How to Use the Dots On a Pool Table (Easy Steps to Remember)

When watching a pool tournament of professional players, it can be intriguing to see them maneuver the balls around the table in such a way that it seems like magic. But did you know that there is more to those shots than magic? This is because expert pool players learn a system that uses the table to their advantage.

Pool players use the dots on a pool table to divide them into sections to choose the best angles for any given shot. Most expert players use the dots to improve the accuracy of their kick shots and bank shots. This way of using the table as some grid is called the diamond system. Keep reading to learn how experienced players use this system to improve their game in just a few easy steps.

Get to Know the Dots

It might seem silly, but there are plenty of people out there that don’t know what those dots are for. So a quick explanation is in order.

If you have looked at a pool table before, you might have noticed the dots (or diamonds) around the perimeter of the table. There are typically 17 regular dots on any table, 18 if you count the pool table manufacturer’s logo (as most players do). Many experienced players use these dots to help them line up their bank shots and kick shots for more success.

Number the Dots

When using this system, players start with giving a numbering system to the dots. This is because you want to create a visual grid across the pool table to set up your shots accordingly.

How to Number the Dots

Some players start with a simple numbering system, using the corner pockets as zero. From there, they go along the long rail and number (both sides) in sequence: 1, 2, 3, 4, and so on. Numbering the dots in this manner allows the player to visualize a line going across the table so that they can visually see how to make specific shots.

Other players use other numbering systems, such as counting by tens, with the corner pockets at zero. Nevertheless, no matter which numbering system is used, the result is the same. Using this system helps players gain more accuracy and control over their shots.

The In-Between

In addition to numbering the actual dots around the table, most players will also assign numbers to the spaces in between. This is because the more numbering that is assigned, the more accurate the shots can become.

Utilizing the spaces in between the dots will further your ability to choose your shots with more accuracy. For example, the space between 1 and 2 should be labeled as 1.5. Doing this will help you become a more competent and expert pool player.

Determine the Type of Shot

When playing pool, you should learn many different shots if you want to be a better player. Depending on the type of spin a player puts on the ball and where the shot is lined up will determine if a player will make a bank shot, kick shot, or one of the many other types. Learning to use the dots will allow you to make a more accurate shot.

Bank Shot

A bank shot happens when the object ball is hit against the rail to put it into the appropriate pocket. Using your number system, you can be more accurate when making these shots. It is important to remember that the angle you hit the ball into the wall is the direction towards your goal.

Kick Shot

The kick shot occurs when the cue ball is hit into the rail then to the object ball with the goal of it landing in the desired pocket. To use the dots to your advantage with this type of shot, you will count the dots between the cue ball and the pocket and divide them in half. This will give you the most accurate angle to take your shot.

Practice Makes Perfect

One final step in using the dots to your advantage would be to practice, practice, practice. Like many things in life, the more you do something, the better you get at it. Using the diamond system is a great way for you to improve your pool playing abilities.

Final Thoughts

Using the dots around the pool table is an effective way to improve your pool skills. Understanding how to number these dots to form a grid across the table will help you make more accurate shots. Practicing this system regularly can take you from being a beginner or mediocre player to playing like a pro in no time.


Benny is the owner of Supreme Billiards and has been shooting pool and teaching people how to shoot pool for a few years now. He enjoys showing new players techniques and drills to improve their pool game.

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