How To Play Bank Pool: Complete Game Rules and Guidelines

Do you like a sprinkle of challenge in your pool games every now and then? Do you also dislike irrelevantly elaborate rules in your games? Then Bank pool might just be the perfect pool game for you! 

Although the game doesn’t have a specialized tournament in its name yet, its rules and guidelines are officially stated by the World Pool-Billiards Association. It’s an intriguing game of technique and strategy, which makes it especially common among gamblers. 

Owing to the limitations and exceptions of bank pool rules, it has gained the reputation of the cleanest of all games along with finding itself in the top ranking among most stringent pool games.

Let’s get well-versed with the game and find out below how and why it has earned itself this reputation.

What Is The Game Of Bank Pool?

Bank Pool Game Info image

Bank pool is a pocket billiard game that solely relies on bank shots. Internationally popular as the nine-ball banks, this game is played in multiple versions among multiple players. The rules are simple too. It simply changes the number of object balls and the target number of balls to bank for victory.

Number Of Players: 2 or more players

Ages: Tad bit difficult, making it ideal for players 13+

Difficulty: Medium to High

Main Objective: Bank 5 balls (in a rack of 9) or 8 balls (in a rack of 15).

Why We Love It: Bank pool introduces us to a completely new technique of playing pool that increases the difficulty level manifolds. The greater the difficulty, the more players want to master bank shots and win bank pool.

Brief History Of Bank Pool

The invention of the bank pool game is believed to be surprisingly random. The vertical walls on the edge of pool tables, commonly now known as rails, were often termed as banks owing to their function of preventing balls from falling off the table, which resembled riverbanks

The players started noticing that object balls would often bounce off the cushions on the rails and get pocketed, which inspired them to deliberately start aiming at them. Thus the term bank shot came into place and the game bank pool was an adaptation that was primarily based on the technique of banking the ball off a cushion for a successful shot.

While this game was officially played with the full rack and became popular all around the world, a shorter version with a smaller rack of 9 balls became especially popular in America and Britain towards the end of the 20th century.

What You Need To Play Bank Pool

There’s not much to worry about what you’d require for Bank pool; it’s easy to set up the game and a standard pool set should serve the purpose. Let’s check out the specifics of the equipment you’ll need to get started.

Pool Table

– Your traditional 6-pocket pool table measuring about 7-9 ft in length is ideal for the bank pool.

– Unlike conventional pool games, the bank pool game lays great emphasis on the cushions aligned with the racks.

– Choose a pool table with consistent and durable felt (see our guide on the best pool table felt) on the covering along with the overall hefty design.

GSE Games and Sports offer one of the billiard tables best in the segment with robust, reliable designs.

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1 cue ball and varying numbers of object balls are used.

– A traditional game of bank pool involves 15 balls.

– More popular versions are played with 9 balls.

– Numbers, colors, and patterns of the balls hold no value in the game.


– Bank Pool is flexible when it comes to racking, and according to the number of balls used, shapes of racks differ.

– For nine-ball banks, take a look at the diamond-shaped rack – a preferred choice for most players. On the other hand, a triangular rack serves the purpose for a 15 balls bank pool game.

– The balls are arranged randomly in the rack.

Cue Sticks

– Standard cue sticks are required measuring approximately 55 to 58 inches in length.

Billiard Deport’s affordable and long-lasting accessories include a pack of 4 cue sticks along with everything else you’ll need for several game nights of bank pool.

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Bank Pool Rules And Guidelines

Bank Pool is called the cleanest pool game for a reason – the validation of one single shot and elimination of all cluttering shots. Here’s a quick but comprehensive guide on the key elements of the bumper pool gameplay.


For a bank pool break to be legal, understandably, the banks are important. Minimum four balls must hit the rails, or the next in turn player will have to re-rack and re-break. Unlike other pool games, if one object ball is pocketed during the break but four object balls do not strike the rails, it is still considered an illegal break.

In fact, since bank pool is a call-shot game, any object ball pocketed during the break does not contribute to the score of the shooter and gets respotted. In this sense, the break shot is only of strategic importance and must be played with foresight and calculation to be able to follow up with bank shots.

What’s Allowed?

Bank shots, bank shots, and only bank shots into called pockets are allowed in this game. That means, for your pocketed ball to count in your score, your cue stick must first hit the cue ball, which must then hit a pre-called object ball, which must then sink down into the pre-called pocket after striking off one of the cushions on the rails.

The object ball’s contact with a cushion before being potted is the determining factor here.

What’s Not Allowed?

Any other shots — kick shots, kiss shots, combinations — are illegal according to bank pool rules. In an overview, any shot that disturbs the sequence (cue stick – cue ball – called object ball – cushion – called pocket) is not allowed.

How to Win at Bank Pool

The player who banks more than half of the rack first, wins the game.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the concept of ‘owing a ball’ in bank pool?

Unlike other pool games that involve respotting the ball during a foul, bank pool rules distance victory from a fouling player. The player owes an already pocketed ball to the table — meaning that a scored ball is respotted on the table — in case of a foul, and if another ball is pocketed during the foul shot, that is spotted as well.

How hard is it to bank 5 consecutive balls in the bank pool?

Not easy, but nothing that a professional cannot do. With a good hang of the game, banking shots actually seem like an easier technique as compared to several other shots like kick shots and kiss shots. The cushions are steady unlike the non-object balls on the table and the shots, therefore, are more likely to stick to the plan.

Is the bank pool game the hardest game in pocket billiards?

Bank pool rules certainly make it a tough nut to crack; however, it is a game that gets easier with experience. Some would, therefore, agree that one pocket or straight pool is harder than bank pool due to factors like the table clutter, fewer pockets to work with, and scoring on the opponent’s fouls.

Alternative Games to Bank Pool

Finding Bank Pool a bit too difficult? Then why not try one of these alternative games below to play with your friends.

Pool games have far more to offer than clean games like bank pool. Try your hand at the classics like eight-ball pool, or nine-ball pool. Get down and serious, and take your gaming experience a notch higher with ten-ball pool or bagatelle. Or maybe if you’re in the mood for some family pool fun, why not try bumper pool frenzy.

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