Buying your own cue may sound strange and unnescessary, but if you really want to play a serious game, you'll notice it's almost mandatory. Choosing a cue is a very important decision, maybe the most important one when you're playing the game. It's a good investment, because you'll soon get accustomed to your own cue, and therefor your game will improve. Also it keeps you from having to try lots of different cues before you start the game, and the cue you choose never seems to be a good one, right? :)
I have no idea what the rules are for poolcues, but in snooker a cue has to be at least 910 mm (3ft) long. Most players have cues that reach up to 15 cm below their own shoulders (my cue is longer than that, but I make up for it by holding it furter away from the butt. I chose it because of the weight, I like a cue with a resonably heavy weight). Most cues weigh between 425 and 500 grammes, but these (again) are not mandatory weights. My own cue is 20 oz (560 grammes) but I know people who have cues that are even heavier than that. But of course both length and weight depend totally on your own preferences. You may like one cue, but hate the next. Therefor it is also important that you try out the cue, and if it doesn't suit you, that you are able to trade it in!
Most cues are made of two pieces, but there are cues made out of three. The third part is ( according to what was told to me) made to give extra support during the break. A cue with two parts will however, suit most people who are serious about the game. In snooker the players have cues out of two pieces, the difference being that the cue is not divided in two equally long pieces, but the cue has a long part reaching from the tip about 2/3 of the total length down. The butt of the cue can be screwed on the back, the players have multiple ends, all of different lengths. But since a pooltable smaller than a snooker table (by a loooong way!), you don't need a cue like this. And having a small tip like a snooker cue wont improve your preformance. :)
If you did happen to buy a cue that doesn't fit you, don't continue using it! Of course it won't be good for your game to switch cues alot, but playing with a cue that doesn't fit you isn't good either. Snooker players (again snooker, but I've never seen a pool match on tv) almost know more about their cues than their wives! :) Top players like Alex Higgins or Ray Reardon have had problems accustomizing to new cues when their old ones were broken or stolen.
Once you have bought that cue, you naturally want it to last as long as possible. Therefor there are certain guidelines you should follow for maintaining your cue. Once in a while you should wipe your cue with a wet cloth (not soaking!), making the cue smoother and more comfortable to play with. There are also special cloths that you can buy for a few dollars/pounds/euro's (!!) that smoothen the cue. I don't have one at the moment, but it is really worth buying. Also don't expose your cue to extreme temperatures; don't leave it in the car, kitchen (NOT on the pool table! :) or other places where the temperature or humidity fluctuates.
For fruter reading try Dennis Taylor's book on Snooker (called "Play Snooker with Dennis Taylor), it explains not only the game of snooker (less interesting), gives tactical ideas and suggestions on stance, bridge etcetc. ISBN number is 90-6533-277-4.
For comments or additions please mail me!
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