According to Clive Everton, the author of The History of Snooker and Billiards, the earliest-known pool table can be traced to the royal court of Louis XI in France.
In 1461, a section of the palace's lawn was uprooted, brought indoors and placed on a large table.
Today, pool is a competitive sport played by millions around the world. But, despite its popularity, very few players will have the privilege of a table in their homes. Although it's certainly a luxury, there are various types to consider for a range of budgets, all of which are sure to lend your abode a regal ambiance.
Jeffrey Todd reviews three levels of billiard tables.
Rais pool table
Practical and affordable, this table is 2.7 metres long and 1.3 metres wide. A return-ball system makes for fast and efficient play and it comes with a number of accessories, including four cues, an Aramith Belgium ball set, wooden triangle, table cover and a cue rack. Lauan wood, or tropical plywood, makes up the body of this product, while the legs are made of pine with maximum density fiberwood, or MDF. MDF is a fine sawdust compressed with water-resistant glue to produce a smooth and strong appearance. The table's clean, blue surface is Simonis cloth, which is a brand name known for smoothness and durability. Beginners and casual players should find this pool table appealing. It's not made with the finest materials, but the product is very functional and can take a few bumps and scratches. Dubai Snooker Club - the largest of its kind in the UAE - is a valuable resource and shop for all things pool. You can contact them at www.dubaisnooker.com.
Rais steel block table
The classic snooker table - measuring 3.6 metres long and 1.8 metres wide - is sure to be the centrepiece of any room. As opposed to pool, snooker is a more difficult game with a larger playing surface, bigger pockets and smaller balls. Steel block table refers to the cushioned sides of the playing surface between the pockets. This material helps to create optimum response and sensitivity when the ball makes contact. The body of the pool table is made of lauan wood and, for a more classic look, the exterior has been polished and fashioned to give it a mahogany appearance. If you're quite serious about snooker, but don't want to break the bank, this table has a traditional look and feel. Although it's not made of genuine mahogany, the playing surface is very professional and should make for some competitive matches.
The Billiards Toulet Company has been crafting classic pool and snooker tables since 1857. But its latest creation - the BlackLight - is anything but traditional. In collaboration with the Institute of Design in northern France, six designers have created a table that is both professional and stylish.
Fully customisable with a choice of 30 colours and finishes, the BlackLight, made of steel and iron, is luxurious to say the least. You can shoot some pool, challenge someone to a game of snooker or even convert it into a dining room table. Internal LED lighting, an integrated jukebox and a port to plug in your iPod or MP3 player means the BlackLight also functions as a home entertainment system. In fact, it's DiscoLight system synchronises with the built-in lights according to the beats. This product openly targets the high-net-worth individual who is looking for more than a pool table. It comes with a matching cue stand, overhead billiard lamp and all the basic accessories, such as cues and triangles. Customers should note that a "luxury" version, featuring gold and silver colour options, comes at an increased price. If you would like a BlackLight in your home, it will be on display at the upcoming "Big Boys Toys" event running from March 16 to March 19 at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.