View Full Version : Fun pool games, which improve your playing skills?

06-19-2005, 07:29 AM
I have recently realized that there could be simple modified pool games, which are fun to play, but at the same time improve specific playing skills. Games of this nature could work on... Banking, kicking, speed control, carom shots, english, draw, follow, etc.

This idea came about by my "book collecting" and learning about old games/rules of pool, then trying these games out. I learned that "old English Billiards" is an excellent way to learn carom shots or how to make a shot and also break up clusters. I also realized that I am quite good at carom shots because I have practiced this quite a bit.

I practice specific skills, yet many of my friends will *not* practice. They will play a game, however, which has a "winner" and a "loser". So this is a "sneaky" way of getting in some specific practice for myself and also teaching my friends specific skills, improving their playing skills, and in turn having stiffer competition to play against.

Following is one such game, which I modified from another game. If anyone has any other such games, please post them.

Game: One Ball (learn delicate speed control and pocket blocking safeties)

Object of game: Object to *not* pocket any balls. Play with one object ball and cue ball. First player to scratch or pocket object ball loses game. Object of game is to leave object ball hanging in a pocket so your opponent will be certain to pocket the ball. It is even more desirable to also leave the cue ball at the other end of the table so your opponent will have a long shot at the "hanging object ball".

Play: Place only one object ball on the foot spot. Break without pocketing the object ball or scratching. First person to scratch or knock object ball into a pocket loses the game. If a player does not contact the object ball with the cue ball, the player must shoot again.

06-20-2005, 03:23 AM
I like the game you mention but a player should lose if they don't meet the basic "contact a ball and then a cushion" rule or else they could easily negate any distance safeties by simply rolling the cue ball closer to the object ball (I didn't describe that well but I can do a better job on request).

I too like playing older/extinct games to improve specific skills. Two of my favorites are Honolulu and Irish billiards. I will post condensed rules for both tomorrow.

06-20-2005, 05:33 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote theinel:</font><hr>...a player should lose if they don't meet the basic "contact a ball and then a cushion" rule... <hr /></blockquote>

I played this with a friend last night who tends to be a "banger type". He did terrible at this game. Could not slow roll the cue ball to save his life. So I was "slow rolling the object ball in front of a pocket, then he would hit it in or scratch off of the OB in the next shot.

I could have nudged the OB a little closer to the pocket with two more shots (like 1/4 inch movement with each shot), then moved the OB left/right from pocket facing to opposite pocket facing. Perhaps 7 more shots before knocking the ball in.

But I have practiced speed control in the past quite a bit, including very gentle shots. Also have practiced safeties, which require a very very slow shot, quite a bit.

Anyway, depending on the skill of who you are playing, I suppose you could make the rules tougher or easier. Like for bank pool, I have beginner at just banking the 8. Through advanced which requires banking every ball.

06-20-2005, 05:43 AM
Following is another game. Everyone here who is familiar with the 30 and 90 degree rules could have a big advantage with this game. Set up a shot which will knock in a second ball hanging in a pocket when stun is used for the shot (cue ball follows 90 degree tangent). Opponent not familiar with these rules, when attempting same shot, will have a "rolling ball" which will go 30 degrees and miss the hanging ball....

"2 balls in 1 shot"

Teaches combination, kiss, and billiard shots.

First player sets up two balls any way he wants. Then attempts to shoot them both in with one shot. He has 3 chances.

If first player succeeds, then second player has 3 chances to make the same shot.

If first player fails, then second player may attempt the same shot or a different shot.

After one player has successfully made a shot and the other player has attempted to make the shot, a different shot must be set up.

06-20-2005, 12:13 PM
"games" have rules, and it puts you into the win/lose mindset... if your opponent can't play, what is the purpose?
"Everyone here who is familiar with the 30 and 90 degree rules could have a big advantage with this game."
"Opponent not familiar with these rules, when attempting same shot, will have a "rolling ball" which will go 30 degrees and miss the hanging ball...."
Now, you're not practicing, you're playing, and likely will only try shots that you are comfortable with, already know
I like to just practice different things..like throwing two or three balls down...then pocketing one ball, while trying to carom into or pocket another...then add multi rail routes into the carom attempt...no rules, no systems, no winners or losers...just some imagination...left brain stuff??
but...if one needs to win here's Tim Galway's (Inner Game of Tennis) advice to consistantly win...."never play anybody near as good as you"
Or maybe someone who doesn't know the rules, or dynamics???
We have Billy Bob's in Oregon? lol

06-20-2005, 03:04 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Billy_Bob:</font><hr> This idea came about by my "book collecting" and learning about old games/rules of pool, then trying these games out. I learned that "old English Billiards" is an excellent way to learn carom shots or how to make a shot and also break up clusters.<hr /></blockquote>

The game is very much alive and well by-the-way Billy Bob, but it can't be played meaningfully on anything other than a 12' table. It's a great alternative for players like me whoís potting is not what it used to be, and puts the emphasis more on touch and finesse than clinical accuracy. There is a whole new range of skills to learn that are never encountered in snooker.

There are literally hundreds of alternatives to snooker on a 12 footer, but my favourite is Scrub (41). Basically all the colours are placed on their spots and the reds are strung out on the centre of the table between the black and the brown. Each player (there can be any number - the more the merrier) has to hit the black to become 'Live' and on succeeding turns can score by potting colours (which have their normal value) or playing canons onto two colours (scores 2 points). You win by scoring the pre-agreed total (normally 41, 51, 61), but if your cue ball touches a red or scratches, or you exceed the exact total your score is scrubbed (you need a blackboard) and you have to start from the black again. Itís easy to handicap the better players by baring consecutive colours being potted or canons being played, or limiting the pockets each colour can be potted in. It helps to have a few poorer players as they tend to spread the reds around and make it a minefield. Good players can finish the game with the reds undisturbed. Tactically it helps to establish an odd total early on and stick to even numbered colours and canons to run out, otherwise you can paint yourself into a corner needing the blue (5) or green (3) to win and itís easy for the player before you to leave you no chance. A quid each in the pot to start and a quid every time you scrub makes it worth winning, and if you're half decent the most you'll lose is a quid.

Boro Nut

06-20-2005, 03:23 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Billy_Bob:</font><hr> "2 balls in 1 shot"

Teaches combination, kiss, and billiard shots.

First player sets up two balls any way he wants. <hr /></blockquote>

That definition makes it a bit too easy. It would be simpler to set the two balls touching each other in the jaws of one pocket and pocket both by playing screw. Play plenty of top and you can pocket all three.

Alternatively set the two frozen balls up so they are in line with one corner pocket while the rear ball is at right angles to the other corner. Just hitting the rear ball will pocket both, and playing a half ball in-off the rear ball will pocket all three - a classic 10 shot in billiards.

Playing a half ball pot in the middle to pocket a second ball over the corner is another ĎCanít Missí, and if you can screw back straight any two balls over any two pockets are pottable.

Boro Nut

06-21-2005, 02:44 PM
Correct me if im wrong but isnt english billiards played with 3 balls on a 6x12 snooker table and played sort of like 3 cushion but you score points for scratching?

06-21-2005, 09:47 PM
I suppose English Billiards *is* played on a 12 ft. table, but I play it on my 7 ft. table with the below simplified rules.

The thing is that this game is carom *and* pocket billiards combined. Played with three balls. If you can get your ball to hit the other two balls, you score, or if you pocket *any* ball, you score. (Great game for those who scratch a lot - you want to scratch!)

If you combine a carom with the pocketing of a ball, you get more points.

Anyway, this is a good game to play to develop carom skills.

The best part is that one of my friends really likes it. The downside is that each pocketed ball must be spotted, and scores must be kept. In the old days, they had a person called a "marker" to do this full time job.

You can also work yourself into a position where your cue ball is in a straight line with the spotted object ball. Then hit the object ball in with draw. Then it is spotted. Then hit in with draw again. etc. You could be doing the same shot and racking up points for hours. (Also why the game is played to a specified time limit or number of points. I understand some of these games played for a week long or more?)

This gives you an understanding why they modified the rules later on to not allow repeated shots such as these.

New rules are at the following link and after that is my simplified rules.

Simplified Old English Billiard Rules

Balls: Play with 3 balls; yellow ball, red ball, and cue ball.

Baulk-line and Baulk: A straight line drawn along the "head string" (end where break from - 2nd diamond) and is called the Baulk-line, and that line and the intervening space is termed the Baulk.

The "D": The "D" is a semi-circle described in Baulk with its center at the middle of the Baulk-line and with a radius of 11Ĺin.

Spots: Three spots are marked on the center long line of the table:

-The foot spot (where 1 ball is placed for 9-ball rack).
-Center of table
-The middle of the of head string (middle of baulk-line).

Game: A game is the period of play from the opening stroke, until it is completed, by reaching the end of a specified period of time or either player reaching the number of points specified.

Cue Balls...
The white ball is the cue ball of one player.
The yellow ball is the cue ball of the other player

The balls other than your cue ball are object balls.

Play: The choice of cue ball and which side is to play first shall be decided by lagging or a coin flip.

The red is placed on the spot other players cue ball on the center spot. The first player plays from in-hand (inside "D").

The players play alternately, or in turn, unless a score is made, in which case the striker continues the playing

Cue ball in-hand: The cue-ball must be struck from within the lines of the "D", and the cue-ball must be played out of Baulk.

The cue-ball must contact a cushion or ball out of Baulk before re-entering and coming to rest in Baulk, or before hitting a ball in Baulk.

The cue-ball may be played against a cushion in Baulk before hitting a ball out of Baulk.

Spotting Object Balls: Balls shall be placed on the spot closest to the ball return unless that spot is occupied in which case the next spot should be used.

Scoring: Points are made by pocketing any ball or by caroms - singly or in combination.

A carom or pocketed cue ball - 2 points.

Pocketed red - 3 points

Carom and pocketed white - 4 points.

Carom and pocketed red - 5 points.

06-23-2005, 11:12 AM
Good thread, Billy_Bob. One game I particularly like is called (or at least my buddy and I call it) "Carom 8-Ball." It may well have an official name in some book somewhere, but my friend introduced it to me and we refined it for ourselves. It's been an immense help in developing my position play for traditional pool games.

The rules are basically those of regular 8-ball, with the following HUGE exception: You must actually strike an "object" ball with your cue stick (a solid or a stripe), driving it into the cue (white) ball. Only after making contact with the cue ball may a pocketed ball stay down. So basically you can only make balls that are caromed off the cue ball. If the cue ball goes down, it's a foul -- CUE ball in hand for your opponent. If an object ball goes down without touching the cue ball, it gets spotted and your opponent gets CUE ball in hand.

It seems odd at first but it quickly grows addictive. There is a lot of interesting strategy in cue ball placement after a foul, safety play, etc. And it really helps with position play. Worth a try when you get tired of plain old 8-ball or 9-ball.