From "Pyramids & Pool Games" by J.P. Buchanan, pub. 1896
INTRODUCED a few years ago, Snooker Pool continues to gain ground and bids fair before long to occupy the high position in popular favour that it really deserves. The game contains many interesting features, and is pre-eminently one in which good hazard striking is amply rewarded. We have been at some trouble to ascertain the different sets of Rules under which Snooker Pool is played, and we have little hesitation in pronouncing the Rules compiled by John Dowland, the well-known professional billiard player, by far the best.
Diagram 14 shows the position of the Pool and Pyramid balls at the commencement of the game. The fifteen coloured Pyramid balls are placed on the table by means of the "triangle", in the same way as for Pyramids, whilst the white ball is used by each player as the cue-ball throughout the game. Five Pool balls are used, viz., the pink, blue, brown, green, and yellow balls. The pink ball is spotted on the billiard spot, the blue on the middle spot, the brown on the right-hand spot in baulk, the green on the centre spot in baulk, and the yellow on the left-hand spot in baulk. The values of the balls are as follows:
The pink ball counts l6 points.
The blue l " 5 "
The brown " 4 "
The green l " 3 "
The yellow " 2 "
Each red " 1 "
Each player is bound to play at a red ball first, and, having taken it (or another red ball or balls), then at a Pool ball, which he must nominate where there is the slightest doubt, and again, if successful, at a red ball, and so on. Whilst any red balls remain on the table, the Pool balls, after having been holed, are replaced on their respective spots, but after all the red balls have been taken, the players play at each Pool ball in rotation in their order as coloured on the marking board, viz., yellow, green, brown, blue and pink, until each ball is pocketed, when the game is ended.
It is naturally exceedingly difficult to provide a rule to meet every emergency in a game of this kind; still, Dowland's Rules will, we believe, be found practically complete.
One great source of amusement is caused by a player being "snookered" - in other words, by his ball being so obstructed by other balls that he cannot hit a Pool or Pyramid ball direct, but has to play for it off a cushion, when, in the event of a miss, the value of the ball played at is counted to each of the other players' scores.
At "Snooker", as in Black Pool, safety-play is of little or no use. A player must try to get on the Pool balls, particularly on those of the highest value, as often as he can. Still, safety play can be indulged in to some extent at the end of the game, when only the Pool balls are left on the table, and a player can always remember to play for hazards with a fair amount of strength, and thus avoid leaving a ball over a pocket for an opponent to profit by.
Bad hazard strikers should think twice before joining in Snooker Pool, even for small stakes, with better players than themselves, as, with the high values of the Pool balls, large scores can be run up by an expert, and those players who own the lowest scores at the end of the game naturally have to make heavy disbursements, as they have to pay everyone whose score is higher than their own. The scores are best kept on the slate.