The World Pool-Billiard Association maintains specifications for lighting used above tables in sanctioned competitions. Although there are no rules requiring such lighting standards on home or commercial tables, many players want to practice in conditions as similar to tournaments as possible. The specifications set forth the amount and distribution of the light on the pool table, but not the type of lights or the materials used in the light housing.
All parts of the table should be illuminated to at least 48 foot candles. This includes the railing, corners and the center of the table. While it takes a light meter to accurately measure exact light intensity, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration says four 40 watt fluorescent lights mounted in a 9-foot ceiling generate 50 foot candles at table or desk level. The lights themselves should not be brighter than 485 foot candles when viewed directly as this causes temporary blind spots. The area around the pool table, including spectator seating, should be lit to a level of 5 foot candles.
Lights over pool tables should be no lower than 40 inches above the playing surface if the light fixture is movable and 65 inches above the table if the fixture is fixed. The referee is the only person allowed to move the light during a competition.
The World Pool-Billiard Association recommends using screens or diffusers below the lights along with a reflector above the lights. These devices diffuse the light creating even illumination across the entire playing surface. Regulations prohibit any bright spots on the playing surface.
Keith Allen, a 1979 graduate of Valley City State College, has worked at a variety of jobs including computer operator, medical clinic manager, radio talk show host and potato sorter. For over five years he has worked as a newspaper reporter and historic researcher. His works have appeared in regional newspapers in North Dakota and in "North Dakota Horizons" and "Cowboys and Indians" magazines.