From "Billiards: Its Theory and Practice" by Captain Crawley published 1876
Brown's Antiques Billiards & Interiors Ltd have kindly allowed the use of these two images to illustrate the old scoreboards used for this game. Click here to see larger images and read a detailed description of how they were used, or scroll down to read these original rules.
There are many ways of playing Pool - as, for instance, playing with as many balls as there are players; playing with two balls only; each player striking with the ball last played at; striking the nearest ball; striking the last player's ball; or playing at any ball on the table, as at pyramids. But the game that is most popular, and, in fact, the only one that is practiced in England, is what is commonly known as Pool, in which each player has a ball of a particular colour, with which he plays upon the last striker, or, when the latter is in hand, at the nearest ball.
Pool may be played by two or more persons. It is occasionally played by twelve or fourteen; but a six or seven Pool is considered the best game. The colours of the balls are shown on a marking board; and at starting each player has three lives. The game is usually played for a small stake on each ball and a pool, to which each player contributes. Eightpenny pool and sixpenny lives is the game most usual in public rooms; half-crown pool and shilling lives is most common at the clubs - the charge for the table being always taken out of the pool.
The marker or other person collects the pool and gives out the balls from a basket or bag. When each player is provided with a ball, the white is placed on the spot, and the game proceeds in the following order:-
And so alternately, according to the number of the players. I have given this list of the colours and the order of playing as that most usually observed. It is common for the marker to call out to each player whose turn it is to play-
"Red (or any other colour, as the case may be) upon white, and yellow is your player;" but it is well to know the order of the balls for yourself.
In Pool the baulk is no protection; that is to say, a ball within the baulk line can be played at by the player whose ball is in hand.
The player whose turn it is strikes at the last player's ball, and endeavours to play it in a pocket. If he succeeds in pocketing the ball, he plays at the nearest ball, and goes on till he fails in taking a ball, when the next player plays upon him, and so on throughout the game. The last player left in the game claims the pool, except where the last two players have an equal number of lives, when the pool is divided between them, technically known as a "division."
With this general explanation, we may go at once to the most commonly observed