Today, billiard tables dot game rooms, bowling alleys and bars all across the globe. The history of billiards dates back to the 15th century in Northern Europe, probably in France. Even the word billiards derives from French. Consider the French word "billart" and "bille," which translate to wooden sticks and ball, respectively.

Ever wonder why most pool tables are covered with green felt? It's because billiards used to be played outside in the grass in similar fashion to croquet. Balls used to be shoved by wooden sticks and when they were against the rails, were hit with the tail-end of the mace. Rails were originally designed to prevent balls from falling off the table, but evenutally gave birth to the "bank shot," shooting the ball off rails as part of a desired shot.

The sport eventually morphed into carom billiards, which involved playing off rails. At this point still, pockets had yet to be introduced to the playing area. Pockets became a hoop of sorts for players to aim to sink the balls in evolving into the modern game of pocket billiards played by pros and amateurs alike.

Historic pool illustration