The game of pool, also known as billiards, comes in various forms, with the most popular being Eight-Ball and Nine-Ball. Here are the general rules for both:

Eight-Ball Pool

Objective: The objective is to legally pocket the 8-ball after pocketing all your designated group of balls (either solids or stripes).


  1. Use a standard pool table with 15 object balls (numbered 1-15) and a cue ball.
  2. Rack the 15 object balls in a triangle at the foot of the table with the 8-ball in the center.
  3. The first ball in the rack should be on the foot spot, with a solid ball in one corner and a striped ball in the other corner.


  1. Break Shot: A player breaks by striking the cue ball from behind the head string. If no balls are pocketed on the break, the opponent takes their turn.
  2. Open Table: The table is “open” after the break, meaning the choice of groups (solids or stripes) is not yet determined.
  3. Choosing Groups: Once a player legally pockets a ball after the break, that group (solids or stripes) is assigned to that player.
  4. Legal Shot: On each shot, the player must hit one of their group balls first and either pocket a ball or cause any ball (including the cue ball) to contact a rail.
  5. Fouls: Common fouls include failing to hit your own group ball first, not hitting any ball, or pocketing the cue ball. The opponent gets ball-in-hand (they can place the cue ball anywhere on the table) after a foul.
  6. Winning: A player wins by pocketing all their group balls and then legally pocketing the 8-ball in a called pocket.

Loss of Game:

Nine-Ball Pool

Objective: The objective is to legally pocket the 9-ball.


  1. Use a standard pool table with 9 object balls (numbered 1-9) and a cue ball.
  2. Rack the 9 object balls in a diamond shape, with the 1-ball at the apex on the foot spot and the 9-ball in the center.


  1. Break Shot: The player must strike the 1-ball first on the break. If no balls are pocketed, the opponent takes their turn.
  2. Legal Shot: On each shot, the player must hit the lowest-numbered ball on the table first. The player doesn’t need to pocket a ball to continue their turn, but must make a legal hit.
  3. Combination Shots: Players can use the lowest-numbered ball to sink higher-numbered balls, including the 9-ball, provided the lowest-numbered ball is hit first.
  4. Fouls: Common fouls include not hitting the lowest-numbered ball first, failing to drive any ball to a rail, or pocketing the cue ball. The opponent gets ball-in-hand after a foul.
  5. Winning: The game is won by legally pocketing the 9-ball, either as a result of a combination shot or after pocketing the balls in sequence from 1 to 9.

Loss of Game:

General Rules for Both Games

These are the basic rules for Eight-Ball and Nine-Ball pool. Specific rules can vary slightly depending on the governing body or the house rules of the place where you are playing.


The term “billiards” can refer to several different cue sports, but it most commonly refers to carom billiards, specifically the game known as “straight rail” or “straight billiards.” Here are the general rules for carom billiards:

Carom Billiards (Straight Rail)

Objective: The objective of carom billiards is to score points by caroming your cue ball off both the object balls in a single shot.


  1. Use a standard carom billiards table, which has no pockets and typically measures 10 feet by 5 feet.
  2. The table uses three balls: a white cue ball, a yellow cue ball (or another white cue ball with a distinguishing mark), and a red object ball.
  3. Each player is assigned a cue ball (white or yellow).


  1. Starting the Game:
    • Players lag to determine who goes first. Each player hits a ball from behind the head string to the foot rail, and the player whose ball stops closest to the head rail wins the lag and chooses who breaks.
    • The opening player places both cue balls behind the head string and the red object ball on the foot spot.
  2. Scoring:
    • A point is scored when a player’s cue ball caroms off both the other balls on a single shot. The player continues shooting as long as they score on each shot.
    • The cue ball must contact both object balls in any order for the shot to count.
  3. Position Play:
    • Players often aim to leave the balls in favorable positions after each shot to set up easier subsequent shots. This can involve delicate touch shots and precise control of the cue ball.
  4. Winning the Game:
    • The game is played to a predetermined number of points, commonly 30, 50, or 100 points, depending on the level of play and agreement between players.


  1. Failure to Score:
    • If a player fails to score by not hitting both object balls, their turn ends.
  2. Scratch:
    • If the cue ball is pocketed (in some variations played on pocketed tables) or leaves the table, it is considered a foul, and the opponent gets ball-in-hand behind the head string.
  3. Illegal Shot:
    • If a player hits the wrong cue ball or uses an illegal stroke, it is a foul.

Variations of Carom Billiards

  1. Three-Cushion Billiards:
    • A more advanced and popular form of carom billiards where the cue ball must hit at least three cushions before hitting the second object ball to score a point.
  2. Cushion Caroms:
    • The cue ball must hit at least one cushion before hitting the second object ball.
  3. Balkline Billiards:
    • Played with additional rules and marked lines on the table to limit the area where continuous scoring can occur without the cue ball or object balls crossing a balkline.

General Rules

These rules provide a general overview of straight rail billiards, which is the foundation for various carom billiard games. Specific rules and scoring can vary slightly depending on regional or house variations.


Snooker is a popular cue sport played on a rectangular table covered with a green cloth (baize), with six pockets, one at each corner and one in the middle of each long side. Here are the general rules for a game of snooker:


The objective of snooker is to score more points than your opponent by potting balls in the correct sequence and accumulating the highest possible score.


  1. Table and Balls: The standard snooker table is 12 feet by 6 feet. The game is played with 21 balls: one white cue ball, 15 red balls worth 1 point each, and six colored balls worth different points:
    • Yellow: 2 points
    • Green: 3 points
    • Brown: 4 points
    • Blue: 5 points
    • Pink: 6 points
    • Black: 7 points
  2. Rack: The 15 reds are racked in a triangle formation, with the apex ball placed on the pink spot. The six colors are positioned on their designated spots:
    • Yellow on the right corner (looking up the table from the baulk line).
    • Green on the left corner.
    • Brown in the middle of the baulk line.
    • Blue in the center of the table.
    • Pink at the apex of the triangle formed by the reds.
    • Black behind the triangle, close to the bottom cushion.


  1. Breaking Off: The game starts with a break shot, where the cue ball is struck from the baulk area. The player must hit a red ball first.
  2. Scoring Sequence: Players must alternate potting a red ball followed by a colored ball:
    • When a red ball is potted, the player earns 1 point and must then attempt to pot a colored ball.
    • After potting a colored ball, it is re-spotted on its original spot, and the player must then pot another red ball.
    • This sequence continues until all reds are potted.
  3. Colors Clearance: Once all reds are potted, the player must then pot the remaining colors in the order of their point value (yellow, green, brown, blue, pink, and black). The colors are not re-spotted during this phase.
  4. Fouls: Common fouls include:
    • Failing to hit the correct ball first.
    • Potting the cue ball (scratch).
    • Potting the wrong ball.
    • Failing to hit any ball.
    • A foul results in the opponent being awarded points (4 points minimum, or the value of the ball on, whichever is higher).
  5. Free Ball: If a player commits a foul and leaves the cue ball in a position where the opponent cannot hit both sides of any ball on, the opponent is awarded a “free ball.” They can nominate any ball as a red. Potting the free ball follows the same rules as potting a red.

Winning the Game

  1. Highest Score: The player with the highest score at the end of the frame wins. A match can consist of several frames, with the winner being the first to win a predetermined number of frames.
  2. Conceding: A player can concede a frame if they believe they cannot win.
  3. Frame Tied: If the scores are tied after all balls are potted, a re-spotted black is played to determine the winner.



Snooker is a game of strategy, precision, and skill, with players aiming to outscore their opponent by potting balls in the correct sequence and playing tactically to gain the upper hand.