Pool trick shots became popular as soon as the public first witnessed them. Trick shots are viewed as a kind of freestyle exercise by the general public. In reality though, the sport is divided into precise categories and disciplines. There are different types of event; some made expressively for TV broadcasting. They all have one thing in common; they are judged. The way the judging is proceeded differs though. For example, in the World Snooker Trickshot Championship, the players are judged subjectively by a group of judges who determines the winner of the event based on their tricks, but also on their presentation and entertainment capacities. In events such as the Trick Shot Magic, the format is a head-to-head one. A player is given one point for each successful pool trick shots and the player with the most points at the end of a given number of rounds is the winner. And then there is actual artistic pool; and as you are about to see, it’s called artistic pool for a reason.
Artistic pool discipline is the most defined one on the side of its rules. Its program features 160 distinct tricks players can attempt. Those tricks are divided into 8 categories:
Trick/fancy: The “standard” pool trick shots are part of this category. Setup shots with multiple balls as obstacles where the object is to make one final ball.
Prop/novelty/special arts: The shots with more of an entertainment purpose are forming this category. Shots making use of cues, bridges, racks, coins, chalk, etc. as well as shots including special requirements such as time, push shots, one-handed, behind the back, under the leg, etc.
Draw: Shots requiring the cue ball to hit an object ball and then backspin in order to somehow pocket another final ball. The cue ball and object ball have to be at a greater distance than ½” from each other.
Follow: Shot with the same concept as the draw, but with topspin.
Bank/kick: A bank shot means to pocket an object ball by using a cushion and a kick shot involves the cue ball to hit “X” number of rails before pocketing an object ball.
Stroke: With the cue ball and object ball being less than ½” from each other, the shot involves a draw of follow action.
Jump: As its name indicates, any pool trick shots where the cue ball gets airborne is included in this category. The only exceptions being the shots that rank in the prop category or some special stroke.
Massé: Shots where the shooter elevates the cue stick to create a wicked spin on the cue ball to make it go around obstacles.
It’s called artistic pool and it makes sense because the sport is judged just like any artistic sport (skating, skiing, gymnastics, etc.) The way the competition format works is that 160 tricks are to be attempted by the contestants. Each competitor has three attempts to successfully execute each trick. The pool trick shots have an associated difficulty rating that increases proportionally the value of it in points. Full points are collected for succeeding on the first attempt and points taken off for every additional attempt. After a preliminary round of 40 tricks, the top 12 contestants then proceed to head-to-head match-ups to eventually determine a champion.