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The Top 5 Pool Games to Play at Home: Rules and Setup Guide

by Danny Tang on Feb 23, 2024

The Top 5 Pool Games to Play at Home: Rules and Setup Guide

Bringing a pool table into your home opens up a world of entertainment, offering endless hours of fun for players of all skill levels. While the traditional game of eight-ball is widely known and loved, the world of cue sports boasts a variety of games that can provide fresh challenges and excitement. Here are the top 5 pool games to play at home, complete with rules and setup guides to get you started.

1. Eight-Ball

Rules and Setup:

  • Objective: The game is played with 15 object balls and the cue ball. Players or teams are assigned either solid or striped balls after the break and aim to pocket all of their group before legally pocketing the 8-ball to win.
  • Setup: Rack the 15 object balls in a triangle with the 8-ball in the center. The game begins with a break shot.

Why Play: Eight-ball is a classic game that balances strategy, skill, and a bit of luck, making it enjoyable for players of all levels.

2. Nine-Ball

Rules and Setup:

  • Objective: Played with the balls numbered 1 through 9, players must hit the lowest numbered ball on the table first, but any ball can be pocketed. The game is won by legally pocketing the 9-ball.
  • Setup: Rack the balls in a diamond shape, with the 1-ball at the top (apex) and the 9-ball in the center.

Why Play: Nine-ball offers a faster-paced game that rewards precision and strategy, perfect for those looking to improve their shot-making skills.

3. Cutthroat Pool

Rules and Setup:

  • Objective: A fun game for three players where each player is assigned a set of balls (1-5, 6-10, or 11-15). The goal is to be the last player with at least one ball remaining on the table.
  • Setup: Rack all 15 balls in the standard triangle. Players determine who targets which group either by agreement or a preliminary round of shots.

Why Play: Cutthroat pool encourages strategic play and alliances, adding a social twist to traditional pool games.

4. One-Pocket

Rules and Setup:

  • Objective: Each player chooses one of the two corner pockets at one end of the table. The goal is to pocket 8 balls in your designated pocket before your opponent does.
  • Setup: All 15 balls are racked in a triangle at the foot of the table, and the game starts with a break shot.

Why Play: One-pocket is a highly strategic game that tests players' precision and tactical thinking, ideal for those looking to challenge their defensive play.

5. Straight Pool (14.1 Continuous)

Rules and Setup:

  • Objective: Players aim to pocket any ball on the table, continuing their turn as long as they keep pocketing balls. The game is typically played to a predetermined number of points, often 100 or 150.
  • Setup: Rack all 15 balls. A player continues their innings until they fail to pocket a ball, at which point the balls are re-racked, and play continues.

Why Play: Straight pool is a test of endurance and skill, offering a great way to practice shot selection and control without the constraints of ball groups or order.


Each of these games brings its unique set of rules and challenges, making your pool table a versatile centerpiece for home entertainment. Whether you're in the mood for the strategic depth of one-pocket, the fast-paced action of nine-ball, the friendly competition of cutthroat, the classic game of eight-ball, or the endurance test of straight pool, there's always something new to try. So, chalk up, rack the balls, and enjoy the diverse world of pool games right in your own home.