If you’ve been to GameTime, you have seen the abundance of pool tables that we carry and you have probably also noticed that they are all almost always being played on. But did you know that Billiards, also very well-known as “Pool”, has a very long and rich history? It begins in the 15th century when it was first a lawn game played in Northern Europe. Since then, obviously, the game has evolved from that point into the present day’s style of Billiards. The game has been played by kings, commoners, presidents, ladies, gentlemen, and hustlers alike. So how did this game come to be the fun and social game that it is today? Let us tell you.
The term “billiard” is thought to be derived from the French language, either from the word “billart”, on of the wooden sticks, or “bille”, a ball. The “cue stick” was developed in the late 1600’s and for a long time, only men were allowed to use the cue. The flat walls’ original function was just to keep the balls from falling off of the table until the players discovered that they could use these walls, or “banks”, to bounce the balls into the pockets. Thus the “bank shot” was born!
In Britain, the game was referred to as “English Billiards” from about 1770 until the 1920s and was played with three balls and six pockets on a large rectangular table. In the United States, the game was referred to as “American Four-Ball Billiards” until the 1870s and was played on a large four-pocket table with four billiard balls.
From 1878 until 1956, pool tournaments were held almost annually, and a number of players were even becoming famous with cigarette cards issued featuring them. However, following World War II, many of the soldiers, who were once players, were in the mood to buy houses and build careers rather than spending an afternoon at the pool tables. By the end of the 1950s, it looked as though the game might end up completely forgotten.
Fortunately, billiards was revived by two events. The first was the release of the movie, “The Hustler” in 1961 featuring Paul Newman. Rooms reopened all over the U.S. until social concerns, the Vietnam War, and a desire for educational outdoor activities led to a decline in the popular game again. In 1986, “The Color of Money” was released as a sequel to “The Hustler” featuring Paul Newman again, and Tom Cruise. Once again, the film brought the excitement of pool to a new generation that resulted in the opening of upscale rooms that catered to people. The trend began in 1987 and has only risen since.
In the 1920s, the pool room was an environment in which men gathered to loiter, smoke, fight, bet and play. The game today bears no resemblance to those of the earlier times. Today, adults, teenagers, men, women, and kids, can all come together to enjoy a fun game of billiards. And where can they go to play such a great game in a unique environment? GameTime in Brantford of course! Come for the fun, stay for the food.