Cut Throat


AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Inexperienced player, going to play today with my wife and son. Looking for three player games I came across cut throat.

Of course, players can be assigned groups before play begins, but the in-game assignment adds an element of strategic complexity that appeals to me.

I have researched the rules online and am flummoxed that I can't find a non-ambiguous statement of the rule regarding assignment of group through shooting.

For example, the BCA rules don't even address group assignment!

Wikipedia states, in part:

Each set of five balls is initially unclaimed – the ball sets remain "open" until at least one ball from two sets have been pocketed. For example, if the breaking player pockets the 6 then the 9, that player definitely does not own the 6–10 group, but does not yet clearly own either 1–5 or 11–15. If the player had pocketed the 6 then the 2, the player would definitely be group 11–15.

O.K., but does that "definitely not own" condition persist through the following players' innings? Or is the table completely open with each inning until a group is claimed? (And then partially open until the next group is claimed?) And how, exactly, does a player claim a group?

I have come up with this:
When the table is completely or partially open, in an inning, a player must sink one from each of two groups, or one ball from one of two remaining groups, to claim the third group or the second of two remaining groups. Group assignment is determined immediately upon the pocketing of a ball, not at the end of a an inning.

Is that how it works? for example, if the breaker pocketed balls in two groups he'd be assigned the third. If he pocketed multiple balls in one group, and then missed, the table would remain open.

Group assignment would be determined immediately upon the pocketing of a ball, not at the end of a an inning.

This would give rise to a partially open for a player's inning, the next player having two groups available for assignment, which makes sense. But I don't think that the breaker's pocketing of two balls from one group should prevent him from ultimately being assigned that group.

There is a situation where the third player can be eliminated before having had an inning. This seems harsh, for a social game, and I don't know how one would deal with this. This could happen in with any protocol for group assignment, I guess.

I would really appreciate your insight and experience on this! Thanks in advance.