How to Play Cutthroat Pool?

Cutthroat is a type of a billiards game played on a pool table with three or five players. This is an entertaining billiard game, especially when there is an odd number of people.

The cutthroat pool is mainly popular among the pool players, and it can be quite overwhelming if a person is new to the pool; nevertheless, it is a perfect game that can be played by anyone.

According to recent research, about 46 million people alone in America play pool regularly.

How to Play Cutthroat Pool?

Basic Details of Cutthroat Pool

how to play Cutthroat Pool

This game’s main aim is to pocket all the opponents’ balls, whereas the last remaining player with more than one ball or at least one left on the table wins the game.

Basically, the objective is to keep all your balls on the table and clear away the opponents!

Starting a game of Cutthroat requires each of the three players assigned with 3 or 5 balls to protect.

In this game, you do not need to worry about the solids or stripes it’s the numbers that matter.

The balls are grouped accordingly, for 3 player games the balls are grouped “ 1 to 5, 6 to 10 and 11 to 15” and for the 5 players games it is grouped as “ 1 to 3, 4 to 6, 7 to 9, 10 to 12 and 13 to 15” these groups can be allocated before the game is started or the players can select after they pocket a ball at their first inning.

As it is the start, any ball can be taken hence, it can be a ball from the player’s team itself to continue the inning.

Calling Shots

In a game of Cutthroat, it is often better deciding to call shots if playing against an advanced group of pool players.

Calling shots basically means that each player must entitle which ball will fall into which pocket before each shot begins.

However, if a group has called shots but unintentionally pockets an opponent’s ball, it is an illegal shot and the player will lose his turn and the ball will be spotted.

Rack the Game of Cutthroat Pool

Racking in a Cutthroat pool is not a complicated process; by using the common triangle rack used in every pool game, place the first ball at the very top of the rack, also known as “the apex.”

Accordingly, the rest of the balls from 6 to 11 are placed on the corners of the triangle rack, and the center can be randomly filled with the remaining balls.

The Breaking

The breaking player has to put a little effort when it comes to “The Break,” which means the open break, a minimum of 4 balls must be pushed out of the rack so that they will make a connection with the cushions.

In a Cutthroat game, the last person standing gets to break. During the break, if only a single ball is pocketed, then that is your number range, but if more than one ball is pocketed, then you get to select the range you desire.

However, if the player fails to complete the open break, the next player in line can ask for a re-rack and continue playing.

A Scratch in Cutthroat Pool

In the course of the game, if the cue ball unintentionally jumps out of the table when pocketing the ball, it is known as a “scratch”.

Moving forward after a scratch has occurred, the next player is allowed to shoot with the ball in hand behind the head string, this means the cue ball can be placed anywhere in the middle of the head string and head cushion.

Fouls and Penalties

It is crucial that every player understands the fouls and penalties before starting a game of Cutthroat pool.

As mentioned above, if any player makes contact with their own ball before an opponent’s ball at the start of the game it is known to be an illegal shot.

Furthermore, if an opponent’s ball jumps off the table when trying to pocket it, it is known to be a foul but, if your own balls are jumped off the table then the ball can be spotted.

Moving on to the penalty for fouls, in Cutthroat Pool each of the opponent’s balls which were pocketed before returns to the table which also results in an eliminated player been returned to continue to the game.

Nevertheless, if the opponents have not yet pocketed a single ball, the penalty is ignored, and it’s called on to the next player.

Tips to Help You Dominate!

First of all, if you are an advanced pool player then you already know how to dominate a pool table and that is one of the crucial things to dominate in the Cutthroat pool.

You got to have a proper balance when taking your shot make sure that your shooting position is strong and confident.

Try your best not over to hit the balls as it could turn up to be an illegal shot thereby, the most important tip is to PRACTICE, and you can be a pro player among your friends.

Importantly defend! If you see any balls hanging around near pockets get rid of them right away but if there is no good shot to pocket any of your opponents’ balls, try saving one of your own.

Never miss an opportunity! It could turn out to be the perfect defence. Also, do try catching the opponents’ balls by making the cue ball twist around behind your balls.

Another important tip, if you were able to pocket a 3- ball and 12- ball you will get to choose a group range and in this case, the most likely group to choose will be 6 to 10.

Furthermore, in order to win you need to be fast enough to keep a good lead and start the game off by striking down one of your friends.

Before the game starts try to select one of your friends you want to eliminate, by doing this you will be confident too! It’s most likely that the other player you are not aiming for will eventually start joining with you.

Cutthroat Pool is a very enjoyable game, and no one will ever play only one game!


After all, this is just a game where your friends team up just to eliminate you so you need to buckle up and do it to them before it happens to you, it could be quite upsetting at times but reminding you again it is just a game! And that is the nature of Cutthroat Pool.
Have fun playing!

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