Billiard Patience

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Billiard patience is a really good game, calling for the best playing attributes, a knowledge of the table angles, and a nice calculation of 'strength.' The general idea is the insertion of the red ball, which is set tight against, or 'frozen' to, the middle of the top cushion in a true line behind the billiard spot. Only two balls are used, a white and the mentioned red.

The player selects a baulk corner pocket for the disposal of the red ball, and he has to play every shot from the D, no matter where his ball may stop. He has, moreover, to strike one or more cushions, and always the top cushion with his ball, the only exception to this latter stipulation occurring when the first stroke is undertaken.

This should be played from a top-side cushion about a foot above the middle pocket and at a fast pace, as it is possible to hole the red in one stroke (a performance not unkown to the writer). In any case, the red has to be driven around the table towards or to the baulk-end, and pace is necessary to bring this about. It is when you get the red ball near the destined pocket that a better judgement of speed is required. The one, two, three stroke around the upper cushions, on the lines popularly utilised for a stroke at a red ball lying in baulk and over a pocket there, has been proved the most dependable means of finding the red ball as it comes further and further down the table. You may play from the top cushion direct to the red, but this is not such good practice in finding the angles and pace of the table as the all-round shot, an impression of which is conveyed upon the foregoing diagrams.

   Billiard Patience - Three Diagrams

The scoring is one against the striker every time he hits the red ball, whether he puts this in the proper pocket or not. He is charged two points for a miss, and three points if he holes the white ball or puts the red ball in the wrong pocket. In either event the game is recommenced from the original starting-point, the white, as usual, "in hand" and the red up against the middle of the top cushion.

It may all sound very simple, but, as the title of the game would imply, you will frequently need all your store of patience to enable you to withstand the elusiveness of that unsympathetic red ball.

There is only to add the fairly apparent (or so I trust) fact that the player, in a trial with an opponent, who scores the least number of points in the process of pocketing the red ball is the winner. In dealing with a more abstract foeman, which any imaginative mind may conjure up when engaged in a lonesome pursuit of billiards patience, a standard of 25 points is quite a good one to set. But the standard will be guided by the cuemanship of the player, as the possibilities of the play range from one to a thousand strokes. This may sound a bit tall, and act as a sort of scarecrow to many, yet it merely reflects the truth.


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