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Poker Pocket Billiards Rules

NOTE: These rules are for playing "poker pocket billiards" with a set of poker pool balls e.g. a 16-ball rack and the Aramith poker pool ball set shown below.

For the "poker pool" rules to play with a standard set of billiard balls e.g. object balls 1 through 15 and a cue ball, see these poker pool rules with a regular set of billiard balls.

Poker Pocket Billiards follows the General Rules of Pocket Billiards except where contradicted by these additional rules below.

Poker Pocket Billiards - The Game

Poker pocket billiards can be played with two or more players.

Poker Pocket Billiards is played with a white ball and a specialized set of 16 object balls which are marked as follows:

  • 15 of the object balls are numbered from 1 to 15
  • The 16th ball has a "J" marked on both sides
  • 3 of the numbered balls are also marked with a letter "J" (representing a "Jack") as in poker played with cards.
  • 4 of the numbered balls are marked with a letter "A"for "Ace"
  • 4 of the numbered balls are marked with a letter "K" for "King"
  • 4 of the numbered balls are marked with a letter "Q" for "Queen"

There are several specialized sets of poker pool balls available. The first, from Crown Games, Inc. are the most economical, at about $65. The second version, by Aramith are over double in price, running close to $200 USD.

Here are the Crown Games poker pool balls. I have posted all 10 of the poker pool game rules from their booklet so you can learn how to play poker pool games.

Buy these from Amazon.com

Crown Games Poker Pool Set

And this is a picture of the specialized set of poker ball pool ball sets available from Aramith. See the image below of the 2 1/4" Belgian Aramith Poker Billiard Ball Set (16 Ball Set) from Imperial International. Instead of the balls displaying the typical numbers, they are marked with an "A", "K", "Q" or "J" and includes 4 blue, 4 purple, 4 red and 4 yellow balls.
Poker Pocket Billiards, Poker Ball Set

Racking in Poker Pocket Billiards

In poker pocket billiards the object balls are racked in no particular arrangement in a 16-ball diamond-shaped rack.

How to Rack the Balls in Poker Pocket Billiards Rules

Below is a picture showing the proper way to set up the rack in Poker Pocket Billiards Rules

Poker Pocket Billiards Rules racking diagram showing how to rack the balls in Poker Pocket Billiards Rules #1

Poker Pocket Billiards - Start of Game

Players can lag or lot to determine the order of play, and the starting player begins with ball-in-hand.

Scoring in Poker Pocket Billiards

The object of poker pocket billiards is to wind up with a better poker hand than your opponent. Possible hands are as follows, in order of the best to worst:

  • Four of a kind e.g. four aces
  • Full house
  • Three of a kind
  • Two pairs
  • Straight (ace, king, queen, jack)
  • Two of a kind (one pair)

Balls which are legally pocketed remain off of the pool table, and no player may score more than 5 balls per inning.

Poker Pocket Billiards Break Shot

The player doing the break shot is credited with all balls pocketed from the break shot as long as no foul is committed. He continues shooting, if he counts, until he either misses a shot or pockets the fives balls allowed per inning.

Incoming Player

The incoming player accepts the balls in position and plays until missing a shot or reaching the five ball per inning limit,

Ending the Game

A game of poker pocket billiards ends when all the balls have been legally pocketed.

The following scenario describes how the game and scoring progresses throughout the set:

For example, one player may have five balls to his credit. Another may have three scores. A third player may have four balls in his "hand". A fourth player may have two counts.

In this event, two object balls remain on the table.

The player with five balls to his credit can continue to shoot in turn, spotting a ball from his hand each time he pockets a ball. He continues to pocket and spot balls in an attempt to better his hand, until he misses or scores the limit of five balls in an inning.

The player with four counts to his credit, shooting in turn, can pocket a fifth ball and continue to shoot for the lone ball on the table in an effort to better his hand, spotting a ball each time he pockets one. He continues until he misses.

A player with three balls to his credit, however, with only two object balls on the table, ends the game if he pockets the two balls. In other words, he doesn’t spot a ball after scoring, since he has only five counts to his credit.

Determining a Winner and the Order of Finish

When all the balls are pocketed to end the game, players make the best poker hand out of the balls to their credit. The following scenarios illustrate how the outcome is determined:

  • A player with only three balls - if, for example, they are three kings - would win over a player who has five scores, but can get only two pairs out of his hand.
  • A player with one ball to his credit defeats a player with no counts.
  • A player with no balls to his credits finishes ahead of a player with no counts, who owes a ball as the result of a foul.

Deliberate Misses

A player might wish to deliberately miss a shot if he has five balls to his credit and can not gain a better hand by pocketing any ball remaining on the table. This is permitted, but in making a deliberate miss, the player must drive an object ball to a cushion or cause the cue ball to hit a cushion after striking an object ball. Failure to do this is a foul.

Poker Pocket Billiards Fouls

The following infractions result in a foul in Poker Pocket Billiards:

  1. Failing to hit an object ball.
  2. Causing the cue ball or any object ball to leave the table.
  3. Failing to have one foot on the floor when stroking.
  4. Touching the cue ball with anything except with the tip of the cue on a legitimate legal stroke or touching any object ball on the table, except on legal contact by the cue ball.
  5. Fails to comply with the "deliberate miss" rule

Modifications for Wild Poker Pocket Billiards

  1. By agreement, players can make the "J" ball "wild", and players pocketing the "J" balls may designate them as any card they wish when the "hands are shown" at the end of the game. The following example illustrates:

    For example, a player with three "A" balls (aces) and a "J" ball (jack, which is wild) can call his hand "four aces".

  2. Players may draw from a shake bottle, and keep the number secret from all the players until the game is over. At the conclusion of the game, the secret number is revealed. If, for example, the number corresponds to a "K" ball, all the kings are wild, and any player holding kings will have the advantage of a wild card in the final showing of the hands.
  3. Each player can draw a number from a shake bottle, which makes all balls he scores of that number, wild.

Poker Pocket Billiards Rules

If you have any questions about Poker Pocket Billiards Rules, please post them in the pool rules forum.

...or view existing Poker Pocket Billiards Rules questions in the forum.

Poker Pocket Billiards Rules History

The rules for poker pool (or "poker pocket billiards" as it is sometimes called) first appeared in "official" form in the 1945 BCA Official Rule Book for pocket billiard games. Rules have remained almost exactly the same ever since (though many variations exist).

Poker pocket billiards rules BCA 1945 - 1 Poker pocket billiards rules BCA 1945 - 2 Poker pocket billiards rules BCA 1945 - 3 Poker pocket billiards rules BCA 1945 - 4 Poker pocket billiards rules BCA 1945 - 5

The official Poker Pocket Billiards Rules are predominently observed in North America.

The official governing body for Poker Pocket Billiards Rules is the The BCA publishes poker pocket billiards rules in the annual BCA official rules for pocket billiards booklet..

How to Play Poker Pocket Billiards

Questions about Poker Pocket Billiards Rules:

  • Title: Poker Pocket Billiards Rules
  • Author: (Billiards Forum)
  • Published: 10/21/2016 5:17:01 PM
  • Last Updated: 3/15/2018 10:41:40 PM
  • Last Updated By: billiardsforum

Poker Pocket Billiards Rules

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

Poker Pocket Billiards Rules Comments

  1. Carlos Arturo ResendizCarlos Arturo Resendiz from Mission Viejo, CA on 3/15/2018 12:57:02 AM

    I am looking for instruction booklet for these poker pool balls:


  2. billiardsforumbilliardsforum from Halifax, NS on 3/15/2018 5:37:50 AM

    Your poker pool ball set is made by Crown Games, Inc. I was going to suggest that you try contacting them for a physical or electronic copy of the booklet as it should include the rules for 10 games you can play with the poker pool ball set, but I believe that they are no longer in business.

    Crown Games Inc.
    23732 Hillhurst Drive, #38
    Laguna Niguel, CA 92677
    1-888-394-POOL (7665)

    If you don't care about having the actual hard-copy, I have found the rules for each of the 10 games they included in the instruction booklet. I have posted all 10 of them to Game Rules for "Poker Pool" Ball Set by Crown Games. There are also some videos I've found, which were made by Crown Games, which will be helpful in learning the ins-and-outs of poker pool.

    Crown Games Poker Billiards Rules

    Also take a look at these Stud Poker Pool Tournament Rules as well. They use this identical ball set. Printable PDF if you scroll to the bottom of the article.

    Hope this helps.

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