(FAQ) Pool Games – “Cops & Robbers” Rules

(About the Author)

These series of “Game Rules’ provide rules of many different games for the pool table. The rules here have been simplified from the official versions – to make them a little easier to understand.

There are other games that have been invented, copyrighted and generally available to the playing public. Web searches will turn these up and the rules printed out for use.

Rules for Chase (Cops & Robbers)

Copyright 2007 Allan P. Sand

This is a game I invented to improve a player’s kicking skills by learning how to move the cue ball around the table in a competitive situation. It is a cool way to learn how to use the patterns and paths in the Table Map Library.

This game can be played on any type of billiards table:

  • Snooker (10 or 12 foot)
  • Billiards (10 foot)
  • Pool (7, 8, or 9 foot)

Designated Cue Ball/Object ball

  • One player versions – one ball is designated as the cue ball for the shooter. The other ball is the object ball.
  • Two player versions – the starting player selects one ball as the designated cue ball. The other player is assigned the other ball as the designated cue ball. This also applies when there are teams.

Starting the Game

The balls are placed on the table as follows:

  • Solid is placed on the head spot.
  • Stripe is placed on the foot spot.

The lead-off shooter (determined by coin toss, lag, or other means) starts the frame by shooting his designated cue ball.


Any pair of balls acceptable by the players is acceptable. The choice of balls requires mutual acceptance. Options for balls on any table can be

  • Pocket Billiards (one solid and stripe)
  • Snooker (cue ball and any colored ball)
  • Carom (one white and red, or yellow)


  • Ten innings equal one frame. Each player makes one shot, the next player then shoots. Points are marked on a successful effort.
  • Ten frames equal to one game. Points from all 10 frames are added for the final score.

Variations: 5 shots to a frame, 5 frames to a game,


A legal hit scores one point. A legal hit occurs when the player’s designated cue ball hits the required minimum number of rails and then contacts the object ball.

On tables with pockets, when a legal hit occurs and either the designated object or cue ball falls into a pocket, two points are rewarded. One point for the legal hit and one point for the pocketed ball. The pocketed ball is placed on its designated spot and play continues.

Basic Rules

Normal table billiard rules apply with the following modifications:

  • If a designated cue ball scratches in any pocket, a penalty of 1 point is assessed. The designated cue ball is respotted and the shooter continues the frame.
  • On a legal hit, the object ball does not need to contact any rail, unless designated as part of a handicap.
  • Every stroke counts, whether legal or foul. A player must complete all strokes for a frame.
  • If a frame cannot be completed, the game is invalid and any arrangements voided.


  • Regardless of foul committed, the player committing the foul continues the frame until it is complete.
  •  Standard penalty for any foul is loss of one point. If player’s score is zero, the opponent (or opponents) receives one point.
  •  Any movement of the designated cue ball made by the player’s cue counts as a stroke.
  • When the designated cue ball scratches, it is placed on its designated spot (foot or head) and play continues.
  • If a ball is knocked off the table, this is a foul. The ball is spotted and play continues for the player’s frame.
  • In any case where a ball (cue or object ball) is pocketed or knocked off the table, it is placed on its designated spot.
  • Accidental movement of a designated cue or object ball by contact other than a legal hit with a cue requires replacing the ball in original place as approved by the opponent. The penalty is loss of stroke.


Shoot the designated cue ball to hit multiple rails and then contact the second ball.

Single Player Training Version

The balls are set up. For the single player version, the ball on the head spot is the designated cue ball. The shot is made. A point is scored only when the designated cue ball hits the second ball. On scoring a point, the balls are played in position.

If a shot is missed, the cue ball is captured and placed in the approximate starting position and redone. This is repeated until the object is hit. Each stroke is counted as one shot. When ten strokes are made, that completes one frame. The balls are spotted in their starting positions and the new frame is started.

If a ball is pocketed, it is placed on its appropriate spot and the shooting continued.

On the table counter, keep track on the hits. Upon completing one game, use the final count as a mark of your improvement over time.

Two or Four Player Version

The game is played with two or four players.  If there are four players, these can be partnered up for two teams, or each can be independent shooters.

For multiple players, there are two ways to determine shooting. Each player can shoot his frame at one time, each set beginning with a new frame setup. Or, each player can take a turn making one shot tracking their scores until a frame is completed. Each frame begins with a starting setup. A game is complete when ten frames are shot by each player.


These are various ways to handicap players.

  • Adjust starting score for weaker player (i.e., the weaker player starts with a score of 5, 10, 15 – or any agreed upon number.)
  • Adjust the number of required rails to be hit. (i.e., the weaker player can hit one or more rails to score, the stronger player must hit a minimum of four or more rails.)
  • The stronger player could be required to make the object ball contact the rail on a legal hit.
  • In cases of extreme differences in skill, the stronger player can be required to call which side of the object ball the designated cue ball will hit.


Once you have a basic understanding of kicking patterns, add another ball to the table (starting spot – center of table). Carom off the third ball and go one, two, or more rails to hit the designated object ball.

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