How to Play Carom Billiards: A Beginner’s Guide | Blatt Billiards

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How to Play Carom Billiards: A Beginner’s Guide

by David Roeder |

Welcome to the elegant world of carom billiards, a captivating game that combines skill, strategy, and precision. Unlike pool, carom billiards is played on a table without pockets, focusing instead on striking the cue ball to hit two other balls in a single shot.

Whether you’re a complete novice or looking to refine your skills, this guide from Blatt Billiards will introduce you to the basics of playing carom billiards, helping you enjoy this timeless game.

Understanding the Equipment

Blatt Billiards Carom & Snooker Conversion Table.

Before diving into the rules and techniques, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the carom billiards equipment. A standard carom billiards table measures 10 feet by 5 feet, significantly larger than a typical pool table, and it lacks pockets. The game uses three balls: one white, one yellow, and one red. Each player chooses either the white or yellow ball as their cue ball.

At Blatt Billiards, we offer custom carom billiards tables that not only meet the official specifications but also enhance your playing experience with unmatched quality and design. Along with tables, we provide a range of high-quality cues and accessories to complete your setup.

The Basics of Carom Billiards

Man playing carom billiards.

The objective of carom billiards is straightforward yet challenging: a player must skillfully strike their cue ball so it contacts both the opponent’s cue ball and the red ball in one shot to score a point. This is an action known as a “carom.”

This necessitates not only a delicate balance of power and precision but also a strategic foresight to anticipate the trajectory and positioning of all balls post-impact, enabling successful execution and potential setup for subsequent shots.


A player scores a point for each successful carom. In most games, the first player to reach a predetermined number of points wins. Matches can be set to various lengths, typically ranging from 25 to 50 points for amateurs and up to 300 points for professional tournaments.


In carom billiards, mastering key techniques is crucial for enhancing your gameplay and implementing advanced strategies. Here’s a closer look at these essential skills:

The Stroke: The foundation of all billiards skills lies in The Stroke. Developing a stable and consistent stroke is paramount for any player. This involves practicing delivering smooth, controlled shots. A well-executed stroke ensures accuracy and consistency in your game, setting the stage for more complex shots.

The Billiard Shot: At the heart of carom billiards is The Billiard Shot. This basic yet vital shot consists of hitting the opponent’s ball and then the red ball, or vice versa. It’s a fundamental skill that every player must master. Success in carom billiards often hinges on your ability to execute the billiard shot effectively, as it forms the basis for scoring and strategizing in the game.

The English: (Side Spin) Adding an advanced layer to your skill set, The English (Side Spin), allows players to control the cue ball’s trajectory post-contact. By applying side spin, or “English,” you can make the cue ball travel in a curve, rather than in a straight line. This technique opens up a range of strategic play options, enabling players to navigate around obstacles, position the cue ball for subsequent shots, and execute complex strategies that can confound opponents.

Strategies for Beginners

Teenage girl aiming at a ball on carom billiards table.

Embarking on the journey of mastering carom billiards requires a blend of technique, strategy, and consistent practice. Here are some foundational strategies that can set beginners on the path to improvement:

Start Simple

Begin by focusing on mastering straightforward shots. It’s tempting to jump straight into complex techniques, but the basics lay the groundwork for your future skills. Concentrate on simple caroms and direct hits, as these will form the foundation of your game.


Always consider the cue ball’s position after your shot. Effective positioning is crucial, as it not only contributes to scoring but also sets up your next move. Think one step ahead to maintain control over the game.

Practice Consistently

Like any skill, consistency is key to improvement in carom billiards. Regular practice sessions help refine your precision, develop your strategy, and build muscle memory. Set aside dedicated time to practice, focusing on different aspects of the game.

Enhancing Your Carom Billiards Experience

Retro pool room with carom tables.

At Blatt Billiards, we understand the passion that goes into every game of carom billiards. Our custom tables, crafted with precision and care, are designed to elevate your playing experience. Along with our selection of billiards furniture and accessories, we are committed to supporting your journey in the world of carom billiards.

Carom Billiard Tables from Blatt Billiards

Blatt Billiards Carom & Snooker blue felt Conversion Table.

Carom billiards is a game of skill, strategy, and finesse. By understanding the basics outlined in this guide and practicing regularly, you’ll be well on your way to mastering this engaging game. Remember, every champion started as a beginner. With patience and dedication, you, too, can achieve greatness on the carom billiards table.

Investing in a carom billiards table is not just about acquiring a piece of sporting equipment; it’s about creating a centerpiece for entertainment, competition, and the pure joy of the game. Let Blatt Billiards be your partner in this journey, offering unparalleled quality, craftsmanship, and service. Visit our showroom or contact us to discuss how we can help bring your dream carom billiards experience to life.

For more information or to start designing your custom carom billiards table, visit us at Blatt Billiards. Together, we can create the perfect playing environment to enjoy this timeless game and embark on a journey of skill, strategy, and finesse.

How to Play Carom Billiards: A Beginner’s Guide Infographic