Read these 7 Billiard Books – Every Aspiring Player Must Read!

If you want to increase your knowledge of billiards and find techniques to improve your gameplay, one of the best ways to do so is by researching these sports and obtaining advice from experts through reading books. Unfortunately, while there are a vast number of fantastic billiard books, few people have the time to read more than a book or two a month, which is why we’re going to list the ones we think you should prioritize first.

In this article, we are going to discuss the top eight billiard books every aspiring player must-read. The books will vary in content, player skill level, and game of focus, but each is exceptional in its own right and has taught countless billiards players how to get started and/or improve their billiard skills.

“The 99 Critical Shots in Pool: Everything You Need to Know to Learn and Master the Game” by Ray Martin

Written by world champion pool player Ray “Cool Cat” Martin, “The 99 Critical Shots in Pool…” is one of the first go-to books for any beginner pool player, and even one intermediate and the expert player will refer to time and again.

This authoritative guide to the game contains everything you need to know about playing the winner’s pool. It starts with a brief introduction about the author for a sense of credibility, then proceeds to depict 200 illustrations that show proper form, technique, and approach to shots such as:

  • The Center Ball Cheat-the-Pocket
  • The Hook Shot
  • The Nudge Shot

All of which are essential shots to the arsenal of an above-average pool player. In the world of pool literature, this book is a staple everyone should have.

Buy it here!

The Illustrated Principles of Pool and Billiards by David G. Alciatore

Don’t be fooled by David G. Alciatore’s professionalism as a mechanical engineering professor rather than a world-renowned pool player, his passion for the game is unprecedented and deeply informed, as demonstrated by the contents of this book.

The Illustrated Principles of Pool and Billiards is a must-have guide for anyone who wants to improve their game. It contains more than 80 principles of the pool, presented with 250-plus precisely scaled illustrations and photographs that players of all levels can utilize.

It also provides a thorough overview of the fundamentals of 8-ball and 9-ball, including grip and stance, basic shots, position play and strategy, bank and kick shots, and advanced techniques such as carom and jump shots.

One of the benefits of this book is that the information doesn’t just stop on paper. It also includes several online resources for additional knowledge and skill advancement.

Buy it here!

Byrne’s Complete Book of Pool Shots: 350 Moves Every Player Should Know” by Robert Byrne

If this is the first time you hear of Robert Byrne, we promise it won’t be the last. Not only is he a profound writer, but Byrne is also an exceptional instructor of pool and carom billiards, as evident by his indictment into the Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame. This is just one of his many highly appraised works on the topic of pool.

Byrne’s Complete Book of Pool Shots is just that, a comprehensive work of the possible pool shots players can make. His aptness for teaching the game shines through in this book, where he demonstrates how to properly execute over 350 shots, from tickys and double-kisses to jump shots and diamond systems.

If you know any avid pool players, we guarantee they have this book somewhere on their shelves for a quick shot reference.

Buy it here!

Byrne’s New Standard Book of Pool and Billiards by Robert Byrne

We told you that you’d hear of Byrne again, but don’t worry; his double appearance in this list is not unfounded.

Byrne’s New Standard Book of Pool and Billiards is deemed one of the best introductory books on pool for beginners or a good refresher for players returning to the game. The book includes countless beginner-friendly illustrations and covers topics such as strategy in eight- and nine-ball, trick shots, and billiard memorabilia.

We highly recommend this book to players interested in starting their pool journey but unsure how.

Buy it here!

“Pleasures of Small Motions: Mastering the Mental Game of Pocket Billiards” by Bob Fancher

A lot of the books listed here so far have had a lot in common content-wise regarding pool shots and fundamentals. Bob Fancher, however, takes a very different approach in his book.

Pleasures of Small Motions is an essential billiards book to read for its intent to focus on the sheer mental aspect of this game rather than the physical. While form, accuracy, and shot execution are important, Fancher discusses the game from the perspective of a psychotherapist.

Fancher gives players invaluable insight regarding:

  • How the conscious and unconscious mind work together
  • Drills for improvement
  • Advice for mastering emotion and developing rhythm
  • Differences between concentration and focus
  • “Banking with the Beard” by Freddy Bentivegna

All of which allows players to get a deeper look into competitive play from an angle very few other works take.

Buy it here!

“The Great Break Shot” by Charley Bond

One of the most important shots in pool is actually the first shot, the break. Frequently, this is the easiest way a more advanced player can pick out a rookie at the table, and you don’t want that to be you.

Charley Bond’s The Great Break Shot will show beginners the ideal technique and strategy to use when breaking for any billiard game. It covers topics including:

  • Fundamentals of the Break Shot stroke
  • Adjusting the address
  • Segmented learning of a good stroke
  • Cueing principals of the Break Shot stroke
  • Proper form
  • Rhythm from Repetition
  • Practice & Competition
  • All about the Break Cue
  • Racking Secrets
  • Using the Break shot to control the Game

Regardless of which billiards game is your calling, don’t let a poor break shot be your downfall. Instead, give this book a try and see your break shot improve almost instantly.

Buy it here!

“Banking with the Beard” by Freddy Bentivegna

Our last billiard book recommendation focuses on utilizing arguably the most useful component on any billiard table, the rails.

Banking With the Beard by Freddy Bentivegna helps players of all levels learn how to incorporate kick and bank shot aiming systems in their gameplay. This world-class bank player describes the essentials of and relationship between cut angle, cue ball English, and force in a digestible form.

Accurate banking is a skill that can take any intermediate player into the realm of advanced skills quickly when done properly. Therefore, if you’re woefully underutilizing this element of your billiards table, it’s time you let Freddy teach you how it’s done.

Buy it here!



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.

Recent Posts