RACETRACKS
JAI ALAI GLOSSARY AND TIPS
ITEMS TO CONSIDER WHEN WAGERING ON JAI ALAI
| GLOSSARY OF KEY TERMS

ITEMS TO CONSIDER WHEN WAGERING ON JAI ALAI

This is a basic overall view of some of the important points in understanding Jai Alai.

1. Playing and Scoring.
There are 8 teams in each game. Some games are singles games (one man on each team), others are double games (two men on each team). To begin play Team 1 serves the ball to Team 2. The pelota (ball) is volleyed back and forth until a point is won. The winner of the first point serves the ball to Team 3 and so on. Each time a team wins a point, they are awarded one point in the first round of play. Points double after Team 8 gets up the first time. The team reaching 7 points first (9 points in some games) is the winner.

Points are won when:
  • the pelota is over served

  • the pelota is under served

  • the pelota is thrown out of bounds

  • the team fails to return the pelota

  • the pelota is juggled in the cesta (basket)

The ball must be caught on the fly or first bounce and may touch the floor only once. All three walls are in play - the red is out of bounds. Players often attempt to end a point by placing the ball so it cannot be returned off the Front or Back walls.

2. Placement.
In Jai-Alai placement is just as important as power. Better players are able to return the Pelota close to the wall near the back corner putting the opposition on the defensive. Weaker returns near the center of the court provide offensive opportunities for the opposing Frontcourt player. In doubles, generally, the Backcourt man plays defense and the Frontcourt plays offense.

3. The Serve.
Each point is started by serving the pelota (ball). The server must bounce the ball behind the serving line, and, with the cesta, hurl the ball directly to the front wall so that upon rebound it will bounce between lines No. 4 and 7. If it does not, it is an under or over serve and the other team will receive the point.

4. Interference.
Like handball or squash, Jai-Alai players share the court with the opposition. If a player blocks another's line to the ball on the catch or to the wall on the return, the judges may rule interference if they deem that the ball was "playable".


GLOSSARY OF KEY TERMS

Pelota
Ball used to play the game.

Cesta
Basket used to catch and throw the pelota.

Rebote
Returning the ball from the back wall with the forehand or backhand.

Chula
Ball hits the lower angle between the base of the back wall and the floor coming out without a bounce.

Chic Chac
A ball returned to the floor near the back wall and back to the floor.

Carom
A thrown ball that hits the side wall, the front wall, the court, then goes into the screen.

Cortada
A ball thrown from outside of the court with forehand, hitting low on the front wall then on the floor.

Dejada
A short lob, hitting the front wall just above the foul line and dropping with a small bounce.

Arrimada
A ball that is returned as close to the side wall as possible, hindering the opposition's return.

Picada
Thrown straight overhand from the right with lots of wrist resulting in a high bounce.

Remate
Two walls thrown from the left side, the most effective "kill".

Outside Cortada
Same as above but thrown "inside-out".

Costada
Thrown shoulder high from the left to "chic chac" off the back wall.

Wire
The finish line for a race.

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