Pool table pockets are one of the key parts of a table. And if you find them inappropriate in terms of size, it can significantly impact your game.
Since you are reading this article, I assume you are looking for a quick solution for tightening up your pockets. Why only tight, not loose? Because that’s one of the common issues that occur at the pool table.
Normally, loose pool tables make the game easy. It’s like making a football goal size thrice of its standard size. So even if a player shoots from far away, he can hit the goal with ease and the goalkeeper has less chance of stopping it.
The same is true here. The bigger these pockets are, the easier it gets to sink the balls. And that’s something you’d not like if you are longing a transition from a beginner pool player to a pro.
In this article, I’m going to shed some light on this aspect of a pool table. But before that, we need to understand what’s the standard size of a pool table pocket.
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A lot of people ask if pool table pockets are universal, the answer is yes.
There are different sizes of pockets available, but if you look at the standard size, there’d be one size pockets that can be used on varying sizes of table.
Size of pool table pockets varies from their position. For instance, corner pockets have a width equal to the size of two billiard balls — 11.4-11.7 cm. While side pockets have mouths of 12.7-13.3 cm. Side pockets are always a little bigger than the corner pockets.
More or less, the pocket size of the tables remain the same, if we talk about standard measurements.
Now, moving on to the real business. What if you find your pool table pockets too big for your play? Maybe you’d want to tighten up your pool table pockets so they become less forgiving and you’d have to be more precise with your shots in order to sink the ball.
Luckily, there are a few ways to achieve this. So without wasting any time, let’s get started with them.
More or less, anyone can use these three methods to reduce their pocket size or tighten them in order to make sinking the ball a little more skillful task.
If you are looking for a simple and less expensive option, I’d recommend you to go with this. They are also known as pool table tighteners. Pocket reducers are objects you can buy from anywhere, any billiards shop or even online. They are spring loaded devices that you attach to two rubber cushions.
The device is squeezed between the pocket, one end at one side and the other end at the other side. The tension of the spring keeps the object at its place. Thus, due to the area occupied by it, the size of the pocket becomes a little smaller.
A couple of advantages of using these reducers are they are not permanent. For instance, at the end of the play, you can take them off and even put them on any other table. Also, they pose no harm to your pool table cloth or the table itself.
Another option is to use wood that will extend the subrail, then apply longer cushions on it in such a way that the cushion shims up your pocket. If you are not sure about the actual measurements, keep them at about 4 1/4 to 4 3/4 inches at the front of a corner pocket.
If you want to further tighten them, 4 ¼ inches is the limit. This size is for players with extraordinary skills but any casual player won’t find it easy to sink in such a narrow space.
A lot of people have asked if they should double shim or single shim their pockets. Again, it all comes down to your preferences.
To me, double shim is the limit. Even if you are a pro, you’d not find the third shim sticking out of the cushion near the pocket area. Not only will it look weird but also affect the look of your table surface.
Fair enough, you know the pros and cons now, but how to shim pool table pockets?
Glue a series of cushion facings to the end of the rail. Then, cut off their fronts in line with the angle of their fronts. The facing would easily mold to the angle of the end of the rail.
Then replace the cushion rubber and extend it all the way to the end of the long rails. And then put a standard cushion facing at their ends.
Actually there are so many innovations available now for this purpose that one can easily get confused about what is the best option for oneself and how do they reduce their pool table pocket size.
Liners, blockers, and plugs are physical objects that you can purchase and simply put over your pool table pockets based on your preferences and they’ll reduce the size. However, these are less popular ones.
And yes, can be expensive too. Pool table carom pockets inserts are worth mentioning here. So at the end of the day, choice is yours.
To be honest, I don’t want you to open up your cushions, glue some wood on it and shim the pocket size. It’s way more complex than it might appear to you while reading this.
I’d recommend you buying inexpensive and simple shims from anywhere, or pool table size reducers. They are available in different sizes and shapes. Any object that you find easy to put would do that.
For instance, the expandable pool table pocket reducers can be taken off easily off the table and installed with utmost ease. You can even use them on a different table as well.
What size to shim home practice table pockets to?
It all comes down to your preferences. What your level is, what you are aiming to achieve? Accordingly, you can set your shims. However, never go for too tight, it can have an adverse effect on your game.
Indeed, if your pool table pockets are bigger than the standard size, you’d have to cut down their size in order to improve your gameplay. Pool table pockets should be less forgiving so one can emulate the real time play and hone his game accordingly. With above mentioned ways to reduce your pool table pocket size, I’m sure it’d be easier for you to now figure out how small your pocket should be and how to reduce its size.