Ten Tools Every Pool Player Needs
There are tons of gadgets and gizmos for pool players all stating they are "the last tool you'll ever need" or "the only tool you'll ever need". When you break past the marketing hype and look at daily activities of pool players there are a few things that you simply must have as a regular pool player. We've compiled a quick list of these for you (assuming of course that you already have your pool cues):
#1 Pool Cue Case
It seems obvious, but you'd be surprised at how many people don't have a quality case for their pool cue. If you're traveling around with your pool cue, you simply must have a quality pool cue case. Any case is going to provide protection, but a good hard case or box case is almost always preferable to a soft case.
#2 Pool Cue Cleaner
Let's face it, shafts get dirty. The more you play, the dirtier they get. Every pool player needs something for a quick clean in between racks. That's why pool players carry around shaft cleaners with them. Whether it be a quick cleaner like the Q Clean or disposable towels, you need something to give your shaft a quick clean to get rid of topical grime and stickiness.
#3 Shaft Sanders and Burnishing Papers
Topical cleaners will get most of the tackiness off of your cue, but over time you'll need to do a deep cleaning. The best way to give your shaft a deep clean is with burnishing papers. Products like Nick's Edge and Q Smooth come with a variety of grades of micro-grit film depending on the level of cleaning you need. In addition, we highly recommend the Q-Wiz, as it is safe for your shaft, washable and reusable.
#4 Scuffers and Shapers
Always at the top of any pool player's list are tip scuffers, a absolute essential for any player. Everyone has their own favorite brand of scuffer, whether it be the Cue Cube, Tip Pik or just a simple nickel or dime scuffer, but they all do the same thing. They rough up your tip to maximize chalk retention and as every pool player knows, the better the chalk retention, the less likely you are to miscue.
#5 Joint Protectors
If you care about extending the life of your pool cue, you'll invest a few bucks in a set of joint protectors (also known as joint caps). Joint protectors do exactly what they say they're going to do: protect your pool cue joint and pin from damage. They keep debris and lint from getting stuck in your threads and keep your cue just a little bit safer. As an added bonus, they look pretty slick, especially the branded joint caps.
#6 Break Cue
One of the first rules of owning your own cue is don't break with it. Break cues are made for a reason. They have harder tips, stronger ferrules and some even feature reinforced joints. They're made just for breaking so you don't mushroom and damage your shooting cue. Even if you don't want to use a break cue, just don't use your shooting cue to break.
#7 Hand Towel
It seems silly to mention because it is such a basic tool, but a hand towel of one sort or another is essential for any pool player. All that grime, sweat and grease that gets on your hands over the course of an evening at the pool hall belongs on a towel, not on your cue shaft and your linen wrap. Keep your hands clean and you'll keep your cue clean, giving you a much smoother stroke.
#8 Pocket Marker
If you play 8 ball in a league like the APA, chances are you need some sort of pocket marker. They're used to show the pocket you're calling to sink the 8 ball. Not only do they help avoid arguments, but in the case of the APA, its the law. You can't play 8 ball in the APA without a pocket marker and using a bar coaster is just embarrassing, so get yourself a decent marker and use it regularly.
#9 Coin Holder
If you're like most of us, more often than not you're likely playing on coin-op tables. Unless you like walking around with a heavy, jangling pocket of quarters, you should consider investing a few bucks in a coin holder. Most coin holders carry up to $10 in quarters and fit in your case pocket.
If you're playing in a tournament, there's lots of down time. If you're not in Vegas, typically there's very little to do between matches, so bring along some entertainment. Whether its an iPod, a deck of cards or a good book, bring something to pass the time.