How to Play Pool by Yourself

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Most people play pool with 2 or more people. However, you can also play pool by yourself. Playing by yourself gives you a chance to improve your skills before you compete with other players. Here are numerous ways on how to play pool by yourself.

Learn How to Play Pool by Yourself

If you’re creative enough, you can play almost any pool game by yourself. It’s also fun on its own and an effective way to get better at playing and amaze your friends next time to get together to play.   

Person playing pool by himself

Solo 8 Ball

A lot of pool players play 8 ball pool and is one of the most popular pool games. While most people play 8 ball with 2 people, you can play it solo, too. 

To play solo 8 ball you need to:

  1. Rack all 15 balls like a regular 8 ball game with the 8 ball in the center surrounded by the other balls in random order. 
  2. Break and then decide to go with sinking the striped balls or solid balls first. 
  3. Proceed to sink the other and then pocket the 8 ball last. 

Solo 8 ball helps you practice your 8 ball skills and positioning. You also get to have fun by yourself and maybe easily beat your friends when you play them. 

Solo 9 Ball

9 ball is also one of the more popular pool games. You play 9 balls the same way you do when playing with someone else. 

  1. Rack the balls in 9 ball fashion.
  2. Break and then pocket the balls numerically from 1 to 9.
  3. You can pocket the 9 ball directly and win the game provided that you make a legal shot

To add more difficulty to the game, you can time yourself every time you take a shot. This way you’ll be under time pressure and improve your decision-making skills and shot-making ability under pressure. 

3 Ball

3 ball helps you improve your skills in setting up positioning with your shot. You also only get to use 3 balls and the white cue ball. The main objective of the game is to pocket the 3 balls in the least amount of shots you can take. To play simply:

  1. Set up the 3 balls in a triangular formation.
  2. Break the rack.
  3. Pocket the remaining balls in the fewest shots as possible.

Try to beat your current record with your next game or experiment in making difficult shots to improve your shot-making ability. The break counts as a shot while a miss or scratch counts as two shots. This game will help your decision-making and strategy, especially in the endgame. 

Fifteen in a Row

Fifteen in a row makes great practice for your overall planning and accurate shots. The goal of the game is to pocket a ball every time you make a shot. This includes the break. In order to play:

Pool tables lined up in a recreational center
  1. Break the rack and you need to at least pocket 1 ball. If you don’t pocket a ball you need to re-rack and start over again. 
  2. If you pocket a ball during the break, you can proceed to pocket the remaining balls. Remember, you need to pocket at least 1 ball for every shot you take. If you fail to pocket a ball, you have to start again from break. 
  3. You need to pocket at least 1 ball from every shot you take including the break until you pocket all fifteen balls. 

You don’t have to pocket the balls in any order so you can pick a shot that’s most convenient for you. However, if you want to add more difficulty, you can pocket the balls in numerical order. It’ll help you with shot planning and positioning.

Ghost Pool

The ghost pool pairs you up with a “ghost” player. You can set the game up as an 8 ball or 9 ball depending on what you want. Here’s how to play ghost pool:

  1. Rack the ball either 8 ball or 9 ball style.
  2. Break the rack and give yourself ball in hand.
  3. Place the white cue ball wherever you want and proceed to pocket every ball in 1 turn.
  4. If you miss a shot or scratch the cue ball, the ghost player wins automatically.
  5. You get a win if you manage to pocket all balls in a single turn. 

You can do a race to 5 or more games to determine the winner between you and the ghost player. This game helps you build more confidence in taking shots as missing a shot awards your opponent an automatic win. 

Baca Ball

Baca ball works the same way as regular 9 ball yet you play solo. The goal of the game is to pocket the balls in ascending order from the lowest number until the highest number. However, you award a point for every shot you take. To do this:

  1. Rack the balls just like you would do in a 9 ball game.
  2. Break and proceed to pocket the balls in order. 
  3. You start the game with 10 points. For every scratch, foul, or miss, you get an additional point.  
  4. A set ends when you pocket the 9 ball. 

The game ends after 5 or more rounds and you tally up your points. The lowest score you can get is 100. Getting 100 should be your main goal in every game. 

Speed Pool

Speed pool tests your ability to perform under pressure. Speed pool plays almost exactly the same as an 8 ball. However, you’re racing against time. 

Close up of a person about to shoot a pool ball
  1. Rack the balls in 8 ball order
  2. Set a timer depending on you. Most people do 20 minutes and if you want to add more difficulty, go with 10 minutes. 
  3. You can start with 20 minutes and then gradually reduce the time as you get better. 

Speed pool helps you improve in pool games where time matters. Especially if you want to play in local or national tournaments, getting used to playing under time pressure will be very helpful. 

Target Pool

Target pool lets you improve your cue ball positioning and cue ball control. You need a kit to play this game that you can order online which comes with targets, an instruction book, and scorebooks. 

The goal of target pool is to pocket a ball while having your cue ball positioned inside or overlapping a target area. This may be hard at first yet you have an instruction book to guide you and teach you how to do it. 

You may find some shots to be difficult and it will greatly help improve your cue ball control. You can also use napkins or paper as your target if you don’t want to spend. However, you may want to look at the internet for some instructionals for cue ball positioning. 

Fargo Pool

Fargo pool doesn’t concern you with time at all. You win the game by racking up points. It’s more of a shot game where you call a ball and pocket it to where you called it. 

  1. Start by racking 15 balls in 8 ball style.
  2. Break and have the ball in hand. You also don’t get any penalty if you scratch the ball on break. 
  3. Call the ball you’re trying to pocket.
  4. You score a point if you successfully pocket the ball and lose a point if you don’t.
  5. The game usually lasts for 10 racks and you total your points. 

You can decide to score more points by adding difficulty in calling your shots. For example, calling a shot with caroms, kisses, or cushions may score 3 points, and pocketing 2 balls scores you 5 points. It all depends on you. 

Cowboy Pool

Cowboy pool may surprise you as it plays the same way as 8 ball. However, you play it backward. Instead of hitting the white cue ball, you use the object balls. 

  1. Rack the ball as you would do in 8 ball. 
  2. Break using the white cue ball. 
  3. Use the object ball to make a shot. The object ball must hit the white cue ball before it goes into a pocket. You also have to follow the order of taking a shot the same way with 8 ball. 

Cowboy pool helps you with how you angle your shots and make for a better position play. Although it may look unconventional, it’s a fun way for you to learn pool skills.

Pool balls scattered on the table

Why Play Pool on Your Own

You might find it uncomfortable playing pool on your own. This holds true if you can’t afford to own a pool table. Going into pool halls alone would make anyone feel uncomfortable. 

However, there are merits you gain from playing pool all on your own. These are:

  • You get to play at your own pace: aside from time usage in pool halls, you have the time all for yourself. There’ll be no one that’s gonna tell you to quickly take your shot. Therefore, you can focus on improving your shot accuracy and technique.
  • You get to practice and improve your game: you can focus on practicing and improving on what you’re lacking in the pool game. You usually don’t get to in pool games with 2 or more players because you got to stick to the rules. Some people also place bets or consequences for losing so you don’t have room to experiment. 
  • You can review your own skills and mistakes: you don’t often get to review your shots and where you got it wrong if you play with other people. These games are often fast-paced so there’s not much you can do about it. 

If you have your own pool table, then that’s better. You can play without worrying about time at all. The only way you improve in pool is by playing it many times. 

Tips for Playing Pool on Your Own

If you still feel uncomfortable playing alone at the pool hall, we can give you a few tips. You also need to know what you’ll focus on when you play on your own.

  • Don’t mind your surrounding: it’s perfectly normal to play by yourself. In fact, a lot of professional pool players play pool on their own to sharpen their skills. You will also tend to get someone who will ask to play with you. 
  • Practice shots that you find hard: playing alone relieve pressure off you from an opponent. You can take this opportunity to get better at shots that you struggle to make. Before going to the pool hall, you can think about the shots that you typically miss and work on it when you get to the pool hall.
  • Master your stroke: a good stroke can decide if you made a good shot or bad shot. Make sure you have a smooth and consistent stroke and you’ll become a better pool player. Pool games have often been decided by who has the most consistent stroke.  
  • Take your time: you have all the time for yourself so you can relax and enjoy playing pool by yourself. 


Playing pool by yourself is doable and it can be fun. You can improve your skills and work on the things that you have problems with. Don’t be shy to play pool by yourself as it may help you win games with your friends.