Are You Familiar With These Pool Game Varieties
If you are a regular pool player you are probably most comfortable playing 8-ball or 9-ball. These games are the most commongames played in American homes, bars, and pool halls. You may not realize, however, that there are many variations of pool that keep the game interesting and challenging for even the most experienced players.
If you’ve seen the movie “The Hustler” you’ve seen straight pool. Straight pool was the game of choice for decades and in the movie Paul Newman and Jackie Gleason play straight pool for money and bragging rights among other things. This game is a part of our culture and heritage.
Straight pool is played with all fifteen balls in the rack. Players must “call” the ball and designate the pocket they plan to shoot it into. The point is only awarded if the ball goes in the designated pocket. A player may continue to shoot until missing or causing a foul. Play continues until someone reaches an agreed upon point total.
When fourteen balls are pocketed they are racked again with the fifteenth ball left in its position. The next player must then sink that ball in a way that disturbs the other racked balls for play to continue.
One pocket also uses all fifteen balls in the rack. Players are each given one of the corner pockets at the foot of the table as the one pocket that will be used through the entire game. Balls are sunk into that pocket only. The player or team who sinks the last ball, or in some variations the 8 ball, is the winner.
Cutthroat is a popular pool variation when three people want to play together. Each player is assigned five of the fifteen balls and play begins. The game gets its name from the ruthless way the game is played. The object is to sink all the other player’s balls while one of yours remains on the table. When a player “scratches” and sinks the cue ball he must place a ball from each other player back on the table.
Imagine going to a pool table to play golf? Seems strange, doesn’t it? In this game each player has only one ball and must sink it into the pockets in a designated order. If a player makes a shot his opponent then “spots” the ball (sets it on the table wherever he wants) and the player may move on to try and sink it in his next designated pocket.
Pill pool is an interesting variation that is even more ruthless than cutthroat. In pill pool a bottle holding fifteen numbered chips is shaken and each player draws one pill. The ball with the same number is now the player’s object ball. To win a player must sink his object ball.
The complexity comes with the play. In pill pool the cue ball must first hit the lowest numbered ball on the table as a part of each shot. Your opponent can “kill” you by sinking your object ball during their turn. If that happens you must resign from the game.
The Variations are Endless
These games are just some of the recognized variations played on a pool table. Games like these require controlled shots, complex strategies and often a strong competitive spirit. The opportunities to place bets are equally endless. Money often doesn’t even change hands since bragging rights are more important.
- Ben Grant