The Basic Shot
The basic idea of Kentucky Pool is to bounce your ball (stripe or solid) off the cue ball and into the pocket.
It’s not immediately obvious, but the real trick to the game is how much English to put on the object ball. With just the right amount of English, you can come bounce off the cue ball in almost any direction.
The actual rule of the game is, “It has to be all your balls to the cue ball and the cue ball has to move before you ball goes in, and slop counts.”
You can see that all the shots above are legal because only solid balls were used before hitting the cue ball, and the cue ball moved before the object ball went in. It would be legal for a striped ball to have been in the combination after the cue ball as, at that point, slop counts.
One shot that comes up surprisingly often is the reach-around. Whenever the cue ball is farther than a ball’s width away from the rail, you can often sneak around behind it off the rail, hit the cue ball just before it’s center-line, and ricochet into the pocket.
The problem with this shot, as you can see from one of the attemps in the picture, is that it’s also fairly easy to scratch by putting the cue ball in the opposite corner.
English and Valiant Attempts
Generally speaking, Kentucky Pool is a lot harder than regular 8-ball. (Making the quarters last longer is a good thing.) If you play Kentucky Pool regularly, with a bit of imagination and a willingness to try tough shots, your command of English on the ball will dramatically improve.
We highly encourage “valiant attempts” up to and including circus shots that would be illegal in most games. It’s mostly about having fun, after all.