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Cowboy Billiards What is This Game?


Cowboy Billiards What is This Game?

Billiards game we learned from father uses four balls...the one, two, three and cue. Sets up on the spots...one on head spot, two on center spot and three on foot spot. Break requires two banks before hitting any balls, and must hit two balls "bill" or its not a break. Every player gets shot to break, then play proceeds. Must get a "bill" to get on the board. After getting on the board, each ball sunk counts that number of points, with "bills" being two points. Respotting on the respective spot closest to the pocket ball was shot in. Play continues until no points are made. If no balls are hit, or the cue ball is pocketed, the player is then "dirty" and must obtain a "bill" to get "clean" and get back on the board. Game utilizes counter beads, and play continues until one player reaches 50 points. (Of course the other players hope that he goes "over" and totals past 50, necessitating him to continue play to 50 again...thereby allowing them to attempt the win.)

Does anyone out there know what this game is? We cannot locate rules and Dad is no longer with us to ask. He called it Billiards, but our research shows numerous games called "Billiards"...unfortunately, none is this one.

This question relates to the following billiard rules:

Cowboy Billiards What is This Game?

Replies & Comments

  1. TWS56Fox523 on 4/2/2010 7:28:21 AM

    The game in question is a variation of a game called "Cowboy" and the rules can be found in the BCA rulebook.

    Wikipedia has a description and rules under the heading of "Cowboy Pool"

    Cowboy is a descendant of "American 4-ball billiards" or "American Game" but played on a modern "Pool" Table.

  2. TWS56greenie on 8/20/2010 2:58:28 PM

    Oh that sounds great, I think that I'll try it one time... I'll also look for the rules of it. :)

  3. TWS56bubbakid on 2/1/2011 8:57:27 AM

    Hey, that sounds like fun, Thanks for the twist on regular 8 or 9 ball

  4. TWS56skipjack on 8/25/2011 7:46:02 AM

    We play another variation of Cowboy Billiards (we call it one-two-three) this way: 1 balls at the head spot,2 ball in the middle, and 3 ball on the foot spot. Break from behind the string to carom off the 2 and 3. Each carom thereafter = 1 pt. or 2 pts for a billiard on all three. A scratch or foul loses ALL pts. scored in that inning. Two or four (team) players is best. Scratches and fouls = ball in hand behind the head string (balls there, "in the kitchen" cannot be struck in a carom first. Balls pocketed are replaced on their original spots before the next shot (can be played as a foul or not). game is usually 21 points, but can be anything decided beforehand. Players MUST get 21 points EXACTLY or the game is lost if another point over that is made. A variation on the above (also with the same name) is: Break the same, but after a billiard is made, player can shoot any ball into a pocket (score is ball's number) without a call, or make another billiard. Balls pocketed are placed on their original spot after each shot, but the same numbered ball may NOT be pocketed more than twice. Players coming to the table MUST make a billiard to continue and BEFORE a ball may be pocketed. Again, fouls and the "no going over" provision remain the same. It is a quick game if you play to 21 points.

  5. TWS56allanpsand on 4/15/2013 11:17:31 AM

    There is a snooker table version called "Russian Billiards" invented at the Palo Alto Elks Lodge in California. It uses the 4, 5, 6, and 7 snooker balls. 4 on the head spot, 5 center spot, 6 foot spot, 7 black ball spot. You can only score points by playing (and/or scratching) the ball in the correct pockets (4 ball - head pockets, 5 ball - side pockets, 7 ball - foot pockets, with the 6 ball wild for any pocket. You can also continue runs by scratching off the ball into the correct pocket (i.e., scratch the cue ball off the 4 into the head pockets), which means you can put the five into the side pocket, follow the cue ball in, and score 10 points. Billiards (cue ball off two other balls) also count as two.

    There are further rules and penalties, especially on winning the game. If anyone wants the rules, send me an email.

  6. TWS56guest on 7/24/2015 6:22:35 AM

    Cowboy (Russian) Snooker Rules

    This game is played on a snooker table, either the English (6’ x 12)’, or American (5’ x 10’).

    Snooker Balls Used Cue ball 4, 5, 6, 7 balls

    Game Setup 4 ball – on the 4-ball (head) spot 5 ball – on the 5-ball (center) spot 6 ball – on the foot spot 7 ball – on the 7-ball spot Cue ball – played from the D-ring

    Game Description All standard pool rules and fouls are maintained. Fouls include knocking a ball off the table, touching the ball improperly, using the cue stick improperly, etc. All balls down are immediately spotted. If the spot is covered, the ball is placed on the next higher available spot (5 to 6, 6, 7, 7 to 4) Turn ends when the player • Commits a foul. • Shoots and does not make any billiards and does not pocket any balls • Shoots a ball into the wrong pocket.

    Scoring The game is to 150 points. Points are awarded in the following way: • 1 point for a billiard (cue ball hitting two object balls. • 2 points for a double billiard (cue ball contacts three object balls • 4 points – 4 ball to head corner pockets • 5 points – 5 ball to side pockets. • 7 points – 7 ball to foot corner pockets. • 6 points (wild) – 6 ball to any pocket. • Points for cue ball scratch – cue ball caroms off object ball and scratches into object ball’s pocket – same as object ball (i.e., cue ball off 5 ball into side pocket is 5 points). Cue ball is played from the D-ring. • Double scores – cue ball and object ball pocketed in same pocket. (i.e., cue ball and 7 ball in same pocket scores 14 points. Spot object ball and place cue ball in the D-ring.)

    Start Play First player (chosen by coin or lag) starts from D-ring. Any object ball can be targeted.

    Inning Play Player begins with the cue ball in place. If a previous player ended the inning with a scratch in a wrong pocket, incoming player shoots from the D-ring.

    Points scored in an inning are tracked. When inning is over, points made are added to player’s score. Inning ends when player makes no points on a shot or makes a penalty shot. Penalty points are subtracted and next player begins..

    For example, in an inning, the player pockets the 6 ball to get 6 points on inning score. The 6 ball is spotted and play continues. Then 3 points are added by 3 consecutive billiards. Then, the 7 ball goes in the side pocket. 7 points are subtracted from the inning score and 2 points are added to player’s score. An inning score can go negative (i.e., inning score is 2 and 5 goes in wrong pocket for a minus 3 points from total score.

    Different ways to score points • Shooting the 4, 5, or 7 and following the cue ball in with the ball or in the other legal pocket. Shooting a 5 in the side pocket and scratching in the side pocket counts as 10 points. Any billiards made on that shot count as part of the stroke (1 for a billiard or 2 for a double billiard). • Shooting the 5 in the corner pockets and scratching in any corner pocket looses 10 points. Any billiards made on that shot do NOT count, plus or minus.

    Game 150 points (or as agreed by players). Winning player MUST get exact points. Going over means a minus strategy must be used. For example, on getting to 155, the player must make a 5 point penalty to bring the score to 150 and a win.

    Scenarios On the break shot (won by lag), the player shoots the six into one corner pocket and scratches in the other corner pocket. 12 points. The six ball is spotted, cue ball goes back into the kitchen and player continues the inning.

  7. TWS56user1487217552 on 2/15/2017 10:58:43 PM

    When in Wyoming in the 70's I learned a variation of "Cowboy" they called "Cowboy Billiards"

    It was played on a snooker table (they were 5 X 10s.) It involved only 4 snooker balls, including the cue ball, a 2 ball, a 3 ball, and a 4 ball. You play to 50 points and must hit 50 exactly or you start over in points.
    The balls are initially spotted 2 ball on the head spot (snooker's 4 ball spot,) 3 ball on the center (snooker's 5 ball spot), and 4 ball on the foot (snooker's 6 ball spot.) POINTS:

    • Two points for a “Billiard” where the cue ball caroms off two balls with no double kisses (Two Ball Billiard.)
    • Five points for a “Billiard” where the cue ball caroms off three balls with no double kisses (Three Ball Billiard.)
    • Two points for pocketing the 2 ball. Three points for the 3 ball. Four points for the 4 ball.
    • Balls can be pocketed any pocket. Balls are re-spotted depending on the pocket they land.
    • Balls pocketed in either Head pockets are spotted to the Head Spot (snooker’s 4 ball spot.)
    • Balls pocketed in either Center Pockets are spotted to the Center Spot (snooker’s 5 ball spot.)
    • Balls pocketed in either Foot Pocket are spotted to the Foot Spot (snooker’s 6 ball spot.)

    In order to shoot balls in pockets for points the shooter must have previously made a "billiard" or a “billiard” must happen on the shot that pocketed the ball(s.)

    You can lose your “billiard” if you table scratch or pocket the cue ball. Scratching ends the turn or inning. The player also loses the points he gained that inning. Except if he has exceeded 50 points that inning, see Over Rule later.

    Players must have first 'obtained' a billiard by making a carom of 2 or 3 balls. If ball or balls are pocketed during the process, those points are scored as they are through-out the game.

    Players keep their 'billiard' as long as they don't scratch to end their inning, but those that have lost their 'billiard' come to the table the next inning trying to carom 2 or 3 balls with their first shot to 'get' their "billiard" back. This allows them to continue scoring as they like whether pocketing balls for points, caroming balls for billiard points, or a combination of both. Within an inning a player may string together several “billiards” or pocket several different balls or combinations of both. His/her inning continues until he does make either or scratches.

    On the break the balls are placed on their initial spots. The cue ball is placed ball-in-hand in the snooker kitchen or "D." The Break requires a player to bank two (or more) rails first and then carom 2 or 3 balls. If the first player fails the balls are re-spotted and the second player tries the same from the "D." After a successful break the game starts. If all players fail, the cue ball and balls are left as they were after the last breaker missed. The next player no longer is required to hit two rails and can proceed to 'get' his "billiard" to start his inning.

    After a scratch (cue ball does not hit any other balls, cue ball goes off the table, or cue ball goes in any pocket) the cue ball is placed back in the snooker "D" with ball-in-hand for the next player. The points for that inning are lost and he/she 'losses' his "billiard." If the scratching player has exceeded 50 points in that inning (see OVER rule,) He does not lose all his points which would return his score to what it was as he entered the inning. The scratching player returns to the score when he/she exceeded 50 points. This makes that player start over.

    For example, a player begins an inning with 48 points, he needs just 2 points to win, but when pocketing the 2 ball the cue ball continues on to carom into another ball scoring 2 more points for a total of 4 points. His score goes to 52 and then to 2 points account of the Over Rule. He then continues to shoot and scores 12 more points before scratching. He has gained 16 points that inning but only loses 12, putting him back at 2 points. This is to prevent players that go over 50 points from deliberately scratching to eliminate a 50 point loss.

    The OVER Rule: If a player does not hit 50 points exactly and is 'over,' he losses 50 points and will continue with from zero plus his extra points. It should be noted that a player accidentally going over 50 points has his score reset, but is still able to score points until he misses. It is possible for a player still to win the game in that inning by scoring 50 points.

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Cowboy Billiards What is This Game?

  • Title: Cowboy Billiards What is This Game?
  • Author:
  • Published: 1/1/2010 10:45:00 PM