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Cue sports (sometimes written cuesports), also known as billiard sports, are a wide variety of games of skill generally played with a cue stick, which is used to strike billiard balls and thereby cause them to move around a cloth-covered billiards table bounded by elastic bumpers known as cushions.
Historically, the umbrella term was billiards. While that familiar name is still employed by some as a generic label for all such games, the word's usage has splintered into more exclusive competing meanings in various parts of the world. For example, in British and Australian English, billiards usually refers exclusively to the game of English billiards, while in American and Canadian English it is sometimes used to refer to a particular game or class of games, or to all cue games in general, depending upon dialect and context. In colloquial usage, the term billiards may be used to refer to games such as pool, snooker, or Russian pyramid.
Billiards has a long and rich history stretching from its inception in the 15th century, to the wrapping of the body of Mary, Queen of Scots, in her billiard table cover in 1586, through its many mentions in the works of Shakespeare, including the famous line "let's to billiards" in Antony and Cleopatra (1606–07), and through the many famous enthusiasts of the sport such as: Mozart, Louis XIV of France, Marie Antoinette, Immanuel Kant, Napoleon, Abraham Lincoln, Mark Twain, George Washington, French president Jules Grévy, Charles Dickens, George Armstrong Custer, Theodore Roosevelt, Lewis Carroll, W.C. Fields, Babe Ruth, Bob Hope, and Jackie Gleason.
Eight-ball (also spelled 8-ball or eightball, and sometimes called solids and stripes, spots and stripes or highs and lows) is a pool billiards played on a billiard table with six pockets, cue sticks, and sixteen billiard balls: a cue ball and fifteen object balls. The object balls include seven solid-colored balls numbered 1 through 7, seven striped balls numbered 9 through 15, and the black 8 ball. After the balls are scattered with a break shot, a player is assigned either the group of solid or striped balls once they have legally pocketed a ball from that group. The object of the game is to legally pocket the 8 ball in a "called" pocket, which can only be done after all of the balls from a player's assigned group have been cleared from the table.