The various types of cue sports which are so popular all over the world these days have a long and complicated history with the common theme of a slow and inexorable evolution from lawn games to indoor table sports. The game of billiards is one of the modern results of these historic events.
Modern players may be more than a little bit surprised to discover that for many years the game of billiards was an extremely exclusive sport and that a billiard table was to be found in some of the finest mansions of Europe.
For example, the very first indoor billiards table is believed to have belonged to King Louis XI of France, while Napoleon, Mary Queen of Scots, Abraham Lincoln and Mozart are part of a long list of famous people throughout the centuries who have professed a love for the game of billiards.
We have to go back to the late 16th century to see the very first recorded mention of the game billiards, but the variations which were popular in those days were a far cry from the ones we know now. A mace was used instead of billiard cues and the likes or arches were used as obstacles instead of pockets as targets.
As for the rest of the equipment, poorer players used clay or wood balls but the aristocratic practitioners of the sport used to play billiards games with ones which were made of pure ivory.
Modern Advances in the Game
We have to fast forward to the late 19th century to see billiards and the other variants of the game considered as a sport rather than as a past time, and since then they have become increasingly popular, with an interesting development being the divergence of billiards, snooker and pools into distinct sports which, generally speaking, attract different types of players to them.
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