How to Play Pool by Yourself – Blatt Billiards

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How to Play Pool by Yourself

by David Roeder |

The game of pool is a popular sport many people enjoy because it requires you to strategize, plan ahead, think about how the pool balls will interact with each other, and what shots you need to make to win the game. While pool is typically played with two players, you can still enjoy pool as a solo player whenever you want.

Equipment Needed

Pool billiard set, table with red cloth.

You need the same equipment as you would when challenging an opponent, including:

  • Pool Table
  • Pool Balls
  • Cue Sticks
  • Racking Triangles
  • Pool Chalk

While it might seem fun to make up your own pool games, you should first understand the rules of different games of pool you can play, such as 8-ball, 9-ball, etc.

How Does Playing Solo Games Work?

Handsome man playing pool in pub

Playing solo depends on what type of pool game you want to play. For example, if you want to play 8-ball, you rack the balls just like you would when playing against someone else. However, you also get to break the balls since you are playing solo.

Play progresses based on whatever ball you pocket first. So, if you pocket a solid ball first, you play solids and vice versa. Your objective is to pocket all of the solids first, then all of the stripes, and finally the 8-ball. If you pocket both solids and stripes when you break the balls, you decide which balls you want to play first.

Other Solo Pool Games You Can Play

man hand holding snooker stick playing pool or billiards

8-ball pool is just one type of solo pool game you can enjoy. Other games you can play include:

Fifteen In a Row

Mature woman Playing pool

This game helps you hone your skills because you have to sink all fifteen balls without missing a single one. First, you set up the game and rack the balls just like 8-ball pool. Then, after you break the balls, you have to pocket one ball per turn in any order you want. If you miss pocketing a ball, the game is over.

Baca Ball

pool or billiards balls on light blue table , focus on number 1

This is a variation of 9-ball pool. You can either set up the table using 9 balls or rack all 15 balls. The objective is to sink the balls in numerical order, either 1 through 9 or 1 through 15. You want to sink the balls in the fewest number of shots possible.

Any balls sunk during the break count. So, you would start with the lowest number left on the table and work numerically upward from there.

Three Ball

Billiards cue ready for shooting

Take any three pool balls and place them in a triangle where you normally rack the balls. Use the cue ball to break. Your objective is to sink the balls in the fewest shots possible and lowest score. Each shot counts as one, and you add two to your score for every scratch or foul.  


numbers one, two and three pool balls in a row

You set up the table like in three ball, except you only have three shots to sink all three balls. If you want more of a challenge, you can count your break shot as one of the three shots.

Speed Pool

pool break

Speed pool requires you to move quickly while maintaining accuracy and control over your shots. The rules are simple:

  1. Rack the balls like in 8-ball pool.
  2. Set a timer for a certain amount of minutes.
  3. Start the timer.
  4. Break the balls.
  5. Continue to play until the timer goes off.

Your objective is to pocket as many balls as possible within the time limit. You can sink the balls in any order you want. If you want to make it more challenging, you can sink them in numerical order or use solo 8-ball rules.


Plastic rack with billiard balls on green table, top view

Bowlliards is a solo game that is based on bowling. Rack ten balls instead of all fifteen. You have a total of 10 shots to sink as many balls as you can. Your break shot is counted as one of the ten shots. Your objective is to get a “strike” and sink all 10 balls in the fewest number of shots.

One Pocket

Young man playing pool

You can play one pocket pool using any pool game you want. The only rule variation and objective of one pocket pool is to help you hone your skills by requiring you to select the pocket you intend to sink the ball in before you take your shot.

Chinese Pool

Pretty brunette girl playing billiard indoors

Chinese pool is also known as backward pool. The purpose of Chinese pool is to help you better understand ball trajectories and angles to improve your shots.

You start by racking the balls as you would for 8-ball pool. Then you break the balls as usual. Now, here is where it gets challenging. Instead of using the cue ball to hit and pocket the balls, you have to shoot the balls into the cue ball and bounce them off it to pocket them.

Target Pool

man hand holding snooker stick playing pool or billiards

The objective of this game of pool is to help you improve your skills at taking more complex shots. Instead of racking the balls, set them up in such a way that you find it difficult. You do not have to use all 15 pool balls for target pool. You can use as few or as many as you want.

For example, you could place the 8-ball in front of a pocket and place other balls randomly on the table. Next, you can practice how to knock the 8-ball out of the way and still sink whatever ball you use.

Benefits of Playing Solo Games

Pretty woman playing billards

The primary benefit of playing pool solo is to hone your skills and become a better pool player. Other benefits you gain include:

  • Having a better understanding of trajectories and angles
  • Improving your concentration and focus
  • Becoming a better player
  • Improving your ability to strategize
  • Making it easier to make difficult shots

As you can see, there are several games of pool you can play solo while having a good time and improving your pool skills.

Pool Set Play Packages

pool billiards snooker balls on table with locked in wooden cage

Make sure you have everything you need to play solo pool with quality pool set play packages from Blatt Billiards. We also offer handcrafted pool tables and custom-built tables. Browse online or contact us at 212-674-8855 today!