Copyright (C) 1995, 2003 Victor S. Engel

All rights reserved.


Except when clearly contradicted by these additional rules, the General Rules of Pocket Billiards apply.
Note: These rules were slightly changed on January 19, 2003.


The inspiration for Up and Down was a simple question: "Why, in pocket billiard games is there only one cue ball?" Up and Down is an answer to this question. In Up and Down, the standard 16 balls are used, as in 8-ball, but every ball may be used as a cue ball. The solid white ball is no longer to be referred to as the cue ball, but as the zero ball.


Up and Down is a call shot game in which the winner is the player to score the most points. Any ball currently on the table may be used as the current cue ball. The player must pocket the next consecutive ball counting from the cue ball still on the table. One player plays in ascending order (going up); the other player plays in descending order (going down). Which player plays in ascending and which plays in descending order is determined by the first player to make a called shot. Points can be gained or lost during the course of the game. The player with the most points at the end of the game wins.


One point is gained for each ball pocketed as called as long as it is a legal shot.
One point is lost for each foul committed.
It is possible for a player to have a negative score.

The Break:

The zero ball is used as the cue ball for the break. The remaining balls, numbered 1 through 15 are arranged in any order using a triangle rack with the leading ball on the head spot. The cue ball must be shot from the kitchen, and must strike the leading ball. At least one ball must be pocketed (cue ball does not count) or four balls driven to the rails. If these requirements are not met, it is a foul, the breaker loses one point, and the opponent breaks. The balls are reracked if they were disturbed. If any balls are pocketed on the break (except the cue ball), the player takes another turn, but no points are scored. If no balls are pocketed, the player's inning ends. The table is always open immediately following the break. An open table is one in which it has not yet been determined which player plays in ascending order and who plays in descending order. When the table is open, the current player may use as his object ball any ball on the table, so long as it is the next consecutive number, relative to the cue ball still on the table.


Balls are never spotted in Up and Down - not even if they jump the table. The following are fouls in Up and Down: If a player commits a foul, he loses a point and play continues to the next player.

Legal Shot:

A player may select any ball currently on the table as the cue ball. The restriction of play is on the object ball. The only playable object ball is the next consecutive number relative to the cue ball that is still on the table. If the player is going up, he must pocket the next highest ball still on the table. If the player is going down, the ball he must pocket is the next smaller number. If the player pockets a ball legally without committing a foul, he takes another turn. He may select a new cue ball for each turn. His new cue ball can be any ball on the table. In this way, the cue ball from one turn may be set up as the object ball of another turn.

The ball numbering system wraps. For example, if the current player is shooting up, and he is using the 15 ball as the cue ball, his object ball must be the lowest numbered ball still on the table. Likewise, if the current player is going down, and he is using the zero ball, he must pocket the highest ball still on the table.

Combination Shots and Caroms:

Combination shots and carom shots are allowed in Up and Down. However, the ball eventually pocketed, must be the next consecutive number. Note that first contact must also be made with the next consecutive ball. As a practical matter, this means that combination shots are usually not possible unless they involve a double-kiss.

Pocketing Multiple Balls

A player may pocket more than one ball with one shot. However, both balls must be called. Furthermore, both balls must be the next consecutive numbers still on the table (each is the next consecutive number if the other is pocketed). The most likely place for this to be used to strategic effect is at the end of the game. The game ends when there are no more object balls. If there are two balls left on the table, normally, one would be the cue ball, and the other would be the object ball. However, in order to score an extra point, the player may elect to pocket both balls. In this case, he must call both balls, and the cue ball must be the second ball to be pocketed. If the player pockets only one ball, he gains one point for the ball that was pocketed legally and loses one point for the one that was not pocketed (net zero points). If the ball that was pocketed is the cue ball, the player loses two points: one for each ball. This is because the cue ball can only be an object ball after another ball has been pocketed.

End of Game:

The game ends when there are no more object balls on the table. Normally, there would be one ball (the final cue ball) left. A cue ball cannot also be an object ball unless there is another object ball on the table. The player with the most points wins the game. In match play, scoring is done by counting wins/losses/draws. In the case of a tie, total point scores are tallied for each player involved in the tie. The player with the highest total point score wins the match. A game can also end by concession. For example, in individual play, if one player is down by 5 points, and there are only 4 balls left on the table, the player may concede the game since the final score has no meaning other than to determine a winner. In tournament play, however, if a player concedes, the other player must agree. This is because the final score tallied is the score obtained so far in the game. This score could be important in determining tie breakers.

Suggestions by Visitors for Rule Modifications

Remove the rule about the object ball having to be pocketed prior to the cue ball being pocketed. This modification was suggested in part because there are situations where it is impossible to tell which ball went in first. It has also been suggested that removing this rule would simplify the game.
Send comments to author, Victor Engel at
X ball 1 shot is a game inspired by Up and Down.
Up and Down Freestyle is another version of Up and Down with slightly different rules.
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