Monday, April 13, 2015

Korean billiards culture

Billiards can easily be one the most exciting leisure sports for everyone to enjoy no matter gender, age or career. This fact attracted Koreans to billiards, especially after Japanese Colonial era as Korea entered modern society. Since then it wasn't hard to find people are playing billiards throughout the peninsula.
Some Koreans have a negative stereotype billiards. They associate its image with that of gangs, smoking, eating black noodles, etc. Korean movies set this stereotype in the Korean’s mind. But, actually billiards can be a very well-mannered game and a game for upper class citizens. We can find this through official billiards games. They wear formal clothes during the game and keep good manners while playing.
Billiards has several categories. The Korean Billiards Federation categorized the billiards as “three-cushion, one-cushion, pocket eight-balls, nine-balls, ten-balls, English billiards, and snooker.”
But there is one that that sets Korean billiards apart from other countries’ billiards. That is, we have a four-cushion category in billiards. Four-cushion started 1970’s when billiards culture really took hold in Korea. However, four-cushion is considered an unofficial event because it’s only in Korea. Moreover, Korean people enjoy playing with three-cushion and four-cushion.
How to play?
Four-cushion billiards has one white ball (the player’s ball) and 2 red balls. Using a pool cue, the player’s ball is aimed at the two red balls. If the white ball hits both red balls, 10 points are awarded. If it hits only one red ball, no points are earned.

In three-cushion billiards there is a white ball, red ball, and yellow ball. The first player gets a white ball, and the other player gets a yellow ball. The player must use their ball to hit the other player’s ball as well as a cushion before hitting the red ball.
Ji-in Choi, a three-cushion expert for 6 years, addressed the attractiveness of three-cushion. “This game had a bad image before. But now, it is one of the fastest growing sports. In addition, the number of student players is increasing. Billiards is, to say the least, profound because it requires a lot of practice before a player can call themselves an expert.”
 Geon-moo Lee, a four-cushion expert for 7 years, also addressed the allure of four-cushion. “This sports wasn't popular before because people have a bad image about billiards. Now, people thinking are better about it than before, but there still remains negative image. It gets gradually more fun as you practice. And another benefit is that it only requires two people to enjoy the sports. Also it can be played doors!”
 If you want to enjoy the billiards, you just go to billiard hall. Nowadays, the billiard halls are everywhere in Korea so you can find them easily. On average, the price to play the billiards is 1000 won for 10 minutes. This weekend, why don’t you go to a billiard hall with your friends?

Staff writer Yun Ji Seon.


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