Three cushion is currently the most popular of all carom billiard games.
Three Cushion Billiard Rules
Three Cushion Billiards is a carom billiards (carambole) game in which the shooting player's cue ball must contact the cushions of the table at least three times before first touching the second object ball of their shot in order for the shooter to add a point to their count.
It is played on a pocketless table known as a carom table, which measures slightly larger than a pool table. (Approximately 5' by 10'.) Three Cushion Billiards is played with three balls, a red, yellow and a white.
The object of Three Cushion Billiards is to make the cue ball, which is either the white ball or the yellow ball depending on which player began the game, contact the other two balls on the table and three or more rails. This can happen in any order as long as the cue ball touches a minimum of three rails before it touches the second object ball. A legal count is scored any time the shooting player accomplishes this, and play generally continues until a predetermined count is reached.
The red ball must be the first object ball contacted on the break. The non breaking player's cue ball is placed on the head spot and the red ball is placed on the foot spot. The breaker must position their cue ball along the head string no more than six inches away from his opponent's cue ball. A legal counting stroke entitles the shooting player to continue their round at the table until they fail to legally count. The requirements of counting are described above. A player may go for the count, or play safe as described in the General Rules of Carom Billiards. One point will be deducted from the offender's score for each foul.
Three Cushion Billiard Rules
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Three Cushion billiards originated at some point in the 1870s, but the exact date of origin is unknown. It is suggested that Wayman C. McCreery, Internal Revenue Collector of the port of St.Louis, was the person who invented Three Cushion. (Thomas, Augustus (1922). The Print of My Remembrance. New York, London: C. Scribner's Sons, Page 117. ) The first three cushion billiards tournament was held in 1878 in St. Louis, and was won by Leon Magnus of New York. Many big name players apparently voiced dislike of the game from the 1870s to 1906, but this changed in 1907 when the Lambert trophy was introduced. There is no question that he was the man who popularized the game. In the 1920s, the the Union Mondiale de Billiard began holding World Three Cushion championships. Three Cushion has been on the decline in North America since 1950, when Willie Hoppe announced his retirement.
The official Three Cushion Billiard Rules are predominently observed in Europe, Asia, Latin America, and to a lesser extent, North America.
The official governing body for Three Cushion Billiard Rules is the Union Mondiale de Billard.