Billiards Information

Carom billiards, sometimes called carambole billiards or simply carambole , is the overarching title of a family of billiards games generally played on cloth-covered, 5 by 10 feet pocketless tables, which often feature heated slate beds. In its simplest form, the object of the game is to score points or "counts" by caroming one's own cue ball off both the opponent's cue ball and the object ball on a single shot. The invention as well as the exact date of origin of carom billiards is somewhat obscure but is thought to be traceable to 18th-century France.

There is a large array of carom billiards disciplines. Some of the more prevalent today and historically are : straight rail, cushion caroms, balkline, three-cushion billiards and artistic billiards. There are many other carom billiards games, predominantly intermediary or offshoot games combining elements of those already listed, such as the champion's game, an intermediary game between straight rail and balkline, as well as games which are hybrids of carom billiards and pocket billiards, such as English billiards played on a snooker table and its descendant games, American four-ball billiards, and cowboy pool.

The word "carom", which simply means any strike and rebound, came into use in the 1860s and is a shortening of Spanish and Portuguese carambola and French carambole, which was earlier used to describe the red object ball. Some etymologists have suggested that carambola, in turn, was derived from a yellow-to-orange, tropical Asian fruit also known in Portuguese as a carambola , also known as star fruit. But this may simply be folk etymology, as the fruit bears no resemblance to a billiard ball, and there is no direct evidence for such a derivation.

Wikipedia, Billiards, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carom_billiards (as of Apr 1, 2010)

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