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Fun Pool Table Games to Play Alone and With Others

Pool is a game of skill, strategy, and concentration, and people of all skill levels can enjoy it, but it takes dedication to become really good at the sport. It’s not just about luck – you need to think ahead in order to play well. To get better at pool, you should vary your games.

The classic game “Eight Ball” will always be one of my favorites because it’s simple yet engaging. Other games like Ten-ball or Nine-ball are fun and sharpen your playing skills. A great three-person game we enjoy is “Cutthroat,” while you can also play Speed Pool by yourself.

Are you looking for some fun games to play on your pool table? If so, you’ve come to the right place. In this post, we’ll share some of our favorite games that are sure to keep you entertained. So, grab a cue ball, and let’s get started!

Picture of a pool table game.

Classic Pool Table Games

The Egyptians and Greeks played with balls on the ground in ancient times, but it wasn’t until 15th century France that billiard tables were introduced. However, the English dispute this claim; they believe the English version of pool came first.

Regardless of which country invented the game of pool, also known as pocket billiards, it eventually moved indoors and became very popular in billiard halls, pubs, and homes. With all the games and digital options available today, the popularity of the game of pool has waned a bit.

One of the best characteristics of billiards is that regardless of age, gender, and expertise level, everyone can play and enjoy it. There are many diverse games to play pool.

Eight Ball

If you’re looking for one game to learn to play on a pool table, I suggest “Eight Ball.” It’s the most commonly played and popular pool game in the world. This is the game most people play at home or a bar. The sport features 15 balls, including a black eight ball and one cueball.

The 14 balls are placed in a triangle rack with the black eight ball in the center. The game begins by breaking the balls with an opening shot. Balls 1-8 are solid, and 9-15 are striped. The eight ball is neutral, so each side has seven balls.

When a player knocks in a ball, that will be his color. For example, if the number 7 ball goes in a pocket on the break, the player has to knock in all the solid balls. He continues to shoot until he misses, and then his opponent gets a turn.

Once a player sinks all his balls, he must knock in the eight ball to win. However, he loses if he drops the cue ball with only the eight ball left.

Nine Ball

9-ball pool is a game of rotation where players try to shoot at the lowest number on your table. You can pocket any ball in numerical order, but you have to be sure that the lowest number ball is the first one touched by the cue ball.

You start the game by racking balls 1-9, with the one ball in the front and the nine ball in the center. The object of the game is to sink the nine-ball.

9-Ball is a fast-paced game and requires some different skills than eight-ball. It is often frustrating for beginners and intermediates to create opportunities. It requires imagination and exceptional shot-making skills.

Nine-ball originated in the United States and is the game most frequently shown on television and played by professionals. However, it’s a fun game for all skill levels, and it will improve your shooting skills.

French Billiards

This is the mother game from which all others originated. The game is also called “carambola.” Altogether, only three balls are used, one of which is the cue ball. One player plays yellow and the other white.

Red is the neutral ball. The objective is to make your ball hit the other two in the same shot. This is worth one point. Whoever reaches 20 points first wins.

10 Ball Pool

Ten ball pool is a rotation pool game that is very similar to 9 balls. However, a few differences make this game a bit more challenging. For example, you cannot win by pocketing the ten ball at the break, and always hit the lowest ball first and call each shot into the correct pocket. It is for advanced players and for those who want to challenge themselves and improve in other games.

Direct pool

Direct pool is another advanced pool game, but if you’re ready to challenge yourself and have enough time to learn and play against another eager player, direct pool is a great way to enjoy the pool in its purest form.

You can shoot any ball at any time and by any player. Each player receives a point for each ball that enters. Whoever has the most points after three or five games is declared the winner.

Cutthroat Pool

Cutthroat, also known as “Three-Man Elimination”, consists of three people (or three teams with an even number of people). This fierce pool game is fun to play when you have an odd number of players, like 3 or 5.

In this game, the goal is to sink your opponent’s balls, and the person with balls remaining on the pool table wins. To begin the game, each player chooses from balls numbered 1-5, 6-10, or 11-15. For example, if you select 1-5, you must sink balls 6-15.

Also, if you scratch (accidentally sink the cue ball), your opponents get to pull a dropped ball and put it back in play. It’s a fun bar game and a great way to play a pool game with an odd number of participants.

Bumper Pool

You may not see it that often anymore, but the bumper pool is a really fun game. It is played on the bumper pool table, either four-sided or octagonal, and fits well in a smaller sitting room in a bar, game room, or at home.

Best Pool Table Games to Play Alone

Playing pool table games alone is a fun way to sharpen your skill. Though it is considered that pool is a multiplayer game, yet in fact, you can play pool table games with slight variations.

Speed Pool

With racing against the clock, Speed pool is a unique mode to sharpen your pool table skills to surprise your friends. It is a great way to deal with the pressure since playing against time is very relaxing.

Speed pool is fundamentally a timed version of 8 ball. The game rules are like 8 ball with one exception that you’re racing against the clock. You can set the clock as per your wish and try to pocket all the balls within that time to win.  

Target Pool

Target pool is meant for practice, and therefore, the second player is not required necessarily. It’s more about controlling and positioning the cue ball on specific targets.

Either you can buy a pre-planned kit for shot instructions or you can make your own shots and rule. You never get bored while playing this pool game alone because it offers diversity in practice.  

Ghost Pool

Ghost pool is no doubt an awesome solo game to kill the boredom. It not only sharpens your skills but also makes you a master of pool table tricks playing alone. The rules and game setup are like 8 ball pool or 9 ball pool. You break and place the cue ball wherever you like and try to finish the rack in one turn otherwise your “ghost counterpart” will win.  

Pool Table Games Without Sticks

You must wonder about the idea of playing a pool table game without using pool cues and yet having fun! Yes, there are a few options, thanks to the diversity that the pool table offers and which are adopted from different cultures.


The game is played with only a cue ball and a striped ball with no stick or other billiard equipment. It is played in teams that can have as many members as you like and usually a referee is required. The cue ball is placed on one end and the striped ball is placed on the other end of the table.

Every player has three chances to strike the striped ball with the cue ball and failing to do so will inflect a “kill”. There are certain rules to follow that make this game enjoyable.

Goon Ball

Goon Ball is another interesting Pool table game played without the stick. Two balls, usually number 3 and 6 are used and placed against the ends of the pool table. One ball is considered as the cue ball to hit the other ball.

The game is about keeping the object ball rolling or pocketing the ball with the cue ball. You can try hitting the ball as many times as necessary while the object ball is moving.

Pool Table Drinking Games

With the emergence of different variations in pool table games, Pool Table Drinking Games are rapidly getting popular in bars and pubs. The basic idea is about having fun while playing.

Blackout Billiards  

This game is interesting and an easy way to grab some drinks from your opponent in a fun way. There can be from 2 to 10 players, and the idea of the game is that every player must avoid getting their ball sunk, and if any player fails, they must finish their drinks.

Beer Billiards

Your pool table becomes a beverage machine with this game. The balls are designated to players with numbers, and players must aim at the ball of other players. Each time you succeed in hitting any numbered ball, the person associated with the number has to take a shot of a drink.

Below is a YouTube video showing some games you can play alone.