How to Play 3-Cushion Billiards
The game of 3-cushion billiards is actually very simple.
The game is played on a 5 foot by 10 foot table which does not have pockets, only cushions. There are only 3 balls used: a white, a yellow and a red ball. One opponent uses the white ball as his cue ball and the other opponent uses the yellow. The red is neutral.
To score a point, a player's cue ball must contact BOTH of the other 2 balls on the table. This is a game known as "Straight Rail Billiards".
If you wish to play "3-Cushion Billiards", then the cue ball must contact 3 or more cushions and also contact both of the other 2 balls in one shot. The last ball must not be contacted until a combination of 3 or more rails and the first object ball have been contacted. This counts as one point, regardless of how the point is made. Either of the other 2 balls may be contacted first, it does not matter which one, it is up to the player. The first player to reach an agreed-upon number of points, usually 15, or 20, or 25, etc., is the winner.
- Standard Shot: Hitting your cue ball into an object ball first.
- The Bank Shot: 3 or more cushions first, then striking both of the other balls
- The Rail-First Shot: Hitting a cushion before contacting a ball
There are many variations of these shots.
Sometimes a player will hit 2 cushions first, then a ball, then another 2 cushions to the last ball. That is also a point.
The main rule is this: before your cue ball hits the last ball, it must have already contacted the other ball and a minimum of 3 cushions. You cannot hit both balls and then try to get 3 cushions afterwards. First you need a combination of at least 3 cushions and one ball, in any order, before landing on the last ball.
- To learn more about this wonderful and intriguing game, go to the home page and become a USBA Member!
- Use our website to find local pool rooms that also have 3-cushion billiard tables.
- Use our Public Forum to speak to other players and ask questions as well as to find out how to enter Tournaments and improve your game.
- Play the game that will make you feel as high as a kite when you make a point!