Best Free Billiards and Pool Game

 
Introduction

There are a slew of free Pool games available out there. If you want to derive solid enjoyment plus the satisfaction of an undertaking well-performed, then you'll of course want a game that has realistic 3D graphics, intuitive easy-to-use controls, and conformance to and enforcement of the rules of the sport. You may also want to try your hand against a computer opponent, which is a feature that some titles offer.

Eventually, if your zeal reaches a certain plateau, you might want to play the sport over the Internet and challenge complete strangers …perhaps participate in a tournament or even join a cyberspace pool league. Be wary though, because many cyberspace pool halls offer the game product for free, then ask you to wager with real money in their online games. That is illegal for minors, and it is prohibited in a number of jurisdictions, including nine states in the USA. Some sites offer a choice of playing stakes: real money or play money. 

One thing you need to ask yourself is “How much aiming assistance do I want from the computer”? Clearly, the computer can theoretically tell you exactly where an object ball is going to travel, well before it is struck. Some PC games kibitz you graphically in real time while you're adjusting your aim at the cue ball. You'll need to decide if you're comfortable with such presaged insights.

And let's not overlook ambiance either. I refer to the little aesthetic touches that enrich the scene, including decor, music, rendered animations of people and audible commentary of ongoing contests.

Below, we attempt to discover the crème de la crème of 3D computer Pool and Billiards games.

 
In a Hurry?

Go to details...  Go straight to the Quick Selection Guide

 
Discussion

8BallClub Screenshot8BallClub is an exceptionally refined application connected to what appears to be a safe and reasonable online gaming site. With 8BallClub you can play Snooker, 8-Ball, 9-Ball and Rotation Pool. Note that you will be required to choose a username and password and provide an email address before anything else happens. If that's acceptable, then go ahead. Before challenging online opponents, you can select "Practice" and indulge to your heart's content, in regular two-player mode. There is, however, a 60-second time limit imposed for taking each shot – a perfectly reasonable constraint.

This Pool game has probably the best graphics and the most intuitive controls of any. It is stellar in its scope and imagination. But be aware that once you leave the practice table and seek out community opponents, the site allows wagering with real money. So you'll be wise and choose the Fun Money mode, which is the default. You'll be able to compete for ratings, play in tournaments, and one day perhaps see your chosen pseudonym posted on their Hall of Fame. There are various promotions offered and come-ons for their other sports, so watch your step.

Actual gameplay is controlled with just your mouse. Left-click to aim, right-click to shoot. It's great how intuitive they've made the mechanics and I don't fully understand it. When you hold the mouse's right button it signifies that your aiming is completed and locked in. You then pull the mouse toward you and lightly shove it forward. Unlike many other Pool games, there is no gauge shown beforehand, revealing the impetus that your stroke will impart. That statistic is displayed right after the shot is made. Mainly, you simply perceive from the resulting motions what the strength of your stroke was. It's uncanny really but with ever-so-little practice, the knack of making the shot you intend becomes a breeze.

You'll also have the ability to apply off-center English and/or incline the cue for massé shots. You can move around the table and see things from any angle. You can choose the standard first-person view from behind the cue stick or opt for an overhead view. Better yet, you can elect to keep a semitransparent miniature display of the overhead view on screen while using the primary one. The controls and options are exceptionally well conceived and implemented. There is also a small unobtrusive “Aim Assist” display in the lower right, showing precisely and to full scale just how the cue ball will impact the object ball. This game is just like being there, or maybe better.

 

Pool Rebel For Windows ScreenshotPool Rebel For Windows is a small download and well worth it. It is a commercial product developed originally for mobile devices, such as PocketPCs and Smartphones; yet its developer, Nikos Konstas, has graciously seen fit to contribute a totally free version of the game he adapted for Windows 2000, XP and Vista. Pool Rebel For Windows runs in a resizable window up to about 965 pixels wide, which makes the game table at most 650 pixels wide. An overhead view is the only view afforded. Those are its limitations. But Pool Rebel has so many features and options, it's almost dizzying. It offers five different sports, 8-Ball, 8-Ball under UK rules, 9-Ball, 14.1 Continuous and One Pocket. It affords play between two human adversaries as well as man against machine, with settable skill levels. There are thirteen possible color choices for the table cloth. My personal favorite is Camel. You can play a single game at a time or play a "best of" series, up to 21 games.

One truly remarkable feature of Pool Rebel is the ability to play against an online opponent without deference to any gaming web site. It is strictly peer-to-peer technology! You simply look for and accept a pending challenge among other worldwide users who've put forth one, or make your own choices for the game and its parameters and wait for a taker. And speaking of parameters, Pool Rebel offers selectable aim assistance: None, Minimal, Default or Full. If you select Full, then you can make sensational 3-bank shots nearly every time.

The game's controls are straightforward enough, using the mouse to aim the cue stick and augmenting with up/down arrow keys for even finer control. The user chooses the strength of his shot beforehand from a sliding scale, and may select point-of-impact if desired for applying English, as well as cue incline for massé shots. Then just click the big Shoot button. The Menu is gained at any time by clicking on the three cue balls shown in the lower right corner. From there, an interrupted game can be Saved for later reloading. Moreover, a history of each shot is maintained and you can elect to forsake the current state and instead resume play from some earlier point. Why, I'm not sure. Pool Rebel For Windows is a fabulous feature-packed product, unrestricted and completely free.

 

Carom3D ScreenshotCarom3D ScreenshotCarom 3D is a game that is sure to engross, entertain and amuse. It is associated with an ostensibly safe and sane online gaming site, but the software can be used without an Internet connection at all. You won't even need to register a username or give your email address – just choose Practice mode and you'll be right in the swim with a couple of real fine animated tootsies.

Yes, this delightful game is loaded with ambiance. You get a choice of 5 richly-appointed table venues, one of which is outdoors at the beach. You'll see and occasionally hear the two cartoon ladies reacting excitedly to the shots you and your opponent make. It's hilarious! Lighthearted background music is also provided. The game mechanics are perfectly sound as well. Four different sports are offered, 8-Ball, Card Ball, 3-Ball and 4-Ball, while the program diligently enforces the rules. With such extravagance and scope, the download file is naturally enormous, 61.2 megabytes. Aiming isn't hard because the software shows you with dotted lines – while you are modifying your aim – what the resultant trajectories of both cue ball and object ball will be. Be advised to hold down the Shift key to attain finer control over aiming. To shoot, hold the Ctrl key while shoving the mouse forward. At first, that operation seems a bit intimidating and it will require some practice, but you'll get the hang of it quickly enough and the software will help you master it. There is a time limit imposed for taking each shot.

Try this game out for fun, even if you have to wait overnight for the download. As for the associated online goings-on, this reviewer has not explored them deeply, and leaves it to individual users to pursue that avenue if and when their hearts so move them.

 

BilliardGL ScreenshotBillardGL is a brilliantly crafted open-sourced freeware game that affords play of either 8-Ball or 9-Ball. The 3D graphics are second-to-none and the physics appear flawless.

Unfortunately, this game as yet has no sound effects at all, and those are sorely missed. The user interface is simple and the controls straightforward. As you assess your next shot, you can view the table layout from any perspective you want, roaming and zooming and peering. Then you proceed to "Aim" mode in which your perspective, naturally, is from behind the cue ball. From there you can again zoom in and out, or see from any varying height, as you move the mouse left and right to adjust your aim. That's all there is to aiming in this game, as the software offers no projection lines or view insets or kibitzing of any kind.

In that regard, the gameplay in BillardGL is most like the real life experience. As yet there are no provisions for applying English or making massé (inclined cue stick) shots. Those may come in a future release (along with sound, I hope). Once your aim is fixed, you shoot by holding the space bar for a time and then releasing it. The longer you hold, the greater will be the impetus of your shot. As your guide, the software displays a gauge off to the side, showing the ever-building force. Once the shot is made, BillardGL will quickly pan out with its virtual camera to show the resulting motions. But in case you still missed something, the software thoughtfully allows you to replay the event from a new perspective. For example, pressing F2 changes to the overhead view, then press R (for replay) to see again what had just taken place.

Of course the software is monitoring the gameplay and overseeing adherence to the rules of the sport, reporting scratches and fouls and awarding ball-in-hand to the opponent when appropriate and of course, declaring the eventual winner.

 

Play89 ScreenshotPlay89 is a game that is pure simplicity to operate and so has a very gentle learning curve. It offers the games of 8-Ball, 9-Ball and Snooker. It is linked to a trusted online gaming site where you can supposedly compete for real money or just for fun. Internet connection is required, but you can login simply "as a guest" if you prefer not to divulge anything personal up front. Fortunately, the interface affords you a Training room where you and a friend can compete to your hearts' content. No apparent time limitations are imposed for shots or for overall usage. The game's interface is a bit limited, as only a top-down view of the table is ever shown. The motions of the billiard balls appear to conform properly to physics, but you might notice an ever-so-slight variance upon first break of the triangular cluster in 8-Ball. That is most likely just due to CPU timing lags, and the remaining play is legitimately true to form. The software of course sees to your adherence to the rules of each sport. There is some soft-spoken narration every so often, which you can optionally switch off.

It's the ease of control that makes this game such a joy and yes, you can even apply English; though there is no provision for massé shots. You simply left-click and wield the mouse to aim roughly, then tap the left or right arrow key to refine that aim. As you aim, the software kibitzes by showing with a very short line the deflection that the object ball will experience. So it merely points, but does not reveal the entire path. You depress and hold the right mouse button to lock in your aim and execute your shot, pulling the cue stick back and then releasing the mouse button. The further you pull back, the greater will be the impetus of your blow; the precise amount being shown graphically in a side gauge, so you can assess just when to release.

It's a nifty foolproof operation. The easy controls and uncomplicated single-view layout makes this gaming experience move along at a zesty pace. You can't help but enjoy it.

 

FooBilliard ScreenshotFooBilliard is an open-source free program that was designed for use under the Linux operating system, but has been ported with some questionable success to Windows. The Linux version continues in active development to this day, but the Windows version was pronounced a finish product in 2007 and then essentially abandoned. (Care to adopt that project, anyone?)

The game boasts some very keen 3D graphics and true-to-life physics. It can faithfully play and enforce rules of 4 different games, 8-Ball, 9-Ball, Snooker and Carambole (a really strange European sport). What's truly unique is that either or both of the two adversaries can be the computer, an 'AI', that is “artificial intelligence”. You can even specify at what skill level your AI opponent is to play. Another choice you can elect is to play against a remote opponent over the Internet or LAN. In fact, you have a plethora of different options to elect if you can just figure out how.

The game is a bit of a geek-like creation and so normally relies on passing parameters via a command line. But wait ...there is an actual Menu and you can invoke it by hitting the Esc key! There you can navigate into a veritable labyrinth of settings. But strangely, once they are all set how you want them, you must quit the game. Yes, sadly, the selected options do not take effect until the next time the program is launched. Alternately, you can try fiddling with the configuration text document named “.foobilliardrc” which resides in the “Application Data” folder within the current user's sub-folder, within the “Documents and Settings” folder on your main hard drive (C:). Or, you could struggle to specify a command line for FooBilliard from the Start Menu “Run” function, or in the “Target” field of the Properties box in a shortcut to the executable. Arghh! No ...just use the provided in-game menu and quit and relaunch the fool thing. And be advised that some of the key settings are under a heading, “Restart Game”. That's weird.

The F1 function key toggles on-screen Help and let me tell you, they made another real blunder there by using some bizarre font that makes B's look like 3's. Everything can be sort of glitch-ridden and cumbersome and confusing but eventually, ultimately, you will have a very fine 3D game of Pool underway, keen and wonderful and awesome. Yes, this one is surely worth a try.

 

Have Your Say

You are invited to share and discuss your views in our freeware forum.  To post in the forum you need to register first but that's quick and immediate. Alternatively, anyone can leave a comment at the bottom of this page.

Please help us by rating this review

 
Quick Selection Guide

8BallClub
5
 
Gizmo's Freeware award as the best product in its class!

Combines a web service with a stand-alone program
sensational true-to-life graphics and physics, 4 different games to choose from, simple mouse controls that are easy and intuitive
requires live Internet connection to a commercial site
http://www.8ballclub.com/
3.33
27.6 MB
Unrestricted freeware
Windows XP or higher

Game requires site registration with your email address

Pool Rebel For Windows
4.5
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
loaded with nifty features and options, plays 5 different pocket billiard games, peer-to-peer over-the-internet play, believable physics and rigorous rules enforced, excellent aiming and controls, with 4 settable levels of assist
overhead view is the only view, no fullscreen; runs in a window, resizable but of limited width
http://poolrebel.com/
3.0
27.63 MB
Unrestricted freeware
Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7
Carom 3D
4.5
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
rich with fun appointments and animations, 4 different pocket Billiard games available, 5 different table venues to choose from, rigorous rules enforced, very helpful software for aiming and control
no particular drawbacks, but shot control requires a little practice
http://carom3d.gameis.com/
5.3.1
63.23 MB
Unrestricted freeware
Windows 95 or higher

language of in-game help and texts is selectable: English, German or Spanish.
v5.3.1 released 2 May, 2013

BillardGL
3.5
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
gorgeous 3D graphics that you can tweak to your liking, works across all operating systems, straightforward controls, includes a tutorial, rules and glossary of terms, small download file
No sound effects, no provision for applying english or making massé shots
1.75
791 KB
Unrestricted freeware
Windows 95 or higher OR Linux (SuSE, Redhat or Debian) OR Mac OS X

language of in-game help and texts is selectable: English, German or Spanish.

Play89
3
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
3 different games to choose from, very short learning curve to operate, spoken narration encourages and informs
runs in an 800-pixel-wide window, overhead view is the only perspective
http://www.play89.com/
1.0.0.1
251 KB
Unrestricted freeware
Windows

Installer completes the download per your PC's requirements

FooBilliard
2
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
excellent 3D graphics and physics, 4 different billiard games available, can elect to play a computer opponent of variable skill, affords play across a network, either Internet or LAN
has a rather cumbersome interface, must quit the program and relaunch after changing settings
3.0.2
1.5 MB
Open source freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Windows, Linux or Mac

A useful archived copy of FooBilliard FAQ is found here.
v3.0.2 released 25 September, 2007

 
Editor

This software category is in need of an editor. If you are interested in taking it over then check out this page for more details. You can then contact us from that page or by clicking here.

Back to the top of the article.

 

Share this
4.05263
Average: 4.1 (19 votes)
Your rating: None

Comments

by shnbwmn on 12. November 2013 - 5:06  (112185)

After trying Foobilliard I really wasn't impressed ... the game just didn't feel or look right. Will definitely be trying these other suggestions.

by AncientKrypt (not verified) on 18. August 2012 - 18:33  (97920)

thank you :)

by ali nasooh abad (not verified) on 30. January 2012 - 10:22  (88019)

thanks you .very very good .

by mrpink on 16. October 2011 - 20:06  (81552)

FooBillard does have a portable version, just download the zip archive from the download page. And there are several other versions with a launcher too, from WinPenPack, Framakey, PortableApps, LupoPenSuite

by Jojo Yee on 17. October 2011 - 1:19  (81563)

Thanks for the feedback mrpink. It's now fixed.

by haili (not verified) on 22. July 2011 - 3:57  (76007)

u forgot real pool.. from gametop

by Bob on 20. May 2009 - 6:43  (21926)

Hi Tony

I stumbled on this really pretty basic online pool game at http://realgreatgames.com/index.php?task=view&id=100157 According to an anonymous poster on the 10 Best Free Games Sites page (http://www.techsupportalert.com/content/10-best-free-game-sites.htm), this "is a really good game site. No downloading or registration and it's all free."

I was also wondering about this: http://www.snookergameonline.com/
It appears to be a standalone freeware client (with paid "pro" upgrade available) which lets you play virtual snooker against a computer or against other humans online.

Bob

by savvy-k on 13. December 2010 - 13:02  (62392)

As for your first suggestion yes, that game is fair. And yes it is truly a stand-out in that site registration isn't demanded. Currently, this article is steering away from online-only in-browser Flash or Java games, largely because they are everywhere and also because I'd have to tackle their often numerous ramifications. Nevertheless, I am working slowly on creating a subsection for them here and it will surely include the game you've suggested. Thank you for that!

As for your other remark, it refers to a game offered by EtiumSoft Inc. Their 8-ball game isn't bad but it's strictly commercial, the trial version being time-limited and feature-limited, and so won't be reviewed here. I suspect their Snooker game is likewise rigged. In fact, I tried the snooker download but was unable to login "as a guest" to the hosting site, ArcadeTribe [dot] com, which balked with a timeout error. I could have tried creating a free account, but the site is focused primarily on paid accounts and there is no support nor any forum privileges for free accounts. The 8-Ball download I got from them failed to run and the process went invisible and had to be forcibly ended. I saw enough to convince me that the free Snooker game is probably rigged as a restricted demo and the site rigged to keep away joy-riders, so the Snooker game you suggested won't be reviewed here.

by Bob on 15. April 2011 - 22:13  (70280)

Hello savvy-k - I've been away and have only just caught up with this... Thank you for the reply. And above all for the review!

by Anonymous on 10. May 2009 - 18:12  (21327)

Here we have another free billiard: Billiard Art from MyPlayCity.
However, the download link is not accepted by the spam filter of
this site, so use Google or the likes.

I think it's worth mentioning on this page, to say the least.

lloonn

by savvy-k on 13. December 2010 - 12:49  (62391)

Billiard Art is a pretty fair free product that goes by several names, including Billiard Masters and Free Billiards 2008. The installers for these titles sometimes hoodwink you into installing browser add-ons or toolbars, and in almost every case their home site (eg. MyPlayCity, MyRealGames or FreeGamePick) is automatically launched in your PC's default browser after the install and/or when you exit the application. We *might* review this game with appropriate warnings about their goings-on. After all, the game itself is a fairly high quality production.

Also, I noticed that embedded somewhere in this game is the ability to play against the computer. It occurred accidentally once but arghhh, I can't duplicate it now! This game has a few bugs (primarily a memory leak) and several times it crashed and burned on me. There is a distinct problem with the Z key command, and the O as well. F2 is glitchy and what is "Direction help"?? (It is not the same as Bounce help.) Moreover, there are some very slight differences in the versions from the three sites that I mentioned. Further comments/suggestions are of course welcomed.

by Anonymous on 3. May 2009 - 7:03  (20978)

for several months i play a pool game recently released as a freeware. it even has a portable version. the game is named pool rebel and this is the address you can find it http://poolrebel.com/. please try it!

with enormous respect for your work!
Marcel Oros
Timisoara, Romania

by savvy-k on 13. December 2010 - 12:37  (62390)

PoolRebel is pretty decent, but it is intended for PDAs and has some problems if run under Windows, not the least of which is the 400-pixel-wide maximum rendering. Another problem with Pool Rebel is that it is not actually unrestricted freeware, but a demo of a commercial product, and I cannot as yet ascertain what if any restrictions or limitations are built into that trial version. Also, there appears to be no provision for interrupting a game and returning to the main menu or quitting ..arghh! So we likely won't review that title here.

by Nikos Konstas (not verified) on 16. December 2010 - 7:17  (62612)

I'm the author of Pool Rebel and can offer some clarifications:

- The Windows version (both installer & portable) are actually free - not demos.

- The game can be resized - just drag any the edges of the window.

- There is an in-game menu that allows you to undo/save/abort or exit the game. It's all explained in the tutorial - just click on the collapsable menu at the bottom-right corner to access the menu,

Having said that you're right - this is just a port of a game that was designed as a Windows Mobile application which is not ideal.

Since then it has been ported to Windows, iPhone, iPad, Android and soon it will be released for Symbian S60 FP1 and later.

I only did the Windows version for fun.

Cheers,
Nikos.

by savvy-k on 16. December 2010 - 14:30  (62661)

Excellent! All of us here thank you heartily for those insights. Yes, upon reexamination, Pool Rebel For Windows is an extraordinarily fine game and we will certainly write it up as such within this article -- in just a few days hence. I do apologize for my inexcusable remiss at first examination of your brilliant product.

I see now that the Windows version is indeed unrestricted freeware and has no built-in limitations. It even affords online play against a worldwide community of potential challengers!

I can't begin to tell you how delighted we all are at having this great news and this wonderful free game. Again, you have our most earnest gratitude, Nikos Konstas.

[Update: 12/17/2010, promised write-up is now in place]

Gizmos Needs You

Gizmo's Freeware is Recruiting

 We are looking for people with skills or interest in the following areas:
 -  Mobile Platform App Reviews for Android and iOS
 -  Windows, Mac and Linux software reviews       Interested? Click here