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Canadian Skittle Pool Rules

A variation on how to play Canadian skittles pool (billiards with skittles). These Canadian skittles pool rules were contributed by Billiards Forum member gully-foyle, of British Columbia back in 2008.

Also, if you are looking for variations on this game:

Setup for Canadian Skittle Pool

Below are the details on how to set up the pins/skittles on pool table and where to place the balls to begin the game.

Placement of the Skittles on the Pool Table

One black skittle goes on the Blue spot in the center of the table (on the dot). The others are placed as follows:

  1. The skittles are roughly 3" high. The placement is figured out by laying a skittle down so that one end is at the edge of the Blue spot, aimed at directly a side pocket. A white skittle is placed there. There should be room for a ball to pass between them (tough, but doable).
  2. The same for the other side (toward the other side pocket).
  3. Repeat so that the remaining two skittles are placed in the same way, but towards the foot spot and the end of the pool table (in line with the brown spot and the pink spot).

The result should be a "diamond" placing of the skittles on and around the blue spot.

The skittles are numbered: starting from the one closest to the brown spot and going counter-clock wise: 1, 2, 3, 4. Therefore the one toward the Yellow spot is "1," the one to the right side pocket is "2", toward the pink spot is "3" and toward the left side pocket is "4."

The Black Skittle is worth "5."

The Balls

One Red Ball is placed on the Pink spot to start. It is worth Three points if you sink it or sink the cue ball after hitting it.

The Yellow Ball is placed on the Brown spot. It is worth Two points if you sink it or sink the cue ball after hitting it.

Pea Selection by Players

Typically, pea selection should be done after lagging to determine shooting order (see "Determine Who Shoots First" below)

Each player takes a numbered "pea" from the flask aka pill bottle. The peas are numbered from 1 to 15. You keep your pea's number a secret. Your "target" is result of subtracting the value of your pea from 31.

Therefore, if you have the "1" pea, your winning target is "30." If you have the "5" pea, your target is "26" and so on. The best pea to have is the "15" pea, as you will need only "16" to win (15 deducted from 31).

How to Play Canadian Skittle Pool

Rules for how to play Canadian Skittle billiards aka Canadian Skittle Pool.

Starting the Game:

  • To start the game, players lag for shooting order (or just decide). We used to establish the shooting order by lagging before drawing peas.
  • The cue ball is placed in the "D," and you must shoot the red ball (on the pink spot).

Continuing Play

The player shoots until he doesn't make points. Keep track of the points make on the board, assigning 'Jits' and 'Blacks' as they occur.

Scoring in Canadian Skittles Pool

Editor's Note: This section is very complicated. The author has described it to the best of his ability, but offers to clarify any confusion if you post your questions in the comments below.

In playing Canadian Skittle Pool, players MUST score points in two ways:

Sinking or Caroming Balls

You can score points by sinking balls or caroming balls (making the cue ball strike both the red and the yellow), AND getting some points by "getting wood" (knocking down skittles at least once).

  • Sinking the Red gets you three points.
  • Sinking the Yellow gets you two points.
  • Making a carom (striking both the Red and Yellow on the same shot) gets you two points.

IF YOU SINK ALL THREE BALLS (Red, Yellow and Cue Ball) on the same shot, YOU WIN AUTOMATICALLY (regardless of how many points you need or have).

Making Wood

You can knock down skittles either with the cue ball or the Red or Yellow, BUT you must hit a ball with the cue ball first. That is: hit the Red or Yellow, making it knock down skittles, OR, hitting the Red or Yellow and rolling the cue ball to knock down skittles. The trick is: YOU CANNOT KNOCK BOTH WHITE SKITTLES and THE BLACK SKITTLE on the same shot. You must knock down the Black Skittle ALL BY ITSELF.

If you knock down White skittles, you score the value of the skittles knocked down:

  1. just the "1" skittle, one point
  2. just the "2" skittle, two points, etc.,
  3. both the "1" and "2" = 3 points, etc.

If you knock down JUST the Black skittle, you get FIVE points, and "a black" is scored for you. To track these, you just mark it on the board with a "B".

Knocking down all the white skittles on the same shot is called "a sweep", and if this occurs, YOU WIN THE GAME AUTOMATICALLY, regardless of how many points you need or have. This is not easy.

Now the scoring gets a little complicated. Remember, we always played this for money, so the rules get rather arcane. The thing to remember is you MUST "get wood" (at least once), and you MUST score by sinking or "sewering off" a Red or Yellow ball.

To summarize the skittles pool scoring rules:

  • Red (sunk or in-off) = three points
  • Yellow (sunk or in-off) = two points
  • Carom (hitting Red & Yellow with Cue Ball) = two points

You can "combine" (make a carom AND sink or sewer off a ball) for cumulative points, i.e., Hit Red, sink Red, Cue ball hits Yellow, Cue ball drops:

  • Red = 3 points
  • Carom = 2 points
  • In-off Yellow = 2 points

The shot is worth "7" points.

Add wood to the above and you score "7" plus the value of the skittles knocked down (ONLY white or JUST THE BLACK) for a maximum of "16" points on the above shot:

  • "7" for ball action
  • 2, 3 and 4 Skittle for "9" more.

And remember, if you knocked down ALL the white skittles you'd win automatically.

Fouls in Canada Skittles Pool

If you "foul" by committing any of the following offenses, you LOSE ALL YOUR POINTS AND HAVE TO START OVER from ZERO:

  • Fail to hit a ball
  • Knock down the Black and some White skittle(s)
  • Fly off the table, etc.,
  • Knock something over with your cue
  • Commit any basic foul e.g. jump a ball off the table, double kiss, etc.

When this points reset happens, you are assigned a "Jit". (this is what we called fouls. They are cumulative.

If you GO OVER your target number of points (i.e., you have the 10 pea, need 21, and score more than 21 points), YOU LOSE ALL YOUR POINTS AND START OVER.

Also, you cannot make the same shot more than three times in a row, i.e.,

  • you cannot sink the Red or Yellow more than three times in a row.
  • you cannot make more than three caroms in a row.
  • you cannot knock down the same skittle(s) more than three times a row.

How to Win in Canadian Skittles Pool

This is a game we played for money. If you don't want to play for money, you can substitute the currency amounts with points.

When someone wins the game, the following are the "payout" rules:

  • A set amount for each "Black" paid from EVERY player.
  • A set amount for each JIT paid from every player.
  • A set amount for winning the game itself.

Way back, we played for nickel and a quarter. A quarter for each "Black", a quarter for winning the game, and five cents for each "Jit" each opponent had.

If we were feeling rich and bloodthirsty, we'd play "Ladder," where the last finisher paid everyone above him, second-last ditto, etc. AND paid five cents for every stroke you were away from winning (i.e., if you needed 25 to win and only had 10 points, you paid five cents for each of "15" points you needed) to the winner.

Canadian Skittle Pool Rules

If you have any questions about Canadian Skittle Pool Rules, please post them in the pool rules forum.

...or view existing Canadian Skittle Pool Rules questions in the forum.

Canadian Skittle Pool Rules History

These are the rules for how to play Canadian Skittle pool as remembered by Billiards Forum member gully-foyle, of British Columbia, Canada from when he used to play in the late 1960s and early 1970s. As he recalls:

I learned the game in Ajax, Ontario in the early 1960s, and other than playing it there and in Texas and California once or twice, nobody else has ever heard of it.

If anyone has more info on the origins of skittle pool, leave a comment below.

The official Canadian Skittle Pool Rules are predominently observed in Canada.

How to Play Canadian Skittle Pool

Questions about Canadian Skittle Pool Rules:

  • Title: Canadian Skittle Pool Rules
  • Author: (Mario Martinelli)
  • Published: 2/3/2009 2:18:10 PM
  • Last Updated: 2/10/2023 4:41:55 PM
  • Last Updated By: billiardsforum (Billiards Forum)
  • Source: Submitted by a Billiards Forum Member

Canadian Skittle Pool Rules

The Canadian Skittle Pool Rules article belongs to the Pocket Billiards Rules category. Pocket billiards is a class of cue sport game commonly referred to as pool.

Canadian Skittle Pool Rules Comments

  1. guestguest on 5/3/2010 5:40:26 PM

    Actually I have been looking for the same or similar billiard skittle game.

    The version I remember is played on a full 12-foot pocket billiard table using 3 balls (2 white and 1 red).

    The red ball is placed at the pink spot at top of the table and the corresponding skittle pin is worth 5 points. Then, going clockwise to the right:

    • at the first ivory marker = 4 point skittle placed with one ball distance between the cushion and the pin
    • the next ivory marker = 3 points but with a black pin between the 3 pin and the cushion
    • the next ivory marker after the center pocket and next to the break "D" line = 1 point.
    • next, go across the "D" and at each break mark on the "D", place one pin = value 1 point
    • next, on the left side going up from the "D", and between the "D" and the center pocket - another pin = 1 point placed at the ivory marker pass the center pocket, and the next ivory marker value = 2 points, and the last pin at the next ivory mark = 1 point.

    This gives a total of 20 points.

    The game is played as follows; Players randomly pick small ball tokens (peas?) with numbers from 1 to 20 - the aim of the game is to win by making a total of 21 points.

    How? Lets say I get pea 20 and you get pea 1. I need to knock down exactly 20 pin points to win, and you only have to knock down a 1 point pin to win, but you have to break and your cue ball cannot knock down the red ball pin. If it does you lose because that is 6 points (your 1 + the 5) but if you break without knocking down the pin and you hit the ball left english spin very gently your cue ball should carom off the top cushion and break into the left 1 pin, then you win the game.

  2. billiardsforumbilliardsforum from Halifax, NS on 7/9/2010 8:01:25 AM

    @gully-foyle - Thanks for posting these rules for how to play skittles pool.

    I wanted to ask you some more details about them. I was wondering if you had a source for the information?

    Also, is there any other information about the game of skittles pool (origin, history, etc) you might be able to share?

  3. gully-foylegully-foyle from BC, Canada on 7/9/2010 9:39:00 PM

    I'm sorry, but I have no historical references. I learned the game in Ajax, Ontario in the early 60s, and other than playing it there and in Texas and California once or twice, nobody else has ever heard of it.

    A couple of notes, though:

    1. I noticed on the forum that someone listed another set of values for scoring. They said a carom(b) was worth 1 point, the red 1, the yellow 2 (same value for going in-off the relative balls). This is patently wrong, as one of the hardest things was to score a single point -- and I am sure that the ONLY way to score "1" point was to knock down (only) the 1-value skittle.

    2. I had the pins numbered counter-clockwise. I am going on memory; they may been counted "clockwise".

    3. As to the Red ball on the pink, that is correct. The other poster had the Yellow on the black spot. I do not believe that to be correct, but he may very well be right.

    4. As to number of "peas", I remember 15, since we also used the peas to play "Pea Pool" and the maximum number of balls are also 15.

    As I said, my source is memory and talking to several friends from back then about it.

    I loved the game.

    As to "scoring" vs "payout", my explanation may not have been clear. Here is how we tallied the payout:

    Way back then our standard stakes were 5 - 10 (Five cents and a Dime). A "Black" was worth 25 cents.

    1. "Blacks" (getting only the Black pin and no white skittles) = 25 cents from every other player, instantly. You did not have to win. You kept track of the number of "Blacks" you scored, as you could collect again if you managed a 'sweep.' See below.

    2. Winning the game (hitting your 31 less your "pea" score on the nose). You collected 5 cents from every player.

    3. "Jits" (cumulative - every time you scratched, you marked up a "Jit" [our name for scratches]). Everyone payed the winner 5 cents for every "Jit" they had acquired during the game.

    4. Sweep (knocking down ALL the white skittles on one shot - but NOT the Black): Instant win, no matter what your score. All stakes were automatically doubled, including any Black the winner had scored. (This is the only time "Blacks" were paid out twice)

    That's all I can tell you.

    I will be installing a 5x10 table in my house in the fall, and I hope to educate my friends about Skittles Pool!

    And also a version of "Golf" where there are 10 - 15 red balls on the table at all times! Now THAT is an interesting game!

    If you have any more questions, please feel free to contact me. I'd be happy to help, if I can.

    Mario Martinelli (Gully-Foyle)

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