Examples:
  • "John Doe won the 2009 Isle of Man Championship." (single event)
  • "John Doe has three Isle of Man Championships under his belt." (multiple events)
  • "John Doe is a frequent competitor at the Isle of Man Championships." (series of events; if one wrote "frequent competitor at the Isle of Man Championship" this would rather crazily imply that this year he competed in the championship several times!)

"Championship" is only capitalized when used as part of the official name (or common short or extended version) of an event, e.g. "UK Snooker Championship", "UK Championship", but not "his third championship" even when in reference to the same event.

A real-world case: The Six-red World Championship article is named in accordance with this guideline, even though multiple spellings are attested, with the event's own official homepage (as of December 18, 2009) using both "Championship" and "Championships" interchangeably on the same page.

  • "Champion" is only capitalized when used as a complete official title or common alternative form of it: "Doe is a three-time World Champion", "...three-time Snooker World Champion", "...three-time World Snooker Champion", but "Doe is a three-time World Champion and seven-time national champion" (unless we have already said what nation it is and the event is actually called the [Country name here] National Championship, not the UK Championship or Azerbaijan Championship or whatever), and "Jane Q. Public beat reigning champion John Doe, 17–10" ("champion" by itself is not a capitalized title like Reverend, Pope, Duke or Admiral, even if it precedes a name).
  • "Masters" in this context is always "Masters", singular and plural (after all, there is no such event as the World Pool Master Tournament. Do not use "Masters'", which is possessive, nor "Masterses" which is simply not real English. Examples:
  • "John Doe won the 2009 Isle of Man Masters." (single event)
  • "John Doe has three Isle of Man Masters under his belt." (multiple events; "Masters titles" would be better here, though, for clarity)
  • "John Doe is a frequent competitor at the Isle of Man Masters." (series of events)

"Masters" is basically always capitalized because it is never really used outside of an actual event name (e.g. if Doe won the Isle of Man Masters and the Botswana Masters, we would not write "Doe is a two-time Masters winner", since "Masters" would have no clear referent.

  • "Division", "group", "conference" and the like are capitalized when, but only when, used with the official name of the divisional grouping. "Women's Division" would be capitalized if the league or event organizers used that term in particular, but if you use "ladies' division" instead in some construction, this would not be capitalized. Likewise capitalize "Group C" but not "C group" or "third group" if the official term is "Group C". The basic principle is that Wikipedia is not here to make up titles. By way of analogy, the first-released and plot-chronologically fourth Star Wars movie is
    Star Wars Episode IV
    for short, but not Star Wars: No. 1, Star Wars 4, Star Wars – New Hope, or any other shorthand an editor here might like to make up, and any even more circuitous locutions would not be capitalized and italicized either (e.g., we would not write "She starred in The Original Star Wars Film").



  • The cue ball is the "cue ball"; the cue stick is the "cue stick" (or a more specific term, e.g. "pool cue"). A bare reference to "the cue" is usually too ambiguous.
  • The terms must not be compounded, e.g. as "cuestick" or (as already addressed above) "cueball".
  • When speaking generically, the hand-held implement is "the cue stick"; when speaking of specific games, the term can be more specific (and mandatorily truncated): "snooker cue", "pool cue", "carom cue". While "cue" is a perfectly valid term for "cue stick" (some would even argue that the latter is redundant), the shorter term is usually too ambiguous for use in Wikipedia articles, which will be read by many people utterly unfamiliar with the topic. "Cue" by itself is acceptable when:
  • the cue stick and cue ball are mentioned in the same sentence (e.g. "strike the cue ball with the cue" is not ambiguous; "using a lot of follow-though with the cue" is not;
  • the context is not about games at all, so no confusion could arise: "George Balabushka did not actually make the 'Balabushka' cue used in the movie The Color of Money".
  • The cue ball must never be referred to as "the cue", even if it would not be ambiguous in context, and despite common spoken shorthand of this fashion, because it is simply factually incorrect and constitutes
    non-encyclopedic, slangy tone

Mechanical bridge

  • The reach-assisting implement should be referred to as the mechanical bridge in North American English or as a rest (or a more specific term, like spider or goose-neck rest) in Commonwealth English. It should never be referred to as simply the "bridge", as this is factually incorrect (the forward, stabilizing hand is the bridge, and the mechanical bridge is an artificial substitute for it when reaching with the hand is impossible or ineffective). It must not be referred to by colloquial disparaging names like "granny stick", "wussy stick", etc., per Wikipedia:Neutral point of view. It may be referred to by neutral colloquial terms if these are defined in situ or Glossary-linked. For largely American games like eight-ball and nine-ball, the term "rake" can be used, but should be wikilinked with {{Cuegloss|Rake|rake}}. For snooker, English billiards and blackball, the proper term is "rest", and likewise should be given as {{Cuegloss|Rest|rest}}. When used alone, it generally implies the cross-type rest by default, but also implies that other types might be used, depending upon the situation; there are up to four different rests used in those games. If one means the cross-type rest specifically, say so, e.g. "{{Cuegloss|Cross|cross}}-type {{Cuegloss|Rest|rest}}", or "{{Cuegloss|Rest|rest}} ({{Cuegloss|Cross|cross}} type)" (or even simply "{{Cuegloss|Cross|cross}}", after first occurrence). Because "cross", "spider", "swan" and "hook" all have original, non-sporting meanings, using these rest names by themselves is too ambiguous and should be accompanied one way or another by the word "rest" at first occurrence in an article or large section. Likewise, the first occurrence of "rake" should be something like "{{Cuegloss|Rake|rake}} ({{Cuegloss|Mechanical bridge|mechnical bridge}})".


  • "Chalk" should only refer to cue-tip chalk, never hand "chalk". For the latter, use "hand talc", or "talcum", or "talc" (hand "chalk" cones are in fact made of talcum, not chalk.)

Language conflicts

  • Summary: Dialect logic and game traditions should be respected, and terms disambiguated; otherwise
    should be applied as usual.
  • As elsewhere in Wikipedia, it is proper to use British or Commonwealth English terminology when discussing largely British or Commonwealth topics (or those highly influenced by their terminology, such as snooker even outside the Commonwealth of Nations), and North American terms when discussing largely North American topics.
  • US/Canadian example, in an article about an eight-ball player: "Using the rake, she shot with high left english from the foot rail, to pocket the 8 ball with a carom off one of the stripes."
  • British/Australian/etc. version, about a blackball player: "Using the rest, she shot with top left side from the top cushion, to pot the black with a cannon in-off one of the yellows."
(And jargon terms not previously defined in the article should be wikilinked to their Glossary of cue sports terms entry with {{Cuegloss}}.)
  • American-ish pool terminology is used throughout the English-speaking professional pool world, and so should be used for articles on pool regardless of variety of English. British terms should be given at first occurrence in parentheses, as noted above. An exception is pool games that are essentially exclusive to the UK or a Commonwealth country (other than Canada), such as
    , in which case the US (UK) order is reversed.

Nationalities and flags

In international professional and amateur competition, it is normal practice for pool and billiards players to represent their countries of present origin in most cases. This is known as sporting nationality, and is not always synonymous with citizenship. For British players/teams, the constituent countries of the

No original research

For the particular and well-documented handling of these issues in international snooker competition, see

Wikipedia:Manual of Style (snooker)#Nationalities and flags


  1. ^ Major cue sports discipline is a categorization for clarity of writing the English Wikipedia, not an estimation of world popularity, influence or other notability. This is why major popular carom and pool games are not specifically listed. English billiards, Russian pyramid and five-pins are listed because players of them are not usually referred to as simply carom or pocket billiards players, but players of those specific disciplines.


  1. ^