What Is Cut Throat Pool: Meaning, Terms, Rules, Strategies And More

What Is Cut Throat Pool: Meaning, Terms, Rules, Strategies And More
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Cutthroat pool, as the name suggests, is pretty competitive. Think of it like a battleship where you must protect your fleet and sink the opponent’s convoys, except, here you sink their pool balls.

Today, we will discuss how to play cutthroat pool and all the rules that you need to know.

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To start off, there are three players in the game and 15 balls on the table plus the cue ball. Each player is assigned 5 balls that they must protect and strive to keep on the table. Cutthroat pool rules dictate that you must aim for pocketing the balls of your opponent instead of your own. The player who has at least one or more balls remaining on the table wins the game, just like war.

What do you mean by groups in cutthroat pool?

When we say ‘groups’ in a cutthroat rack, we refer to the group of balls that have been designated to each player. The grouping is done such that:

For 3 players –

  • The first player gets 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.
  • The second player gets 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10.
  • The last player gets 11, 12, 13, 14, and 15.

For 5 players –

  • 1st player gets 1-3.
  • 2nd player gets 4-6.
  • 3rd player gets 7-9.
  • 4th player gets 10-12.
  • 5th player gets 13-15.

The players must aim to keep as many balls from their group on the table as possible while pocketing all the opponents’ balls.

In order to choose their group, the players can use one of three techniques:

  1. The traditional method of cut throat pool is to pocket one single ball from each of the two or four groups depending on the number of players.

    Whichever group has all the balls remaining is yours to claim.
  2. The easy method is one where the player who breaks the cutthroat rack and pockets a ball gets to pick their group first.

    If they don’t pocket, then the next player who successfully sinks a ball gets to choose. The following player gets to pick next if he or she pockets another ball.

    The third player gets whatever is left on the table. This phenomenon is further extended into a 5-player game.
  3. The predetermined method of cut throat pool is when each player is assigned their group before the beginning of the game.

    Although fair, this is risky because the player who breaks could very well result in sinking their own ball.You can choose whichever method of grouping is acceptable to all the players. After all, cut throat pool is a way to enjoy the gameplay with friends and strangers alike, without creating conflicts.

How to rack in cut throat pool?

A cutthroat rack is very similar to an 8-ball rack.

You use the triangle to rack the balls and place the 8-ball in the center. Next, you take the 1, 6, and 11 numbered balls and arrange them at each corner of the triangle. Then you can arrange the remaining balls wherever you please.

In a 5-player game, you can arrange the balls willy-nilly to keep the gameplay fair for all.

What is Scratch in cut throat rules?

A critical foul of cut throat pool is the scratch. It occurs when a player ends up pocketing the cue ball or bounces it straight off the table. When this happens, the following player has the cue ball in hand.

‘Cue ball in hand’ indicates that the player can choose where to place the cue ball on the table.

However, it must be placed somewhere between the head-string and the head cushion of the table. The head-string is the imaginary line indicated by the 2 diamonds on the breaking side.

In case of scratch, if all the opponent’s balls are behind the head-string, the player can simply take the one closest to the imaginary line and place it at the other end of the table.

How to break in cut throat pool?

A legal break in cut throat pool is also referred to as an Open Break.

Once the cutthroat rack is ready, the first player must attempt to break. The objective of the break is to ensure that 4 balls are separated from the rack such that they touch the cushions. This is mainly to warrant that the balls are scattered instead of cluttered.

In case the first player is unable to use enough brute force for a legal break or open break, the following player can opt to re-rack the balls. Then they proceed to take a shot at an open break

How to play cut throat pool? What are cutthroat pool rules?

The cut throat pool rules are pretty simple. Even though the game is quite competitive, it is highly entertaining just like any other bar game. Here are the rules to this game for online and offline versions.

  1. The 15 balls are racked in a triangle with the 8-ball in the center.
  2. The groups are assigned based on one of the three methods of designation mentioned above.
  3. The first player must attempt a legal open break. If he or she fails then the other players decide whether to continue safe play or re-rack and start again.
  4. Players must aim to make legal shots. This means that you touch the opponent’s ball with the cue ball before you contact your own group.

    You can pocket the opponent’s ball or at least ensure that an object ball or maybe the cue ball touches the cushion.
  5. If during gameplay, a player commits one of the following fouls then they must incur the respective penalty:
  • Illegal shot -
    If you hit one of the balls in your own group before hitting your opponent’s ball, it is not a legal shot, hence it is illegal.

    If you pocket the ball of your opponent during a shot which is illegal, then the ball is put back to gameplay and you happen to lose your turn.
  • Bouncing -
    If you bounce any ball of your opponent out of the table, then it is considered a foul.

    If you bounce your own ball, you can simply spot it.

    If you bounce the cue ball, it’s a Scratch.
  • Penalties
    In case of a foul, one single ball from each opponent’s group is put back to play.

    That means an eliminated player is back in the game.

    If no balls have been pocketed thus far, the foul is ignored.

6. If one player’s entire group is pocketed or sunk, then the player is eliminated.

7. The last player to have at least one or more balls on the table when all the opponents’ balls are sunk, wins the game.

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