Cork Pool

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This is another amusing game, which admits of any amount of skill and of any reasonable number of players. Two balls are used, white always playing upon red. The cork is put on the centre spot (sometimes on the pyramid spot), and on the cork the pool is placed. The object is to cannon from red on to the cork. Sometimes it is obligatory that the cannon be made off a cushion. Each player in turn - the order is decided by giving out the pool balls - plays from where the white stops, the first playing from baulk, as is also the case if the white goes in. Each player has only one stroke. If he cannons on to the cork and knocks it over - it is not enough merely to shake it - he takes the pool, which is then renewed. If he misses the red, holes the red or his own ball (even after hitting the cork, so that white must never be stopped), or cannons without first hitting a cushion (if this is the rule of the room), or plays out of turn, he has to put the amount of his original stake on the cork, in addition to what is already there. Sometimes he is only fined for an illegitimate cannon, but in this class of game the more forfeits that can be invented the better.

Not a bad variety of the game is to make the red hit the cork, a sort of winning hazard, any other way of knocking it over carrying a penalty; or this may be further restricted by insisting that the red must hit at least one cushion before it overthrows the cork.

I used to play another excellent and really amusing variation of this, which we dignified by the name of 'bumble-puppy'. A ring about three inches in diameter was drawn round the cork with chalk. The pool was put as usual on the cork, and each player who failed to hit the cork over - we used to play the winning-hazard game - was fined a penny, which was added to the pool, and when the cork was hit the striker secured only as many coins as fell outside the ring, those that were more than half outside counting as over. The fun of this was that sometimes there would be five or six shillings in copper and silver on the cork, and only a few meagre coppers would fall to the successful striker, all that was left in the ring being put back on the cork and a fresh stake added by each player. I can strongly recommend this form of the game, as it is full of incident and amusement.

(From "Pyramids & Pool Games" by J.P. Buchanan, pub. 1896)


THE RULES OF CORK POOL

1.


Any number of players can play at Cork Pool. Two balls, a red and a white, are used.


2.


To commence with, the red ball is spotted on the billiard spot, and a cork on which the pool agreed on is placed, is placed on the middle spot.


3.


The order of play is determined by giving out the pool balls in rotation from the pool basket, by drawing numbers from a bag, or by stringing up the table from baulk to the bottom cushion.


4.


The first player plays from hand with the white ball, and each succeeding player from where the white ball stops, or, when it shall have been pocketed, from hand.


5.


The first player who makes a cannon takes the whole Pool, but such a cannon can only be made by first striking the red ball, then a cushion or cushions, and lastly the cork, which must be knocked over.


6.


Should any player miss the red, pocket either ball, touch the cork, or cannon on to it without first striking a cushion, or play out of turn, he must pay the same stake as at the commencement of the game, and add it to the Pool already on the cork.


7.


Should any player miss the red, pocket either ball, touch the cork, or cannon on to it without first striking a cushion, or play out of turn, he must pay the same stake as at the commencement of the game, and add it to the Pool already on the cork.


8.

General rules of play (as for foul strokes, etc.), are the same as those to be observed at Pool and Pyramids.


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