Home Pool How To Play: Killer Pool

How To Play: Killer Pool


Rather than being a B-movie about a murderous lido, ‘Killer Pool’ is, thankfully, just another way of playing cue sports in a pub or bar. And a pretty safe one at that. Regular pool – be it eight ball or nine ball – is fun. Sure. But sometimes you just want to mix it up, don’t you? And the best variation on the normal form is, for us, Killer.

Perhaps the best thing about Killer Pool? The fact that you can have a virtually unlimited number of players in the game. Pool as we know only really allows for two players (or four with a game of doubles). But with this form? All your pals can get involved. And to perk up interest levels even more? You can have cheeky wager. Work out the details yourself, but one way of making you want to play to the best of your ability? Agree that the loser buys a round of drinks.

Now, then. Let’s get to it, shall we?

The Rules

Right. We’ll start with the overall object of the game. As you can imagine, you need to pot balls. Or more specifically, make sure you don’t miss. Why? Well, you’ll lose a life. You start with six lives. One for every letter in the word ‘Killer’ (hence the name). Miss six shots and you’re out. Be the first the hit ‘Killer’ and it’ll be you shooting the drinks in. Stay at the table and pot every time when you’re cue in hand and you win.

Players take turns and follow each other in a set order. You take one shot and your turn is over. Pot a ball, pass the cue – that’s the aim. Miss and you still pass the cue along. But remember – you’ve lost a life.

You can set the balls up as you would normally. It doesn’t matter where the balls go inside the triangle, as colour – or number – is irrelevant here. When you’re shooting, you’re just aiming for a ball. Any ball. Even black. In fact, especially the black ball. If you can knock that in – you picked up an extra life. Nice.

There aren’t many balls on a table and if you’ve got a decent amount of people, you’re going to down them all pretty quickly. All you do? Just re-rack. Simple.

Fouls still apply. Go in off and pot the cueball and you lose a life. Knock it off the table – the same. The next player gets ball in hand and places the white anywhere they like. Somewhere where they can pot something, presumably.

Killer Pool
Killer’s great for involving everyone you’re out with. Whether it be Mick and Dave from work or The President of the United States.


Killer’s pretty straightforward, so you’ve no real need to over complicate matters. But one thing to keep in mind to give you the edge? Claim the easiest shots when you’re at the table. Sounds obvious and, hey, it kind of is. But it’s vital. Not only does your chance of potting increase, the chance of others potting decreases.

Cueball control is important too. But whereas in normal pool, you’ll be leaving the white in a position that makes future potting easy, in Killer Pool, it’s the complete opposite. If you can pot and leave the white awkward – that’s perfect. Another similar tactic here is… When you have nothing on – no balls to pot – don’t try a wild shot, hoping something will go in. Your best bet? Just tuck the next player up if possible. Sure, you’ll lose a life, but you were going to anyway. Why not take down someone else too, huh?!

See For Yourself

You’ve heard us rattle on about Killer Pool and you’ve followed the rules. But just to cement it in your mind, why not check out this clip of a few mates playing Killer? You’ll definitely see how it all goes down. Then hit the table and play. Good luck. Just don’t hit ‘Killer’ first – you don’t want to be the one having to hit the bar…

Steve Charnock A freelance writer who writes news stories, features, articles, reviews and lists. But *always* forgets to write his mum a birthday card. Follow him on Twitter or follow him into the pub and buy him a drink.