At Ricochet we pride ourselves on having fun and unique bar games. Bumper Pool is one of those games, and just because people don’t know the game, it’s rules or goals they tend to shy away from it. Here’s how to play bumper pool.
First a little history: The history of the table game “pocket billiards,” often referred to as “pool,” is really something of a mystery. The game originated in Europe and is known to be played mostly in France. In all likelihood, the game as we know it today is an evolutionary relative of croquet, or at least some similar outdoor ball-and-mallet lawn game. One thing is for certain: the game has gone through several changes, and produced a number of spinoffs.
The goal of croquet, a French lawn game, involves moving a ball through a gauntlet of hoops to reach a distinct destination by hitting it with a wooden mallet. At some point, this game was moved indoors. Over time, however, perhaps on account of lower back pains, players decided to transfer the game to a table. Since the balls had a tendency to fall off the table, wooden railings or bumpers were eventually incorporated in billiard table designs. Then the game evolved to include two pockets, rather than two cones or sticks, as goals. This setup gave rise to more pockets, and that brings us to billiards as we know it today.
How it’s played: Unlike traditional pool, there are only two pockets in bumper pool: one for each player. Additionally, there is no “cue” ball. Rather, each ball (5 per person) is shot directly and individually in an attempt to sink them all in the opposing pocket. Sounds easy so far? The most prominent difference between bumper pool and traditional pool is the former’s utilization of obstacles. Every bumper pool table comes equipped with 12 to 14 rubber pegs, called “bumpers,” that are situated upright in the center of the table, forming a large “X” shape. There is just enough space between each bumper to let a single ball pass through. Therefore, the strategy in bumper pool consists of lining up well angled shots that bank off the walls, through the bumper gauntlet, and into the goal pocket. In many ways bumper pool tables take the technical difficulty of traditional pool and make it even harder, forcing every player to be clever with his or her shots. Although there is no set “defensive” strategy, there is still a lot of careful planning involved in every single shot.
At Ricochet we love to show people new games and how they’re played. This is a great game for friends or couples. What makes it fun is the strategy behind the game and considering few people know about the game no one is too good at it, making it less fun to play with others. Challenge a friend at bumper pool at your next visit to Ricochet.