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Poker Pool Rules

NOTE: These rules are for playing "poker pool" with a standard set of billiard balls. The rules here are adapted to suit the standard billiard ball sets with a cue ball and object balls 1 through 15.

For the rules that go with the Aramith poker pool ball set shown below, see the official poker pocket billiards rules from the BCA.

Poker pocket billiards racking diagram

Poker Ball Pool should be played according to the General Rules of Pocket Billiards unless explicitly noted otherwise in this specific Bank Pool rule set.

This page contains references to some material that is copyrighted by the Billiard Congress of America. Any modification or sale of such information herein is strictly prohibited by the laws governing that copyright. Please direct questions regarding interpretation of the following, or information on how to receive the current BCA "Billiards - The Official Rules and Records book" to the Billiard Congress of America.

Poker Ball Pool Rules

If there are any terms throughout the Poker Pool rules that you do not understand, you can search our billiard terms glossary in the search box near the top left of the page, or search the billiard terms glossary directly. I have also included the Billiard Congress of America's reference numbers, so that readers can reference each rule back to the specific rule text on the Billiard Congress of America website.

Type of Game

Poker Pool is a game that combines the skill of pool with the luck of the cards in poker to create a game that requires different strategies each time you play. (Because of the different cards dealt.)

Poker Pool Racking

To play poker pool, a full rack of the standard 15 pocket billiard balls are racked at random with no preset order.

Object of Game

The game requires two to six players, however general consensus seems to indicate that playing with three players is the most desirable. Each player is dealt seven cards from a full poker card deck that consists of 52 cards. (A Custom Poker Pool Deck can be used which has 4 cards to match each ball for a total of 60 cards.) Each player is responsible for protecting their hands throughout the course of the game. Card to Ball representation is as follows:

  • Ace = 1 ball
  • 2 = 2 ball
  • 3 = 3 ball
  • 4 = 4 ball
  • 5 = 5 ball
  • 6 = 6 ball
  • 7 = 7 ball
  • 8 = 8 ball
  • 9 = 9 ball
  • 10 = 10 ball
  • Jacks = 11 ball
  • Queen = 12 ball
  • King = 13 ball

The 14 and 15 rotation balls are considered neutral.

The object of the game is to run your hand out. For example, if you have a hand of two Queens, two Kings, one 4, one 6, and one 8, your objective is to pocket the 12, 13, 4, 6, and 8 balls. The shooting player discards their hand as their ball(s) are pocketed. If the above player for instance, pockets the 12 ball, they immediately discard their pair of queens.

This game is primarily played for money at a predetermined amount per card left in your hand at the conclusion of the game.

Procedures and Play

After the cards are dealt, the opening break belongs to the player or team that won the previous game. Order is based upon cards held at the conclusion of the previous game. The person hanging on to the most cards go last. In the event of a tie, high card is used to set the order. The most common break is a soft break somewhat like a straight pool break where the on coming player has no real shot. The player who is shooting is the only player who can discard as the matching balls are pocketed. For example, if player X misses a 3 ball and player Y comes to the table and decides to sink the 3 ball (likely because player B also has a 3 in his hand), player X must hang on to their 3 until it is their turn again. If there is a winner established before player X returns to the table, player X's 3 card will count against them.) In the game, ONLY balls which match cards in the shooter's hand may be pocketed. For every ball pocketed, the shooter must discard the matching card(s) immediately. There are only two neutral balls (the 14 and 15) for which the shooter can pocket to obtain position or as a defensive shot at anytime during the game. Combinations are legal as long as only the shooter's held balls are made. The shooter continues to shoot only after a legal or neutral ball is pocketed.


A scratch constitutes a single foul which results in loss of turn and drawing one card from the unused deck. Scratches are pocket scratches, failure to contact an object ball, not driving a ball to the rail after contact. etc. Pocketing a legal ball and scratching is a double foul which results in a loss of turn and drawing two cards form the unused deck. Pocketing a ball which is not held by the shooter is also considered a double foul. Pocketing a legal ball and a non legal ball on the same shot also constitutes as a double foul. This happens with frequency on break out shots. Players must be very aware of how clusters will react upon break outs as the penalties are severe. When a foul occurs, the shooter who commits the foul may not discard even if a legal ball is made. The shooter must hang on to the card until their turn is up. After all foul shots players must draw a further card to add to their hand. Failure to declare "last card" results in the player drawing a further two cards.

Taking Turns

When a shooter steps to the table, it is the shooter's responsibility to discard all cards that are out of play. Balls that other shooters have pocketed which match the shooter's held cards. If the shooter fails to discard out of play cards at the conclusion of the shooter's turn, they must wait for their turn again to discard. If all the cards in the shooter's hands have been made prior to the shooter's turn, the shooter automatically wins when their turn comes up. During the course of the game, the amount of cards held is public knowledge as players have to respond to count checks by other players.

Winning the Game

The game is won when there are no more cards left in the shooter's hand. This may come as a result of making all the held balls or getting to the table with all held balls out of play. At this time the winner collects their wins according to the number of cards held by each of the losers. The order of the next game is set based on number of cards left in the player's hands. The fewest go after the break, held by the winner, and the most go last. Tie games are broken by dealing high card.

Poker Pool Strategy

There are different and numerous strategies in this game. Most are hinged on the players involved, skill levels, etc. As in any card game, bluffing comes into play as a shooter who doesn't have an open shot may not elect to make contact with one of his balls, performing a bluff, but perhaps positioning a legal ball or locking up another player's options.

Poker Pool Rules

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

...or view existing Poker Pool Rules questions in the forum.

Poker Pool 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). Those were adapted into these rules so that folks could play poker pool with a standard set of billiard balls.

The official Poker Pool Rules are predominently observed in North America.

The official governing body for Poker Pool Rules is the Billiard Congress of America.

How to Play Poker Pool

Questions about Poker Pool Rules:

  • Title: Poker Pool Rules
  • Author: (Billiards Forum)
  • Published: 1/1/2006 9:42:00 PM
  • Last Updated: 10/21/2016 5:40:45 PM
  • Last Updated By: billiardsforum
  • Source: Internet

Poker Pool Rules

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

Poker Pool Rules Comments

  1. poolhalljunkiepoolhalljunkie from Greenfield, IN on 12/18/2008 10:55:49 AM

    I found this set of Poker Pool rules to be very informative and appreciate it very much.

    I run a pool hall in Greenfield Indiana and we just recently bought the poker pool balls to try add a new game or atmosphere to the place.

    So thank you very much!

  2. hustlerhustler from Malaysia on 5/2/2010 9:26:27 PM

    The billiard game of poker pool is quite common in Malaysia but we call it lucky ball.

    However, the difference between poker pool and lucky ball (and best part about lucky ball) is that after you pocket a ball you get a "license".

    • When you have a license you can go for the 14 and 15 balls (we call it "pau" which, loosely translated, means to steal or to rob).
    • If you pocket the "pau balls" the player whose turn is before you has to pay you a predetermined amount and the ball is placed back on the dot.
    • If you commit a foul you lose your license.

    This means if you're a hustler you can keep playing and "pau-ing" other players till you decide to put them out of their misery.

  3. vodkamanvodkaman from Bandung, Indonesia on 5/18/2010 6:07:41 AM

    This is a good set of rules for poker pool. This game is played extensively in Indonesia, but it is called cuki (pronounced 'chucky').

    It is an exciting game to use up your pocket money. Definitely recommended.

  4. Dennis LarsonDennis Larson from Medford, OR on 2/20/2012 9:18:31 AM

    Poker pool is a GREAT GAME!

    I have a pool table at home and this is the funnest billiard game we have played yet.

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