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A Billiard Game Called Harrigan

A Billiard Game Called Harrigan

I am looking for detailed rules on a billiard game called Harrigan.

I usually play a cue sport game we call "Harrigan" at the bar. I cannot find any official rules for this game.

It goes like this. The balls are racked in random fashion. Each player is thrown two pills, one for his shooting place in the rotation with lowest number breaking and the other, his/her object (money) ball. Game is over as soon as object/money ball is made. Perhaps I can't find the rules because its got another name or something. Anyway, I know that if the breaker makes a ball on the break he shoots again if no one has it as their object ball. I also know that if the breaker pockets two money balls the breaker wins.

Now the problem. Last night a shooter (Not breaker) made two balls owned by other shooters. I believe the ante should have been split. My friends decided that the shooter wins following the rules set for the break. Told everyone I would find out who is right.

This question relates to the following billiard rules:

A Billiard Game Called Harrigan

Replies & Comments

  1. chopspopCue Chalk on 3/8/2008 2:21:15 PM

    @chopspop - What you are describing is a deviation of the game called “Pill Pool”. Over the years this game has been called many different names some with slight deviations in play from the original game depending on what part of the globe you are in.

    Like any game you are playing you should establish rules of play prior to playing. This should be done especially if there is a pot involved.

  2. chopspopbilliardsforum on 2/2/2010 12:25:57 PM

    From a guy named Paul Wolf from Philladelphia:

    Growing up in the Port Richmond section of Philadelphia and learning to shoot pool as a teenager in the early 60's, at St. Anne's Men's club. 5 tables and a 2 lane bowling alley . We would play "Harrigan" on Friday nights, Saturday, and Sundays (after 12 o'clock since the priest didn't want anyone "bumming" mass) . Generally we played games of Harrigan pool for a quarter to start. As the night got later it would be bumped up to 50 cents or maybe even a dollar. The pill caller would collect a dime from the winner for their service calling the pills. They would do this to make money to pay for table time (he would make 60 cents an hour to call pills). That is how I got money to shoot pool.

    I wonder if this game still exists out there. Can you go to a club or a pool room and still play on an open table for a small amount?

  3. chopspopguest on 4/18/2010 9:29:36 AM

    I love this game. I always played it a little differently though.

    In my version, each player only gets one shot per turn AND SLOPS ARE ALLOWED. Meaning that if I bash up a bunch of balls and mine happens to drop by chance regardless of anything else that happens on the table i still win.

    Note: in many games of pool the OBJECT BALL (in this case money ball) would have to be dropped first to be considered legal, but we always played one shot, and if you drop it you win. In turn, if you happen to drop someone else's money ball in the way of dropping your own, there may be consideration to split the pot because of the fact that if someone else makes your ball at any time you automatically win.

    This is why it is a skill game... You really only want to be dropping your own ball at any given time.

  4. chopspopquickshot on 4/18/2010 4:09:43 PM

    I have never heard of Harrigan pool, but that does not mean it does not exist. If I had to guess, I would say it is a variation of pill pool that some barroom player named Harrigan dreamed up. It's not unusual for some bar to dream up another game just for kicks or boredom.

  5. chopspopuser1535832165 on 9/1/2018 1:02:46 PM

    We've also gone by the name "One Shot" as you typically only get one shot to win, if that.

    Only the breaker gets a second turn if a ball falls that isn't a winner. ANYTHING goes, combos, any pocket, massé, jump, luck, etc. If you're ball falls, you win. Regardless of who the shooter is.

    As for two money balls falling on the same shot, the shooter always wins. If both balls belong to different players, the player with the highest money ball pocketed wins.

    I'm not sure if there are written rules for Harrigan pool. Usually "house rules" are played or majority rules when beginning the game.

    We learned the game playing against some serious, no nonsense players that would play for $5 a game, for hours. These are the rules they played by.

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A Billiard Game Called Harrigan

  • Title: A Billiard Game Called Harrigan
  • Author:
  • Published: 3/7/2008 12:25:09 PM