You can’t always get a group of players to enjoy a pool table. That doesn’t have to stop the fun! There are plenty of fun games you can play by yourself.
Here are the games and the rules so you can always enjoy your table, even when solo.
Solitaire Pool Games (Playing Pool Alone)
People have spent a lot of time figuring out how to have fun alone. There are dozens of solitaire card games, and pool is no different.
Many of these games have regional variations. The rules listed here are the most common for each game. Feel free to add your own rules to make them even more fun for you.
You can play all of these games with just a pool table. Sometimes everyday household items like a clock or writing equipment may help, but they’re not necessary.
1. Speed Pool
You need to decide whether you want to beat a clock or beat yourself to play speed pool. You can set a timer for a specific time. Then you can try to clear the table before time runs out.
You can also turn on a timer then clear the table. Record the time, and when you play again, try to beat the old time. Find out if you can keep getting faster.
Another variation in this game is to time each shot. You can speed up your game and learn how to make faster decisions.
Speed pool is one of the easiest games to combine with any other game on this list. It allows you to replicate the competitive feel without other players.
2. Solo 8 Ball
This game plays just like a classic two-person 8 balls. Set it up like a standard game by racking the balls. Break like normal. Whatever you make first, stripes or solids becomes your goal.
Clear all of your goal balls. Then you clear the other set of balls. You save the 8 ball for last. With the eight ball, you have to call your pocket. The game ends when you clear all the balls.
You can make the game harder by calling every shot. You can also add heavy penalties for scratching. You can also add rules for putting the 8 ball in the wrong hole.
There are 9 ball and 10 ball varieties of this game. These games play with similar rules but have slight variations. If you can play 8 ball, it will be easy to learn how to play these games.
3. Ghost Pool
In this game, you play pool against another ghost player. The player is a pro, so if you miss, they are going to run the table. When you start the game, set the total number of matches, you will play.
Set up a regular table of your favorite game of pool. Rack and break like normal. You can take the ball in hand and move the cue where you want. You continue to play until you miss.
Once you miss, the ghost player takes over and “clears” the table. The ghost wins this game and then starts another game. Keep a running score of each “players” wins.
At the end of the whole match, the player with the most games wins. The goal is to beat the ghost.
If you want to make each game longer, you can just put on the ghost hat yourself. Continue the game when you miss, as the ghost. Find out if you or the ghost wins the game.
4. Target Pool
You can play target pool when you don’t have time for a complete game. It’s also a great way to work on specific shots. Some players consider this game more of a drill.
Don’t rack or break the balls to start this game. Set up specific types of shots that you need to work on making. To win this game, you have to make the shots you set up.
You can set up multiple shots at the start of each game. You can then make one shot and play the ball where it lays to make the next shot. Doing them back to back can add to the challenge.
You can master a shot you are having trouble making. You can also practice specific situations you may face playing with others.
Target pool is excellent practice to make you a stronger player.
5. Snooker Pool
When you start snooker pool, you want to assign points to each ball. Usually, you use the ball’s number for this. Set the amount of shots you want to take in this game.
Start the game and try to get the most points you can in the shots you have. The straightforward play may not offer the most points. You want to find the highest points with each shot.
Playing this game can teach you to make a better shot selection. It can help you learn how to look over the table and find all your options.
When you play more games, you can try to beat your last score. The game can go quicker if you lower your shot count. You can customize this game to fit your schedule.
6. Golf Pool
Combine the best aspects of golf and pool. It is a similar game to the target pool but with some added difficulty. The goal in this game is to make the 8 ball in the least amount of shots.
Set up your shot for each “hole.” You can use the other balls to set up obstacles. At the start of each shot, set the par for the hole. Score each hole like golf.
Your points are determined by how much you are over or under par. Play as many holes as you want, and count your total points. You can add strokes if you hit obstacle balls by accident.
Golf pool is a great way to see how much you have improved. Replay the same match at different times. See if you finish with a lower score with more practice.
7. Three-Ball Pool
Three-ball pool is one of the quickest solo games you can choose. Start by racking three balls of your choice in a triangle. Then break and try to make all three balls in the least amount of shots.
In theory, if you are good enough, this game can take a single shot. That should become your goal. You can add calling a hole for each ball to increase difficulty.
You can give penalties for scratches or misses that add shots to each game. You can also change how you rack the balls if you master the triangle break.
Try to make all three balls with the least amount of shots to win the game.
8. One Pocket
To play one pocket pool, you have to pick a specific hole and make all your shots on that hole. You can play this game with any other type of pool. Rack and break like normal.
All your shots have to go into the same hole that you picked at the start. If you put a ball into a different hole, you have to place the ball back on the table.
Picking one pocket helps you work on your shot selection. It can also make you a better called shot player. You can work on shots that you may not try in other games.
9. 14.1 Straight Pool
14.1 is one of the oldest games on this list. It also takes the most time to play. You set the number of balls you want to make at the start of the game, then count how many shots it takes.
Depending on how many balls you set, you may have to rack and break a few times. A common ball total is 21. You shoot until you clear a table, then you re-rack and continue shooting.
You can change rules so that you add a penalty to your shot list every time you scratch. The goal is to make all the balls with the least amount of shots.
10. Backward Pool
Backward pool is one of the most challenging games to master. It makes you think about each shot in a much different way. Rack and break as a regular game.
Instead of shooting with the cue, you hit a strip or solid into the cue ball. You have to score balls in this direction. All shots have to touch the cue ball.
This game makes you rethink every shot. It can be extraordinarily difficult to pick and make shots. It is a great mental exercise to improve your overall gameplay.
You can work on angles and banks in this game. The backward nature makes it challenging and a lot of fun.
Playing Alone Can Be Fun
If you still need more games to keep yourself entertained, try putting the games together. You can add a ghost to your backward or golf game. Adding more challenges keep the games fun.
Competing against yourself can be a blast, but it can also make you a better player. Enjoying these games can help you beat other players. It’s a more fun version of the practice.
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- Snooker vs Pool Difficulty – Which Game Is Harder?
- The Games Of 8-ball, 9-ball & 10-ball Pool Explained