Let’s Play: Bar Billiards

Let’s Play: Bar Billiards


I am with Izzy Kirk, James Grime, and Matt Parker And we are playing bar billiards, which is a pub game. Which Jim knows a lot about, I know a bit about, and these two have never played before, so this should be interesting. -Excellent. -You start. Shall we start? Okay. Have we got a pound, anyone? Because- Pound? We have to bring our own pound? I might’ve found three- here we go, nope, I’ve got one. First thing is: the game is on a timer. -Yes. So, word of warning, yes, we put the pound in, the balls will drop- [laughing] -From where? -Sorry. -Make your own jokes up. -There were too many options at once I couldn’t- -Oh! And, uh, we’ve got, what, thirteen minutes? -Ten, fifteen minutes until the balls will stop- -What does the timing? ‘Cause it’s not digital. -You’ll hear a ticking noise. -The reason it’s called bar billiards is that there is literally a bar in there, in the table. Uh, that will drop back down after about ten minutes and stop the balls from coming back. So when I put the coin in and pull the thing- -And then the clock is literally- -The clock is literally in there. -So it’s a game against the clock, it’s exciting, there’s a ticking noise, you ready? -We’re ready. -Alright, go. [sound of coin dropping into the machine] -Um, I’m not ready. [laughter] [lever pulled, balls dropping] -It’s actually ticking? -It is actually properly ticking. -Do you feel the pressure? -I do, but I don’t know why. -Alright, first rule. Um, the objective is to get the balls into the holes. The holes are worth the points displayed there. -Alright. -So the ones at the back are worth less, the ones near the front are trickier. -So it’s like pool, but you get points for different holes. -Yep. Points- -And the red is worth double. -And the red is worth double. -Yeah, so at the back, smaller points, 30, 20, 10, 20, and 30. Uh, you’ve got 100 there, you’ve got 50s on the sides. And, look at that beautiful 200. -What are these little, uh, excited guys? -Is it that we’re not allowed to knock these over? -Yeah. -Yeah, exactly right. So you only get the points added to your score when you finish your, your break. When you’ve put a few balls out and then you play a legal shot that doesn’t pot anything. -So you have to do a non-potting shot? -Yes, that doesn’t foul, to collect those points. -Okay. -If you knock these guys over, you lose your points from your break. -Oh. -If you knock this guy over, you lose all your points you’ve made in the game. -So scores can change- -You reset on this guy? Alright, so this is why it’s 200 then? -Yeah. -Who’s breaking then? -You break, you’re- -So you’ve already explained this once the clock is ticking, by the way. [camera operator laughs] -Alright. -Woah, woah, woah, hang on, hang on, are there teams? -Nope. Four players, it is four players. Well, it’s any number of players up to four. There’s just four on there. -It’s just, uh, I’ll figure it out. Alright. -Okay? So the break: you put the red ball there, you put the white ball there, and he’s got to try to get them into those two holes. He’s not going to. [sound of ball dropping into table] -What happens when you get the white in? -So, there are loads of white balls, no penalty. You can still score points for it. So that was a red in the 30, so that’s 60 points. -60 points. -But we don’t add it to the scoreboard yet. -I would save it, because I could mess up. -Yes. Now you take a ball, and you send the other one down the table. -So you just keep sending -You just keep sending balls down the table. -Couldn’t he just send that one straight into here? -No, ’cause that’s a foul. -And I’ve lost my points. -Why have you lost your points for that? -He hasn’t hit another ball. So a legal shot is, -It has to hit another ball? -It has to hit another ball. -And then any of them can go -And any of them can go in. -Alright. Who wants to try? [laughter] -Unless you’ve explained this in the most straightforward way possible, So you hit a ball. -Yes. -The ball hits other ball. -Yes. -The balls go in holes? -Yes. Balls cannot- -It’s a high-scoring game, points can be lost at any moment. -Okay. And James gets nothing for that? -James gets nothing, that’s a foul. – I like this game. -Balls also cannot come back past this line. -Let’s say this line, because you can see this line. -No, we can do diagonals. -Alright, Izzy’s clearly up next. -Hit a ball. Whack it. -Oh gosh, okay. -So she can’t just put that straight into a hole? -No. Can’t put it straight into a pocket, it has to hit one of those first. [ball hits peg] [a loud exclamation from Tom] [laughter] -Okay, so -It went in! -Okay, let’s count the fouls. One, two, -No, no, no, it’s on the line. [overlapping speech] -Okay, so, first of all, the ball came back past the ball. That’s a foul. -Right. -Um, you nearly just -You can’t have more than one foul. They don’t just add up! -You knocked over -Does this mean I’m now on negative points? -No, you get no points for that one. You knocked over the pin, that’s a foul. And you nearly destroyed my camera. -Which is not a foul. So this gets replaced, -If you actually knock them off the table does it still count as a foul? -No. That’s a foul. Alright, I’ll take the next one. -I think we can take this away. -Uh, yeah it’s behind the line so I reset that. -And you leave whatever’s out here out here? -You leave whatever’s out there, out there. -Are you just going to pop this guy in now? -Hopefully, but I also have to… -Can you… Not. Okay, so what I like about this game, what I like about this game is that there are a lot of flukes. Like, that was 20, now all I have to do to get a point on the table is just -Is just bump that. -Bump. -Legal shot -Legal shot, 20 points on player 3 if you’d be so kind. -Okay so 20? -20. And player number 4. -And so I just, okay, here we go. -So I go from here? -You go from here. -You’ve go 50 points set up for you there. -How’ve I got 50 points set up for me? -Look at him! Chalking his cue! [laughter] -Hey, I know how the business is done. -Use the red. -First of all, oh yep. -So I use the red? -Yep, use the red. -I had forgotten that- -Wait, wait, wait, I need to pop the red to get the red points? -Yeah. -Yes. But you might as well get it on the table. -May as well get it on the table so then I can pop it. -Yeah. -Go in the thing, go in the thing, go in it. -Nothing! -But I get all zero points? -You get zero points, and you walk away. You know when he said this was a high-scoring game? -Just wait, it will be. Now you see there’s a possible 400 if I was clever. -There is. Yep. -400? -There are two 100s if you tap the 200 into there. Oh! -See? -Now I put this back here? -All that Izzy has to do is pop. -Okay. Do I have hit… -And you have to go for the dot. -Um, you can go from, there’s a little ‘d’, if you can see, inscribed just here. -I can’t see that. -Okay, so the things we can see we ignore? [laughter] -But the lines you can see on the table… [collective gasp] -Oh! -It’s still legal! -It was legal. -It’s a legal shot but it’s not worth…alright. Watch me completely stuff this. -You’re the expert, right? So you’re just going to- -Jim. Jim’s the expert. -Well, that’s the 400 gone. [clapping] -Can you talk me through the strategy behind that? Because I thought you would’ve tried to sink that in the hole. -I did! Oh! Come on! -Sorry, I thought I misunderstood the game. -Don’t hit that. -Don’t hit that guy. [pin hits table] [laughter] -You hit that guy. [ball falls into return] [laughter] -So I should? -You shouldn’t -Right. -For a “high-scoring game” so far, Jim, we’ve got 20 points on the board. -You guys promised me non-stop excitement. -30. -Okay, so you get that. -Not yet, he doesn’t. -Oh, so gradually balls just accrue at the end of the table? -Yeah. -Uh, if you’re the fourth player, then yeah. -60, 80, 100. Because that red’s worth double. On a proper table, these are ceramic and really difficult to find when you maintain your table, because they’re the expensive bits. 130. This is a really fluky game. 160, 190, 200. We are being hustled. -Trying to aim for thing is a distraction. You’re just meant to whack balls up the table. -Yeah. 200 on the board for Mr. Grime who is playing as player number…? -One! -One. 200. Uh, Izzy. -Is it my go again? I’m really not very good at this game. -On behalf of those of us who are new at this, you’ve got to, one of us has to… -Oh! -Now, wait, here’s a good question. That almost didn’t fall over. If it slid, right, and stopped there, is that cool? -Uh, if it gets nudged I think the player can put it back. -Yeah. -If it’s nudged it can stay there. -It nearly bounced all the way over here somewhere and that would’ve been…? -That’s right. -I’m going to house rule that it wouldn’t have been a foul if it doesn’t go over. I don’t care what the official rules are, that’s sense enough that I’m happy with it. -Alright, so let me get this straight, all the rules have the sub-clause: “Unless it’s really awesome.” -Yes! More games should be like that! [laughter] -I can’t see why this game didn’t catch on! -For crying out loud! -Okay, right, okay so all I have to do is…there’s only one left? -Hold on, I’ll come around this side. -Yep. There’s only one ball left. -What happens if they all stay up there? -If they’re all up there, you pull the closest one down. Woah! 30. -Nice. -Which one are you? -Uh, it’s not just one ball left. -I’ve still got time to lose all those points! Don’t you worry. -30, 60. -See, you’ve got the hang of this. Whack it into the bottom corner! -That one right there. -Yep. -Oh! -80. -Someone is adding this up as I go, right? -Yeah, I’ll go. -90. The speed at which you’re whacking these up there is brave. I will say that. 120 and a bonus for nearly hitting the cameraman in the crotch. [laughter] -Does that count as awesome? -Yes. -(Cameraman) I’m going to move. -150, 170. Are we being hustled, Jim? Because I think we’re being hustled. -Well, we’re not supposed to have that many balls on the table. -Yeah, good point. -That’s what worries me. -170, on the board for player 4, if you want. Lovely. -So what’s the “too many balls” thing? -That was Jim saying that if you have a lot of good players, what happens is there are fewer balls on the table. -Oh, so it’s not that it’s not allowed, it’s just that we’re all terrible at the game. -Yes. -And this is amateur hour, which is why it’s okay. -I say that, have you seen what I’m on? I’m on 20. Oh! -I’m on zero, so you’re better than me. -See, if we had more good players, like Jim, oh, no, wait, there’s only one up there right now. -Here’s a rule. We’ve used up all the balls, that’s not good. But we now take the closest to the front. -That one? -That one there. Hand it back, if you would. -I think it’s my turn. -Oh, yeah, it is, sorry. -It’s okay, it’s okay. -There’s another one, if you didn’t notice, Tom. -That red one looks kind of good. -I can’t really see it. So I’m just going to try and not foul. -50. -Yes! -Lovely. -So this game was popular in the 1930’s and one of the reasons it makes a good pub game is because you play it from one end of the table. Not like how in pool, or snooker, you don’t have to walk around the table. You all stand…you can play against the wall. Very popular in the 1930’s, went out of fashion. [laughter] -What? -20. -Incredibly fluky 20. Oh boy. Okay. -Right. from the corner of the d. -But it’s far more exciting- -Is this an original table? -Uh, I think it’s been recently refurbished. 80. From the other corner. Certainly, there aren’t many tables left, and I think only one manufacturer. 110. Oh! 140 on the board for player 3, please. Putting me in to…3rd place. Wonderful. -Right, okay, so… -I’ll go over here. -Player 4. Here we go. Do I get bonus points if I hit one ball into another ball, into the pocket? -Uh…no. -Okay. I thought that would count as awesome. -Oh! 50. -Getting the hang of this, Matt. 60. Oh! -Don’t. -Yes! 60 points on the board! Player 4. -Putting you into… You’re in the lead! -This is about coordination, drinking, and adding up. -Yes. -I like it. -He’s in the lead! 230! -What? -Jim. -Here you are, pro. -Can you pass me a beer? Pass it right past him to distract him as he’s trying to play. -30. Oh, and new rule, handicap Jim by faffing around him whenever he plays. -You’re allowed to distract people when they play, right? -Um, not in the official rules… -I am going to have to draw smiley faces on the rule cards. -Oh! 30 on the board. -Which makes us even. -It’s a tie. It’s a tie for first place! -Gosh, I’m really not doing very well, am I? -Oh, it’s okay! -Hang on, hang on, hang on. When that timer runs out, do we all get the same number of goes? Or is it literally… -Ah, there’s a whole endgame to play. -Yes. -Oh. -There’s more to come. -I swear, this is giving you time to make up more rules. -30! -If you like the idea of us just making up rules, you are going to love the endgame. That’s basically what it is. Oh! Do you hear that clunk? -That clunk? -That was the bar dropping. -So I’m done now? -No. You’re good. You keep going. (Tom and James in unison) But the balls won’t. -It was 60 so… -90. So we take the closest one back. -So we did that in unison, the bar’s dropped, so the balls will not return. -The balls will not return. -So they hit that bar on their way down? -They hit that bar, the money is…120! That’s going well. But the endgame is kind of like the golden snitch from quidditch. Like, if it’s an amateur game like this, anyone can win. 140! -Sure that one’s closest? -At this point, all you’ve got to do is not foul, and the points are yours. 140 on the board! -Oh yeah, not zero. That’s what I want. -140. Which puts me…in last place. No, I’m nearly in last place. Uh, can I have a ball, Matt, please? -Right. -Which is closest? -Uh…that one. -This is going to get increasingly difficult. -So we just keep going until we’re… -We clean up, until all the balls are gone. Or, if there’s one ball left, then that last ball becomes our golden snitch. -So there would be some advantage to going first because you get more goes on average? -Yes. Yes there would. -Because obviously Jim went first because he’s the professional. He’s hustling us. -But there would be an advantage to going last because there are more balls on the table already if you go last. -That’s true, ’cause they’re up against a blank. -30. Lovely. -Alright Matt. Don’t mess it up. This thing’s still ticking. -I didn’t mess it up. -He didn’t mess it up! 30 on the board, putting him… -back in the lead, Jim! -The closest, please. -Here you go. -I don’t know how I’ll get anything. [loud laughter and applause] -A flawless 50 points which, because all the balls are gone, get added. Which incredibly… -No, but he can’t do a legitimate shot now, can he? -That’s it! End of the game. End of the game. -Oh, so there’s no golden snitch? -There isn’t because all of the balls have gone. -And then, with the final 50… -Yeah, it was 50. Which puts him in the lead! [laughter] -Jim! -And that’s how you play bar billiards. -This is a terrible game! -It’s an amazing game! I don’t know what your problem is. -I don’t know what the endgame is. -This, so, shall we find out what the endgame is? -Yeah. -Shall we play again, and through the magic of editing, speed it up? [laughing] -Then we can see what the endgame is. [overlapping speech] -30 points, and that’s the end of your break. -Alright. -Because there’s only one ball left. -Did you get the 30? -Yep. There’s only one left here, so you get the 30 points, putting you on… Oh, you’re that one. Sorry. 450. So the scores to start off the endgame are: 270 to Jim, who is in last place, astonishingly. [gasp] -450 to Izzy, who is in first. And then it’s very close with 330 to me, and 310 to Matt. So, um, it’s literally anybody’s game here. -Say that again. What’s Izzy’s score? [indistinguishable] -You’ll find out. Izzy has 400 and…? (Tom and Izzy in unison) 50. -I have 200 and..? -70. -I’m still in. -You are still in. -There are 200 potential points to get in the endgame. -So, here’s what happens. First of all, we bring this ball back. And then, we put this down. These holes are now out. Here’s how it works: Izzy, you were the last one to play so you get this. -Okay. -You have to pop this ball, off of one of the cushions, and into one of these holes. That’s still worth 200, that’s still worth 100, and that still wipes your score out. -Oh god, okay. -Okay? -And if you miss, does it go on to the next person? -If you miss, the next person gets a go. -And we can go until someone pots it? -Yep. Or, until everyone has their score wiped out. -Or until we’re all zero. -Yeah. -Okay. -So obviously you want to aim for the 100, because… -If I miss, is that it? -No, if you miss, you’re fine. But we keep going ’round until someone pops it. [a very manly scream from Tom] -Obviously, if it goes down here, someone stops it from going in. That was a miss. -That’s fine? -That’s fine. -You okay? -I’m good. -Do you get to shout [imitates Tom’s sceam] when you stop it from going in? -So I’m next up. -Those are in the Oxford rules. -Yeah. -In the Oxford rules, [imitates Tom’s scream poorly]. -Okay, right, yeah. -So I’m on, what am I on? -It was very realistic when you did it. I thought it was very impressive. -I’m on 330. -I would use the word ‘manly scream’ -So you have to go for the big ones? -I have to go for the big one. I cannot beat you any other way. -So you’re going to lose your score, so you have to win anyways? -200. Okay. High risk 200. -Alright. -So it’s just angle, right? -It’s just angle. -He has the wrong angle. -You are correct, that is the wrong angle. -Terrible. -Alright, Matt. You are on 310. You can beat Izzy, but you need to hit the 200. -Well… [laughter] because this one there’s a lot more room for it, so more people do it. And I think the cushion over there is you know, quite…whereas here, no one does this because you can’t fit the cue. so it’s perfect. -Sometimes, sometimes, there’s actually a mark on the… -Oh, like a little notch? -Yeah. But this is a new table so- nope. Not this time. -Alright. -Jim, you are on 270. You can beat Izzy, but you need to get in the 200. -I can see what you mean. This…it’s my usual position. But…this is hard. This is not my table. [collective gasp] -NO! You’re out of there! -Wow. -I am zero. -You are zero. -Did I say fortunes could change? -Zero! -So you are out of the game. There is absolutely no point in Jim playing any further -Well, hey, -He could, he could end the game by potting. -Yes, that’s true. -I mean if he were a jerk, he could do that. But that’s just hypothetically. -Alright. Just stop it from going into the 30’s if it gets down there. -Oh yeah, as soon as it goes in… -No. -What do we get if.. -I’m just going to go ahead and miss until one of you guys wins. That’s my strategy. -Well surely you didn’t hit your peak two shots ago. -Thank you. -Sorry, sorry, carry on. -Thank you, thank you Mr. Psychological warfare. -I’m just putting some comments out there. Trying to be supportive. Just stating facts. -Come on. Come on. Come on! YES! [applause] -Which means, Tom wins with… -530 points. -Wow. -Um, Izzy, sorry. Second place. But that’s nothing wrong, 450. Uh, with 310, Matt is 3rd. -So I beat Jim? -Yeah, you beat Jim. -And in last place, with zero, is James Grime. -What? -And that…that is how you play bar billiards.