The 10 Best Pool Cue Racks
Choosing Your Rack
Imagine how the rack will harmonize with the entirety of the room.
Since pool cue racks vary widely, from the simplest of holders to fancy carts that hold cues, balls, and more, you might be wondering how you can be expected to choose. Really, the main concerns you'll need to weigh when choosing a pool cue rack come down to mainly two: size and style. Cover these two considerations, and the rack you select should serve you well for years to come.
The first, size, is likely to be your number one concern, because if the rack does not fit your space, it won't do you much good. If you have a gargantuan hall, of course, this isn't as much of an issue, but if you've got a smaller room, you'll need to do some measuring or strategizing. For a truly microscopic space, your best bet will most likely be a wall-mounting rack, a type that comes in varying lengths and usually holds between six and 12 cue sticks. For a larger room, a stand-type rack may be appropriate, especially since these might even save space by collecting all your pool implements together compactly.
Once you've determined the size (and therefore style) that will be appropriate, it's time to consider how the rack will fit your decor. The majority use wood construction, but the type of wood and finish color vary greatly, from light blond to dark mahogany and even black. When choosing, you might consider how the rack will look against your flooring, walls, and pool table. Do you want it to match? Complement? Or are you going for a more eclectic look? Do the shape and finish need to fit a certain style, perhaps rustic or modern? Imagine how the rack will harmonize with the entirety of the room. This can be tough, but if you've got computer image manipulation skills (or have a kid who does), you could even create a mock-up using pictures of various racks in order to get a better feel for your potential choices.
Types Of Pool Cues
Pool cue racks come in a wide variety of styles, woods, and sizes, but the pool cues you'll put in it are more likely to conform to certain long-established specifications. Tradition isn't the only reason for these similarities; the established differences between cues make each better for one type of billiards or another, or more appropriate for certain players and situations.
Further sizing differences depend on the player and will be determined by his or her physical size, strength, and preferences.
For example, when it comes to construction, most pool cue shafts use maple, while those for snooker are largely made from ash wood. The butt (the part you hold), on the other hand, might feature any one of a variety of woods, such as zebrawood, holly, or bocote, with some becoming quite pricey. A butt might also be wrapped in leather or linen, a choice that comes down to feel and grip.
You'll also notice that a common choice for pool cues is between one- and two-piece versions. Neither one is inherently better, but there are some plusses to two-piece cues that give them a slight edge for some serious pool players. For one thing, they're more easily transportable, and for another, they allow for interchangeability, whether for a desired effect or because one piece has been damaged. And while it's true that one-piece cues have a reputation for being cheaper (you'll see poor-quality versions in pool halls across the world), there are plenty of worthy, well-balanced versions available today.
Pool cues vary in size, as well, which covers the length, weight, and tip diameter. Size choices partly relate to the type of billiards you'll play; snooker cues are generally lighter and smaller, while American cues are bigger with a thicker tip (which makes sense, as the balls used for snooker are smaller). Further sizing differences depend on the player and will be determined by his or her physical size, strength, and preferences.
A Pool Shark By Any Other Name
If you're buying your own pool cue rack, you might be serious about becoming the best pool player you can be. Perhaps you want to have the best equipment as well as the ability to run a table. Some might even say they want to become pool sharks, meaning someone who is the best player in the room, the person who's admired for his skills from english to massé. Interestingly, though, the term "pool shark" has long been negative, as it has traditionally meant someone who does not engage in good sportsmanship and may even be a cheater.
One well-known form of shifty behavior in pool is hustling.
One well-known form of shifty behavior in pool is hustling. Even if you know little about pool, you're probably familiar with how hustling works from the movies, such as "The Hustler," "The Color of Money," and "Poolhall Junkies." Broadly speaking, hustlers attempt to con their competition into believing that they aren't all that good at pool, often by playing a few games for low stakes and losing. This lulls the competition into a false sense of security; the hustler then ups the stakes and wins, since she had the skills all along. This unsportsmanlike conduct (which is both a con and cheating) is referred to as pool sharking as well as hustling; if you tell someone you want to become a pool shark, you may be broadcasting your intention to cheat your fellow players.
Pool sharking isn't only about out-and-out fleecing, though. Sometimes it's just poor conduct with the intent of throwing off your opponent. Such behavior includes talking loudly while the other player is attempting to shoot, repeatedly demanding that the other player re-rack, and fidgeting with the cue, chalk, and everything else in the room to create a distraction. While some of these behaviors can be called out, pool sharks may attempt to be subtle and even refuse to own up to what they're doing (they might say they had no idea they were being disruptive, for instance). Sharking fellow players in this manner is certainly one way to gain a reputation, but it's not one that most people would desire. It's better to work on becoming an 'A' player instead.