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What Is Carom?

If you’re the player that always seems to go in-off and pot the white ball unexpectedly… This one is definitely for you.  To be a successful Pool Player you need to know your angles.  Too often, beginners are all POT, POT, POT!  It’s time to perfect your angles.  This is where a relatively unknown (in the U.K) game called Carom could help you.

I am a player that always accidentally Pots the Cue Ball, So what is Carom?

Carom is a cue sport game that originates from France in the 18th Century.  The game is played on a 10 x 5 foot table with no pockets.  Carom like a simplified version of English Billiards.  There are 3 balls in play. 2 Cue Balls, 1 for each player – and an object ball.  The aim of the game is to strike your cue ball into one ball and then subsequently cannon (carom) into the other ball.  There are different disciplines and variations of the game which often determine how many cushions (rails) your cue ball must strike before the carom.  One of the most popular disciplines is 3-Cushion Carom.  Here are some brilliant examples by a fine Swedish Carom cueist, Torbjorn Blomdahl:

*This Video Credit is from ‘3 Cushions Shots Amazing’ on YouTube.

How can Carom and Practicing Pool Angles help Improve my 8-Ball game?

As you saw in the video above, the art of Carom is all about knowing your angles.  Knowing your angles is an essential part of any cue sport game.  The main areas in which angles are useful in 8-Ball Pool are situations such as:

  • Escaping from / Getting out of Snookers
  • Playing Positional Shots, especially those when the cue ball is bouncing off one or more cushions.
  • As mentioned in the opening paragraph, knowing your angles is notbaly useful for players avoiding foul shots by pocketing the white ball, or opponent’s ball(s) unintentionally.
  • Developing your bad balls (balls that are in un-pottable positions) by playing cannons (caroms).
  • Playing Doubles or Kick Shots.

When playing Carom, instead of neglecting work on your angles, you will be 100% focussed on nothing but the angles at which the cue ball deflects off the object ball and the cushions.

Where Can I Play Carom in the U.K?

Here’s the tricky part.  Specific Carom Tables are hard to come by in the U.K as the game is predominantly played in North America.  Having said that, the most effective way to improve your 8-Ball skills would be to practice Carom Billiards on an 8-Ball Pool table – as these tables are smaller, therefore the angles are different.  Now this is not a completely foolproof solution as you won’t have the corner rails to play with, but you could simply stuff all of the 8-Ball pockets with cloths (kitchen roll, underpants, socks or almost anything else you can find).   Then you can execute your carom shots off 1, 2 or 3 cushions.  If you’re playing alone then you don’t even need 2 cue balls, you can just use 1 white ball, 1 red and one yellow.

  1. Firstly start with one cushion Carom until you successfully make 5 Cannons in a row.
  2. Secondly, repeat the above; your target this time is another 5 hits in a row by hitting 2 rails before the carom.
  3. Lastly, once you’ve hit 5 successful shots off 2 Cushions… You guessed it!  Aim for 5 shots in succession off 3 cushions.

***Disclaimer – If you’re playing in a pub or club where the tables are pay per play, ask permission from the table owner as they may not be too happy with you for making your game last all night by stuffing the pockets with your underpants! I don’t want angry Pool Club owners up and down the country complaining to me because I said it was okay! 🤦🏻

It pays to be creative in your practice methods! Here is an example diagram of a 2 cushion Carom attempt:

2 Cushion Billiard / Carom Example
Carom Table with 3 Angles To Show 2-Cushion Shot

As you can see in the diagram, there are 3 angles at play in this 2-cushion cannon shot.  The first is the angle of deflection when the cue ball strikes the yellow ball.  The second Angle is the angle at which the white ball collides with the side cushion and heads towards the bottom rail.  The last angle is the one from the bottom cushion into the red ball. Each contact point and angle must be pre-determined by the player in order to make the shot a success.  I hope now you can see why knowing your angles is so important for your game?

Let me know how you go on!  Also, I’d love to see some of the weird and wonderful objects you use to block your pockets.  Send them over to me, purely for my amusement purposes of course! 😂

Until next time, I hope this helps you Raise Your Game! 🎱