Cowboy Rules

Cowboy is an unusual game that combines carom and pocket billiard skills. The goal is to score 101 points. This is a good game for beginner to intermediate on a pool table and advanced players on a Snooker table.


The balls are not racked. The 3-ball goes on the foot spot, the 5-ball on the center spot, and the 1-ball on the head spot.


Shooter must hit the 3-ball first and then either the cue or an object ball must hit a rail. Failure to do so gives opponent a choice of re-racking and breaking or making the shooter break again.

Valid Shot

A valid shot allows the shooter to continue. Any shot that scores points is a valid shot and does not require a rail hit. e.g. A carom is played, and no balls hit the rail, it is a valid shot. Valid shot definition is affected by the players score as follows:

  • For the first 90 points:

    Pocketing any object ball or carom the cue off two or three balls. Point number 90 must be reached exactly. Overrunning 90 is a foul.

  • For points 91 to 100:

    Carom the cue off two or three balls. It is a foul to pocket an object ball.

  • For point 101:

    Carom the cue off the one into a called pocket. It is a foul if the one is pocketed in the incorrect pocket or if the cue hits any other ball.


Object balls pocketed score the point value on the ball. A two ball carom scores one point and a three ball carom scores two points. All combinations of scoring count. So the shooter can score up to eleven points in a shot (1, 3, and 5 are pocketed with a three ball carom). When the shooter has 100 points caroming cue off the one into a called pocket scores one point.

Spotting Balls

All balls pocketed balls are spotted after each shot at the start of game position. If the position is occupied, the ball remains off the table until the position is vacant. If the 1-ball is held out because of its position is occupied, and the shooter has 100 points, the balls are placed in the start of game position and the shooter has ball-in-hand behind the headstring.

Three Foul Penalty

Three consecutive fouls is loss of game.


  • For the first 90 points:

    It is easiest to score by pocketing balls using caroms when pocketing a ball is difficult or to break up a ball cluster. When pocketing balls, beware of attempting risky caroms for extra points. It’s not worth scratching to pick up an extra point. Remember a foul costs you all the points scored in the current inning.

  • For points 91 to 100:

    Think about the object ball positions after the carom and try to get shape on the next carom. Remember making an object ball is a foul.

  • For point 101:

    Don’t worry about where the 1-ball is going focus on pocketing the cue ball.