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Three Cushion Billiard Rules

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

If you have any questions about Three Cushion Billiard Rules, please post them in the pool rules forum.

...or view existing Three Cushion Billiard Rules questions in the forum.

Three Cushion Billiard Rules History

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.

How to Play Three Cushion Billiard

Questions about Three Cushion Billiard Rules:

  • Title: Three Cushion Billiard Rules
  • Author: (Billiards Forum)
  • Published: 9/22/2006 1:28:33 AM
  • Last Updated: 3/21/2008 9:50:33 PM
  • Last Updated By: billiardsforum
  • Source: Internet

Three Cushion Billiard Rules

The Three Cushion Billiard Rules article belongs to the Carom Billiard Rules category. Carom billiards is a class of cue sport games played on a pocketless carom billiard table.

Three Cushion Billiard Rules Comments

  1. deg38deg38 from San Antonio, TX on 2/19/2011 11:15:59 AM

    I'm new to 3 cushion billiards and the game of straight rail carom billiards.

    I have a few questions:

    Can you fill me in?

  2. billiardsforumbilliardsforum from Halifax, NS on 2/20/2011 3:59:22 PM

    Find the list of carom billiard fouls in the section on how to play carom billiards/straight-rail under Official Carom Billiards Rules.

    Rules of Carom Billiards - Fouls

    The following are fouls in carom billiards.

    • Playing out of turn.
    • Playing safe while playing from safety.
    • Accidental contact with any of the balls.
    • Striking the cue ball twice or with anything other than the cue tip (i.e. cue on the same stroke, shaft, hand, chalk, bridge, etc.).
    • Push shots. (A shot is considered a push shot if the cue tip is in contact with the cue ball for more than the time necessary for a normal legal stroke.)
    • Making a shot while one of the balls is still in motion.
    • Shooting wrong cue ball.
    • Not having at least one foot on the floor while shooting.
    • If the shooter's cue ball jumps off (comes to rest off of) the table.
    • Illegally jumping the cue ball (intentionally causing the cue ball to jump by contacting it below the horizontal plane through the center of the cue ball).

    The penalty is loss of turn (and no count if a valid count would otherwise have been made).

    Let us know if you have any further questions on carom billiard fouls after reading those.

  3. FancardiniFancardini from León, Spain on 8/31/2012 11:50:06 AM

    Here is my three-cushion billiards video. 19 in 3!

    Please enjoy!

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