Pocketless carom billiards tables are used for such games as three-cushion billiards, straight rail, balkline, artistic billiards and cushion caroms. Regulation carom billiards tables are rectangles, with the bed of the table (the playing surface) measuring 10 feet by 5 feet (though 9 ft by 4.5 ft are increasingly common).
The slate bed of carom billiard tables are often heated to about 5 degrees C (9 deg F) above room temperature, which helps to keep moisture out of the cloth to aid the balls rolling and rebounding in a consistent manner, and generally makes a table play faster. A heated table is required under international carom rules and is an especially important requirement for the games of three-cushion billiards and artistic billiards.Heating table beds is an old practice. Queen Victoria of England (1819-1901) had a billard table that was heated using zinc tubes, although the aim at that time was chiefly to keep the then-used ivory balls from warping. The first use of electric heating was for an 18.2 balkline tournament held in December 1927 between Welker Cochran and Jacob Schaefer, Jr. The New York Times announced it with fanfare: "For the first time in the history of world's championship balkline billiards a heated table will be used..."