types of billiard games

10 Types of Billiard Games You Should Know

Did you know that there are various games you can play on a billiards table? Or you’re one of those individuals who are only familiar with the famous eight ball game?

Well, even if that’s the case, worry no more. We got your back, as always.

We took the time to compile a list of the top 10 billiards games, some of which you might have never heard of.

And that’s not enough, we also give you instructions on how they’re played.

Fair enough? Let’s get right into it!

1. Snooker

The setting of this game is more classic than modern.

You will require a traditional billiards table with six pockets.

Also, you will need one white cue ball and 22 colored standard balls to play.

The use of the cue ball is to be used as a striking ball for all the other colored balls, as a way of ensuring that pocketing is done in the correct order.

Players earn points whenever they pocket a ball.

And each player is allowed to take as many continuous shots as possible, so long as they continue pocketing the balls.

But sometimes players end-up hitting the wrong balls and that’s considered a foul. And in such a case, their opponent earns a point.

Another foul happens if the player accidentally hits and pockets the cue ball.

All fouls earn opponents’ points.

2. One Pocket

Just like in the Snooker game, the billiard table in the One Pocket game also contains 6 pockets.

But then, each player is allowed to use only one pocket at a time, hence the name of the game.

Each player is required to play smart to earn points and defeat their opponents.

And this includes ensuring they pocket a ball into one chosen pocket.

If a player ends up pocketing the object ball into their opponent’s chosen pocket, then their opponent earns a point and the turn comes to an end. This is considered a foul.

Afterward, the balls are rearranged and another turn begins.

Whenever a player fouls, their opponent receives a point. But if they register 3 consecutive fouls, then they automatically lose the game to their opponents.

However, in One Pocket game, there’s no need for players to call out their shots. And there’s no specific way to arrange the balls on the table. The more random they’re placed, the better for everyone.

For instance, if a player goes first, they can shoot into the corner pocket of their choice. And the 2nd player automatically uses the other remaining corner pocket.

3. Carom

This billiard game is popularly referred to as Carambola or Carrom. And the tables used are normally pocketless.

However, some tables come with a heated slate that is also used as playing beds.

The objective of this game is for players to showcase their skills by effectively getting their cue balls over their opponent’s cue ball and straight into a specific object ball.

The player has to achieve this in one shot and doing so successfully earns them a point.

The carom game has several variations, so players get to choose which ones to indulge in.

But the most popular one is played on a straight rail and players don’t have to deal with unnecessary scoring restrictions.

There’s also the Balkline that’s characterized by many restrictive rules. And playing it requires players to divide the table into various preset areas (balk spaces.)

Another variation of the carom game is the Artistic billiards, which offer more entertainment than the other variants. Here, players have to perform a total of 76 different shots, with several difficulty levels and points.

Players earn points depending on their shot striking abilities. That’s; the more accurate one is, the more points they earn and vice versa.

4. English Billiards

If you want to experience a balanced combination of carom and pocket billiards, then the English game is what you need.

Here players need 2 cue balls and a red object ball.

So each team chooses different cue balls to use throughout the game.

At the beginning of each game, players/teams have to choose who goes first.

And for that, they take turns hitting their cue balls across the table such that it bounces off the cushion before returning.

The winner among then is the one whose cue ball gets closest to the cushion and so they will go first.

Like most billiards game, the winner is determined by the number of scores.

And they can earn points when their cue ball bits the object red ball and then their opponent’s cue ball or when they hit the red ball and pocket it.

Other ways to earn points include;

  • Hitting their opponent’s cue ball and pocketing it
  • Pocketing the cue ball after striking it with another ball.

Additionally, when players commit a foul, they end up giving a point to their opponents. The player with the most points is declared the winner.

Here’s how to use spins in English Billiards game;

5. Eight Ball

This game is the most famous in the billiards games category.

As such, it goes by various names in various parts of the globe. Some individuals refer to it as “solid and stripes”, while others settle for “spots and stripes.”

Each region tends to have a specific version, but what’s constant is the billiard table, which usually has 6 pockets.

Players require 16 balls and cue sticks to play this game. And at the beginning of each game, they arrange all the balls in a rack at the middle of the table (apart from 1 white cue ball).

Afterward, they use their sticks to strike the cue ball to break the arranged balls.

Then they proceed to pocket balls. But there’s a catch; a player only tries to pocket the 7 striped or solid balls and not both.

Winning is determined by a player who successfully pockets the seven balls and then proceeds to successfully pocket the black 8th ball. The first player to do so is declared the winner.

But if by accident a player pockets the 8th ball before they completely pocket the other 7 balls, then their opponent automatically wins.

The same case applies to when a player accidentally knocks the 8th ball off the playing table.

The video below will help you understand the rules;

6. Straight Pool

A few years ago, straight pool, also known as 14.1 Continuous, has been the most common billiard game played in championships.

But that has changed over the years as players began developing preference; for faster games.

In this game, players require 15 object balls and a cue ball.

And at the beginning of the game, the 15 balls are racked in the middle of the table, while allowing only two balls to touch the rail. The cue ball can also touch the rail.

Afterward, players can strike and pocket any ball on the rack, but only after they call it out.

They should also announce the pocket they intend to sink the ball to avoid committing a foul.

Players are ranked according to points. And they get to earn them depending on the number of balls they pocket successfully.

The teams involved agree on the maximum number of points at the beginning of the game.

7. Cutthroat

This billiard game is quite flexible as it allows players to play in three’s or as teams. They also get to decide the number of balls they will be using.

But in a standard game, each player in the team/game gets to receive 5 balls. The balls have to be numbered for easy distinction.

The objective of the game is for players to pocket each other’s balls and the last player to have their ball remaining on the table, is declared the winner.

Players possess a legal right to play as long as they keep pocketing balls whenever they shoot.

Also, another difference between this game and the others we have already mentioned is that here players can sink only one of their balls as well, so long it will help them stay on top of the competition.

Elimination occurs once a player’s balls are fully eliminated from the table.

They only get the chance to rejoin the game if their opponent commits a scratching foul.

This gave has several variations and in each one of them, players agree on the number of balls and the number of players they allow into the game.

Consequently, the rules might also vary.


8. Power Snooker

This is pretty similar to snooker. And most players know it as the most famous type of the snooker game.

However, the major difference between the two games lies in the fast-paced nature of the power snooker (as the name suggests).

Those who have experienced both say that this one is more fun-filled making it an enjoyable game not only for the involved players but also for the spectators.

Players play using nine red balls in 30 minutes. And scoring is determined by the ability of players to hit 2 red balls at the cushion.

They get to re-rack the balls immediately after every frame to cover the 30-minutes duration. The winner is the player who emerges with the most points.

And it’s more exciting now that players can showcase their prowess by executing each of their shots within 20 seconds.

If a player doesn’t shoot within 20 seconds, they lose 20 points and they might end up losing their position to their opponents.

9. Nine Ball

This game is more modern than classic and it’s popular to have been played only for monetary gain.

But it has experienced immense changes in recent times and has managed to earn itself a place as one of the legitimate billiard games of modern times.

The game is fast-paced hence very engaging to both players and fans.

Players use 10 balls, inclusive of a white cue ball.

The objective of the game is for players to use the cue ball to pocket the 9 balls to win.

At the start of the game, all the 9 balls are racked on the table and players have to break rack.

Winning can occur if a player hits the lowest ball or pockets all the 9 balls without faulting.

The game has various variations, which are mainly characterized by the number of balls involved. They could be 7, 6 or even 10 balls.

10. Three Ball

As the name suggests, this game is played with only 3 balls and 1 cue ball.

Players focus on sinking all the three balls by hitting them using the cue ball, as fast as they can.

The game is more enjoyable with a limit of 5 players, although some may agree to accommodate more members.

And although this game might seem easy, it’s actually the most difficult one as sinking all the 3 balls is a bit difficult.

The first player to reach a pre-agreed number of points wins the game.


Billiard games are characterized by a lot of fun, not only for players but for players aw well.

So if you have been playing the traditional types for a while and would like to switch t contemporary, then the above list is evidence that there are so many options for you.

Do try them out and share your experiences.

We love hearing from you, always!