michael wrote this post about the benefits of straight pool. in honor of that post i’ve decided to make up a couple of games you can practice with.
nineriah (or mutant old-school nineball, if you prefer)
type of game: this is a rotations type of game, and basically a variant of nine ball. this game is suitable for solo practice, one-on-one, or doubles competition.
object of the game: to legally pocket the nine ball.
rules: unless otherwise noted, standard bca 9-ball rules apply.
* break: legal nineriah break – cueball must hit the one-ball first on the break; if not it is a foul. after break, a ball must be pocketed, or four object balls must move past the center line (cueball does not count). any object ball pocketed will stay down and not spotted. if the player makes a ball on the break, he/she continues to shoot. if the player fails to make a ball on the break but moves four object balls past the center line, the incoming player will shoot with the ball position as-is. if the player does no make a legal nineriah break (no balls pocketed and less than four balls moved past the center line), the incoming player can make the previous player break again, or break the balls him/herself. the player does not need to call the 9-ball on the break; if he/she makes the 9 on the break it is a win.
* legal hit: cueball must strike the lowest-numbered ball on the table first. after the hit, any ball on the table must touch a rail.
* legally pocketed ball: before the player strikes the cueball, he/she must call the shot, indicating which ball (or balls) will be made in which pocket after the legal hit. if a player makes any ball that is not called, that ball (or balls) is spotted on the foot spot immediately after the shot (not after the turn).
* player’s turn: as long as the player continues to make a legally pocketed ball, he/she continues to shoot until he/she runs out or misses. for example, if a player calls only the 1-ball but makes the 1-ball and the 2-ball, the 2-ball is spotted right after the shot and the player continues to shoot with the table position as-is.
special circumstance: if the player calls multiple object balls on a single shot, he/she must make all the called balls to continue shooting. if not, it is a loss of turn.
* loss of turn: anytime a player does not make the called ball (or if a player does not make all the balls he/she called on one shot), it is a loss of turn. however, the hit itself must still be legal. if not, it counts as a foul.
* penalty for a loss of turn: the player at the table stops shooting. the incoming player can either shoot with the table position as-is, or make the previous player shoot again.
* safety: if the player with the shot wants to play safety, he/she must call a safety before the cueball is struck. failure to do so is a loss of turn. if a player calls a safety, he/she cannot call a shot. (basically, the player must either call a shot or call a safety.) any object ball made on the safety will be spotted afterward. once a safety is called, the incoming player must shoot with the table position as-is; he/she can not pass the shot. a legal hit must be completed as part of the safety, otherwise it is a foul.
* foul: a player fouls when he/she does not make a legal hit, or when he/she scratches during a shot. other violations against the bca 9-ball rules also count as fouls.
* penalty for foul: ball in hand anywhere in kitchen, with table position as-is. if the lowest-numbered ball is in the kitchen when the player has ball-in-hand, he/she may spot that ball on the foot spot.
this is a game i came up with awhile ago, and i originally posted the game as a comment on michael’s blog. johnny101 has his own version he created; you can see that version on michael’s blog as well.
type of game: mutant version of 8-ball with snooker elements mixed in. this is suitable as a solo practice game only. if used as a competition game, players will compare scores like equal offense, but the game itself will be played with one player only.
object of the game: to legally pocket the 8-ball in the fewest innings possible.
rules: unless otherwise noted, standard bca 8-ball rules apply.
* scoring: each missed shot counts as one inning. penalties add innings to your total score. the final score is calculated by adding the number of innings plus whatever fouls and bonuses you have accumulated during the game. if a player runs out the rack without missing, it counts as one inning. the lower the score the better.
* break: the player can hit any ball on the break. a ball must be pocketed, or five balls must move past the center line after the break; if not, it counts as one inning and the player breaks again. any ball made on the break will be spotted. if the player makes the 8-ball on the break, it will be spotted after, but a bonus of -2 (minus two) will be added to the total.
* inning: after the break, the player shoots with the table position as-is. the score is zero as this point. as long as a player continues to make legally pocketed balls, it counts as one inning. an inning ends when the player does not make the called ball. when a miss happens, the player adds an inning to the score, and continues to shoot with the table position as-is.
* legally pocketed ball: after the break, the player can choose to shoot either a solid or a stripe, but the shot must be called. after the player makes the called shot, he/she must call a ball from the opposite color group. for example, if the player makes a solid on the first shot, the second shot must be a stripe, and alternate between solids and stripes until only the 8-ball remains. (this is similar to the reds and colours in snooker.) also, the player can only make one called ball on each shot; any other ball made will be spotted. this is done to ensure you will be able to alternate between solids and stripes. once the player makes all the solids and stripes, he/she will call the 8-ball and make it to end the game.
* penalty for scratch: if a player scratches during a game, the penalty is +2 (plus two) to the total score. (basically, one point for the miss, and one point penalty for scratching, for a total of +2 points to the total score.) after the scratch, the player has ball-in-hand behind the kitchen. if the only legal object ball is in the kitchen when the player has ball-in-hand, he/she may spot that object ball on the foot spot. however, if there are other legal object balls outside the kitchen, the player must shoot with the position as-is. for example, if the player needs to make a solid, and there are solids inside and outside the kitchen, the player must shoot with the position as-is.
* automatic loss: if the player makes the 8-ball without calling it anytime during the game (except for the break), it is an automatic loss and the player must start a new game.
* easy version: all the rules apply, except the player gets ball-in-hand anywhere on the table after a scratch, and ball-in-hand immediately after the break. also, any ball(s) made on the break may be spotted in front of any pocket the player chooses, so clusters can be minimized. this may be more suitable for beginners.
to illustrate the scoring, here are some scenarios.
1. you run out the rack in 5 innings, but scratched once during the game. the total score will be 7 (5 innings + 2 penalty points).
2. you break and make the 8-ball, then run out the rack without missing or scratching. the total score is -1 (1 inning + [-2 bonus points]). this is the lowest score you can have in fartaround.
3. you break and make the 8-ball, then run out the rack in two innings with one scratch. the total score is 2 (2 innings + 2 penalty points + [-2 bonus points]).
anyway, have fun! if you get creative, make your own games and change things up. or find commercially available products (like target pool) and practice that way.
if you’re bored with pool, watch some drinking made easy, from the creators of three sheets. drinking made easy is only on hdnet, so you’ll probably need a cable/satellite package to watch the show. however, three sheets is still on hulu, so watch that if you like. oh, i did find a preview of dme, so here. don’t know why, but these shows make me laugh. maybe you’ll get a chuckle out of it too.