A baize-covered snooker table

Baize is a coarse woollen (or in cheaper variants cotton) cloth, similar in texture to felt, but more durable.


A mid-17th-century English ditty—much quoted in histories of ale and beer brewing in England—refers to 1525:

Hops, heresies, bays, and beer;
Came into England all in one year.

Heresies refers to the Protestant Reformation, while bays is the Elizabethan spelling for baize.[1]


Baize is often used on billiards tables to cover the slate and cushions, and is often used on other kinds of gaming tables (usually gambling) such as those for blackjack, baccarat, craps and other casino games. It is also found as a writing surface, particularly on 19th century pedestal desks.

The surface finish of baize is coarse, thus increasing rolling resistance and perceptibly slowing billiard balls. Baize is available with and without a perceptible nap. Snooker, in which understanding nap effects is part of the game, uses the nappy variety, while pool and carom billiards use the napless type.

For gaming use, baize is traditionally dyed green, in mimicry of a lawn (see Cue sport, "History"), though wide variety of table colours have become accepted. Bay was similar stuff to Baize but lighter in weight and with a shorter nap.[2]

Idioms and catchphrases

  • "Let's get the boys on the baize!" has been a catchphrase of BBC TV snooker presenter Rob Walker since 2008.[3]
  • At one time, "the green baize door" (a door to which cloth had been tacked to deaden noise) in a house separated the servants' quarters from the family's living quarters;[4] hence the phrase's usage as a metonym for domestic service.

See also

  • Billy the Kid and the Green Baize Vampire


  1. ^ Life in Elizabethan England; "Good English Ale"; accessed 20 February 2011.
  2. ^ ''Heaton distinguished between bay and baize: "the bay was light, baise is heavy and with a long nap" ("Letter Books of Joseph Holroyd," p. 1 in).'' Page 152
  3. ^ Mark Reason, "Ronnie O'Sullivan greater than Tiger Woods", Daily Telegraph 4 May 2008. Accessed 5 May 2014.
  4. ^ See Graham Greene, The Fallen Idol (originally The Basement Room; Penguin; 1976; page 125)

External links

  • "Baize" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 3 (11th ed.). 1911.

Media files used on this page

Author/Creator: Dan Polansky based on work currently attributed to Wikimedia Foundation but originally created by Smurrayinchester, Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0
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Hessian Fabric made seamless. It will serve to create a normal map in Blender.
Batik Indonesia.jpg
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Batik cloth purchased in Yogyakarta, Indonesia
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A representation of the Maclachlan hunting tartan. This tartan is the oldest tartan to bear the name MacLachlan. This tartan is referred to as the Old MacLachlan, MacLachlan, and Hunting MacLachlan. This sett was first published in Old & Rare Scottish Tartans by D. W. Stewart in 1893.
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Baize and ball.jpg
Author/Creator: SMcCandlish, Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0
A somewhat-closeup view of baize, the type of fabric used to cover billiard tables, showing its weave clearly, and with an American-sized pool ball for scale. This particular sample is Simonis 760, a high-end pocket billiards cloth; it is napless, unlike snooker cloth, and smooth and non-fuzzy, unlike typical bar pool cloth.
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Chalk cube
Baize closeup.jpg
Author/Creator: SMcCandlish, Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0
A closeup of the weave of baize, the type of fabric used to cover billiard tables. This particular sample is Simonis 760, a high-end pocket billiards cloth; it is napless, unlike snooker cloth, and smooth and non-fuzzy, unlike typical bar pool cloth.
Snooker table.jpg
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