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Bar Billiards Rules for Beginners

Bar billiards is a friendly and popular cue sport played in bars in England and other areas around the world. The rules of bar billiards are similar in many ways to English billiard rules.

PUB BILLIARDS RULES: A guide explaining how to play bar billiards.

Many people may know the trendy pub game as Russian Billiards. That is because the game gets it origins from ‘billard russe’ in Russia.

An English gentleman named David Gill first saw bar billiard rules played in Belgium. Thereafter he introduced the game in the United Kingdom around the 1930s.

UK bar billiards gets played most by those who live in the south of England and the Channel Islands. Competitors play the game on a table resembling the standard billiards table.

The key difference is the way the holes are actually sunk into the table rather than using pockets.

The All England Bar Billiards Association oversees bar billiards rules and administration. AEBBA comprises of several county associations including Kent, Surrey, Oxfordshire, Northamptonshire, Buckinghamshire, and Hampshire.

The island of Jersey is the annual venue for the Bar Billiards World Championship. Even so, each year the competing bar billiards players tend to be mostly from the United Kingdom.

British Bar Billiard Rules

Aim of Bar Billiards

The main aim of playing bar billiards is to score more points than your opponent by the end of the game. There is a serious competitive aspect to the game. But, many people play bar billiards simply for fun and social recreation.

Bar Billiards Table and Equipment

As a rule, after completing the bar billiards setup, the game is played on a small table – like those often used in billiards regulations. Often, the size of a bar billiards table measures 56 inches long by 33.5 inches wide.

British Bar Billiards Table for Playing Pub Skittles RulesThere are 5 holes situated in a row across one end of a bar billiards table.

It also features four more sunken holes forming a diamond pattern and located on the other half of the table.

Potting a ball into the different holes achieves differing point values. The points range from 10 up to 200 points.

When a ball drops into a hole it rolls into a trough situated at the end of the table. Bar billiards balls are similar to the balls used in snooker rules and standard billiards games.

But, you play bar billiards with seven white balls and only one red ball.

The table has several skittles fixed in front of the holes. Some players think the coloured skittles look like mushrooms. The skittle configuration actually denotes the value of potting a ball into its hole.

Even so, the black skittle is always placed in front of the hole with a pot value worth 200 points. The remaining skittles are white and red in colour.

The different skittle formations are:

  • 1 black skittle and 3 red skittles.
  • 1 black skittle, 2 white and 1 red.
  • 1 black skittle, 2 white or 2 red.

Note: British bar billiards rules on skittle formation and arrangement depends on where the game gets played.

General Rules of Pub Billiards

  • As a rule players flip a coin to determine who starts the game. The player shooting first will then prepare for his first shot.
  • Whoever plays first takes a white ball or a red ball from the trough at the end of the table.
  • He places the ball in the D section and hits it trying to strike another ball.
  • A successful result would be when one of the balls goes down a hole to score a point.
  • Making a scoring shot allows you to take another shot and remain at the table. You continue shooting until you fail to score or commit foul.
  • When that happens your opponent plays their shot at the table. They pick a white ball or a red ball and try to score using the same procedures.
  • Players continue to take turns in this manner until the game time runs out. At that point the bar billiards table stops working.
  • Each player attempts to achieve the best score by the end of the game to be the winner.

Scoring in Bar Billiards Rules

There are several methods of scoring in bar billiards. A player takes a shoots by taking a ball from the trough at the end of the table. He strikes it with the cue aiming to hit another ball on the table and resulting in a ball going down a hole.

A player gets the value of points allocated to the hole that the ball goes down.

Playing with the red ball doubles the number of points on each hole. But, players lose points in bar billiard games if they commit a rule infringement or foul. Bar billiards fouls include:

  • Making a play that causes a skittle to fall over.
  • When a ball returns back behind the baulk line.
  • Playing a shot but failing to hit any other ball.
  • Playing a shot which causes a ball to leave the table.

What happens if you make a foul in bar billiards? In this case the player must lose his turn and he loses all the points earned during that play. Knocking over the black skittle means the entire screen returns to zero points.

Winning a Game of Bar Billiards

As a rule bar billiard games take place on coin operated machines. That means the machine will stop when the time runs out. In most cases happens after 15 to 20 minutes of playing time. So the winner is the player with the highest points tally when the time expires.

Advanced Bar Billiards Rules


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Official Bar Billiards Rules Book: [PDF Download Option]

Bar Billiards Rules and Regulations Played in Pubs in the United Kingdom