Swimming with the sharks: A guide to alternative billiards games

Here are some alternative billiards games played all over the world.

You're going to need a bigger boat to fend off the pool sharks!

You've seen him before, haunting the billiards tables at your local dive bar: Paunchy, hungry look in his eye, continuously re-chalking the cue he brought from home. He scans the room, hoping some unsuspecting patron challenges him to a game of eight-ball so that he can clean their clock on the tables.
 
"You've got a pool shark on your hands."
 
You guessed it: You've got a pool shark on your hands. And unless you spend all your time watching YouTube tutorials and perfecting your "torque" like him, you're going to need a bigger boat. So why not change the game to keep from becoming chum in the waters?
 
 
While American-style eight-ball is one of the more popular billiards games - including on the tables featured at Kings locations nationwide -  it's far from the only way that people shoot pool. Here's a few alternative billiards games played all over the world:
 
Nine-ball
 
One of the most common alternative billiards games, nine-ball is played with half the usual amount of balls and the goal is to hit each ball on the table (from one to nine) in numerical sequence. Alternatives include the significantly-less-sensual-than-it-sounds "9-Ball Kiss" and "Texas express" (not to be confused with the result of eating 3 lbs of smoked brisket in a single sitting).
 
Straight pool
 
A popular variation on standard eight-ball that was featured in the Jackie Gleason and Paul Newman movie The Hustler, straight pool is played with the standard 18 balls, but players are free to sink any ball on the table, regardless of if it's stripes or solids. All shots must have a pocket called and each ball sunk counts as a point. When only one ball remains, the balls are re-racked and play continues. Games are played to 100 or 150 points, or until players get too drunk/tired/all their friends leave in disgust.
 
Snooker
 
No, "snooker" isn't the Supreme Leader in the latest Star Wars movie, its just an awesomely named billiards variation. Played on a larger-than-standard pool table - 12' by 6' to be exact - with a whopping 22 balls, snooker features 15 red balls and six colored balls. The goal is to sink a red ball, then a colored ball, going in ascending order. The game gets its name from one of the strategies to keep your opponent from winning: positioning balls so that your rival is "snookered" out of clear shot. 
 
English billiards
 
'Ello guv'nah! (Why yes, I was in my high school production of Mary Poppins as the Chimney Sweep, how did you guess?) Sometimes called "The Queen's Game," English billiards is played with only three balls - one white cue, one yellow cue ball and one red object ball. The gameplay involves using your opponent's balls to get an "in-off," while avoiding a "pot," all in search in the elusive "cannon" shot - in what is the most English collection of terms possible. Blimey!
 
Planning on sticking to some good old-fashioned eight-ball? Kings has you covered with our suite of tables at every location, as well as gourmet food, refreshing and funky cocktails, and our signature retro-chic vibe. Avoid the sharks and hop in the bigger boat at Kings. 
 
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