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Cut Throat

CUT THROAT

TYPE OF GAME

Cut throat is a three-player pocket billiards game. Each player is assigned a set of numbered balls. The object is to be the last player with at least one ball still on the table. Subtle differences in game rules exist, with numerous regional variants. The name “cutthroat” is not unique to pool, but refers to any game played with three or more players in which each player must fend for himself.

BALLS USED

All the 15 balls are used

RACK

When starting a Cut Throat game, the one-ball, six-ball, and eleven-ball should be placed on the three points of the rack. The one-ball is placed on the top where it is spotted.(see picture below)

Cut Throat

OBJECT OF THE GAME

The object of the Cut Throat game is to be the last player with at least one ball left on the table. When a player has no balls on the table, he is said to be ‘out’ and his turn is skipped in the rotation of taking shots. Under normal rules (where balls are retrieved on a scratch), if one of the remaining players scratches, the “out” man can recover a ball and return to the game.

RULES OF PLAY

In cut throat, the “low” balls are 1-5, the “mid” balls are 6-10 and the “high” balls are 11-15. Each set of five balls is initially unclaimed, the assignment of groups of balls to each player is done during the initial stages of game play. The three players take turns attempting to knock any ball into a pocket. Once a player has knocked in a ball, he knows that he does not own that group of balls. For example, if a player started the game by hitting in the 3-ball and the 8-ball, he would own the high balls, as he has knocked in a low ball and mid ball. The other two players would still not have ownership over a set of balls, and would, during their turns, attempt to knock in balls to gain ownership over a set. This may vary by region. The most common variation is to assign the sets ahead of time in order of play (the first shooter is 1-5, the second shooter is 6-10, and the third shooter is 11-15).

A player’s turn continues so long as he knocks in an opponent’s ball with each shot. A shooter can even knock in his own ball without sinking an opponent’s ball, thereby weakening his own chances to win in exchange for continuing his turn. This circumstance is called “cutting one’s own throat”.
Another peculiarity of this game is the consequence of scratch, or knocking the cue ball into a pocket. In most circumstances, a player’s opponents are rewarded by taking one of their balls each out of the pockets, and spotting them back onto the table. In some regional variants of the Cut Throat game (and especially when played in bars with coin-operated tables where balls cannot be removed at will) the player who scratched selects one of his balls to be pocketed immediately. Other variants allow the next player ball-in-hand.

SCRATCH

Another peculiarity of this game is the consequence of scratch, or knocking the cue ball into a pocket. In most circumstances, a player’s opponents are rewarded by taking one of their balls each out of the pockets, and spotting them back onto the table. In some regional variants (and especially when played in bars with coin-operated tables where balls cannot be removed at will) the player who scratched selects one of his balls to be pocketed immediately. Other variants allow the next player ball-in-hand.

CUT THROAT CONTINUED PLAY

Various point system’s may be used to play matches or sets, rather than just one game. With it’s uniqueness as a three player game, counting games won is possible but does not give credit for finishing second. One system is awarding three points for a win, plus an additional one point for each of the winner’s remaining balls at the end of each game. The player last eliminated receives two points, the first eliminated player none.

There may also be a bonus awarded for playing a perfect game, sinking both opponents sets of 5 balls while having all 5 of yours remaining (Usually 2pts, making a perfect game worth 10pts total, 3 for the win, 5 for remaining balls, 2 bonus). This system adds great importance and strategy to who to eliminate first as the match goes on, often creating alliances of the two trailing players to catch the leader in points. The match may be won by reaching a set amount of points, or reaching a set deadline in time.

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