From "Billiards: Its Theory and Practice" by Captain Crawley published 1876
IntroductionRULES 1 - 24
RULES FOR THE GAME OF POOL
Each player has three lives at starting, and plays in the order shown on the marking board.
The first player strikes from the baulk semicircle at the white ball on the spot, and if he does not succeed in holing it, the next player strikes at his ball. If, after taking a life, there be no other ball on the table, the striker spots his ball, and the next player goes on.
The baulk is no protection, the striker being allowed to play at any ball within the baulk when that happens to be the ball next in order of play.
When the striker has succeeded in pocketing a ball, he plays at the ball nearest his own; but if the player's ball be in hand, he plays at the ball nearest to the baulk spot.
When any doubt arises as to the nearest ball, it is the marker's business to measure the distance; and his decision is final.
All disputes to be settled by the marker, the referee, or by the majority of the players. When the distances are declared by the marker to be equal, then the owners of the balls must draw lots as to which the striker shall play on.
The striker loses a life in any of the following ways:- If he miss the ball played at; or lose his own ball in a pocket; or run a coup; or force his own ball over the table; or play at or with the wrong ball; or play out of his turn. In each of these cases he pays the price of the life to the owner of the ball he played at.
Exceptions. - The player does not lose a life when he has been told by the marker (or other person having charge of the game) to play at a wrong ball; or when he takes a wrong ball from a pocket by mistake for his own; or in any case where he is misled by the marker, or any of the other players. In these instances it is usual to allow the player to retain his life, but he cannot claim a life from the ball played on should he hole it.
The player gains a life for every ball he pockets, claiming the stake of the owner of the ball.
If, after pocketing the ball played at, the striker lose his own ball by running into a pocket or forcing it off the table, he and not the person played at, loses a life. In each case the ball pocketed is played from the baulk when its turn comes.
If the player force the ball he plays at over the table, he gains a life; but if he force his own ball off, he loses a life.
The striker may have any ball taken up that is in the way of his arm or hand, or that interferes with his playing a full, fair stroke at the right ball.
[It has been usual to say that a ball is not to be removed if the striker can hit any part of the object ball. This is not now observed.]
If the striker's ball be angled, he may have any (or all) of the balls removed from the table, to allow him to play bricole from the cushion.
[In some rooms the angled ball is allowed to be moved out of the corner, when the striker plays for safety, he being not permitted to take a life. This appears to be a very fair plan.]
The first player who loses his three lives has the privilege of purchasing what is called a star, by paying into the pool the same sum as his original stake. For this he receives lives equal to the lowest number on the marking board.
Only one star is allowed in a pool.
If the first person out refuse to star, the next player out has the option; and if he refuse, the next player out, and so on. But if only two players be left in the pool without a star, no purchase can be allowed.
Foul strokes. - If, in the act of striking, the player touch any other ball than his own, he makes a foul stroke, and cannot take a life; if, with such a stroke, he pocket a ball, the owner of that ball does not lose a life, and the ball is considered to be in hand till it is the owner's turn to play.
[It is usual in some rooms to replace the ball so holed upon the spot from which it was struck. This I consider a bad plan, as it is almost impossible to replace the ball exactly in its former position.
If the striker touch his own or any other ball with either cue or person, he makes a foul stroke, and cannot take a life.]
No player, after a miss, has a right to touch any ball but his own. If, after a miss, the ball be stopped or taken up before it has done rolling, the owner of the ball may claim a life from the person so stopping it.
[The obvious fairness of this rule is seen at once when only two players are left in the pool.]
If, after a hazard, the striker should touch or remove his own ball from the table, he cannot claim a life, as his own ball might possibly have run into a pocket.
[It is common in some rooms to take up a ball after a miss before it touches any other ball. This is manifestly unfair, as it might possibly reach the ball first played for.]
If, before a star, two or more balls should have been pocketed by one stroke, the owner of the ball first struck (each player having one life) may claim the star; should he refuse, the other two players may draw lots for the star.
Should the striker's ball stop on the place from which another ball has been removed, it must be allowed to remain, and the former ball be played in its turn from the baulk.
[This rule is subject to some variation. In some rooms the ball is replaced on the spot from which it was taken as soon as there be room for it. The former plan I consider the best; but Thurston and others prefer the latter.]
If the striker should have had his next player's ball removed, and afterwards stop on the spot it occupied, the latter may give a miss from baulk without losing a life.
The last two players in a pool divide whenever their lives be equal in number; the last player who takes a life being entitled to a stroke.
If, when three players, each having one life, remain in the pool, the striker make a miss, the other two divide without a stroke.
[Here, again, it is evident that the rule is a good one, as, if the next player could play after a miss, a game might be sold by one player for the advantage of another.]