Rules for poker pool ball set



I recently bought a set of poker pool balls by aramith. This is what the balls look like:



Unfortunately, there are not rules included with the set, so I don't actually know how to use these wonderful balls.

The first thing I did was searching the net. I found a lot of Poker Pool rules, but none of them seems to fit the set.

This is one example for the rules to be found quite often. The ball set shown in the post is the same, but the rules don't make sense with this set. What happens if the player in the given example pockets ball 11? It's also marked "Q" on the opposite side. This is just one point which shows that these rules cannot fit the set. Using the example given in the post, let's say player 1 breaks and fails to pocket a ball. Now it's player 2's turn. His cards in the example are two Queens, two Kings, 4, 6 and 8. He now manages to pocket the ball which is marked "Q" on one side and "12" on the other side. He still has to pocket "K", 4, 6 and 8. Of course he now wants to pocket the ball which is marked 8 on one side and "K" on the other side. But balls might be positioned in a way that all remaining purple balls lie "K" up. So what is he supposed to do? Pick up all the "K"-balls and look what's on the opposite side? Never ever! Hope that he manages to guess which ball has "8" on the opposite side? Would be pure luck! For me this shows that the rules can't really fit the set.

The second set of rules I came across when searching the net is definitely for a different set of balls, made by Crown Games which looks like this. As this set contains, e.g. an Ace of Spades and an Ace of Hearts it cannot be compatible to the aramith set, as in this set all Aces are yellow and it's impossible to distinguish them. Additionally, it contains four aces whereas the Crown Games set only contains two.

After searching the net with no usable results I posted on the German billiards forum, but it looks as if nobody plays Poker Pool in Germany and so nobody could help me although people tried hard mainly by providing links to rules like the ones above which I had already found before.

My last idea was to search Google Patents because I thought these balls may be patented. I found some patents for different sets of poker pool balls, but none of these are compatible with the set I bought.

So now my last resort is azbilliards. Hopefully, there will be someone who owns the same set and knows how to play it. It would really be fantastic to know how to rack the (16!) balls and how to play the game.

Thanks a lot in advance,


  • Balls_Top.jpg
    99.4 KB · Views: 5,360
  • Balls_Bottom.jpg
    96 KB · Views: 4,865


AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Here are pages 98-100 from the latest "Official Rules and Records Book - 2014 Edition - from the BCA (2016 edition out soon I've heard) that cover POKER POCKET BILLIARDS. Hope this helps for now....




My sincere apologies for the relative poor quality and format but it was my only option for now to get this posted for your review. There are many variations and ways to play - and one set that is a blast to play with and easy to understand is the poker set from Crown Games that you mentioned, which comes with its own set of unique rules and game ideas.


If interested in any more information, just let me know.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
Last edited:


Fantastic! But one thing remains unclear

Thanks so much! :joyful: You've brithtened up my life! I've really spent hours searching for these rules!

There is only one thing which I don't understand. If the game is played by two players, when will the game end? The rules say "when all balls have been legally pocketed". But it also says that if you've already got five balls in hand you have to spot a ball for each ball you pocket. So both players can pocket a maximum number of five balls each so that 6 balls will always remain on the table and the game will never end.

Hopefully someone is better in reading these rules than I am!

Last edited:


Transcript - some questions left anyway

As this might be of interest to others, I decided to type out the rules from the supplied scans. Took some time, but hopefully improved my typewriting skills :)


Billiards: The Official Rules & Records Book

Poker Pocket Billiards

Except when clearly contradicted by these additional rules, the General Rules of Pocket Billiards apply.

Poker Pocket Billiards is played with a white cue ball and a special set of 16 object balls. Fifteen of the object balls are numbered from 1 to 15, while the 16th ball has a “J” marked on two sides, Three of the numbered balls are also marked with a “J”, which represents a “Jack,” as in poker played with cards. Four of the numbered balls are marked with an “A” for ace; four are marked with a “K” for king, and the remaining four marked with a “Q” for queen.

Rotation of play may be determined by lag or lot. The object balls are racked in any order on the foot spot in a 16-ball rectangle. (See Diagram) Starting player has cue ball in hand.


The object of the game is to get a better poker hand than your opponents. The best hand is four of a kind - four aces, for example. The next best hand is a full house; then three of a kind; then two pairs; then a straight (ace, king, queen, jack) and finally a pair (two of a kind).

No player is allowed to score more than five balls in a single inning. Balls pocketed legally remain off the table.

Starting player is credited with all balls scored on the break shot, providing he doesn’t foul. If he counts, he continues shooting until he misses or pockets the limit of five balls allowed in one inning.

Incoming player accepts balls in position and is limited to five scores in a single inning.

Two or more players can play.

Game ends when all the balls have been legally pocketed. For example, one player may have five balls to his credit. Another may have three scores. A third player may have four balls in his “hand”. A fourth player may have two counts. In this event, two object balls remain on the table. The player with five balls to his credit can continue to shoot in turn, spotting a ball from his hand each time he pockets a ball. He continues to pocket and spot balls in an attempt to better his hand, until he misses or scores the limit of five balls in an inning. The player with four counts to his credit, shooting in turn, can pocket a fifth ball and continue to shoot for the lone ball on the table in an effort to better his hand, spotting a ball each time he pockets one. He continues until he misses. A player with three balls to his credit, however, with only two object balls on the table, ends the game if he pockets the two balls. In other words, he doesn’t spot a ball after scoring, since he has only five counts to his credit.

When all the balls are pocketed to end the game, players make the best poker hand out of the balls to their credit. A player with only three balls - if, for example, they are three kings - would win over a player who has five scores, but can get only two pairs out of his hand. A player with one ball to his credit defeats a player with no counts. A player with no balls to his credits finishes ahead of a player with no counts, who owes a ball as the result of a foul.

It is obvious that if a player who has five balls to his credit can’t better his hand by pocketing the balls on the table, he will miss deliberately rather than pocket a ball that will not better his hand. In making a deliberate miss, the player must drive an object ball to a cushion or cause the cue ball to hit a cushion after striking an object ball. Failure is foul.

Players are penalized one ball for each foul. If a player fouls with no balls to his credit, he owes one to the table. If a player is forced to spot a ball from his hand as the result of a foul, he can choose the ball to be spotted.

A player has fouled in Poker Pocket Billiards when:
  1. 1. Failing to hit an object ball.
  2. 2. Driving the cue ball or any object ball off the table.
  3. 3. Failing to have one foot on the floor when stroking.
  4. 4. Touching the cue ball except with the tip of the cue on a legitimate stroke or touching any object ball on the table, except on legal contact by the cue ball.
  5. 5. Fails to comply with rule on “deliberate miss.”

When not in conflict with specific game provisions, the rules of 14.1 Continues Pocket Billiards apply.

  1. 1. By agreement, players can make the “J” ball “wild”, players pocketing the “Js” designating them as any “card” they wish when the “hands are laid down” at the conclusion of the game. For example, a player with three “A” balls (aces) and a “J” ball (jack, which is wild) can call his hand “four aces”.
  2. 2. Players may draw from the shake bottle, the number of which is kept secret from all the players until the game is over. At the conclusion of the game, the secret number is revealed. If, for example, the number corresponds to a “K” ball, all the kings are wild, players holding kings thus having the advantage of a wild card in finally calling their hands.
    3. Each player can draw a number from a shake bottle, which makes all balls he scores of the number wild.



Still wondering when the game ends for two players. Perhaps after 10 balls have been pocketed? Also, what happens after a scratch? Will the incoming player have ball in hand anywhere on the table or just from the kitchen? As it says straight pool rules apply, it suggestes that it's from the kitchen, but does this really make sense?

Thanks for helping me to find out the way how to play this.



  • Rack.jpg
    61.7 KB · Views: 4,680


List of questions increases

So today I tried to play the game with my wife and some more questions came up. I'll just put the problematic situations in here and add how we reacted to them. So this might be a good starting point for a discussion about the correct rules. I've posted some of these questions before but tried to find solutions, so I'll repeat them here.

1.) When are all balls legally pocketed in a two or three player game?

We decided that the game must be ended after 10 balls have been pocketed in a two player game and 15 balls have been pocketed in a three player game. This somehow seems logical, whether it's correct, I don't really know.

2.) What happens after a scratch?

We decided the incoming player has ball in hand behind the headstring. Of course this adds more difficulty and later in the game when there are only 2 or 3 balls left might add the necessity to respot the object ball next to the headstring on the foot spot. Perhaps we'll try this with ball in hand anywhere on the table. Would possibly be more consistent.

3.) What happens if a player has already pocketed four balls and in the fifth stroke legally pockets two object balls?

We decided the player may choose which ball to keep and have the other ball spotted on the foot spot. It might also be possible that he can spot any of his (now) six balls. Perhaps would make more sense.

4.) What happens if a player pockets an object ball and the cue ball in the same stroke?

We decided the object ball must be spotted and the incoming player has cue ball in ball in hand behind the headstring (see 2. above). It might also be possible that the object ball can be kept if the incoming player has ball in hand anywhere on the table as this might possibly be penalty enough. Unsure about this.

Now it's up to you! What is the right way to play this?



AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Okay ----- let's talk POKER POCKET BILLIARDS game rules for a bit since you just happen to have brought up one of those games that doesn't get mentioned or played too often for the very reasons you've pointed out - a weak rule set with enough loopholes and questions about specific scenarios to get the average cueist running for a safe and easy game of Eight Ball ;-)

"Poker Pool? Who the heck plays that? Yeah, I've seen various ball sets over the decades but come on - does anyone really play "Poker Pool"? On a pool table. Ever?" Or so you can imagine overhearing between two supposed opponents....

And here's why ---- in my humble opinion only:

And I'm surmising of course....

That someone, somewhere had this brilliant idea to adapt a poker game to the pool table. A poker playing cueist now mind you, but nevertheless a brilliant idea, right? So, (he/she/they) start scribbling game notes and devise rudimentary rules and voila - we have Poker Pocket Billiard rules that fist appeared in the very first "Official Rule Book" published by the Billiard Association of America in.........wait for this one now.......1945! The best part - the rules and the wording have remained virtually unchanged for the past 71 years. Not questioned. Not tested. Not cared about. Basically forgotten. And for the most part not played. I'm guessing.

So I strolled upstairs to the billiard library and took a few pictures to share. Here they are:






Take a peek at those and I'll be right back.....

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
Last edited:


AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I'm back...

The rules.

I think they are (respectfully to the original authors) poorly written. The word hastily comes to mind. A lot of "reading between the lines" must be employed if one wants to make much sense of most things - for example, in the SCORING section it is written "balls pocketed legally remain off the table." Which one can reasonably assume will mean that any ball that is illegally pocketed (during a simultaneous cue ball scratch let's say) then it must be brought back into play --- re-spotted you say? Sounds good to me. And yes, before we tear these rules too far apart, it does say at the beginning of this rule set that "except when clearly contradicted by these additional rules, the General Rules of Pocket Billiards apply." Which means there is more than meets the eye here on these three pages...

And before I digress yet again, dare I say that the vast majority of rules or rule sets seem to be thrown together quickly and should more aptly be called "a new game idea" and not really deserving to be called a genuine "new game".....because not much, if any, thought or testing went into the actual subtleties of the game itself. And we all know how important it is for one to understand each particular game's rules are - can't we?

Back to Marky's insightful questions and observations though......

I think originally the game (as it is still written in the BCA Rule Book today) was intended to be played between casual players of average to below average pocketing skills, with the possibility of more than two players added as an afterthought. Pure supposition on my part....

I'm with you on this one, Marky... A game being played between two opponents, one player can pocket no more than 5 balls in one inning (one turn at the table without missing or fouling) and once a player does reach 5 balls - carefully chosen to assemble the best possible poker hand of course - he is finished. The other player gets to finish their next turn, see if they can best their opponents 5-ball hand. This is Poker.

After a cue ball scratch? If an object ball was pocketed, it is spotted of course, and the incoming player gets cue ball in hand anywhere behind the head string. I'd say.

Pockets more than one ball on a stroke, you ask? Simple. It's CALL SHOT so any subsequent ball pocketed is spotted. More accurately, "legally pocketed" was your question, but why would a player CALL two balls simultaneously? Therein lies another problem but I've only got so many minutes on this thread...

Overall, I think the game of POKER POCKET BILLIARDS using the Aramith poker set is indeed a blast and can be very intriguing and full of wonderful strategy play with safeties disguised as deliberate misses --- IF the rules are tweaked and explained and developed to cover all possible scenarios.

Basically, these rules should be updated and rewritten to insure they are preserved and played and appreciated for the unique game qualities a special set like these Poker balls can only offer.....

Oh - which leads to the poker set developed and put out by Crown Games....


Give these a chance. For with this set, you can indeed assemble a nice 5-ball run showing off your cueing skills with a ROYAL FLUSH - something that cannot really be done with the Aramith set :)

Questions? Thoughts? Ideas?

We've only begun to scratch the surface of Poker Pocket Billiards.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
Last edited:


Let's go on with finding out about...

Wow! What a brilliant compilation of research results. Really impressive to see the original rules and notice that they have literally remained unchanged for such a long period of time (compare eight ball rules! :grin:).

Anyhow, I'm convinced it's worth finding out about this game. As soon as we've found a proper way to play this set of balls, I'm going to update the rules I've typed out so that anyone who is interested in playing the game might benefit from it.

It seems as if there's little controversy about the two and three player versions of the game. Gameplay stops as soon as 10 or 15 balls have been legally pocketed.

Coming to pocketing two object balls in the fifth stroke. You claimed this is a call shot game, but it doesn't say so anywhere in the rules (except if "the rules of 14.1 Continues Pocket Billiards apply" really implies this). I think that back in 1945 "casual players of average to below average pocketing skills" wouldn't really care about calling their shots, which adds to the idea that shots don't have to be called. Personally, I don't really like call shot games either, if you play with friends, it disturbs conversation while playing and creates an atmosphere I don't like when playing for fun. As Poker Pool will definitely not become a game to be played in tournaments in the near future, I think it might be better to develop a set of rules for a game in which shots do not have to be called. In the case of two object balls being pocketed in the fifth stroke, giving the player the opportunity to spot any of his six balls after his inning would add a nice bonus for managing to pocket two balls (although mainly by luck of course). But I think for a fun game like this, it would be a more entertaining solution for the lack of rules in the official version.

As for scratching, I would prefer to have the incoming player have ball in hand anywhere on the table. We tried out both versions tonight. In my opinion scratching should never give an advantage to the offending player. Let's consider an example my wife and I came across tonight: the last ace on the table is near a corner pocket in the head field and would be an easy target for the incoming player who already has three aces in his hand. Deliberate scratching will prevent him from pocketing the ace as he only has ball in hand from behind the headstring and has to touch the foot cushion before trying to pocket the ace. This is just one example of situations in which scratching would create an advantage for the offending player, which I think can never be part of sensible rules.

I think you're right on respotting an object ball that was pocketed with a scratch for the same reasons stated above: scratching should never cause an advantage.

Did some research on the Crown Games set. Really reasonable offers to be found on the net if you live in the U.S. Unfortunately, delivery to Germany usually adds $60 shipping costs, which makes them rather expensive. Looks as if there's no European dealer offering these balls. Too sad, but I'll keep on looking for them, perhaps someone imported them and will offer a set on ebay sometime....

Looking forward to new ideas regarding the rules.
Might take some time till I find time to reply next, as I'll be on holiday the next week,

Last edited: