A great game is always characterised by some interesting variations, introduced over time. Similar is the case with pool and billiard, which keeps on introducing changes. Here, you may find some famous variations of pools and billiards, characterised by their own distinct formats and rules. The player reserves the right of selection. However, it is often anticipated that the player should have knowledge about the variations. If not all, at least three variations including Nine-ball, Eight ball, and Cut Throat should be known. So, before we start knowing about variations, have a look on the table layout and their specific terms involved.
We will begin with the most familiar Eight ball game. People usually call it stripes and solids, which is not the right terminology. When you go out and have chance of playing with more experienced players, you will see that they call it high or low instead of stripes and solids. In eight-ball, the rules generally vary in accordance with the level of game. In a simple game, the balls are framed with the eight ball in table centre. Upon hitting or breaking, the ball first to go in, will be yours. The turn is shifted each time the player misses the shot, or commits a foul. The objective of the game is to sink all your balls and obviously, the last eight ball. You need to sink it before your opponent. Be clear that the eight ball must go in! Apart from this, you may come across different rules while playing with different players. Therefore, it is better to talk and clarify about the rules before starting the game with a new player.
The other variation is nine-ball. The game uses balls marked from one to nine, which are placed in the centre of the table in the diamond like arrangement. The diamond is framed in the order of numbers, with ninth ball in the centre. The objective of game is to sink all nine balls in the ascending order, starting from 1, proceeding up to 9. Any ball is counted only when it is lowest, or it moves to sink due to hitting a lowest number ball on the table. This shot is a combination shot. For instance, when the lowest number ball on the table is 4, you have two options. You can either move ball 4 to sink, or hit it to move any other ball to the sink. You simply need to take care that you always hit the lowest number ball on the table. During the game, whenever you fail to hit the lowest ball, it will be counted as foul, and the turn will be shifted to the other player. For winning the game, the player has to sink the nine on a legal shot.
The game is similar to nine-ball, with the exception of seven instead of nine balls. The seven ball is placed in the centre with all other placed around forming a circle. In this game, the balls are placed in the pocket in an ascending order, starting from the lowest number. Each player is allowed to use only one side of the game to pocket the 7 ball.
Snooker is a type of billiard, popularly played in Europe. This game proceeds by sinking collared balls only after pocketing the red ball. All balls have a point value like 2 for yellow, 3 for green, 4 for brown, 5 for blue, 6 for pink, and the highest 7 points for black. The player wins by getting a highest total when all balls have been moved to sink.
Cut Throat is another common variation in pool. The game involves three players. Each player owns five balls 1-5, 6-10, or 11-15. The game requires you to sink the opponent’s balls. Therefore, in the last, the player with the ball on the table is the winner. The game may also have certain variations. Here, the player has to give penalty for the foul. He/she has to place the opponent’s ball back on the table. Often, the game includes balls from different colour sets. It helps to recognise which set belongs to whom.
Bobcat pool is an interesting variation. It involves two balls placed near each pocket. In this game, balls don’t need to follow any particular order. The theme of the game is to make at least one ball at every shot. The ball also makes contact with the rack. For starting the game, a cue ball needs to be placed behind the head of the string while the ball to be hit has to be placed below the head of the string. To make it more complex, you may place a ball in the rack. After making all the balls, the rack has to be removed. Now the player tries to make the extra ball.
This variation is often seen between the 8-ball and the 9-ball. The table is framed like the 8-ball game. Here, you never shoot the cue ball into the object ball. In fact, the move is reversed; you need to shoot the object ball into the cue ball. For example, you can hit the 4 ball directly with the cue stick by hitting the cue ball that probably shoots the 4 ball to go into the pocket. In another game Circles, the player tries to knock the quarter outside the circle. Here, you need to draw a reasonably sized circle in the centre of table with the help of a chalk. After drawing, you may place the ball into the centre of the circle, with the quarter on the top of the ball. The player, who thrives to get the quarter out of the circle, can claim victory over the other. This game is often played by families as well as kids. Thus, you may find many ways of playing pool, each having its own set of rules and guidelines. So, before choosing the game, decide the style of your game. A better familiarisation can make you a better player.