Bar billiards

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Bar billiards
Bar billiards table 1.jpg
A Bar billiards table.
Highest governing body All England Bar Billiards Association
First played 1930s
Contact No
Type Cue sport
Equipment Cue, Billiard balls, Skittles

Bar billiards is a form of billiards which involves scoring points by potting balls in holes on the playing surface of the table rather than in pockets. The game of bar billiards developed originally from the French billiard, which due to the expensive tables in the fifteenth century was played only by the French monarchy and the very rich.[1] The game was transformed into Billiard Russe during the 16th century for the Russian Tsars and a derivative of Bagatelle played by French royalty.[2]

Bar billiards was first imported into the UK during the early 1930s when David Gill, an Englishman witnessed a game of billiard russe taking place in Belgium.[2] He persuaded the Jelkes company of Holloway Road in London to make a similar but not exact bar billiards table. It is now a traditional bar game played in leagues in the English counties of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Hampshire, Kent, Norfolk, Northamptonshire, Oxfordshire, Suffolk, Surrey, Sussex and Yorkshire, and also the Channel Islands. The game's governing body is the All England Bar Billiards Association. There are also leagues in Guernsey and Jersey. Tables were also made by Sams, Riley, Burroughs & Watts and Clare. The standard "league" tables have a playing surface approximately 32 inches (81 cm) wide. Sams also made a narrower version with a 28-inch (71 cm) width playing surface.[citation needed]

How the game is played[edit]

Table with mushroom-style skittles

Bar billiards is played on a unique table with no side or corner pockets but with nine holes in the playing surface which are assigned various point values ranging from 10 to 200. There are eight balls in all, seven white and one red. Potting the red ball in any hole scores double points. On the playfield are normally placed three pegs or mushrooms. There are two white pegs one either side of the 100 hole with one black peg in front of the 200 hole. Earliest versions of the game used wooden mushrooms instead of pegs which have a thin curved stalk and a flattish rounded cap. These were normally placed in front of the 50 and 200 holes often with a fourth mushroom in front of the 100 hole. This version was often referred to as Russian billiards, probably named after the very similar French and Belgian game billiard russe which has a longer history, neither are to be confused with the common billiards game in Russia. There are a couple of leagues that still play this version in East Anglia in the Norwich and Sudbury areas.

If a white peg is knocked over then the player's break is ended and all score acquired during that break is discarded. Knocking down the black peg ends the player's break and all points are lost. In the case that a white and a black peg are both knocked over, then the first peg to be knocked over is counted. All shots are played from the front end of the table so access to all sides is not required which is ideal in a smallish bar or pub. At the start of the game or when there are no balls remaining on the table a white ball is placed on the spot on the 'D' and the red ball is placed on the spot in front of that. This 'Break shot' may be done a maximum of three times if both balls are potted before one ball must remain on the table known as the '1-up', failing to leave this one ball up results in a foul and loss of break. The next shot attempted is the 'split shot' where the object ball is usually potted in the 50 hole and the cue ball is potted in the 100 hole. There are variants to this, sometimes it is necessary to pot the balls into the 50 an 10 holes for example. If successful the break shot can be used again and so on.

Players take alternate turns or 'breaks' at the table playing from where their opponent has left off. If the player fails to pot a ball then the break has ended and the second player takes his break by placing another ball on the first spot. If all balls are in play, then the nearest ball to the 'D' is removed and put on the spot. If a player fails to hit a ball, then the break ends and all points earned in that break are lost. The play is time-limited. A coin will usually give around 17 minutes of play dependent on region. After this time a bar drops inside the table stopping any potted balls from returning, leading to a steady decrease in the number of balls in play. The last ball can only be potted into either the 100 or 200 hole having been played off either side cushion.

Bar Billiards World Championship[edit]

The Bar Billiards World Championship (called the British Isles Open up to 1999) is held every year in Jersey. This is a list of past winners and runners up:

Year Winner from Runner-up from
1981 Harry Siddal Jersey Derek Payne Oxon
1982 Graham Bisson Jersey Clarrie Querrie Jersey
1983 Tim Ringsdore Jersey Micky Daw Jersey
1984 Peter Noel Jersey Don Cadec Jersey
1985 Bernie McCluskey Berkshire Peter Webb Guernsey
1986 Dave Harris Berkshire Peter Noel Jersey
1987 Wayne Poingdestre Jersey Kevin Tunstall Oxon
1988 Alan Le Blond Jersey Micky Daw Jersey
1989 Trevor Gallienne Guernsey Bob Taylor Kent
1990 Steve Ahier Jersey Terry Race Sussex
1991 Steve Ahier Jersey Simon Tinto Surrey
1992 Dennis Helleur Jersey Harry Barbet Jersey
1993 Kevin Tunstall Oxon Graham Bisson Jersey
1994 Kevin Tunstall Oxon Tony Walsh Berkshire
1995 Tony Walsh Berkshire Mark Brewster Kent
1996 Terry Oakley Surrey Don Cadec Jersey
1997 Jim Millward Sussex Steve Ahier Jersey
1998 Keith Sheard Oxon Nick Barnett Jersey
1999 Peter Noel Jersey Terry Race Sussex
2000 Bernie McCluskey Berkshire Bob King Jersey
2001 Jim Millward Sussex Kevin Tunstall Oxon
2002 Terry Race Sussex Nigel Ryall Jersey
2003 Jim Millward Sussex Terry Race Sussex
2004 Terry Race Sussex Nigel Ryall Jersey
2005 Graeme Le Monnier Jersey Harry Barbet Jersey
2006 Kevin Tunstall Oxon Jim Millward Sussex
2007 Trevor Gallienne Guernsey Jim Millward Sussex
2008 Trevor Gallienne Guernsey Kevin Tunstall Sussex
2009 Phil Collins Cholsey Paul Sainsbury Berkshire
2010 Jim Millward Sussex Graham Bisson Jersey
2011 Kevin Tunstall Sussex Steven Sheard Oxon
2012 Kevin Tunstall Sussex Paul Sainsbury Reading
2013 Mark Trafford Oxford Nigel Senior Sussex [3]
2014 David Ingram Sussex Kevin Tunstall Sussex
2015 Paul Sainsbury Reading James Jeanne Jersey [4]
2016 Matthew Jones Buckinghamshire Mark Brewster Kent [5]
2017 Mark Trafford Oxford Kevin Tunstall Sussex [6]

Roll of Honour (Multiple World Champions)[edit]

Kevin Tunstall 5, Jim Millward 4, Trevor Gallienne 3, Peter Noel 2, Steve Ahier 2, Bernie McCluskey 2, Terry Race 2, Mark Trafford 2.


  1. ^ "Billiard Russe Talou". 2017. 
  2. ^ a b "History of Bar Billiards". 2001. 
  3. ^ "World Championships 2016". Jersey Bar Billiard League. 2016. 
  4. ^ "World Championships 2015". 2015. 
  5. ^ "World Championships 2016 Live update". Jersey Bar Billiard League. 2016. 
  6. ^ "World Championships 2017 Results". Jersey Bar Billiard League. 2017. 

External links[edit]