Danish pin billiards

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Danish pin billiards

Danish billiards or keglebillard, sometimes called Danish five-pin billiards, is the traditional cue sport of Denmark, and the game remains predominantly played in that country.[1] It makes use of a 5 × 10 ft (approximately 1.5 × 3 m) six-pocket table, three billiard balls, and five pins (skittles), which are considerably larger than those used in the similar and internationally standardized (originally Italian) game of five-pin billiards.


Billiard room at the Marienborg.

The aim of the game is to achieve a predetermined number of points in as few shots as possible. The game is played with one red ball and two white balls. In an inversion of the normal play in most three-ball games such as carom billiards and English billiards, the red ball is used as a cue ball by both players, with the whites as the object balls. There are two ways to score points. One is by knocking over one or more of the pins, for 2 points each, with a white object ball after hitting the white with the red cue ball (i.e. a combination ball-to-pin shot). The other is by "making red", that is, to have the cue ball hit both object balls, which gives 4 points.

It is a foul if the cue ball topples a pin or leaves the table, whether by a pocket or over the edge. A white ball leaving the table is not a foul. The second consecutive shot where red is not made and no ball touches a cushion is a foul. The third consecutive shot where no pin falls is a foul. The only effect of a foul is that the shot counts 0, ending the player's turn at the table.


When played as a pub/bar game, which it often is, it is common to use a variant called skomager ('shoemaker'). The main differences are the following: More than two can play. The players take turns, taking one shot each. In case of a foul, all other players get points. There are set penalties for each kind of foul. In addition, all points that would have been scored are also given as penalty points. E.g., if a player makes red, but the cue ball then topples one or more pins, all other players get 2 points per pin toppled plus 4 for the red. It is a foul to topple a pin, even with a white ball, unless either the white ball or the cue ball has hit a cushion on its way to the pin. Pocketing a white ball gives 2 points. "Pale", that is one white ball hitting the other, gives 4 points, unless red is scored in the same shot.

Svensk kægle[edit]

Svensk kægle ('Swedish pin') is a variation that has more in common with Italian five-pins: the optimal shot is to knock over the "king" pin (standing in the center of the pins) without toppling any other pins.