Pool is a cue and ball game that was made popular by UK Crown servicemen stationed in India at the height of the British Empire.
It derives from an Indian game, and pool is a loose definition of a game that involves two players, a cue, two sets of colored balls and a black.
In the UK, the two sets are normally red and yellow, while in the United States, the balls to be potted are spots and stripes with numbers on them. With the US variation, the last ball to be potted can be a 9 ball or a black ball.
There are many variants to the game and they might vary from country to country – or even pub to pub – but the concept is usually the same. The game is played on a flat table with six pockets – four at each corner and two on either side in the middle of the table. Pool is more of a power game than a precision one, but players still need to keep control of the white cue ball to place it ready for the next shot. After the break, a player will sink one of the sets and has to stick to it.
He or she will try to pot all of her balls and move on the the final ball – the black or the 9. If the player misses a pot, then play is given to the opponent and this carries on until one of the players sinks the black.
There are a whole variation of fouls, but generally, if a player misses all balls, the opponent is given one or two free shots. Some allow for a free shot to pot an opponent’s ball to clear a path. If a player pots the wrong color, then again a free shot is awarded. But if a player pots the black before the rest of the balls, then the opponent wins by default.