What is Chalk for in Pool? (Plus How to Use and the Best Chalk)

If you know anything about pool, then you know that you have to put chalk on the tip of your pool cue, but you probably don’t know why.

So, what is chalk for in pool? Chalk is used on the tip of a pool cue in order to create more friction between the tip and the cue ball so that the tip does not simply slide over the cue ball. When this happens, it results in a miscue, which generally causes the cue ball to move in an unintended way.

So, like many things related to pool, chalk has to do with science. In order to properly strike the cue ball, you need enough friction between the cue and the surface of the ball to make it happen, especially with off center shots. Continue reading to find out more why we use chalk, how to use it, and what chalk is the best.

Why do You Use Chalk in Pool?

To put it simply, you use chalk in pool to avoid a miscue. A miscue is when the tip slides across the cue ball instead of hitting it firmly. It is hard to imagine it happening, but it can and does happen all the time, even with chalk and even to some of the best players. Just check out this compilation video on YouTube, and you’ll see just how devastating a miscue can be.

The tip of a pool cue is usually made of hard leather. When this hard surface comes in contact with the high polished cue ball, it has a high tendency to slide over the cue ball instead of striking it.

If you don’t use chalk when playing pool, you will…

  • Experience more miscues
  • Have a hard time putting any kind of spin on the cue ball

If you’re hitting the cue ball dead center, this will be less of a problem, but some players still prefer to chalk up before making any shot.

How do You Use Chalk in Pool?

While applying chalk to the tip of your pool cue is easy, there are plenty of people out there doing it all wrong. Don’t just jam the tip into the block, rub it around, and cross your fingers that the tip is covered, and more chalk isn’t always better. Here are our tips for using chalk:

  • Use a gentle brush like motion with the chalk. Some people describe this as painting.
  • Try to get an even and complete coverage of the tip.
  • Angle the pool cue so that you can easily see what you’re doing.
  • Don’t bang your cue or blow on it to remove excess chalk.

So it isn’t hard, but you can see where many novice pool players go wrong. Don’t be that guy!

What is the Best Chalk to Use for Pool?

Any chalk will do when you’re playing pool, but everyone seems to have their own favorite. When looking for a chalk that suits you, consider some of the following:

  • Does chalking up before every shot annoy you?
  • What kind of budget do you have?
  • What color felt do you play on and what colors are available for the brand you want?
  • Do you want something top of the line or just something that will see you through?

Our personal favorite chalk for everyday use is Blue Diamond Chalk because it is inexpensive, and the chalk really sticks to the tip, so you don’t necessarily have to chalk up before every shot.

If you’re looking for something a little more high end, check out Kamui chalk. It is one of the best chalks you can get, but it is also one of the most expensive.

For more information about our favorite chalks, check out our post What’s the Best Billiard Chalk?


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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