Three Cushion Table MarkingsHow 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.

  1. To learn more about this wonderful and intriguing game, go to the home page and become a USBA Member!
  2. Use our website to find local pool rooms that also have 3-cushion billiard tables.
  3. 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.
  4. Play the game that will make you feel as high as a kite when you make a point!

 

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