Never mind the width – feel the undercut!

There’s a lot of nonsense talked about pocket sizes. Players often use their fist to check the actual size which is somewhat pointless as its the undercut [the angle the pocket rubber is cut underneath] as this is what forces the ball downwards into the pocket. You can have a wide pocket with no undercut and balls will just rattle across the pocket jaws and won’t go in even on a slow shot along the cushion. Conversely, a tight pocket with lots of undercut will be much easier to pot balls even played at speed along the cushion.

One question we are often asked is: “are the tables used in televised matches easy as balls seem to go in on shots that wouldn’t go in on our local club tables?” The truth is somewhat in the middle, don’t forget that on TV you are seeing the shots from angles and closeups you don’t normally see, even worse in slow motion. However sponsors and TV producers want to see big breaks and that does mean they don’t want very tight pockets. If your table is an old one it’s very likely it has tighter pockets than modern match tables. On many older tables you certainly can’t pot balls at speed from oblique angles, in fact even straight shots may be thrown back off the pocket plate.

In years past pockets were tighter and there often was not sufficient rubber to put much of an undercut on. Joe Davis made his 147 on a very tight table with much heavier and less responsive balls!