How To Play Straight Pool | Blatt Billiards

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How to Play Straight Pool

by David Roeder |

When you are getting bored with 8-ball or 9-ball pool and are looking for a new pool game, you should consider playing straight pool. Straight pool was created from another pocket billiards game called continuous pool to make it more challenging.

Some people may know straight pool as 14.1 pool, 14.1 rack, or 14.1 continuous pool. Most people are surprised to learn that this pocket billiards game has existed since the early 1900s. It was also the first official billiards tournament game played in the United States.

What Is the Objective of the Game?

Mature couple playing pool together

The objective of this pool game is to be the first player to reach 150 points. Scoring is based on one point awarded for every object ball pocketed. However, one or two points are deducted for various fouls.

It is also acceptable to choose a lower point value to win the game when you are first learning how to play.

Setting Up the Pool Table

setting up eight ball game

To set up the pool table to play 14.1 pool, you need to use the triangle rack and a set of 15 pool balls. You rack the balls in any order you see fit, so long as the 5-ball is in the lower-left corner and the 1-ball is in the lower-right corner.

Straight Pool Rules

Happy friends playig pool together

Unlike other pool games, you are not limited to solids or stripes or having to shoot the balls in sequential order. Nor do you have to pocket all the other balls before you can pocket the 8-ball or 9-ball.

Instead, you can pocket the balls in any order you desire. However, you must call the ball and pocket to make a legal shot.

Breaking

Players decide who will break however they want, such as a coin toss. The person who breaks must call an object ball and pocket. If the ball is not pocketed then, to be considered a legal break at least two object balls and the cue ball must be driven to and touch a rail.

Order of Play

As long as the player continues to pocket called balls legally, they keep playing. When they miss or commit a foul, play progresses to the other player. When only one remaining ball is on the table, the other 14 balls are re-racked and play continues.

Re-Racking the Balls

When re-racking the balls, leave the cue and remaining object balls in position on the table unless they obstruct the racking. Then, re-rack the fourteen pocketed balls, leaving the apex position empty.

If the object ball obstructs the racking, it is placed in the head spot or center spot if the cue ball is on the head spot. If the cue ball blocks the racking, it is moved behind the head string.

If the fifteenth ball was pocketed along with the fourteenth ball, then all 15 balls are re-racked, and the cue ball is placed in hand behind the head string.

If the fifteenth ball needs to be spotted due to a foul and the re-racked balls have not been touched, then the fifteenth ball is placed in the apex position in the racked balls.

Re-Breaking the Balls

When re-breaking the balls, the shooter to continue has the option of either pocketing the fifteenth ball or breaking the racked balls. If they choose to break the racked balls, they must call an object ball and pocket like the initial break.

Calling “Safety”

Players are allowed to call “safety” as a strategic move before making a shot at any point during their turn. They then take their shot as normal. However, any object balls pocketed are spotted back on the table, no points are awarded, and the player’s turn is over.

Scoring

billiard

For every legally pocketed ball, you earn one point. If you also pocket other balls during your shot, you earn one point for each ball. However, if you did not pocket the called ball, sank it in the wrong pocket, or pocketed other balls but not the called ball, the balls are spotted. Additionally, any balls driven off the table are spotted.

Fouls

Top view. The ball rolls into the pocket.

When a player commits a standard foul, they will receive a one-point penalty deducted from their current score. Standard fouls include scratching, shooting balls off the table, not calling the pocketed ball, etc. There is no foul for illegally pocketed balls. Instead, they are spotted back on the table.

Scratches

Scratches occur in straight pool when the cue ball does not strike an object ball, strikes an object ball but does not touch a rail, or is pocketed. When a scratch occurs, your turn is over. With cue ball in hand, the other player places it anywhere behind the head string.

Breaking Foul

A two-point breaking foul occurs when the player fails to pocket a called ball or has at least two balls driven to the rail. The other player can accept the balls as-is on the table or they can require the breaker to re-rack the balls and break again. For every breaking foul, subtract two points from your current score.

Suppose the other player wants you to re-rack and break again and you commit another breaking foul. Then another two points are deducted from your score. You will have to keep re-racking and re-breaking until you break legally or they accept the balls as-is on the table.

Consecutive Fouls

If you commit three consecutive fouls, it is considered a serious penalty. However, the three consecutive fouls for this penalty only apply to standard fouls, not breaking fouls. After the third foul, you deduct one point from your score as normal.

Then you receive a 15-point serious penalty foul you must deduct from your score, and your foul count is reset to zero. Next, the other player can request that all fifteen balls are re-racked, and you must break them legally. Breaking fouls will apply for illegal breaks.

Playing Straight Pool

Snooker cue sticks

Learning to play straight pool is not difficult when you have the right equipment like your own cue sticks from Blatt Billiards. Find your cue sticks now or contact us to learn more about custom cue sticks and our handcrafted pool tables by calling 212-674-8855 today!