How Do You Play Billiards

Billiards is a game that is popular in England and the rest of the world. The game gained popularity during the time of the British Empire and has become a favorite sport with competitions held in various countries every so often. The game is usually a two-player cue sport that utilizes two cue balls (white and yellow) and one object ball (red). Learning how to play billiards is not as complex as many people think.

How Do You Play Billiards

In this article, we’ll discuss how to play billiards and point out some of the rules involved in the game. We’ll cover everything from the object of the game to players and equipment as well as scoring and winning the game.

How Do You Play Billiards
How Do You Play Billiards

Played on a pool table, each of the players uses a different color cue ball and wins the match by outscoring their opponent and reaching a previously agreed total. It is important to know pool table basics as there are several forms of billiards, but English billiards is one of the most common and most popular.

The Object of The Game

The object of a Billiards game is to score more points than your opponent to reach the agreed amount needed to win the game. The game, like chess, is quite tactical, requiring players to think both on the attack and defensive at the same time. The game is not physically demanding but requires a great deal of concentration and mental dexterity.

Players & Equipment

Billiards can be played two-vs-two or one-vs-one with the latter version of the game being more popular. A Billiards table has similar dimensions as a snooker table and they’re often played on the same table. Three balls of the same size (52.5mm) must be used: one white, one yellow and one red.

Each player has a cue that is either wooden or made from fiberglass and is used for striking the balls. The game also features the use of chalk. Each player will occasionally chalk the end of their cue during the game to ensure there’ s good contact between the cue and the ball.


In English Billiards, scoring is as follows:

A cannon: this is a two-point score where the player strikes the cue ball so that it hits the red ball and other cue ball (in any order) on the same shot.

How Do You Play Billiards
How Do You Play Billiards

A pot: This scores three points when the player’s cue ball strikes the red ball so that the red ball ends up in a pocket. A pot scores two points if your cue ball strikes your opponent’s cue ball so that it goes down the pocket.

In-off:  This occurs when you or your opponent strikes their cue ball then hits another ball before entering the pocket. This scores two points if the opponent’s cue ball was hit first and three points if the red ball was hit first.

A player can play combinations of the above shots in the same shot and get awarded a maximum of 10 shots.

Bottom Line

A player wins a game of English Billiards when he/she reaches the agreed-upon amount of points needed to win the game (often 300). Learning how to play billiards requires a tremendous degree of tactful thinking and savvy gameplay. You need to think ahead in terms of attacking and scoring points to keep ahead of your opponent. Regardless of how often you decide to play, make sure your table is properly maintained, leather pockets are repaired, and the pool balls are cleaned