The game of billiards in Colombia is an institution. Every pueblo has multiple halls for people to congregate and play. The game of three ball billiards, however, is much different than your standard game of pocket pool. It requires hitting a neutral target ball, and your opponents ball (each player has their own ball) in one strike. This sounds like an easy concept, but in practice this is a very challenging goal.
Pondering his next shot.
Whenever I travel I enjoy playing pool. I find the social aspect of the game to be a uniting common ground. Some of my best travel stories have happened over this game. For those of you who know me well, I’m sure you’ve heard of the time I landed a gig on The Lord of the Rings movie set through a simple game of pool. For those who don’t know me well, we’ll have to meet up sometime over a game, and I can tell you all about it.
Watch out Etienne. I’m coming for you.
There are usually a few “normal” pool tables in these halls. The billiards tables, however, are usually the most popular. In general the hall is full of older males. There are very few women in the halls. I think that it’s a hideout for the men.
This night we chose to play standard pool.
In much of Colombia, foreigners are still very rare. The billiards halls are a great place to meet the locals and get to know a bit about wherever you are. Be prepared, however, to draw a crowd if you’re in a particularly remote town.
They can really play!
I had never played three ball billiards before coming to Colombia, but it’s definitely a challenging game. It’s sure to improve your skills in putting English on the ball, and seeing angles. If you go, which I do recommend, be prepared to be schooled. The old men here know how to play.