TYPE OF GAME
Cowboy pool, sometimes just called cowboy, is a hybrid pool game combining elements of English billiards through an intermediary game, with more standard pocket billiards characteristics. The game employs only four balls, the cue ball and three numbered balls, the 1, 3 and 5. It is played to 101 points, with points being awarded for a host of different shot types.
Any number of players or teams
Object balls 1, 3 and 5 plus the cue ball
The balls have a set opening placement: The 1 ball is placed on the head spot; the 3 ball on the foot spot; and the 5 ball on the center spot.(see picture below)
OBJECT OF THE GAME
To score 101 points
For the first 90 points of the 101 needed to win the game, points are scored in three ways: 1 point for caroming the cue ball into any two object balls; 2 points for caroming into all three object balls; and a player scores the face value of any ball pocketed, i.e., if the 3 ball is pocketed, the player scores 3 points. Thus, the maximum score possible on any single shot is 11 points, achieved by caroming off and pocketing all three balls.
RULES OF PLAY
As in the game of snooker, pocketed balls are immediately respotted to their starting position. Beginning with cue ball in-hand from the kitchen — the area behind a pool table’s head string — the incoming player must contact the 3 ball first. If the player fails to do so, the opponent may either force the player to repeat the break shot, or elect to break him or herself.
The failure to score in one of the delineated manners on any shot ends the player’s inning at the table. All fouls in Cowboy pool result in the player losing all points scored during the inning (not just those on the fouled stroke), and the opposing player comes to the table with cue ball in position except in the case of a scratch, which results in ball-in-hand from the kitchen.
The 90th point in cowboy pool must be reached exactly and the failure to do so is a foul resulting in a loss of turn. For example, this means that a player with 89 points, who then scores 2 points rather than exactly 1, has committed a foul. Once the 90 point benchmark is reached, all points up to the penultimate 100 must be made by caroms. The pocketing of balls during this phase of the game garners no points. The final point necessary to reach 101 and the win must be made by a losing hazard; an intentional scratch made by caroming the cue ball off one of the three object balls.