9 Things to Know About Playing Pool at a Bar
Playing pool at a bar is the best way to play pool because it makes your stay at the bar a fun experience and is also very exciting for both new and old pool players. Pool tables at bars operate on coins, so that means that anyone can play as long as they have some change in their pockets.
Those are the basic rules of bar pool, but to fully understand how to approach the game when you walk into your local watering hole, I have compiled a list of the things that you should know to get the most out of the experience.
1. Rules Depend on Where You Play
It's important that you know your setting, which means that you know how the bar works and how people play pool in the that area. The basic rules of 8-ball and 9-ball always apply, but there are some small differences that can make the game very different for someone accustomed to certain rules that make the game all the more fun specially in a bar where you have your favorite beer mug in hand.
Racking can also be different than you're used to. While it's typical to go stripes/solids/stripes/solids in a home game, this is not always the case in bars. Just make sure that the 8-ball is on the middle of the rack every game that you play in.
2. You Have to Call Your Shot
Your opponent should know what you're trying to do every time it is your turn to shoot. If the ball bounces around for a while and then happens to knock one of your balls in, the shot counts, but it is your opponent's turn because you didn't call that shot.
3. The Table is Open after the Break
This is one of the rules that confuses people. Even if a ball goes in off of the break, the next shot has to go in for the shooter to own a color.
You can even hit solid-stripe combinations until the first ball is made. The only ball that can't be hit when hitting combinations is the 8-ball.
4. Your Color Must Be Touched First
No matter where you are in the game, you must always hit your color first for it to be a legal shot. This is where the real strategy of bar pool comes in and what makes most games exciting.
If you do hit your color first, then the ball can go off of any of your opponent's balls and the shot will be considered legal. Maybe on that note you can add a few more beer mugs under your kitty.
5. Never Hit The 8-Ball First
Any shot that hits the 8-ball first is considered to be illegal except for the final shot in 8-ball. It's the easiest ball to see on the table, so be sure to avoid hitting it before anything else.
6. Cue Ball Goes Behind the Head Spot after a Scratch
You might be used to being able to put the cue ball anywhere after a scratch, but most of the time you can't do that at a bar. That little white marker that some people use to line up their opening break is actually there for when people scratch.
7. Any Custom Rules Need To Be Made Before the Game
Rules are generally accepted to work for everyone in a bar, but if anyone wants to make a few changes, they need to do so before the game begins. Also, the opponent needs to fully understand them. These slight changes in the game makes it all the more fun. Hence, people never get bored of hitting the bar with a couple of beers for company because people always expect some new changes in the game to break free from the monotony and to make the game all the more challenging.
If you won the last game and want to make a couple of custom rules, be sure to ask your next opponent if they work for him. Not to forget, winning a game means more fun in the bar, more drinks and just letting your hair down and hitting the dance floor.
8. Different People Use Different Rules
While there are standard bar rules that everyone should follow, it's a good idea to talk to your opponent before the game to see if they play a different way. Sometimes you will find that their rules will make the next game a bit more fun.
If you notice that you are going to play an opponent from another country, there is a strong chance that they have a whole different set of rules. If it's your table, you can set your own rules. However, if they won the last game, it's up to you to find out beforehand what the differences are between your rules and theirs.
9. Tournaments at Bars Can Have Their Own Rules
If you plan to play in a tournament, ask someone who works there if there are any custom rules that you should know about. You'll usually find that the rules are what you're used to in bars, but on some occasions bars like to spice up their tournaments a bit with a few changes. Yes, we all know things in a bar become fun when they are jazzed up with some spice.
That's pretty much all you need to know before you head out to the bar to play some pool. Once you know all of these things, you can just enjoy the friendly competition. Don’t forget to slip into your best dress because you never know, you might just get lucky in your game and hit the dance floor to celebrate your win and a fun bar is the best place to do all of it.
Having worked as a journalist and written for magazines, newspapers and websites for as long as 10 years. Ronald Alexander has now become a thorough professional writer. He is bit by the bug of researching on how to make bars a fun place for people to get entertained, for that he is exclusively writing for Austin Sports Bar.