It is imperative that the cue you are playing with is a straight cue. A cue that is warped can take the confidence away from a new player. Unfortunately, cues that are not well protected will bend or warp with time. There are a number of measures that can be taken to maintain the straight shape of the cue. If you have your own cue or you always pick one from various house cues then there is a way to check if a cue is straight.
Best Way: Check Cue Straightness
The most authentic and easiest way to check the straightness of the cue is by holding it like a rifle. From the butt end to the tip end see observe if the cue has its both ends in a straight line. Try this in a well-lit room or straight under the table lights.
Just by instinct, you will be able to figure out if the cue is straight. A warped cue will show a bend along the shaft. It is recommended that you rotate the cue as you are doing this check. Some part of the cues may have swollen or chipped which can alter the straightness of the cue in different ways.
If you are uncomfortable with the length of the cue then you can check the straightness in pieces. For instance, if you have a two-piece cue like TaiBa 2 Piece pool cue then you can check the straightness of them separately. 3 Piece pool cues are also available which can make the checking cue straightness part further easy.
Alternatively, if you have checked the straightness of the whole cue, you can break it into pieces and then check which part is bent. This can help to further pinpoint the area where the cue has warped.
The Other Way Of Checking Cue Straightness
One more way, which is more common than the rifle method is to roll the pool cue on the table. In some instances, it can tell the straightness but in most cases, it will be mainly misleading. If you see the tip rolling in a circle that is the tip is rotating as well as revolving then there is nothing to worry about. However, if you see the shaft is somewhat bouncing while rotating then it can indicate a clear flaw in cue straightness.
A good stick will roll with no interruption while a stick that is warped will how wobbly movement. In this case, try to break the cue into its pieces and locate the problem.
A Bent Cue Can Even Be Straight
Although it is a strange phenomenon but it can actually happen. Sometimes, a cue can be bent in a way that it curvature returns back to the straight line. The probability of this happening is very low but still, if you are a regular player at the club then you may have observed this strange case.
Imagine both of the black lines above as cues. One of them has warped and is bent along the whole shaft while the second warps but it is not carried forward to the tip end of the cue. Both cues are not good to play the game, especially for beginner players.
Does Cue Straightness Matter?
Yes, for someone who is just starting out the game it will matter a lot. The way you hold a pool cue and develop the stroking habit in the initial days can be shaped by the shape of the pool cue. For players who are professional like Stephen Hendry who played almost his entire career with a warped cue the straightness of cue is irrelevant.
If you are starting out to play the game then it is very important that you have your own good pool cue to support you in the initial days. The muscle memory developed while starting the game can remain with you for a long time. Wrong habits developed can mess up your game and prove very difficult to alter the technique in later years.