How to Play Carom

Carom Billiards, also called French Billiards, is played with three balls (one white cue ball, one yellow cue ball and one red object ball) on a table without pockets. The object is to complete ‘carom’ by driving one of the cue balls into both of the other balls.

Depending on the discipline, the ‘carom’ must be done in combination with a minimum designated number of cushions, One or Three, with imposed rules as in Balk Line or Free Game and Five Pins or Artistic Billiard. Each successful carom counts as one point. The player continues his series until he misses the shot. The match is played in one set or several sets at a specified number of points. A shoot-out will determine the winner in the event of a tie.


  • The players lag (or string) to determine who will shoot first. For the first (break) shot, the red is placed on a spot at one end of the table and the two cue balls at the other. The first shot must be to the red ball.
  • Although the cue ball must make at least three cushion contacts before contacting the second object ball, a single cushion may be used for multiple contacts. Shots may also be made with cushion contacts before striking either object ball.
  • If a foul occurs, such as accidentally touching a ball or sending a ball onto the floor, the player’s turn ends but there is no point penalty.

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