Cue Cue Ball Object Balls Rack Six Pocket Billiard Table
There are no widespread official or standardized rules for three-ball, though local tournaments promulgate rulesets that have some sway over area player populations even outside the context of the tournaments. Below are listed the most common, widely accepted rules. The game is played on any pocket billiard table. Under tournament conditions, a single round usually consists of three or five games (innings) per player (with each player's individual inning scores added to calculate their final score for the round), and a match may consist of several multi-inning rounds, back-to-back or spread out over a period of time (even weeks). In a gambling context, three-ball (like the group pool games killer and cutthroat, and the card game poker) is typically played in multiple games (each played out until someone wins the betting pool, then after new antes are placed, play begins again), sometimes for many hours, with players able to enter and leave as suits their finances and risk-aversion.)
Three-ball (or "3-ball", colloquially) is a folk game of pool played with any three standard pool object balls and cue ball. The game is frequently gambled upon (typically for a twenty dollars (or equivalent) ante per round). The goal is to pocket (pot) the three object balls in as few shots as possible. Theoretically, any number of players can participate, in rotation, but more than five can become unwieldy. The game involves a somewhat more significant amount of luck than either nine-ball or eight-ball, because of the disproportionate value of pocketing balls on the break shot and increased difficulty of doing so. In some areas and subcultures, such as the Asian-American youth-dominated pool hall scene of San Francisco, California, three-ball is a popular local tournament game
The modern game of three-ball appears to have originated from an earlier game of the same name, played as a rotation game with the 1 through 3 balls, and the same rules as nine-ball, but with the 3 taking the place of the 9. Its evolution over the last few decades into a turn-based game with rules more akin to those of straight pool is possibly by way of the influence of other multi-shot-per-turn pastimes such as darts and golf putting, though there is a lack of documentary evidence as of February 2012.