Three-Handed Snooker

Snooker Cue

In "Three-Handed Snooker" three players each play against each other, but it's a strange game as safety is of little use. A player who plays a good safety shot rarely reaps the benefit, so although some care should be taken it's always best to attempt a pot.

Although the usual rules of snooker govern Three-Handed Snooker, there is one change covering the penalty points that are awarded after a player fails to escape from a snooker.

When this happens, only the player who laid the snooker should receive the penalty points. This example should explain the reasoning behind this.

Suppose Player 'A' is on 52 points, 14 points ahead of both Player 'B' and Player 'C' who both have 38 points, and only the pink and black remain.

If Player 'B' snookers Player 'C' who misses, then if only Player 'B' receives the penalty points, the scores would then be:- Player 'A' 52, Player 'B' 44, and Player 'C' 38.

So Player 'B' can then win by potting both pink and black.

But if both player C's opponents received the penalty points, Player 'A's score would also have increased by 6 points to 58, and Player 'B' would still need a snooker - even though he'd just played a successful one!

A far more satisfying game for three players is Two Against One.

Historical Notes
From "The Billiard Book" by Captain Crawley, published 1866.

'A La Royale' (The Game of Three)

This is Billiards played by three persons, each scoring his own game. The Rules are the same as in Billiards; all forfeits by Misses, Coups, &c. being added to the score of each adversary. He who first gets the allotted number of points, wins the game; when the other two either play on, or forfeit a game each, as may be agreed at starting. When two of the players are so near each other as that a forfeiture from a Miss or Coup by the third player would make up their scores, the one whose next turn it is to play wins the game in case of such a forfeiture being scored.

The manner of playing the game is this:- All the players string for the lead, and he whose ball is nearest the cushion after stringing, has the choice of position. Of course the most advantageous place is second or last of the three, as then he has two balls to play at; the second nearest has the second choice, and the farthest leads off. The red ball is spotted, and the player whose chance it is to break the balls, either plays at the red, or gives a Miss in the usual way. The next player goes on with the other ball, and scores as many as he can; and then the third plays with the ball the first played with, the first with that of the second, and so on, each playing in turn, and the ball being changed alternately - each player making as many as he can by Hazards and Cannons during his turn. When the players are of unequal strength, they can be handicapped, by allowing the best to play 50-up, the second (say) 40, and the third (say) 30. The game can be played for any number of points agreed on; 50 is the usual number.

Snooker Cue