Billiards is often referred to as a cue sport. It has been a popular sport since the 15th century where it first emerged in France.
Billiards is divided into three subdivisions: Carmon billiards, pocket billiards (aka pool) and Snooker.
It evolved from an outdoor sports games that involved sticks and balls on a lawn.
Read on learn the full billiards rules as well as tips for playing the game.
Carmon Billiards Rules
In Carmon billiards, two major differences separate it from pocket billiards.
First is the table has no pockets, and the goal is to strike the cue ball off the opponent’s ball or railing.
The second is the fewer amount of balls. In pocket billiards and Snooker, the object is to sink colored balls into the pockets by striking them with the cue ball.
- Billiards table
- Cue stick
About the Table
Carmon billiards is played with two people. A standard billiards table is 4 feet by 8 feet, 4.5 feet by 9, 5 feet by 10 feet or 6 feet by 12 feet. The important and distinct difference in a Carmon billiards table from a pool table is that there are no pockets.
Diamonds run along the table, which can be used in the geometric striking strategy. The rail where the first person to break stands at is called the short. The opposite end is the foot rail and the rails that run long along the table are the side rails. The table is green because this color is less sensitive to the human eye and can be looked at for extended periods of time.
Who Goes First?
Lagging determines who goes first. The red ball is placed on the foot rail and the opponent’s cue ball at the head. The shooter must hit the red ball for it to be legal and get the ball to return closest to the front end. Usually, the winner of the lag opts to go second. The first player must hit the red ball. Technically, as long as, you hit both balls you receive a point.
About the Cue Stick and Balls
The billiards cue is a short stick with short ferrule – the white part located at the tip – and thick butt. There are three balls. One white cue ball, a white cue ball with a black spot called the spot and a red object ball.
The Points and Objective
The object ball is placed at the foot and opponent’s cue ball is placed at the head spot. The player’s cue ball is put in line with the head spot which is 6 inches from the opponent’s cue.
You get points by hitting both balls on the table. There are variances on how you strike the ball:
- In one-cushion billiards, you can hit the balls off each over or hit one side of the table.
- In three-cushion billiards, you have to hit three cushions or sides before the balls stop
- In straight-rail billiard, hitting both balls gets you points.
- Balkline Billiards you can get points by hitting both balls, but they cannot be in the same area.
3 points for potting off the red ball.
2 points for potting off the opponent’s ball.
2 points for a cannon. Each time a player hits the opponent’s cue ball and object ball with one shot, it is called a cannon.
- Billiards table
- Cue stick
- 15 colored balls and one white ball
The game pool can be played with two or three people.
Cue sticks are about 58 inches long; longer or shorter ones are also available, depending on the player’s height.
A pool table is regulation size when it is twice as long as it is wide. The standard size is 7, 8 or 9 feet long. So, its width would be 3.5 4 or 4.5 feet.
The balls are solid colors and striped with even and odd numbers. The two most important balls are the 8 ball and cue ball – which is the only ball to be directly hit during the game.
Two Key Terms
A break is when a player either straight or at an angle hits the collected or racked balls so that they scatter. A scratch is when the cue ball jumps off the table or rolls into a pocket. In such case, the opponent then is allowed to take the ball and place wherever on the table to take a shot.
Playing the Game
The balls are placed in a triangle to be racked. A player breaks. If a ball goes into a pocket they the player must continue to hit the other balls of that kind – stripped or solid – for the duration of the game.
Each player hits their respective balls until the last ball that is left on the table is the 8 ball. The first player to hit the 8 ball in a pocket wins the game.
If a person scratches when attempting to hit the 8 ball he or she loses the game.
If a person hits the 8 ball in a pocket before all the other balls are cleared from the table, the player automatically loses as well.
- 22 unnumbered balls (1 white cue ball, 15 red balls and 6 assorted balls, pink, black, brown, blue, green and yellow)
- Six-pocket felt covered billiards table
- Cue stick
Each ball as a point associated with it:
- Red = 1
- Yellow = 2
- Green = 3
- Brown = 4
- Blue = 5
- Pink = 6
- Black = 7
The game is played with 2 players. A coin is flipped to decide who goes first. The first player must try to get the cue ball to hit one of the racked red balls.
The object of the game is to get as many numbers of points as possible by hitting the red and colored balls into one of the six pockets. Sinking the balls in the pockets is called “potting.”
First, the players pot in the red balls and then when those are all gone, the colored balls – from the lowest point value to the highest.
Each player gets a turn provided he or she is able to pot a ball into a pocket. If a player misses, it is the opponent’s turn to shoot.
The Stroke, Strike, and Stance in Billiards
If you are right-handed, most people use that hand to control the base of the stick and the left for the tip. If you are left-handed, then the opposite would work nicely.
For proper hand positioning, place the tip of the cue stick on top of your thumb and curve the index finger over the upper part of the tip. This forms a closed bridge that will keep the stick from slipping sideways.
Your hand that is shooting should be loose on the butt of the cue stick, while you thumb and index finger should be tight on the stick.
You can also shoot with an open bridge that is a “V” with the thumb and index finger.
Align your body with the shot you are trying to make. This line would be with the cue ball and the object ball. The foot that corresponds to your shooting hand should be at a 45-degree angle with this line.
When lining up your strike, look for a spot on the cue ball with the practice pendulum-like movements of your arm. The best hit is usually with the cue tip hitting directly in the middle of the cue ball.
Hit the cue ball as if you were hitting the object ball. Keep your eye on the ball and remain focused on what you’re doing.
Look at your angles and see what your best shot is – even if it isn’t to get points or land in a pocket. You may want to make it difficult for your opponent to have a shot.
Make practice shots before taking the actual one. You aren’t actually hitting a ball but in this way you relax your arm and you can get your aim.
There is a diamond system. The diamonds on the rail have a number.
Take the number of the diamond that the cue ball will hit first, then subtract the number of the diamond on the short rail that’s at a natural angle. The number remaining will be the number of the diamond you want to aim for when you shoot.
Billiards is played all over the world and there are many variations of the sport.
Carmon billiards doesn’t require pockets like pool and Snooker but is just as enjoyable and challenging. Carmon billiards, Pool, and Snooker all need some skill, which comes with practice.
The way in which a cue ball strikes another ball determines how the other balls travel. By experimenting with hitting the cue ball in different ways, you’ll learn how to use predictions and accurate shots to your advantage.