Why Do Some Pool Tables Have No Pockets

Billiards is an amazing game because you have numerous games to choose from. You can decide to play the 9-Ball, Ten Ball, Straight Pool, Carom Billiards among others.

One of the oldest and most exciting billiards variation is the game of Carom.  This game was developed in France and it has evolved to the many types of pool table and snooker we have today. We dived into the world of Carom and put together this piece that will give you every detail you need to know right from the different variations to the rules of the game. Keep reading.

What is Carom Billiards?

Carom is a type of cue sport game that is played exclusively on a billiards table that has no pockets. It originated from France in the 18th Century and it is also referred to as Carambole Billiards or French Billiards by some people.

The most interesting bit about this game is that it is played using 3 balls as opposed to the common 16 balls. Just like the other games in the 18th century, Carom evolved from lawn games and it turned out to be one of the most popular games.

Today Carom is played all over the world but is most popular in Western Europe. It is also very popular in Asian countries like Japan, Philippines and Vietnam. However, the games popularity declined in the US due to the rise in other cue sports.

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How Do You Play Carom Billiards?

You will need to have a pocketless pool table, three billiard balls and a cue stick to enjoy this game. Each of the three balls has a unique purpose and meaning depending on the variation of Carom you are playing. The pocketless pool table may also have some line markings and shapes that mark out the zones that earn different point values during the game.

If you are familiar with pool, the main aim is to clear all the object balls on the table. So, how do you play the game of Carom without sinking balls?

The main objective of Carom is to score and accumulate points which are also referred to as counts. You make a count by bouncing your cue ball off the opponent’s cue ball and the object ball in a single shot. The winner is the player who gets the predetermined number of scores first. The rules however vary depending on the variation of Carom you are playing.

Pocketless Pool Tables

One of the most unique identifiers of the game of Carom is the playing surface. It is played on a no-pocket billiard table. You do not need pockets as there are no balls to sink in Carom. The players ricochet off the balls.

What is the size of a Carom Billiards Table?

The regulation standard for Carom Billiards Table is 9.3 feet by 4. Feet measured from one cushion rail to the other. However you will also get other table sizes in the market with the most common being 10 feet by 5 feet.

The Carom Tables come with a slate bed that needs to be heated to 9 degrees Fahrenheit above the normal room temperature. The main reason for heating the table is to keep the cloth moisture free and to give the balls a more consistent ball roll and rebound. The game feels different on a heated table as the balls rolls faster. For International Carom Tournaments, heating the slate bed is Mandatory.

The Carom Billiard Games

There are different variations of the Carom Game. The 4 most popular games are straight Rail, 1-cushion, 3-cushion and the Balkline. Keep reading to understand each game with its rules.

  • Straight Rail

Straight Rail Carom is the easiest version of the game and it is highly recommended for beginners who want to play billiards on a table without pockets. Once a player masters the basics in this game, they can easily move forward to the more complicated games.

The game of straight Rail s played by two players who compete to earn a set number of points they first agree. You earn the points by striking your cue ball against the opponent’s ball and the object ball in one shot. You earn some point foe every complete shot you make using the rules.


  • BalkLine

Balkline is the closest variant of straight rail and most players progress from Straight rail and move onto play balkline. It has some additional rules and regulations and it is more complex hence require a better strategy to win.

The table is divided into nine rectangles that have a predetermined point value. A player will earn the point when their object ball occupy the space. More points are earned if the ball remains within the borders of the balk space for longer.

The Balkline was the most popular billiards game between 1880 and 1939 in the US. Later it was replace by other games like 8-ball.


  • 1-Cushion

Just like the name suggests, this game is named after its most important regulation. The game is played by hitting one object balls on the table and then  one rail cushion then the last object ball in just one cue. This game is very popular in Europe with very little interest in other parts of the world.


  • 3- Cushion

This game is an advanced 1-Cushion game with extra hurdles to beat. The aim of the 3-Cushion game is to bounce your cue ball on one object ball then hit 3 cushions and finally hit the last object ball in one shot.

The three- Cushion Carom is the most challenging variation of all the games. You hardly get a point in this game. When you score 1 you are fantastic. In case you get more than 1 you are exceptional and heading to be one of the gurus in the game.

This game is the most popular carom style cue sport still being played in the United States. The game has remained popular over 100 years because of annual championships organized by the Union Mondiale de Billiard an organization that is devoted to three-cushion Carom Billiards.

How to Play Carom Billiards

Having learnt about the different games you can play on a pocketless table, you could now be interest in trying out a game or two.

The easiest way to enjoy carom billiards is to visit a local pool hall in your neighborhood. You will be surprised to find out that they already have a pocketless pool table in place. You will also get an opportunity to meet other Carom players and learn a tip or two from them.

You can also consider playing Carom online. You need to get an app that simulates a pocketless table. You can easily learn and familiarize yourself to the rules. This is a great option if you live in an area where there are no pool halls.

Where To Watch Pocketless Pool Table Games.

Observation is a great way to learn any game. You can experience the game of Carom by watching the experts play. You can visit Carom Café Billiards pool hall in Flushing, New York state in person or watch their daily livestreams on their website.


Closing Remarks

Seeing a Pocketless pool table for the first time can be a sight to behold. However, this is a common table in the European countries where the Carom Billiards games are popular.

You can enjoy the game of Carom casually at home or even play as a professional. If you want to diversify your games in the local pool hall, Carom is a game worth considering. Your patrons will enjoy the new addition and the players will have a variety to choose from.

Spare some time and master the rules of pocketless pool, train on the shots and enjoy the game happily ever after.