LUCKY BALL | POKER POOLÂ
– Feeling Lucky ? (this ain’t gambling! haha)
Just recently I was introduced to a new form of gambling by my buddies (yes you know who you are!.. you evil culprits). It utilises a american pool, billard table or snooker table and a deck of cards plus some money of course. I found the game pretty fun and thus would like to share with those of you who haven’t heard of it before, some simple rules on how its played.
Who’s Feeling Lucky Punk?
Overseas, people call it Poker Pool… but locally in Malaysia, it is better referred to as “Lucky”. Why is it called lucky? Well… for me, whether you go home empty handed or rich with satisfaction is all due to your luck when dealt with the cards. Apart from that, it also depends on luck as to whether your opponents get the same cards as you and whether the balls are properly positioned for you to make killer shots. So apart from skill needed to pocket balls or sabotage people by playing safe, you also need to be DAMN FREAKING LUCKY!
Poker Pool / Lucky should be played according to the General Rules of Pocket Billiards unless explicitly noted otherwise in this specific Bank Pool rule set.
In Brief… Poker Pool is a game that combines the skill of pool with the luck of the cards in poker to create a game that requires different strategies each time you play. (Because of the different cards dealt.)
Objective of the Game
A full rack of the standard 15 pocket billiard balls are racked “inverted” (i.e. top of the triangle facing the bottom) at random with no preset order. The middle ball at the Top Flat row is taken out as a “hand ball” for an opponent to throw into the rack when the starting player is shooting off. This creates an extra form of randomness and “lucky-ness”. The game requires two to six players, however general consensus seems to indicate that playing with three players is the most desirable. Each player is dealt between 5 to 7 cards depending on whether you want a quick game or a slow game. If there are 3 players, then I have found 6 cards to be pretty optimal.
Card to Ball representation is as follows:
- Ace = 1 ball
- 2 = 2 ball
- 3 = 3 ball
- 4 = 4 ball
- 5 = 5 ball
- 6 = 6 ball
- 7 = 7 ball
- 8 = 8 ball
- 9 = 9 ball
- 10 = 10 ball
- Jacks = 11 ball
- Queen = 12 ball
- King = 13 ball
The 14 and 15 rotation balls are considered LUCKY CASH BALLS (which will be explained later on). The object of the game is to run your hand out. If you got two NINES, two SEVENS, one TEN, one QUEEN, then you will need to have the balls 9, 7, 10 and 12 potted into the pockets. You do not let your opponent know your cards so if they happen to pot your particular ball (which you are holding) then all the better for you. Players are only allowed to pot balls which are in their hands. Potting a ball in hand will entitle the player to a “PASSPORT”. If they pot the wrong balls, then their “PASSPORT” status (if any) is revoked and they are penalised by having to take another card and paying a penalty “fee” to the “money pool (which might be used to cover table costs at the end of the night). If you happen to take a card (e.g. THREE) when the ball is already potted then you need to take another card until you reach the one whose ball is still on the table.
Special LUCKY CASH BALL – Rules
Having a PASSPORT is where the fun and money is. If you have a passport then you can shoot the 14 and 15 LUCKY CASH BALLS and get paid for it. Having a scratch during an attempt to pot the lucky calls will result in you paying out the same agreed amount out to the penalty pool (not so lucky eh). If you already have a passport from previous turn, and you happen to pot a LUCKY CASH BALL directly after an opponent has finished his turn, then you get to claim the full prize from the previous opponent. If you happen to pot the lucky ball by having the lucky ball bounce off a cushion then the prize money is split between the players. You can alternate between the lucky balls to earn your prize but you will not earn the prize money if you hit the same lucky ball twice in a row. They have to be alternate hits. If you hit a lucky ball after hitting a ball in your card hand then the prize is shared between your opponents. And this can go on and on until you miss or get fed up earning your opponent’s money in which case you miss and the turn goes to the next opponent player.
Important to note: Each time a lucky ball is potted, it is taken back out and placed at the mid end of the table opposite of the other lucky ball. That means there is always one lucky ball at either half of the table after placing. If the lucky ball is moved during normal play then it can be left in the play positions.
Determining Start of Play
There are different ways of determining who starts. Additional single cards are normally dealt to determine the order of play. The highest starting first and the lowest starting last. The winner of a round will get paid a certain amount of prize money but he will also need to contribute to the table pool money for having such good arse luck. The winner of a round will get to start first during the next round.
Once a player misses a shot to pot in any of the balls in his card hands or misses any of the lucky balls (which can be used for placing purposes), then the turn moves on to the next opponent in line. If a player is penalised, the turn also moves to the next player.
The above play is rotated and payments are made until a player finishes his cards on hand. Each time a ball in your card hand is potted either by yourself or an opponent (if he has the same cards), the card is placed out onto the table for all to see. Upon reaching your final card, you have to announce it to your opponents so that they can take extra care in noticing which ball you need to pot in order to finish your game.
Penalty and Prizes
Here are some rough guidelines on the penalty and prizes which you can use during your game. This is an example of a 3 player gaming style:
- Finishing a Game First (2 dollars per opponent)
- Finishing a Game by way of last ball shot after an opponent’s turn has lapsed (Full amount covered by the previous opponent who led you to your last shot i.e. 2 dollars x no. of opponents)
- Entering a lucky ball without passport on hand – No Money – Resume Play
- Entering a lucky ball with passport in hand
- If done direct after your previous opponent
- Direct shot – 2 dollars from previous opponent
- Cushion shot – 1 dollars per opponent
- If done after you pot a ball in hand – 1 dollar per opponent
- If done direct after your previous opponent
- Potting wrong balls which are not in your hand – Take one Card Penalty and Pay 1 dollar Penalty to the pool money.
- Scratching the white ball – Take one Card Penalty and Pay 1 dollar Penalty to the pool money.
There are different and numerous strategies in this game. Most are hinged on the players involved, skill levels, etc. As in any card game, bluffing comes into play as a shooter who doesn’t have an open shot may not elect to make contact with one of his balls, performing a bluff, but perhaps positioning a legal ball or locking up another player’s options.