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How to Play Cutthroat Pool: A Step-by-Step Guide

Cutthroat is yet another exciting game in the market that is similar to a world-famous game but with a twist. Cutthroat has a good number of fans around the place, the game is about 75% to 80% similar to normal billiards. In the article below, questions like ’how to play cutthroat pool?’ and other common questions along with basics about cutthroat will be answered and explained.

What is cutthroat pool?

Cutthroat can also be called cut-throat and is also referred to as three-man-screw. The game is a pocket billiards game. It has 3 players or 3 separate teams to play. The game is not playable if there are more than 3 players in the line or as used in blackball, generally more players with an unnumbered yellows-and-reds ball set. The game is played on your ordinary pool surface with a standard set of balls. In the cutthroat, the three teams or three players are assigned 5 balls each to protect, basically like 1 through 5, 6 through 10 or 11 through 15 will work too.

What are the rules of cutthroat pool?

how to play cutthroat pool

Following are the rules in cutthroat:

  1. At the very start, all the players agreeing to play the called shot is required. For the first shot, the cue ball must ensure to arrive in the contact with their opposition party’s object ball/
  2. Players struggle to make sure that they get a chance to pocket the entire set of the opponent’s pool ball. Meaning, in the end, only their balls should remain on the table.
  3. Sinking the ball is better than unbalancing the turn on the table in cutthroat. The player has to make sacrifices to move ahead.
  4. Winners can be judged on two different terms, they are:
    1. When most of the balls on the table belong to you.
    2. When you get more balls than your opponents.
  5. Players are allowed to shoot on every chance they get unless there’s a miss, foul or scratch, in these cases the match may get delayed for a bit unless it will continue without a stop.
  6. You will lose if all your balls are in your opponent team’s pockets. You will be directly eliminated without any word.
  7. After you are eliminated, if by chance your opponent commits a foul, then you can jump on the gaming grounds again.

These were the official rules of cutthroat. Even if any one of the above mentioned is not considered then that simply dictates that the game ongoing is not proper.

How do you play cutthroat pool?

how to play cutthroat pool

How to play cutthroat pool? If you are among those people who keep themselves updated with new games in the city, then you might have come across the word cutthroat and of course, after watching being obsessed with this new game, you might have thought, ‘how to play cutthroat pool?’, below is the detailed answer for this question:

  1. Arrange the balls in an 8-ball triangle set with one ball from each team’s set in every corner with one ball from every side on the triangle’s side.
  2. The player, who is chosen to play first will step out and start by breaking, if he/she pockets a ball then the person gets the right to decide which set of balls he would like to use first. 
  3. Generally, if a ball is sunk, the player does not get to choose the next set of balls. The advantage is only for the first player, who starts the game.
  4. Furthermore, each player will simply try to sink the ball of their opponent before their ball goes into their opponent’s pocket.
  5. If a player successfully sinks a ball, he/she can continue shooting.
  6. If a player scratches, all the players are free to place a ball back on the pool table.
  7. If a player’s balls are in his opponent’s pocket, he is eliminated. They may get a chance to hop in again if one of the remaining players scratches. 
  8. The player with most of his balls on the pool table is announced as the winner.

How do you set up a cutthroat pool?

Even though the game is different from your usual billiards game, the set-up in this game is simple. You’ll need your usual pool equipment like pool balls, a rack and of course, the stick. Take your standard rack and add the 1-ball at the top of it, on the apex so that it gets placed against the foot spot. Then manage the 6 and 11 balls on the corners of the triangle. The remaining balls can be placed as per your will.


We hope after completing reading the article, you got the answer to basic questions like, ‘What is cutthroat’, and ‘How to play cutthroat pool?’. The game is largely played around the globe. If you are a billiard player, it is a must for you to try it at least once. 


1. What happens in cutthroat when you scratch? 

A scratch is announced when you hit the ball and it slid into the pocket or out of the table. After you scratch, your opponent will get a chance to pull out one ball each on the pool table out of pockets. Basically, you are at a loss while your opponents are at a profit because of you.

2. What is Cutthroat Pool?

Cutthroat Pool is a popular variation of the traditional game of pool, played with three or more players. In this game, each player is assigned a group of balls (stripes, solids, or the 8-ball), and the objective is to eliminate the opponents’ balls while protecting your own.

3. How many players can participate in Cutthroat Pool?

Cutthroat Pool can be played with three or more players. However, it is important to note that the number of players must be divisible by three for an equal distribution of balls.

4. How are the balls assigned to players in Cutthroat Pool?

In Cutthroat Pool, the balls are typically divided into three groups: stripes, solids, and the 8-ball. The players are assigned one of these groups, and they must pocket the balls of their opponents’ groups while preserving their own.

5. What are the basic rules of Cutthroat Pool?

The basic rules of Cutthroat Pool involve each player trying to pocket the balls belonging to their opponents’ groups. However, players must first legally pocket one ball from their assigned group before they can target the opponents’ balls. The game continues until one player eliminates all of their opponent’s balls.

6. Are there any special rules or strategies in Cutthroat Pool?

While the primary objective in Cutthroat Pool is to eliminate opponents’ balls, players must also be strategic in protecting their own balls. It is common to see alliances forming among players to target a particularly strong opponent. Additionally, players may employ defensive shots to create difficult situations for their opponents.