Straight Pool: Meaning, How To Play, Rules, And More

straight pool

Table of content:

What is straight pool?

Straight pool, often referred to as ‘14 1 pool,’ is a variation of billiard games wherein 2 players play the game. The players are allowed to pocket any object ball on the table with no grouping or hierarchy.

The only criteria in a game of straight pool are that the players must call each ball before they attempt to pocket it. This means, they have to announce which object ball they are targeting and they must call out the pocket too.

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Why is it called 14.1 pool?

It sounds hilarious but there is a reason why the straight pool is also referred to as 14.1 pool.

When the players have taken their turns to pocket 14 out of the 15 object balls during gameplay, the straight pool rack is reset. The single object ball that was remaining, along with the cue ball stays where they are. The 14 balls being re-racked must be arranged in a tight diamond-shaped rack with the front space left vacant.

Now, the player who sunk the last object ball attempts to break the rack while pocketing the last remaining object ball on the table all at once.

Thus, the name '14 1 pool' came into play in reference to this unique continuous playing system.

How to play straight pool and what are the rules for straight pool?

The game starts with one player breaking the straight pool rack and attempting to pocket as many object balls as possible during their turn. They have to call each ball that they are aiming for and which pocket they are aiming for.

Since each ball must be called, it is ideal that object balls in straight pool are sunk one by one. When a player misses a pocket, the next player takes their turn.

Once 14 out of the 15 object balls are pocketed, the players re-rack the deck and the game continues instead of restarting a new round. The 1 remaining object ball stays where it is and the cue ball remains in its last position. The player who pocketed the 14th object ball continues their turn and attempts to pot the remaining object ball while simultaneously breaking the rack.

In order to play straight pool, we start with the rack:

A Straight pool rack consists of all the 15 pool balls used in 8 balls. Thus straight 8 pool is also a commonly used terminology for Straight pool.

Although, if you wish to recount the differences in straight pool vs 8 ball, it starts with the rack too. An 8-ball rack is set with a triangle while the Straight pool rack is set using the diamond plate. As long as the front position of the rack remains vacant in continuous racking, the straight pool rack has no other stringent rules for the placement of the object balls.

Breaking the straight pool rack:

At the beginning of the game, you can break the straight pool rack at your convenience. However, once the ’14.1 pool’ play begins, i.e., after 14 object balls are potted and the game is re-racked, the break becomes tricky.

The player who sunk the last object ball continues his or her turn with the new rack. The remaining object ball and cue ball are located in spontaneous positions on the table instead of the cue ball behind the head string. At this position, the player must attempt to pocket the last remaining object ball such that either the cue ball or the object ball also breaks the 14-ball rack.

Straight pool scoring:

The players attempt to pocket any object ball at any time during the game. Since there is no ranking or hierarchy, the scoring system is on the same level. Each object ball that is pocketed earns the player 1 point. The points for each inning are tabulated and in the end, the player with the highest number of points wins the game.

Straight pool games are usually played for 150 points however, this may vary based on the time frame of the overall game.

Rules of straight pool:

  • Each player must call the object ball that they aim to pot.
  • If a player pockets the cue ball, it is a Scratch. Then the opponent gets the cue ball in hand and can place it anywhere behind the head string for their next shot.
  • If the cue ball doesn’t touch any of the object balls it is still a Scratch.
  • If the cue ball doesn’t touch any of the cushions or rails of the table after it strikes an object ball, it is a Scratch.
  • There is no consequence for potting the 8-ball before sinking the other object balls.
  • After the 14th object ball is pocketed, the last player must continue their play when the set is re-racked by first potting the remaining 15th ball from the last set while breaking the straight pool rack.

The straight pool rules are pretty basic but the gameplay poses quite a challenge, especially for beginners. Another interesting variant is the bumper pool which you can play with too using similar rules.

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