Why You Need Pool Chalk (And Best Practices)

pool chalk

Playing pool has been an American pastime for decades, and it is something that many people enjoy as a hobby or even as a competitive sport. Even if you are not looking to make the big bucks playing pool, there are ways to improve your game, especially when it comes to using chalk. This trick is more important than you might think. Why do you need pool chalk and how do you use it?

Using pool chalk gives your stick enough friction to make contact with the ball. Otherwise you run the risk of your stick slipping off the ball or simply messing up the shot. You unfortunately don’t get any redo shots in pool, so this can make winning extremely difficult.

The tip of a cue stick is typically covered in leather, which has a slippery texture. Pool balls are made of a resin compound, meaning they are slick as well.  Chalk gives your stick grip when hitting the ball. There are ways to optimize the use of chalk so that you get the most benefit. Keep reading to find out how to best use pool chalk

Best Practices For Using Pool Chalk

Every time you use the cue stick, chalk will be flung off or transferred to the balls it hits. This means that every time you get ready to take a hit you should stop and add a layer of chalk

You should be using pool chalk before every turn you take. Not only does it add consistency to your shot, many trick shots, like spinning the ball, depend on friction being present.

What to Use If You Don’t Have Pool Chalk

Not having chalk makes the game infinitely harder. If you want to play but you don’t have any chalk around you, there are some substitutes you can use. 

Some include:

  • Use regular chalkboard chalk, as most billiard halls use this to keep score. 
  • Scuff the pool cue tip on the ground or with keys, but you can end up doing more harm than good. 
  • Use chalk or baby powder on their hands to give yourself a better grip. 

If you are serious about the game the best advice is to bring your own chalk or buy a portable one. There are many styles that come on a key ring, making transportation easy. 

Types of Chalk: Which One Is Best For You?

If you play for fun you might not be worried about what kind of chalk is available at the pool hall. But certain types of chalk work better than other brands, so if you really want to win that bet it’s best to make sure that you are using the correct one. 

Chalks typically range from .50 cents to $30. The cheapest option will work just fine for a casual game, but if you are playing in a league then you may want to explore some of the high end brands. 

These brands are known for having the smoothest application and preventing miscues several times in a row:

Now you have some great options when it comes to selecting the best chalk for your game.

What Do Different Colors of Chalk Mean?

This is purely preference, though many players like to use chalk that matches the color of the felt that they are playing with. Most brands use the same compound, which is typically a combination of silica, aluminum oxide, and corundum, which are all known for their ability to create friction. 

The only difference across brands is the quality of these individual ingredients. The color is simply up to the brand and doesn’t indicate a difference in type of chalk. Available colors include: 

  • Green
  • Red
  • Blue
  • Orange
  • Pink

Now you know everything about pool chalk and why you should use it in your games.

Chalk Up When Playing Pool

The final takeaway is that using pool chalk is vital to the game. Friction is necessary to have a smooth shot. Not using chalk every time you go to hit can lead to a miscue, which you don’t get a redo for. Whether you are simply having a fun time at the bar with friends or are in a competitive game, give yourself the best chance of winning by using pool 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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