Hoover Brothers' Pool Games

Sick of 8-Ball?

Next time you're at the table, try these games by Doug & Steve Hoover.

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CROSSOVER

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Except when specifically contradicted, all General Rules of Pocket Billiards (as defined by the Billiard Congress of America) apply.

Crossover is a rather unconventional 2-player game with very simple rules. It is challenging for any level of player, and cue ball control is critical.

Players: 2 (Multi-player variations are also described.)

Skill Level: Any

Object: Be the first to touch every ball on the table in succession with the cue ball.

Play:
One player begins with the 1 ball as his/her target ball and advances toward the 15; the other begins with the 15 and advances toward the 1. In a turn, a player gets exactly one shot in which to advance as many balls as possible. Players advance by touching their target ball with the cue ball, or when their target ball is pocketed. Even within a shot, balls must be advanced in order. Advancement occurs at the time of contact, or at the moment the target ball is pocketed. Cue ball collisions with non-target balls do not effect advancement. All pocketed balls remain pocketed. A player automatically advances past any balls that are not on the table when they are reached. Shots are not called.

The Break:
One player arranges the rack as he/she chooses, but may not put both the 1 and the 15 in the interior three positions of the rack. The other player then chooses whether to begin with the 1 or with the 15 and breaks. The breaker may advance balls as on any other shot, but if no balls pass the center string (line between the side pockets) the breaker does not advance. The cue ball may contact any rails prior to touching the rack without penalty.

Fouls:
A scratch or any other foul results in a ball in hand anywhere on the table. Failing to make the cue ball contact an object ball on a shot is not a foul, but failing to touch any ball in two consecutive turns is a foul. Advancement in a turn is not negated by a scratch, but it is negated by any other type of foul.

Judgement:
Judgment calls may be required in rare cases where a player's next two balls are touched or pocketed simultaneously, since a player who touches or pockets his/her current ball immediately advances to the next ball while the balls are still in motion. Another player (or a referee) should carefully judge the shot if such a shot is being attempted. If the events are judged to be simultaneous, all advancements are rewarded.

Handicapping:
A player with a one-ball handicap does not need to touch the final ball (1 or 15), and so on.

Multi-player variations:
In multi-player variations, all players try to advance past every ball on the table in increasing numerical order, with the 1 ball following the 15. With three players, one player begins with the 1 ball, another with the 6, and another with the 11. After choosing player order, the last player racks (no interior 1st balls), the breaking player chooses a starting ball (1, 6, or 11), then the 2nd player chooses a starting ball.

Remarks:
Not only are caroming skills and cue ball control important, but pocketing balls can be advantageous as well. It is useful for players to pocket any ball they haven't reached that the opponent has passed. Defense can also be a deciding factor.


 

CONVERGENCE 8 BALL

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Except when specifically contradicted, all General Rules of Pocket Billiards (as defined by the Billiard Congress of America) apply.

Convergence 8 Ball plays much like 9 Ball, but each player has his/her own balls, making it less of a turn-by-turn battle than 9 Ball.

Players: 2 (Multi-player variations are also described.)

Skill Level: Moderate to Professional

Object: To legally pocket the 8 ball.

Play:
One player is "high", the other "low". The low player's object ball is the lowest ball on the table at the beginning of the shot; likewise, the high player's object ball is the highest ball on the table. A player must, at some time during the shot, touch the object ball with the cue ball. Failure to do so is a foul, which gives the other player the cue ball in hand anywhere on the table.

Any ball and pocket may be called for each shot. (Often the object ball is called.) It is legal to call an opponent's ball. A player continues at the table until failing to make a valid shot. To make a valid shot, the cue ball must collide with the object ball, and the called ball must be pocketed in the called pocket. Furthermore, the collision of the cue ball and the object ball must contribute to pocketing the called ball. For example, a player does not earn another shot for pocketing a called ball and then touching the object ball because the collision with the object ball does not play a role in pocketing the called ball. (More specifically, there must be a series of collisions, including ricochets, from the object ball to the called ball.) A shot is not valid if a foul is committed.

To win, the 8 ball must be called and pocketed on a valid shot. Any other time the 8 ball is pocketed it is spotted at the foot spot. All other pocketed balls remain pocketed. (For coin-operated tables where the 8 ball cannot be spotted, pocketing the 8 ball without winning can be considered a loss of game.)

The Break:
The breaker has the low balls. The rack is similar to an 8 Ball rack, with the 1 at the head and the 15 in one of the back corners. The breaker continues his/her turn if the 1 ball was struck first, and any ball is pocketed. If the 8 ball is pocketed on the break and the 1 was struck first, the breaker wins. Failure to pocket a ball or drive two balls (other than the cue ball) to a rail is a failed break and gives the other player the option of accepting a ball in hand anywhere on the table or forcing the breaker to rebreak. Two failed breaks is a loss of game.

Fouls:
A scratch or other foul results in a ball in hand anywhere on the table. This includes break shots.

Handicapping:
A one-ball handicap can be provided by skipping the 15 ball. For a two-ball handicap, use the seven ball as the common final ball.

Multi-player variations:
Multi-player variants are possible. For example, in a three-player variation the breaker's object ball is the lowest ball from 1 to 5, the 2nd player's is the lowest from 6 to 10, etc. A player wins by calling and pocketing his/her highest ball on a legal shot. The rack has the 1 ball in front, and the 6 and 11 in the rear corners.


 

WANDERING CUE BALL STRAIGHT POOL

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Except when specifically contradicted, all General Rules of Pocket Billiards (as defined by the Billiard Congress of America) apply.

Wandering Cue Ball Straight Pool has exactly the same rules as 14.1 provided by the Billiard Congress of America, with one little exception -- the first ball contacted on a shot immediately becomes the cue ball.

Players: 2, or 2 teams. (Multi-player variations are okay in a casual setting.)

Skill Level: Any.

Cue Ball Transfer: On a given shot, the cue ball may be any of the 16 balls. The first ball struck by the cue ball on a shot (if any) immediately becomes the cue ball. So a straight-forward shot in most games is a scratch in this game. And the most common shot in this game -- caroming the cue ball into a pocket -- would be a scratch in other games.


 

THREE BALL RICOCHET

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Except when specifically contradicted, all General Rules of Pocket Billiards (as defined by the Billiard Congress of America) apply.

The simple objective in Three Ball Ricochet is to strike three balls in succession with the cue ball.

Players: 2, or 2 teams. (Multi-player variations are okay in a casual setting.)

Skill Level: Best for experienced players. Beginners may wish to play Two Ball Ricochet (the rules of which are obvious, based on these).

Object: Be the first to reach a predetermined number of points.

Break: Standard 15-ball rack, with balls in random order. The same rules apply to the break as for other shots with the following addition. Failure to drive 3 balls to a rail, where the cue ball may be one of these balls, is a foul. On a foul, the next player may request a rebreak or accept the table as it lies, with the cue ball in hand.

Play: The shooter first calls three balls which in the order in which they are to be struck by the cue ball. (Or if the shooter does not intend to score a point on the shot, only the first ball must be called). If these are the first three balls struck by the cue ball, in the specified order, a point is awarded for the shot, and the shooter's inning continues. The same ball may be called twice in a shot, but not immediately following itself (8-3-8 is legal; 8-8-3 is not). Pocketing the cue ball is a foul (scratch). Any other balls that are pocketed are spotted on the head spot in random order after the shot.

Failure to touch the first called ball with the cue ball first shall be a foul. It shall also be considered a foul if after the first ball is touched, the cue ball does not touch another ball or a rail.

Fouls: On fouls, the shooting player's inning ends with no points awarded for the shot, and the next player receives the cue ball in hand. Normally no points are deducted for fouls. However, three consecutive fouls for one player/team results in the loss of one point. Scores may become negative. The notion shall be made and posted by the scorer when a player is "on a foul" or "on two fouls."


©1995 by Steven F. Hoover.
Permission is granted to copy and distribute this document provided that it is not modified without permission from the author and this copyright notice is retained.


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last updated 9/02