The Simplified Rules of Billiards in one page

These simplified rules are for you to get started and be able to enjoy a game.


Billiards is played with 3 balls, a red, white and yellow. Each player has their own cue ball (one white one yellow). There are three ways to score: In-offs, pots or cannons. In-offs occur when your cue ball hits one or more balls and then enters a pocket. A pot occurs when any ball other than your cue ball enters a pocket. A cannon occurs when your cue ball hits both of the other balls. Cannons are always 2 points. Apart from cannons any score off the red is 3 points and off the opponent's ball is 2 points. All fouls are 2 points.

Where the balls go

When you go in-off you get your cue ball back and it can be placed anywhere in the D. When the opponent's ball is potted it stays down and you do not get it back. When the red is potted it goes on it's spot (the spot nearest the top cushion), but after 2 successive pots off this spot it is placed on the middle spot; if you then pot it again it is placed back on it's own spot and you are allowed 2 more pots of the spot etc.


The line next to the D is called the baulk line and when you are playing from the D you are not allowed to hit a ball behind the baulk line, directly. (A ball is considered IN BAULK if it is either on the line or more than half of the ball is in baulk, over the line) If your opponent pots your cue ball and then leaves the red and his cue ball behind the baulk line, you are 'double baulked' and can not aim for the balls direct - in this case you would play off one or more cushions out of baulk first.

Starting the game

The red is placed on the Billiards spot and one player takes their cue ball and plays from the D, normally playing a safety shot; this is called the break off. The opponent then plays from the D.

Spotting the balls

After your opponent commits a foul you have the option of having the balls spotted (opponent's ball on middle spot, red on it's spot, cue ball in D).