How to Play French Billiards: A Beginner’s Guide

If you’re looking to try your hand at a new and exciting cue sport, look no further than French billiards. This captivating game is full of strategy, precision, and skill. Whether you’re a complete beginner or have some experience with other cue sports like pool or snooker, this comprehensive guide will walk you through the basics of playing French billiards.

1. Understanding the Basics

Playing French billiards involves using three balls – two white and one red – on a 2-meter long table covered in green cloth. The objective is to score points by hitting both white balls with your cue ball in order for it to strike the red ball.

A) Scoring System

Each time your cue ball contacts the red ball without knocking it off the table, you earn one point. Additionally, if your shot results in making contact with both white balls (cue-to-cue or cue-to-white), scoring two points per stroke is possible.

B) Fouls

Similar to other cue sports, certain actions can lead to fouls in French billiards. These include missing all three balls during a stroke or failing to hit any white ball after striking the red within three consecutive turns. Committing fouls results in penalty points added to your opponent’s score.

2. Mastering Techniques

A) Grip and Stance

To achieve accuracy and control over your shots, it’s essential to establish a solid grip on the cue while maintaining proper body alignment throughout each stroke.

B) Stroke Technique

When delivering each shot, focus on smoothly accelerating through the cue ball while keeping your eyes fixed on its intended target point – either one of the white balls or the red ball. Consistency and precision are key.

C) Spin and English

Experimenting with different spins, also known as “sidespin” or “English,” can significantly impact the direction and trajectory of your shots. Familiarize yourself with applying spin to control rebounds and improve positioning for subsequent moves.

3. Developing Strategies

A) Setting Up Shots

Planning ahead is crucial in French billiards. Assess the layout of the balls on the table and consider how each shot will influence subsequent ones, aiming to create favorable opportunities while minimizing risks.

B) Defensive Moves

Alongside offensive strategies, it’s important to anticipate your opponent’s moves in order to set up defensive positions that limit their chances of scoring points effectively. This can involve blocking certain angles or creating difficult shot scenarios for them.


French billiards offers an engaging alternative for cue sports enthusiasts looking to try something new. With its unique ruleset, mastering this game requires practice, patience, and strategic thinking. By understanding the basics, honing your techniques, and developing effective strategies, you’ll be well on your way to enjoying countless hours of thrilling gameplay with friends or opponents alike!