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Pool Cloth And What To Do About It

The debate continues to rage about whether you should install and play on fast or slow pool cloth. Pool table cloth makes an appreciable difference to the game for most players.

Personally, I train usually on slow pool cloth so I can be ready for competition on fast pool cloth. But the fast pool cloth is covering the world! Enough already with putting the fast (and often, cheap!) pool cloth on every table in sight, room owners... why all the fast cloth?

Which Pool Cloth Is Better For Your Game?

You need extra stroke to keep the cue ball rolling a long distance on slow "felt". But I find you need extra pain reliever for all the headaches on the fast stuff! Too fast, and like fast golf putting surfaces, the game becomes not fun and you feel you need special equipment to compensate. The room owners are just being cheap. And the pool on TV isn't helping at all.

Watching the pros struggle on fast cloth doesn't make me feel any better about playing on it. To add to the pain, as room owners neglect pool cloth maintenance, the cloth wears away, becoming slicker and even faster than before. Ouch. Why not go all the way, cheapskates, and take all the cloth of the table? We can just play on pure slate instead. Better yet, we can roller skate on your table slate...

Billiards photo courtesy of Getty Images, who proudly display the pool cloth beneath Jeanette Lee for all to see


July 6, 2010 at 3:34 am
(1) Bob says:

Um……faster Simonis 760 costs just as much as slower Simonis 860. I’m really not sure how you got this idea that pool room owners are somehow being cheap by installing fast cloth, when quality fast cloth costs just as much as quality slow cloth.

July 12, 2010 at 2:00 pm
(2) Matt Sherman says:

Great point. I’m not thinking of owners who pay a dear price for beautiful and exceptional Simonis brand cloth.

I’m thinking more of room owners who buy the cheap stuff and/or let cloth grow threadbare and fast long after it should be replaced! Thanks for your comment.

July 21, 2010 at 12:07 pm
(3) Kurt L says:

I grew up learning the many games of pool on Simonis and frankly would never put anything but it on my table. I believe that the cloth should be a vehicle that allows the player to get the truest and more pure reaction of the balls, rails, etc during a game. Cheaper and slower cloths do not allow for this. Most are very “thick” and “pilly” and do not allow the cue ball to roll true. To say fast cloth is harder for the average person to play on is not an accurate statement as anyone can learn to adapt to any environment, slow or fast. But for the pure pool player who wants the best and most true outcome, Simonis is the only way to go. This is one of the reasons why most true billiard places will only put it on their tables and the same for major competitions.

July 21, 2010 at 12:10 pm
(4) Kurt L says:

Another thought… Whoever said that cheap cloth is fast has not played much pool. All the cheap cloth that I have seen in the past has always been very slow and real thick. THis is to allow it to last longer so that the owners do not have to replaceit as soon. If you have tables with Simonis on it and they get a lot of use you will have to replace it soon than the cheap thick stuff.

July 22, 2010 at 3:48 pm
(5) Matt Sherman says:

Great thoughts. Again, I’m thinking of folks who are cheap by nature and buy cloth and let it sit until its threadbare–fast cloth! Not buying fast cloth to begin…

March 27, 2013 at 3:00 pm
(6) Allen Milliman says:

Finer quality cloths (such as Simonis) offer a more uniform thickness of cloth as well as a more durable cloth for room owners. Often times (not always) that “thich stuff” some owners install….”fuzzes” up and is almost unplayable after only a few months. In many cases, “cheaper” (aka “thick”) cloths have uneven thicknesses, and are all-too-often mistaken for “unlevel tables”. The table may well be as level as a calm lake, but the varying thicknesses of the cloth make the ball take slight curves along their paths of travel. Don’t believe me? Ever try to rack the balls on a table where you can see tiny dots in the spaces where the balls rest near the foot spot? Those “dots” are thin spots in the cloth, and, cause the balls to roll to the thinnest part of the cloth in those areas, creating gaps between the balls. ……food for thought.

December 5, 2013 at 6:32 am
(7) Strachans says:

I think you might be mistaken. Fast cloth is more expensive to make than slow. More manufactuing processes go into making the cloth quicker. If you want to use the ultimate in pool & snooker cloths get your table fitted with Strachans cloth. Used all over the world.

December 5, 2013 at 8:43 am
(8) Matt Sherman says:

Again, I’m speaking of room owners who let slow cloth become fast and poor cloth by not replacing it–not owners who invest in fast Simonis and etc.

December 11, 2013 at 6:12 pm
(9) Fred R says:

I am refelting a Brunswick 8′ oversized table. I am a casual intermediate player on a middle of the road budget. I would appreciate any recommendations of a specific cloth. I am looking at Championship Invitational and the next level up as well as pro-line and maybe pro-form, but I am open to suggestions. I am also thinking of Academy Blue—any problems with that color? Thanks!

April 14, 2014 at 4:10 pm
(10) Tim says:

I am 100% certain that if you research Simonis 860 you will buy it for your table.

I love the speed and durability of this cloth.

It is the choice of tournaments for over 100 years.

You are asking for someone to recommend the right cloth to be happy with as well as respected by players who know, this is it.

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