Feb. 28, 2020
So you say you like poker and live for pool? Then you know what? You’re going to seriously love this game. Poker pool is the game that combines everything that’s good about poker and pool, and gives you and your friends something far more interesting to play and certainly less dangerous than the MMA players brawl.
In all seriousness though, this is something you really have to give a try. Trust us, you and your friends will thank us.
What is Poker Pool?
Okay, so as we said, it’s a mash-up of all the best bits of both poker and pool (all the bits of pool are good though, right?) You won’t need to be a pool pro to enjoy this game, but being able to pot a ball or two will certainly help you.
Of course, it does also help if you have a basic understanding of the rules of poker as this will help you get started a little quicker. You can then modify the game from the basic version that we explain below.
How it works
The object of the game is to be the first player to lose all of their cards. Sounds easy, right? Well, not quite.
First thing you must do is set up a standard rack of fifteen numbered balls. These must be racked in no specific order and done randomly each and every time you play.
Next you need to deal each player a hand. Ideally you’ll have three players as this is supposedly the best number to get a decent game going. If there’s only two of you, don’t worry, you can still go ahead with the game.
Each player gets either 5 or 7 cards in their hand and, as with any poker game, you don’t show anyone what’s in yours. Now, this is where the fun starts. Each card in your hand is represented on the table by a numbered ball. This is pretty easy to follow so far, with all the balls simply representing the corresponding numbers on the cards. Check it out below.
Ace = 1 ball
2 = 2 ball
3 = 3 ball
4 = 4 ball
5 = 5 ball
6 = 6 ball
7 = 7 ball
8 = 8 ball
9 = 9 ball
10 = 10 ball
Jacks = 11 ball
Queen = 12 ball
King = 13 ball
Now, you’re probably wondering about the 14 and 15 on the pool table. Those two balls are considered neutral for the duration of the game, but they still could have their part to play.
The idea is that the player who is at the table must pocket a ball that corresponds with a card in their hand. Once the ball is pocketed, they must then place the card face up on the table rail for all to see. As with regular pool, they stay on the table as long as they keep pocketing their balls.
Of course, it’s not as simple as that and the game can get quite tricky. As you are well aware, there are 52 cards in a regular deck and that means that different players can have several cards that correspond to the same ball. This means that two players could both be trying to pocket the 3 ball, or that one player might have four 3 cards that can all be placed face up on the rail once the 3 ball goes down.
Playing the game
At the break, any cards that are pocketed that do not match the player’s cards must be placed back on the table in straight line starting on the triangle spot. If the player pots a ball that corresponds with a card in their hand, they can then place the card face up on the rail.
Any other players who also have a corresponding card can also do this, but only at the break. The player then continues their turn until they miss a ball. If at any time during a player’s turn they pocket a ball that they do not have a matching card for, that ball must be returned to the table.
If players who are not at the table have a card that matches a pocketed ball, they can place their corresponding card face up on the rail when it comes to their turn. This is important, as the losing players must keep a tally of the cards in their hand in order to determine the penalty/bet that they must pay to the winner. So don’t place your cards on the table unless it’s your turn or the balls are pocketed at the break.
As with regular pool, poker pool also has foul shots. Fail to hit a rail or a ball and it’s a foul. Pocket a ball that doesn’t correspond with card in your hand and that’s a foul too. In fact, you can make the game more interesting by adding further foul shots and giving varying levels of penalties for each foul. So, for example, failing to hit the rail could result in having to pick up an extra card from the deck. Pocketing the wrong ball could result in a two-card penalty. It’s up to you and your friends to decide.
Combinations are perfectly fine as long as the correct ball is pocketed. You can also hit or pocket the neutral balls at any time. This can be used to help you pocket your balls or to play a defensive shot. Either way, if you pocket the neutral balls, they should go back on the table. However, this is open to discussion as it really depends on what both you and your friends prefer from the game.
As we said earlier, the winner is the player who places all of the cards face up before the rest. The losers must then pay the winner an agreed upon penalty for each card in their hand – just make sure they’re not too ridiculous. This is why you cannot place cards down on the rail unless it’s your turn at the table.
And there you have it. The perfect game for both pool and poker lovers. Now, where is that deck of cards?