Mastering the Rules of Billiards: A Comprehensive Guide

Billiards rules are divided into two main types: 3-cushion billiards and pocket billiards.

The rules of billiards at casino are quite complex and require players to have good skills and strategies to win. Billiards is not only a recreational game but also a competitive sport with major tournaments held worldwide.

Pocket Rules of Billiards

Pocket Rules of Billiards

Rules of Shots

For fouls, the opponent is allowed to place the cue ball anywhere for the next turn.

  • When breaking, the cue ball must hit the 1 ball first, and at least 4 balls must touch a cushion for the break to be considered valid.
  • If the cue ball is pocketed or jumps off the table
  • Shooting the cue ball before it has completely stopped
  • Touching the balls or any other object with any part of the body or clothing
  • Feet not touching the ground when shooting
  • Pushing the cue stick into the ball for too long, similar to holding the ball in volleyball
  • Hitting any ball other than the cue ball is considered a foul

Note: A miscue that still touches any ball is considered legal.

15-Ball Pocket Rules of Billiards 

Objective of the Game

The objective of 15-ball pocket billiards is to pocket balls numbered 1 through 15 in order. In each shot, the lowest numbered object ball on the table must be hit first, but any ball pocketed legally counts. If you legally pocket a ball, you continue your turn until you miss or commit a foul. If you accumulate at least 61 points, you win even if there are balls remaining on the table. After a missed shot, the opponent takes their turn with their cue ball. If a player fouls, the next player can place the cue ball anywhere.


Each legally pocketed ball is worth its numerical value. The total points on the table are 120, so when one player reaches 61 points, they win. If both sides reach 60 points, the game is a draw.

Game Progression

The game begins with the break shot. After the break, if a ball is pocketed, the player continues their turn until they miss, foul, or win. If either player commits a foul, the opponent takes the next turn. The game ends when one player reaches 61 points.

Even/Odd or Stripes/Solids Pocket Rules of Billiards

Stripes/Solids Rules

  • There are 15 balls and a cue ball on the table, divided into two groups: one group shoots balls 1-7, the other group shoots balls 9-15.
  • The 8 ball is the game-winning ball.
  • Only after a group has pocketed all their object balls (1-7 or 9-15) can they legally pocket the 8 ball and win.
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Even/Odd Rules

  • Similar to Stripes/Solids, the 1 ball in Even/Odd is like the 8 ball in Stripes/Solids, pocketed last to win. You can choose either the 1 ball or the 8 ball based on preference.
  • The even and odd numbered balls are divided into two groups. Even balls are 2-4-6-8-10-12-14, and odd balls are 3-5-7-9-11-13-15.
  • Refer to section above for fouls in Even/Odd billiards.

Game Rules

The rules for Stripes/Solids and Even/Odd are similar to 15-ball pocket billiards, with scoring based on the three points below:

  • If the cue ball is pocketed or jumps off the table, it is placed at the initial break position. The break position is the center point of one half of the table.
  • The cue ball can only be shot from its position and cannot be pocketed in the 10 pocket.
  • When a foul is committed, the player continues to play and can place the cue ball anywhere.

9-Ball Pocket Rules of Billiards

When breaking, the player must hit the 1 ball first. If any ball is pocketed during the break, the player continues their turn. Players can use any ball to pocket other balls, but they must hit the lowest numbered ball on the table first. The game is won by pocketing the 9 ball. If a player fouls as stated above, the opponent can place the cue ball anywhere and continue playing.

Carom Billiards Rules

Carom Billiards Rules

2.1 Determining the Opening Player

The referee places a ball on the head string along the line connecting the two object balls and perpendicular to the two side rails. The two players shoot their cue ball towards the head cushion; the player whose cue ball is closer to the cushion gets to break.

2.2 Notes When Choosing the Opening Player

  • If the two cue balls touch, both players must re-shoot.
  • If a player’s cue ball rolls off their side of the table, they lose the right to break.
  • Players can concede the break to their opponent.
  • A coin toss can be used to determine the opening player.

2.3 Ball Placement for the Break Shot

  • The red ball is placed on the head spot, 142 cm from the head cushion.
  • The opponent’s cue ball is placed 71 cm from the foot cushion.
  • The breaker’s cue ball is placed 18 cm away from the opponent’s cue ball, forming a line parallel to the head rail.

2.4 Legal Break Shot

  • The player must hit their cue ball to contact the red ball first.
  • In the next shot, you can hit either of the two remaining balls.
  • The player can re-spot the cue ball if it falls off the table or gets stuck.

2.5 Fouls

  • The cue ball falls off the table.
  • Hitting a ball before it has stopped (any ball).
  • Using any part of the cue other than the leather tip to strike a ball.
  • Touching any ball with any part of the body or clothing.
  • Pushing the cue stick, meaning the cue tip contacts the ball for too long.
  • Multiple hits on the cue ball.
  • Hitting the wrong ball.
  • Illegal jump shot.
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  • A miscue is still considered legal.
  • If a ball jumps onto the rail and returns to the table or falls into a pocket, it is legal.
  • If external factors cause the balls to move, the balls are re-spotted to their original positions before continuing play.

The match ends when one of the two sides has enough points or both sides have used up their allotted innings.

Types of Carom Billiards

Types of Carom Billiards

Straight Rail Carom Rules

Straight rail carom is a type of carom billiards. The player scores 1 point when their cue ball hits both object balls in one shot. The player continues to shoot until they miss or commit a foul. The rules for straight rail carom are the same as mentioned above.

In addition, the straight rail carom table has restricted areas in the 4 corners connected by two lines with a long side of 71cm and a short side of 35.5cm.

Shots in the restricted areas are as follows:

When both object balls roll into the restricted area (even if the center of the ball is on the boundary line) after the player scores 1 point, the second point must be scored by hitting one of the two object balls out of the restricted area. If after scoring the second point, oth object balls are still in the restricted area, the points are not counted, and the player loses their turn.

One-Cushion Carom Rules

The general rules in section 1 apply to all types of 3-cushion billiards.

After each shot, the cue ball must hit at least one cushion before hitting the second object ball to score a point.

3.3 Three-Cushion Carom Rules

The general rules in section 1 apply to all types of 3-cushion billiards.

How to hit the cue ball

  • The player must hit the cue ball into the first object ball, then contact 3 cushions before hitting the second object ball to score a point.
  • The player can hit one, two, or three cushions before hitting the first object ball, then hit a cushion and hit the second object ball, as long as the total number of cushion contacts is 3 before hitting the second object ball.
  • If the cue ball jumps onto the rail, each jump onto a different rail counts as one cushion contact.
  • If the cue ball sticks to the rail, the next cushion contact is counted.

Placing the cue ball

  • If the cue ball goes out of bounds, place it back in one of the three designated positions.
  • If 2 balls go out of bounds, place the 2 balls in the designated positions and leave the remaining ball in its place.
  • If the cue ball is among the balls that went out of bounds, place it in the designated position. If that position is occupied, place the balls as follows: the red ball at the head spot and the opponent’s cue ball at the center spot.


The above article from LOVEJILI helps you understand the rules of billiards. Billiards has various rules, so please read them carefully. You must understand the basic billiards gameplay to progress further. Also, if you are planning to open a billiard hall, please contact us.

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