How to Play Billiards

There is no one answer to give when someone asks you how to play
billiards. This is because of the many different forms of the game.
The main similarity between all forms of the game is that they are
played on a table covered in green cloth, using a long stick, called a
cue stick and a set of balls in varying colors. There are two main
kinds of billiards – Carom and pocket. The principal Carom games are
straight, balkline and three-cushion billlards. The main pocket games
are straight pool, eight ball, nine ball, one pocket, bank pool and
snooker. In all forms, the player uses a cue stick to hit a cue ball
off another ball on the table.

Straight Billiards: A player scores a point every time his ball makes
contact with two other balls and can continue playing. Some players
try to gather the balls in one corner so that they can score many
points in the same shot.

Balkline Billiards: Balkline is a variation of straight billiards in
which the table is divided into eight sections. A player cannot gather
the balls in one place to score points. It is a more challenging form
of the straight game.

Three-cushion Billiards: When playing this variation of billiards, the
player has to make contact with two balls on the table while hitting
the balls off the cushions on three sides of the table or hitting the
cushions three times while the balls are in play.

Snooker: In this game the balls must be pocketed in a certain order.
The colored balls have to be pocketed using the cue ball, starting
with the red ball. Each color ball carries a certain number of points.
Once a player gets a red ball in the pocket, then he/she aims for
another color and then back to red. The player keeps going until
he/she cannot make a shot. The player with the most points wins.

Eight-Ball: There are 16 balls, one of which is white, called the cue
ball. The rest of the balls are numbered 1 through 15 and are either
solid or striped. They are racked in a triangle formation and the
player starts by using the cue ball to break the rack. If a ball goes
into a pocket that determines whether the player will shoot at solid
or striped balls. To win the game a player must pocket all of his/her
balls and then pocket the 8 ball without pocketing the cue ball at the
same time.

Nine-Ball: In this game only balls numbered from 1 to 9 are used. The
object of the game is to pocket the balls in sequential order.

One Pocket Billiards: Each player has a specific pocket into which
he/she can shoot the balls. Each time a ball goes into the correct
pocket, the player scores a point. A player continues playing until
he/she misses a shot.

Bank Pool: In this variation of the game, players must bank the ball
off one of the cushions before it goes into the pocket.