How many times have you gone to the pool hall to practice, or bang the ball with your friends, only to feel a little blasé about the usual games? 8-ball just seems so… plain, and you’re just not feeling 9-ball. Straight pool? Boring! One-Pocket? Um… what part of “boring” didn’t you understand?
It would sure be nice if there were some other games to play, wouldn’t it?
Fear not, my friend! I’m here to help!
Over the next few articles, I’m going to teach you some new games to play. Hopefully, these will help you out on those days when you want to play something a little more unconventional!
This month’s game is Honolulu. Other names for this game are Banks, Kisses and Combos, or Indirect. It’s a very similar game to Banks. The object of the game of Honolulu is to be the first player to pocket 8 balls.
A ball only counts if you make it in the pocket you call. And it only counts if you make it by any means, except straight in.
That’s right – you can bank it, kick it, carom, or make a combo. As long as you call the ball and pocket, and it goes in any other way than straight into the pocket, you score a point and continue your turn at the table.
The caveat here is that you cannot “kick” or “bank” off of the rail that’s connected to the pocket. So, a shot that goes into the corner after brushing the rail just before it goes in does NOT count – that’s considered a straight-in shot.
Called shots must even be made on the break. A common call is the head ball in the side pocket. If you do not pocket a called ball, 2 balls must hit a rail. Failure to do so is a foul.
Fouls are standard: failure to hit a rail after striking a ball, scratching, and hitting the cue ball off of the table are all fouls. The penalty for fouling is the loss of a ball. If you have made balls, one ball is brought back to the table and is spotted on the foot spot. If you do not have any balls down, you will owe a ball.
Honolulu is a fantastic game to practice some of your more unorthodox shots. It also teaches you to look at the table a little differently, and may open your eyes to new possibilities that you may not have considered in a standard game of 8-ball.
If this game is a little too challenging for you, you might consider playing with 9 balls, instead of 15, and the first person to make 5 balls wins.
Another variation is to take ball-in-hand for every shot, or at the beginning of each inning. Sounds like this would be easy, but believe me, it’s still challenging. This is also a good way to handicap your game if your opponent is a weaker player – they get ball in hand every time, and you do not.