A Balabushka is a pool cue. Not just any pool cue, mind you, but the most cherished of all - The Big Kahuna of all pool cues. The original cues were handcrafted by George Balabushka. During his lifetime he was famous for being the best cuemaker of all-time - and he might have been. The main distinguishing mark you'll find is that he put his own signature on every cue. After his death, in 1975, various pool manufacturers have purchased the rights to the Balabuska trademark.
Currently all Balabushkas are made by ADAM Custom Cues, Inc. which was recently purchased by a Japanese company. The Japanese company took the production of the entire ADAM line of cues to Southeast Asia -- except for the Balabushka line, which stayed in the U.S. They continue to be very well made and good looking cues, but still overly high-priced.
The Balabushka name was immortalized in the pool movie The Color of Money, starring Paul Newman and Tom Cruise. Paul Newman's character, Fast Eddie Felson owned one of the cues and the young apprentice played by Tom Cruise was very impressed with it. This movie led to a huge resurgence in interest in the Balabushka cue line.
Among professional pool players you won't find any that currently use a Balabushka on the tour. Very expensive pool cues - like very expensive pool tables - are more like works of art than usable objects. The inlays of pearl, ivory, and jewels all add to the beauty of the cue, but they can only make a pool cue less stable and sturdy. The whole idea of the worth of a cue on the actual play of the game is very misunderstood by most beginners. All that is needed is a comfortable, straight, and sturdy cue with a well shaped leather tip on the end -- anything more than that is just garnishing. Perhaps this idea is best summed up by the following line: "Give Willie Mosconi a broomstick with a leather tip and he'll beat your brains in and then sweep up afterword."