Round Pool Table

Roxxy’s, Holdsworth Court

Roxxy’s bartender Wally Plake says that if you want to play on a round pool table, you take everything you know about pool and throw it out the window.

Tucked up against the wall under a black drape is what looks like a circular, green-felted billiards table. Pulling it out, however, Wally points out that it’s oval shaped, or kind of elliptical. Instead of side pockets the table has a single hole just shy of centre. The hole has a slight upward slope to it, because, to start the game, the cue actually has to jump it to break the racked balls. In one spot, attached to the green edge is a rubber knob, apparently there to bounce the balls off of and generally make things even more unusual than they are already.

The rule is: every shot has to be banked. To sink a ball, you aim the cue at precisely the opposite side of your ball as you would in a traditional game. Wally and I both admit to being mathematically challenged, but according to Ghent University’s Herman Serras, in an ellipse, the sum of the distances from any point on the curve to two fixed points—or foci—is constant. On an elliptical pool table, a shot passing through one focus is reflected through the other focus. The elliptical pool table, also known the mathematical pool table (I wonder why?), was designed to demonstrate light refraction.

Mathematician Charles L. Dodgson, known to most as Lewis Carroll, thought and wrote at length about round billiard tables.

Roxxy’s table has many regular players and has even had a shark or two. You can play round pool for free, (with a purchase from the bar, of course.) Or you can find one online at sites such as mathlove.com, which sells a maple wood version for $338.99 American.

—Lesley Thompson

Suggestion for a nook? nooks@thescope.ca

2 comments

Music Sunday

Arthur O’Brien, Fred Jorgensen 10pm-2am, O’Reilly’s Big Hairy Tunes: 80’s Night w/ Big Tom, Lottie’s Place Christmas Concert: Shallaway (youth choir), Wayne Johnston, $20/$15, Cochrane St. United Church First Offence, Bears-On-Wheels, A Boy Named Tragedy, 10pm, Distortion Freddy Jorgensen & Arthur O’Brien, 5pm-9pm, no cover, Kelly’s Pub Sarah Slean, 8pm, Holy Heart Theatre 576-7657 The […]

30 November 2006

  1. tom · November 30, 2006

    i have a one pocket elliptical pool table made in denver, and would like to no the rules of how to play

  2. John Boarman · November 30, 2006

    You sure have a gift for writing such great articles! . Thank you!