Hoyle's Games Modernized/Pool

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The game of Pool is the most sociable form of Billiards, as any number of persons can take part in it. There are several varieties of the game. The rules which we append (by kind permission of Messrs. Burroughes & Watts) are those of ordinary Pool. These rules sufficiently describe the game, but a few words of warning may be necessary to beginners. It is obvious that, as only the two players left in at the finish win the pool, it is of far greater consequence to save your own life than take another's. Consequently, the chief point for consideration is how to play for safety—that is, how to play to leave your own ball so that the player who follows on cannot put you in.

At starting, for instance, the white ball is placed on the spot. The red plays from baulk. Now red has no chance of putting white in, consequently he plays gently to drop on to the white ball, and leave his own ball, the red, under the top cushion.

If, however, white were close over the pocket, then the proper play, supposing the winning hazard was a certainty, would be to put white in and play for a position, so that you could take another life. In other words, you play to put white in, and get into some position where there is another easy hazard on another ball. After putting that in, another, and so on. A good pool-player, if he has a certain hazard, will sometimes what is called "clear the table;" that is, put in every ball.

The most common stroke in Pool is a chance of taking a life—i.e., where there is a difficult winning hazard left off the ball you play on. In this case never hesitate. Play, if you can, for the chance of the hazard and to get safe. If you cannot do both, simply play for safety, and for nothing else.



1. This game is played with coloured balls, which (or small duplicate ones) are dealt out from a pool basket or bag indiscriminately to the players at the beginning of each game. Cues and rests of any description may be used.

2. The players must play progressively, as the colours are placed on the pool marking-board, and the first stroke of each player—excepting White—is made from the half-circle, as also the succeeding strokes of every player when in hand.

3. Each player has three lives at starting, the object being throughout the game to pocket the ball played on. White places his ball on the upper spot; Red plays at White, Yellow at Red, and so on, each player playing at the last ball, unless it be in hand; in that case the player plays at the nearest ball.

4. Each player pays into the pool the amount decided on and starts with three lives (excepting a less number is agreed on for any particular player). Each pays forfeit for each life lost.

5. When the striker takes a life, he must continue to play on the nearest ball as long as he can take a life, till all the other balls are off the table; his own must then be placed on the spot, as at the commencement.

6. The first player who loses his three lives is entitled to purchase a star by paying into the pool the same sum as at the commencement, for which he receives lives equal in number to the lowest number on the board. The player, however, must decide whether he will star or not before the next stroke is played.

7. If the first player out refuse to star, the second may do so; if the second refuse, the third may do so; and so on, until only two are left in the pool, in which case the privilege ceases.

8. If before a star two or more balls be pocketed by the same stroke, including the ball played at, each having one life, the owner of the ball first struck has the option of starring; but if he refuse, and more than one remain, the persons to whom they belong must draw lots for the star. If the balls pocketed do not include the ball played at, their owners must draw lots for the star.

9. Only one star is allowed in a pool up to six.

9a. Only two stars are allowed in a pool up to seven or more.

10. The two last players cannot star.

11. If a life is lost, the next player plays at the nearest ball to his own; but if the next player's ball be in hand, he plays at the nearest ball to the centre spot of the half-circle.

12. If a doubt arise respecting the distance of balls, the distance must, if the player's ball be in hand, be measured from the centre spot on the half-circle; but if the player's ball be not in hand, the measurement must be made from his ball to the other; and in both cases the doubt must be decided by the majority of the players; but if the distance be equal, then the owners of the balls at equal distances must draw lots.

13. The baulk is no protection.

14. A life is lost by a ball being pocketed by the player in its proper turn.

15. The player loses a life by any one of the following means.—By pocketing his own ball; by running a coup; by missing a ball; by forcing his own ball off the table; by playing with a wrong ball; by playing out of his turn; by stopping or touching his own ball before it has done rolling; or by his ball striking another ball before hitting the one he ought to have played at.

16. If the striker pocket a ball, and by the same stroke lose a life in any way, the player whose ball is pocketed does not lose a life.

17. A player losing a life in any way pays forfeit to the player whose ball he plays upon or should have played upon. If a player plays out of turn or with the wrong ball, he loses a life to the player who precedes him.

18. If the striker miss the ball he ought to play at and strike another ball and pocket it, he loses a life, and his ball must be taken off the table, and both balls must remain in hand until it be their turn to play.

19. Fouls are also made thus: striking a ball twice with the cue, lifting both feet from the floor when striking; touching another ball, either in the act of striking or before the balls have become stationary, the penalty being that the player cannot take a life.

20. If the player, either in taking aim or in any manner whatever, except when in hand, touch his own ball, it is a foul. If the striker pocket a ball by a foul stroke, the owner of that ball does not lose a life, but the ball remains in hand until it is his turn to play.

21. If the striker's ball touch the one he has to play at, he is at liberty either to play at it or at any other ball on the table; and he may take a life by pocketing any balls so played on.

22. If a ball or balls touch the striker's ball, or be in line between it and the ball he has to play at, so as to prevent him hitting any part of the object ball he wishes, it or they, whether nearer to the striker's ball than the object ball or not, may be taken up until the stroke has been played; and after the balls have ceased running those taken up must be replaced, but a ball cannot be taken up in order to strike a ball from off a cushion, except in the case of Rule 24.

23. If the ball or balls be in the way of a striker, or the striker's cue, so that he cannot play at his ball without a reasonable chance of making a foul, he can have them taken up.

24. If the corner of the cushion prevent the striker from playing in a direct line, he can have any ball removed for the purpose of playing at a cushion first, or he may have the ball moved out a few inches, but cannot then take a life. If, however, only two players be left in, as in Rule 32, the ball cannot be moved out.

25. If the striker have a ball removed, and any other than the next player's ball stop on the spot it occupied, the ball removed must remain in hand till the one on its place be played, unless it should happen to be the turn of the one removed to play before the one on its place; in which case that ball must give place to the one originally taken up; after which it must be replaced. If two balls were taken up from the same spot, the one last taken up has to be replaced first.

26. If the striker have the next player's ball removed, and his ball stop on the spot the other occupied, the next player must give a miss from the baulk to any part of the table he thinks proper, for which miss he does not lose a life.

27. If the striker's ball stop on the spot of a ball removed, the ball which has been removed must remain in hand until the spot is unoccupied, and then be replaced.

28. If information be required by the player as to which is his ball, or when it is his turn to play, or which ball he ought to play at, or which ball is to follow his, he has a right to an answer; should he be misinformed he does not lose a life; the balls must in this case be replaced, and the stroke played again.

29. If the player be misled as to which ball is to play on him by a ball which is dead being wrongly marked on the board as still alive, he does not lose a life to his player.

30. If the striker force another ball off the table, neither he nor the owner of that ball loses a life, but the ball remains in hand until it is the owner's turn to play.

31. If the striker's ball miss the ball played at, no person is allowed to stop it till it has ceased running, whether it has struck another ball or not.

32. Should the player preceding the two last players make a miss, coup, or losing hazard, and decline to star, they divide the pool if they have an equal number of lives. The exception to this rule is when a pool originally consisted of not more than three players.

33. All disputes must be decided by the referee, whose decision upon being appealed to by the players is final.

34. The charge for the play is to be taken out of the pool before it is delivered up to the winners.