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The Diamond system has been the subject of many questions as of late. Most billiard tables have them, and many beginners wonder about their propose, and more specifically, how the diamond system can help their game. Many wonder what these are for, and how they can be used for improving accuracy, and their game overall.

THE DIAMOND SYSTEM IN BILLIARDS: To begin, it should be noted that there are "invisible lines" going from diamond to diamond. That is, for example, they go from diamond one on the left hand side to diamond one on the right hand side. (see the diagram below; the dotted lines illustrate the invisible lines.) It is assumed that one can use these diamonds and lines as the base of an aiming system. We'll outline the fundamentals of using this system, and hopefully clear up some of the confusion.

The use of the diamond system varies. The players, professional or not, who do learn how to use the diamond system swear by its effectiveness. On the other hand, most professional billiard players don't use it, with one exception: that the majority 3-cushion players use a diamond system of some sort. It can be said that most players generally learn the angles without any assistance from the diamond system whatsoever. This ability is beneficial as your "table layout" at the time may not be in a position where you can benefit from the diamond system.

The Diamond System can generally be figured out with practice sessions done with simple geometry in mind. The general principle is that if you hit the cue ball (or any ball) perfectly straight at one diamond, it will travel completely straight back toward the diamond at the opposite end of the table. That being said, you could hit it from ten degrees either way, and it should rebound ten degrees out in the opposite direction. If you find yourself playing a situation where a diamond is not in the appropriate spot, you will have to envision "imaginary diamonds" in the appropriate spot, and the corresponding imaginary lines. (Imagine that!) It may sound complicated, but it can generally be worked out with an few hours at the table with only the cue ball. By the end of the session, you should have a good feel for the diamond system.

As mentioned earlier, most three-cushion players use a diamond system. Below is a very basic system (no English used) that some find helpful. Note that the "System" is a personal thing, and diamond systems may varry from player to player.

First, figure out where you must hit the long rail. (...at which diamond on the Third Rail.)
Next, subtract that from the number two. That number is the number of the diamond where you will need to hit the first long rail using the center ball. For "running english" you will need to add one half of a diamond.
Other than the above, there is not much more you can "learn" without first logging some hours at the table practicing the basics. Once you have done that, you can read some more. Check out the following works, which go in more deep detail on various uses and systems for the pool table diamonds:

Raymond Ceulemans, who wrote "Mister 100." is said to be the master of the diamond system. It is too bad that this book is no longer in print.
Robert Bryne wrote a new book called: "Bryne's New Standard Book of Pool and Billiards" and he covers the system in the "billiards" section of the piece.
We hope this covers the basics of the diamond system . As mentioned earlier, there is no substitute for hours logged at the table. Read the basics to get a feel for the general idea, and then get off the internet, and hit the table. Once you have mastered the basics, come on back here and get some more advanced ideology on the diamond system.


Height on cue ball : Center
Spin : Maximum
Cue stick position : Parallel to the floor

This system is considered to be the universal method for carom billiard.

Itís a common fact that in a game of Carom Billiard more than 1/3 of the points will be made with the help of this technique. The shots shown below are just a few examples of the points that can be accomplish with this method.

Although the formula is quite simple to memorize, the position markers are much harder to remember, the values carried over on the table being different for the 3 parameters (A, S, F).

To remember : Aim = Start - Finish

If you have difficulties remembering all the diamond system parameters, for now I suggest you use this method for shots where the Finish point is between 0 and 40 and the start point between 35 and 60. When you feel comfortable with these parameters, go on with the entire set of numbers.

EFFICIENCY LIMITS: This method is efficient for shots played ďLong rail- Short railĒ when the Start value is higher than the finish value.

Itís not possible to apply this method when the playerís ball is below the 20 marker (2nd diamond on the long rail). Be patientÖ there is another method for shots below the 20 marker.

In the diagram below, Start is at 30 and finish is at 50, which means itís impossible to accomplish this shot with this method. At best, one could reach the finish point 30 while using the aiming point 0.

STEP 1: FINDING THE FINISH POINT: You must keep in mind the finish lines as they are described in the table below.

The markers are located on the rail in front of the corresponding diamond. Note: between the 40 and 90 marker on the long rail, each set of 10 corresponds to Ĺ a diamond.

Value Marker on the long rail Finish
0 Diamond 0 (at the corner) Front to the 6th diamond on the long rail
10 Front to the 1st diamond Front to the 7th diamond on the long rail.
20 Front to the 2nd diamond Diamond 8 (at the corner)
30 Front to the 3rd diamond 5cm right of the 1st diamond on the short rail
40 Front to the 4th diamond Between 1st and 2nd diamond on the short rail
50 Between 4th and 5th diamond Front to the short rail's central diamond
60 Front to the 5th diamond Between 2nd and 3rd diamond on the short rail
70 Between 5th and 6th diamond 5cm right of the 3rd diamond on the short rail
80 Front to the 6th diamond Front to the 3rd diamond on the short rail

In this diagram, the finish value is 20. It must come to the attention that each point located on this line is the equivalent of a 20 finish point. There is no difference in calculation between the diagram above and the one below.

STEP 2: FINDING THE START POINT: When the playerís ball is on the long rail, the start value is given in the table below.

Value Located on long rail
20 2nd diamond
25 3rd diamond
30 4th diamond
35 5th diamond
40 6th diamond
45 7th diamond
Value Located on short rail
50 1st diamond
60 2nd diamond
70 3rd diamond
80 Between 3rd and 4th diamond
90 4th diamond

In this diagram the start value is 50.

STEP 3: VISUALIZE THE CUE BALL POSITION NUMBERS: Itís now time to apply the magic formula: Aim = Start - Finish.

Aim = 50 Ė 20
Aim = 30

The point of aim 30 is given according to the table below.

Note : between the 50 and 90 marker on the long rail, each set of 10 corresponds to Ĺ a diamond.

Value Located on long rail
0 diamond 0 (at the corner of the table)
10 1st diamond
20 2nd diamond
30 3rd diamond
40 4th diamond
50 5th diamond
60 Between 5th and 6th diamond
70 6th diamond
80 Between 6th and 7th diamond
90 7th diamond

Note : If the starting point is on the short rail (equal or higher than 50), aim must be done through the rail (aim at the diamond). If it starts on the long rail (lower than 50), aim must be in front of the rail (facing the diamond). In both cases below, the aiming point value is 20.

Ball No 1 is not along the rail

If ball number 1 is not along the rail, pivot your cue while using your ballís axis as pivot point until you reach the right application of the formula : Aim= Start - Finish.


EXTEND THIS METHOD TO THE "NATURAL POINTS": This system can be applied to those points called "natural". In order to find the point of aim (or the point of impact on the first rail), one must use the pivot method to find the right pair Aim/Start corresponding to the formula. This time, the pivot will be ball number 2 and the pivot line will be the ballís tangent and not its axis. You will then need to find the corresponding ball in order to reach the aiming point obtained. The two examples below show how to obtain the same aiming point with different number 1 ball positions.

EXTEND THIS METHOD FOR 4 OR 5 RAIL: The diagram below gives the path of ball number 1 after the 4th and 5th rail with a 30, 40 and 50 start point.

Third rail numbers (on short rail) 4th rail (on long rail) 5th rail (on the front long rail)
30 7th diamond 1st diamond
40 Between 6th and 7th diamond Between 1st and 2nd
50 6th diamond At the corner of the short rail


Thatís it ! And to show you that this method is valid for various points, hereís how to calculate the famous "umbrella" point (but be careful itís still a hard shot to accomplish).

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