4 Ball Billiards
© Mike Stooke 2011.
This is really just English Billiards with an extra ball and is based on the 'American Game' that was briefly popular around the 1860's.
The original rules had the pink spotted in the centre of the bottom of the table so it corresponded with the position of the red in the other half. The baulk-line ran through the pink's position, and so the baulk area took up a quarter of the table.
This version retains the normal baulk-line and the pink is spotted on the brown spot in snooker. If you decide to play this under the original rules just make a faint mark for the pink spot, and please don't draw another baulk-line - you will be very unpopular in your club if you do!
Unlike English Billiards, scoring is made up only of pots and cannons, the in-off counts as a foul stroke.
This can be a useful introduction to the three-ball game if you're just starting off, and if you choose this as an 'easier' version of English Billiards, you may prefer to allow the in-off to be a scoring stroke.
Showing the table set to play the first stroke in the game of 4 Ball Billiards. Only one cue-ball is shown as the other remains off the table until the second player's first stroke.
The Rules of 4 Ball Billiards
The game is played with two cue-balls, the pink and the red.
The winner is the first player to reach a predetermined number of points, or the player who scores the most points during a set period of time.
Points are scored by:
Potting the balls:
2 points for potting your opponent's cue-ball.
3 points for potting the red or the pink.
2 points if played between either red or pink and the white.
3 points if played between red and pink.
5 points if played between all three object-balls.
To begin the game the red is placed on the Pyramid spot and the pink on the centre spot of the baulk-line.
The first player must play a miss to leave the cue-ball behind the red (if he fails the stroke must be played again), this miss does not count as a foul.
The next player cannot play the red or pink, so must either also play a miss or strike the white. If a miss is played, the opponent adds one point to his score and must play from the position left.
After the first and second strokes have been played, if a player fails to contact any object-ball it is deemed a miss with a penalty of one point. The opponent must then either play from the position left or ask the player who fouled to play again.
In-offs count as foul strokes with a penalty of two points, unless pink or red were struck first by the cue-ball, then the foul carries a penalty of three points.
If the red is potted and its spot is occupied, it must be placed on the spot used for the black ball in snooker. If that is occupied it must be placed on the center spot, and if that too is occupied it must be placed on the center spot of the D.
If the pink is potted and its spot is occupied, it must be placed on the spot used for the black ball in snooker. If that is occupied it must be placed on the Pyramid spot, and if that too is occupied it must be placed on the center spot.
If a player pots the object-white, it remains off the table until the end of the break; the next player then plays from 'hand'.
When playing from 'hand' any ball that is within the baulk area, or is on the baulk line, cannot be played at directly.
All the usual fouls that are common to English Billiards apply to this game, except where contradicted above.
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