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Setup for pyramid pool

Pyramid pool, also called pyramids, is a form of pocket billiards (pool) mainly played in the 19th century. It was one of several pool games that were popular at this time (so called because gamblers pooled their bets at the start of play).


Any number of red balls can be used but fifteen was the usual. They were racked in a triangle, as in snooker today but without the six coloured balls. Pyramid pool could be played by several players, with an agreed stake per ball pocketed, or with just two players in which case the first to sink eight balls would be the winner. Teams were also allowed if there were an even number of players. With one remaining red ball, one player will use it as his cue ball while the other retains use of the white;[1][2] this rule was dropped in the United States during the late 19th century which required the white ball to always be the cue ball for all players. An early version of pyramid pool awarded the entire pool to the player that sank the last ball.[1][3]:120-121 Balls do not need be to called except in the United States which was required after the break shot; this rule was added in the early 1880s.


In 1875, this game combined with black pool to form snooker.[4]:50 In the United States, pyramid pool developed into fifteen-ball pool, a precursor to rotation and straight pool. Since the middle of the 20th century, the American version of pyramid pool has been known as basic pool or basic pocket billiards which now uses modern pool balls.


  1. ^ a b Kentfield, Edwin (1850). The Game of Billiards (5th ed.). London: Smith, Elder, and Co. pp. 48–50.
  2. ^   Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Billiards". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
  3. ^ Shamos, Mike (1999). The New Illustrated Encyclopedia of Billiards. New York: Lyons Press. ISBN 1-55821-797-5.
  4. ^ Shamos, Mike (1994). Pool. New York City: Friedman Fairfax.