Cowboy pool

Cowboy pool

Cowboy pool, sometimes just called cowboy, is a hybrid pool game combining elements of English billiards through an intermediary game, with more standard pocket billiards characteristics. [1] The game employs only four balls, the cue ball and three numbered balls, the 1, 3 and 5. It is played to 101 points, with points being awarded for a host of different shot types.


The parent game of cowboy pool, English billiards, is itself a hybrid of three predecessor billiards games – the winning game, the losing game and the carambole game (an early form of straight rail) – and dates to approximately 1800 in England. There are a number of pocket billiard games directly descended from English billiards, including bull dog, scratch pool, thirty-one pool and thirty-eight. Thirty-eight is the intermediary game from which cowboy is directly derived.[1] This precursor game was first reported on in The New York Times on January 21, 1885: 'there is a new billiards game called "thirty-eight." It appears to have met with special favor among the many devotees of pool.'[2]

Cowboy is very similar to thirty-eight, with the major difference being that thirty-eight requires the use of two cue balls and is played to just 38 points, thus its name.[2] It is unknown how thirty-eight transitioned to the modified ruleset mandated by cowboy pool, nor the derivation of its name. What is known is that its first mention is in a 1908 rule book, published about the same time the well-known game eight-ball (under a prior name) was first gaining popularity.[1] Although popular enough that its rules remain listed in authoritative rule books alongside just a handful of other games,[3] apart from a small sanctioned tournament held in 1914, cowboy pool is strictly an amateur game.[1]


Cowboy pool uses only four balls, the cue ball and three numbered balls, the 1, 3, and 5. The balls have a set opening placement: The 1 ball is placed on the head spot; the 3 ball on the foot spot; and the 5 ball on the center spot. As in the game of snooker, pocketed balls are immediately respotted to their starting position. Beginning with cue ball in-hand from the kitchen —the area behind a pool table's head string —the incoming player must contact the 3 ball first. If the player fails to do so, the opponent may either force the player to repeat the break shot, or elect to break him or herself.[1][3]

For the first 90 points of the 101 needed to win the game, points are scored in three ways: 1 point for caroming the cue ball into any two object balls; 2 points for caroming into all three object balls; and a player scores the face value of any ball pocketed, i.e., if the 3 ball is pocketed, the player scores 3 points. Thus, the maximum score possible on any single shot is 11 points, achieved by caroming off and pocketing all three balls. The failure to score in one of the delineated manners on any shot ends the player's inning at the table. All fouls in Cowboy pool result in the player losing all points scored during the inning (not just those on the fouled stroke), and the opposing player comes to the table with cue ball in position except in the case of a scratch, which results in ball-in-hand from the kitchen.[1][3]

The 90th point in cowboy pool must be reached exactly and the failure to do so is a foul resulting in a loss of turn. For example, this means that a player with 89 points, who then scores 2 points rather than exactly 1, has committed a foul. Once the 90 point benchmark is reached, all points up to the penultimate 100 must be made by caroms. The pocketing of balls during this phase of the game garners no points. The final point necessary to reach 101 and the win must be made by a losing hazard – an intentional scratch made by caroming the cue ball off one of the three object balls.[1][3]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Shamos, Michael Ian (1993). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Billiards. New York, NY: Lyons & Burford. pp. 61–62, 89 and 244. ISBN 1-55821-219-1. 
  2. ^ a b New York Times Company (January 21, 1885). THE THIRTY-EIGHT GAME. Retrieved December 13, 2006.
  3. ^ a b c d BCA Rules Committee (November, 1992). Billiards — the Official Rules and Record Book. Iowa City, Iowa: Billiard Congress of America. ISBN 1-87849-302-7. 

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Нужна курсовая?

Look at other dictionaries:

  • cowboy pool — noun : pool played with a cue ball and three object balls numbered 1, 3, and 5, the object being to score exactly 90 points by caroms and by pocketing the object balls, 10 points more by caroms only, and finally a single point by pocketing the… …   Useful english dictionary

  • Cowboy (disambiguation) — A cowboy is an American cowherder or other ranch hand. Cowboy may also refer to: Contents 1 Fiction 2 Music 3 Sports teams …   Wikipedia

  • Cowboy Bebop — DVD Box Set カウボーイビバップ (Kaubōi Bibappu) Genre …   Wikipedia

  • Cowboy Jimmy Moore — For other people named James Moore, see James Moore (disambiguation). Cowboy Jimmy Moore Willie Mosconi (left) and Jimmy Moore (right) at the 1953 World s Invitational[1] …   Wikipedia

  • Virtual Pool 3 — Infobox VG |title = Virtual Pool 3 caption = Box art of Virtual Pool 3 developer = Celeris publisher = Interplay Entertainment series = Virtual Pool engine = Virtual Pool released = 2000 genre = Sports simulation modes = Single player,… …   Wikipedia

  • Dave Pearson (pool player) — Dave Pearson is a British professional pool player. Pearson was the runner up in the International Speed Pool Challenge four years in a row, losing to Luc Salvas in the 2006 and 2009 finals, and to Bobby McGrath in the 2007 2008 finals.[1][2][3]… …   Wikipedia

  • Bottle pool — Bottle pool, also known as bottle billiards and bottle pocket billiards, is a hybrid billiards game combining aspects of both carom billiards and pocket billiards. Played on a standard pool table, the game uses just two Cuegloss|Object… …   Wikipedia

  • Cribbage (pool) — For the card game of the same name, see Cribbage. Setting up a game of cribbage with the triangle rack. Cribbage, sometimes called cribbage pocket billiards, cribbage pool, fifteen points and pair pool, is a two player pocket billiards game that …   Wikipedia

  • Cutthroat (pool) — Cutthroat is a three player pocket billiards game, played on a pool table using cue sticks. Each player is assigned a set of numbered balls. The object is to be the last player with at least one ball still on the table. Subtle differences in game …   Wikipedia

  • Chicago (pool) — This article is about the pool game. For other uses, see Chicago (disambiguation). Chicago is a money ball pool gambling game. It was a popular game in New York City pool rooms during the 1960s and 1970. Rules The game of Chicago is played in a… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”