When you want to play snooker, which is a billiards game that is very much like pool, one of the first things you should do is choose a cue, which is the stick you use to hit the ball. The type of cue that will be optimal for you depends on many factors: your height, your skill level and the stance you take when making your shots. It's best to ask a professional to help you pick out the perfect one. However, it is possible to select a good one yourself if you know what you're looking for.
Choose a material. Most snooker cues are made of either ash wood or maple wood. Maple wood is more flexible than ash, making it good for behind the back and other trick shots. Ash stays straight and stable and is a good choice for beginners.
Decide on cue length. Since you need to be able to use the entire length of your dominant arm to hold and aim your cue, plus your other hand to hold the base, get one that is at least 142.5 (57 inches) if you are an adult of average height. Put the base of each cue you're considering on the ground. The tip should reach at least to 2.5 cm (1 inch) below your shoulder. It should not go more than 2.5 cm (1 inch) over your shoulder, or it will be awkward to hold.
Pick a weight. While a longer version of the same snooker cue will of course weigh more, even very short cues can still be very heavy. If you're trying snooker for the first time, go with a 482 g (17 oz) cue. Then try other weights as you get more practice.
Determine if you want your cue to be one piece or two pieces. The difference is you can twist and pull apart a two-piece at its centre so that the cue is easier to pack for travel. You can put the two halves side by side in a bag or carry case. However, sometimes this flexibility can backfire if the cue untwists while you are trying to play.
Decide on a cue brand. There are dozens of different ones with prices ranging from less than a hundred dollars to several hundred or more. While high-end vintage cues are good for the professional player, a £32 Ronnie O'Sullivan cue is just fine for a beginner.
Pick a tip for your cue. Try all three types of tips: round, flat and oval or dome shaped. Go with the one that makes it easiest for you to follow through on your shots. If you're new to snooker, the dome-shaped tip is often easiest.
Eventually you will develop preferences based on how the cue feels in your hands when you make a shot. At that point, ignore the rules and just go with the cue that gives you optimal performance.