Did you know that there are different variations of the game of pool that can be played? Most people only know of the standard game with pockets, games such as 8-ball and 9-ball. But several games can be played on a pool table with no pockets!
Carom billiards, often called Carambole Billiards, is one such game played on a pool table with no pockets.
There are many variations of this Carom Billiards played all over the world and it has a long and interesting history.
So, keep reading to learn more about these games and how to play them.
- What is carom billiards, and how is it different from other cue sports?
- What are the rules of carom billiards, and how do you play the game?
- Why has this cue sport experienced a decline in popularity over the years?
- Watch pool being played on a pool table with no pockets
- Final Thoughts on what is played on a pool table with no pockets
What is carom billiards, and how is it different from other cue sports?
Carom billiards, sometimes called carambole billiards, is a cue sport that is played exclusively on billiard tables without pockets. The games included in this class of cue sport require the use of a cue stick, three billiard balls, and a pocketless table.
Carom billiards originated in France during the 18th century. It is believed that the game was created as a variation of an old French game called jeu de mail. The game quickly gained popularity and by the 19th century, it was being played all over Europe.
At the height of its popularity, national tournaments were hosted throughout the world. Today, despite its decline in active players, carom billiards is still a recognized category of cue sports.
Carom Billiards Table
A carom billiards table typically measures 10 feet by 5 feet. It has a playing surface typically made from slate and is felted with 100% wool with no pile. This achieves a consistent and fast playing surface.
To ensure that the felt on a carom table remains dry and doesn’t soak up water, it’s heated to 10°F above current room temperature.
Heating the table is also an important requirement for international tournament play, this helps promote consistent ball motion, especially when playing three-cushion or artistic billiards.
Carom Billiards Balls
As mentioned the balls used for this game played on a pool table with no pockets are different than your typical game of 8-ball pool.
Generally, there are three balls used in carom billiards: a white cue ball, one yellow secondary cue ball, and one red target ball.
These balls are bigger and weigh more than the balls for pool or snooker, they have a width of about 2.4″, and they weigh about 7.5 ounces.
Carom Billiard Cues
As with the balls, the cues used for this cue sport vary from cues used in different billiards games. On average they are shorter, lighter, and less flexible. These cue dimensions help to better handle the larger and heavier Carom balls.
What are the rules of carom billiards, and how do you play the game?
How to Play:
In regular billiards, whether it is 8-ball or 9-ball you are trying to sink all of your designated balls into the various pockets until you win by either sinking the 8-ball or 9-ball.
But when it comes to Carom billiards you are not trying to reduce the number of balls on the table but instead to ricochet the balls off of specific targets to obtain a predetermined number of points.
The first player to do this wins.
And of course you are playing on a pool table with no pockets!
Carom billiards is played with three balls – one white, one red, and one yellow. Using these balls a wide variety of games can be played. The most widely played games on a pool table with no pockets are Straight Rail, Balkline, One Cushion, Three Cushion, and, Artistic Billards
Straight Rail Billiards
While there is no exact date of origin for straight rail, it is believed that it dates from the 18th century.
The goal of this Carom variant is fairly straightforward: When a cue ball contacts both target balls (the other yellow ball and the red ball) on the same stroke, a “count” is scored. When the predesignated number of points, “counts” is reached, a win is achieved.
Balkline is considered an offshoot of straight rail. By adding more rules and regulations, balkline has become a much more complex game, requiring players to use more strategy.
The Balkline table is separated into nine rectangles. By occupying these sections with object balls, players can earn points. Depending on how long the ball remains within the borders of that space, more points are awarded.
The cue sport Balkline was a popular game among Americans during the first half of the 20th century. However, eight-ball pool – today’s most popular pocket game – soon overtook it. Pool halls are unlikely to stock these tables and they may need to be custom-made.
One Cushion Billards
Sometime in the late 1860s, one-cushion carom, influenced by an early modification in English billiards, also developed as an alternative to straight rail carom. Cushion caroms are scored by hitting at the minimum of one cushion before hitting the second target ball. In Europe, Carom in the one cushion style remains popular today.
Three Cushion Billiards
Similar to one-cushion carom, this game played on a pool table with no pockets requires players to hit additional cushion rails to succeed. To win, a move must first touch one object ball, then three cushions, and finally hit the second target ball.
Three-cushion pool remains a popular carom billiards game in Asia, Latin America, and Europe. It is also the most played carom game in America today.
World three-cushion championships staged by UMB, the sport’s governing body, have been playing since sometime in the 1920s.
Players compete in Artistic Pool, on a pool table with no pockets, by executing 76 shots that have been predetermined and range in complexity. Each intervening shot has a total point value awarded for flawless performance, starting at 4 points for shots with the lowest level of difficulty to a maximum of 11 points for shots with the highest level of difficulty. The Maximum amount of points that can be scored by a player is 500.
To compete for the world championship, ivory balls had to be used. However, in 1990, this condition was removed. Walter Bax broke his record of 425 and set the best score ever in a competition on March 12, 2006, in Belgium, with a score of 427.
Western Europe is where most players are found, particularly in France, the Netherlands, and Belgium.
Why has this cue sport experienced a decline in popularity over the years?
While carom billiards may seem like an exciting and difficult game to play, it has experienced a decline in popularity over the years. This is likely due to a few reasons:
1. The game can be difficult to learn, requiring precision and skill to score points.
2. The lack of pockets on the table may make it difficult to track the balls, which can lead to confusion among players.
3. Other cue sports are more popular and easier to learn, such as 8-ball or 9-ball pool, which offers more excitement and competition.
While it is unusual to find a pool table with no pockets, the game can still be played on them. Some people believe that playing without pockets makes the game more challenging and fun. If you’re looking for a new way to play pool or want to challenge yourself and your friends, consider finding a pool table with no pockets and give Carom Billiards a try. Who knows – you may just enjoy the game more!
Watch pool being played on a pool table with no pockets
In addition to watching experts play live, you can also learn from their experience before you start playing on a table without pockets. On its website, Carom Café Billiards broadcasts live streams of pocketless pool games every day from Flushing, New York.
As a result, you will be able to observe how players set themselves up to score as many points as possible.
Final Thoughts on what is played on a pool table with no pockets
While it is unusual to find a pool table without pockets, the game can still be played on them. Some people believe that playing without pockets makes the game more challenging and fun.
If you’re looking for a new way to play pool or want to challenge yourself and your friends, consider finding a pool table with no pockets and give Carom Billiards a try. Who knows – you may just enjoy the game more!