Title:
Three-ball pool rack
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A three-ball pool rack apparatus includes three straight wall portions and three curved corner portions connected between adjacent straight wall portions. The straight wall portions and the curved corner portions define a ball-reception space, and the ball-reception space is of a size which is large enough to retain a maximum of three standard size pool balls. The straight wall portions and the curved corner portions form an equilateral triangular formation. The straight wall portions and the curved corner portions extend perpendicularly upward from a pool table surface when placed thereon. Preferably, a lip extends outward horizontally from top portions of the straight wall portions and the curved corner portions. A finger-reception gap is provided in the ball-reception space when three object balls are contained in the ball-reception space.



Inventors:
Rupert, Travis A. (Lakeview, NY, US)
Application Number:
09/854001
Publication Date:
11/22/2001
Filing Date:
05/12/2001
Assignee:
RUPERT TRAVIS A.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63D15/00; (IPC1-7): A63D15/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
ARYANPOUR, MITRA
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
S. Michael Bender (P.O.Box 530399, St. Petersburg, FL, 33747, US)
Claims:

What is claimed as being new and desired to be protected by Letters Patent of the united states is as follows:



1. A three-ball pool rack, comprising: three straight wall portions, three curved corner portions connected between adjacent straight wall portions, wherein said straight wall portions and said curved corner portions define a ball-reception space, wherein said ball-reception space is of a size which is large enough to retain a maximum of three pool balls.

2. The rack of claim 1 wherein said ball-reception space is of a size which is large enough to retain a maximum of three standard size object pool balls.

3. The rack of claim 1 wherein said straight wall portions and said curved corner portions form a triangular formation.

4. The rack of claim 3 wherein said triangular formation is an equilateral triangular formation.

5. The rack of claim 1 wherein said straight wall portions and said curved corner portions extend perpendicularly upward from a pool table surface.

6. The rack of claim 1 wherein an inner perpendicular bisector distance from an inside portion of a curved corner portion to an inside portion of an opposite straight wall portion can be about five inches.

7. The rack of claim 1 wherein straight wall portions and said curved corner portions are about one eighth inch thick.

8. The rack of claim 1, further including: a lip which extends outward horizontally from top portions of said straight wall portions and said curved corner portions.

9. The rack of claim 8 wherein said lip extends horizontally outward from said straight wall portions and said curved corner portions about one quarter inch.

10. The rack of claim 8 wherein a first outer perpendicular bisector distance from an outside portion of a lip portion adjacent to a curved corner portion to an outside portion of a lip portion adjacent to an opposite straight wall portion can be about five and three quarter inches.

11. The rack of claim 8 wherein a second outer perpendicular bisector distance from an outside portion of a curved corner portion to an outside portion of an opposite straight wall portion can be about five and three quarter inches.

12. The rack of claim 1 wherein a finger-reception gap is provided in said ball-reception space when three object balls are contained in said ball-reception space.

13. A set of pool game equipment, comprising: a pool table, a cue stick, a cue ball, three standard object balls, and a three-ball pool rack which includes three straight wall portions and three curved corner portions connected between adjacent straight wall portions, wherein said straight wall portions and said curved corner portions define a ball-reception space, and wherein said ball-reception space is of a size which is large enough to retain a maximum of three pool balls.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

[0001] This application claims priority based upon my copending Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/205,294, filed May 19, 2000.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] 1. Field of the Invention

[0003] The present invention relates generally to accessories for the game of pool and, more particularly, to a three ball pool rack designed for use in playing a three-ball pool game.

[0004] 2. Description of the Prior Art

[0005] The game of pool, also called pocket billiards, involves the use of a table with six pockets located along the periphery of a table, a number of balls positioned on the table, and two or more players each using a stick to propel the balls. One particular ball, the cue ball, is propelled by a player toward another ball on the table. The object of the game is to drive the balls other than the cue ball into the pockets. Many variations of the game are commonly played.

[0006] The most popular size tables are rectangular and range from five to ten feet long, and from two and one-half to five feet wide. Most tables used in the United States have table surfaces with lengths which are twice their width. The balls are generally about two and one-quarter inch in diameter.

[0007] To begin the game, the balls are usually grouped within a triangularly shaped rack, with the position of the rack on the table and the initial starting point of the cue ball being determined by markings on the table. After the balls are properly aligned, the rack is removed and one player propels the cue ball into the other balls. The players take turns using the cue ball to drive the other balls into the pockets until none of the balls except the cue ball are left.

[0008] Usually, the cue ball is used to drive another ball directly into the pocket. Sometimes, the cue ball is first bounced off the sides or cushions of the table before striking the other balls, or the cue ball is used to propel a first ball into one or more other balls before one ball is eventually driven into the pocket.

[0009] Throughout the years, a number of innovations have been developed relating to the racks that are used to properly align and position the objects balls on a pool table, and the following U.S. patents are representative of some of those innovations: U.S. Pat. Nos. 228,879, 4,307,881, 4,452,450, and 4,619,455. U.S. Pat. No. 228,879 discloses a rack for aligning and positioning fifteen pool balls. U.S. Pat. No. 4,307,881 discloses a rack for aligning and positioning six pool balls. Each of U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,452,450 and 4,619,455 discloses a rack for aligning and positioning seven pool balls.

[0010] One variation of the game of pool involves using one cue ball and three standard size pool balls. Conventionally, to align and position three balls on a pool table for a three-ball pool game, a player may use no rack at all and may use one's hands alone. Such a purely manual method of aligning and positioning pool balls may not be accurate and may not be easily reproducible. In this respect, it would be desirable to provide means for aligning and positioning pool balls which does not employ purely manual alignment and positioning skills.

[0011] Another conventional way of aligning and positioning three pool balls is to employ a conventional rack that is designed to properly align and position ten pool balls. Use of such a conventional rack my be an improvement over the use of purely manual alignment and positioning skills, but such a conventional ten-ball-capacity rack does not lend itself to accurate and reproducible aligning and positioning only three pool balls. In this respect, it would be desirable if means for aligning and positioning three pool balls were provided which does not employ a conventional ten-ball-capacity rack.

[0012] It is noted that none of the patents cited above discloses a rack for aligning and positioning three pool balls to be used in a three-ball pool game. In this respect, it would be desirable if a pool ball rack were provided that is a three-ball-capacity rack.

[0013] Still other features would be desirable in a three-ball pool rack. For example, a conventional rack generally employs straight vertical walls. Racks having straight vertical walls may not be easily lifted because there are essentially no horizontal surfaces available for grasping. In this respect, it would be desirable if a three-ball rack were provided which includes a horizontal grasping surface which permits easy lifting of the rack.

[0014] Thus, while the foregoing body of prior art indicates it to be well known to use racks for six or more pool balls, the prior art described above does not teach or suggest a pool ball rack which has the following combination of desirable features: (1) provides means for aligning and positioning pool balls which do not employ purely manual alignment and positioning skills; (2) does not employ a conventional ten-ball-capacity rack; (3) provides a three-ball-capacity rack; and (4) includes a horizontal grasping surface which permits easy lifting of the rack. The foregoing desired characteristics are provided by the unique three-ball pool rack of the present invention as will be made apparent from the following description thereof. Other advantages of the present invention over the prior art also will be rendered evident.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0015] To achieve the foregoing and other advantages, the present invention, briefly described, is a three-ball rack which is a pool game accessory. The three-ball rack is used to align three standard size pool balls in a triangular formation. The three-ball rack is used while playing a pool game called three-ball. The three-ball rack is used as follows. The three-ball rack is placed on a pool table. Any three standard size pool object balls are placed inside the three-ball rack. The three-ball rack containing the three object balls is then positioned so that the lead ball of the formation rests on the foot spot of the pool table. The balls are pressed forward in the three-ball rack so that there is contact between all three balls. The three-ball rack is then removed and play begins.

[0016] The above brief description sets forth rather broadly the more important features of the present invention in order that the detailed description thereof that follows may be better understood, and in order that the present contributions to the art may be better appreciated. There are, of course, additional features of the invention that will be described hereinafter and which will be for the subject matter of the claims appended hereto.

[0017] In this respect, before explaining a preferred embodiment of the invention in detail, it is understood that the invention is not limited in its application to the details of the construction and to the arrangements of the components set forth in the following description or illustrated in the drawings. The invention is capable of other embodiments and of being practiced and carried out in various ways. Also, it is to be understood, that the phraseology and terminology employed herein are for the purpose of description and should not be regarded as limiting.

[0018] As such, those skilled in the art will appreciate that the conception, upon which disclosure is based, may readily be utilized as a basis for designing other structures, methods, and systems for carrying out the several purposes of the present invention. It is important, therefore, that the claims be regarded as including such equivalent constructions insofar as they do not depart from the spirit and scope of the present invention.

[0019] It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a new and improved three-ball pool rack which has all of the advantages of the prior art and none of the disadvantages.

[0020] It is another object of the present invention to provide a new and improved three-ball pool rack which may be easily and efficiently manufactured and marketed.

[0021] It is a further object of the present invention to provide a new and improved three-ball pool rack which is of durable and reliable construction.

[0022] An even further object of the present invention is to provide a new and improved three-ball pool rack which is susceptible of a low cost of manufacture with regard to both materials and labor, and which accordingly is then susceptible of low prices of sale to the consuming public, thereby making such three-ball pool rack available to the buying public.

[0023] Still yet a further object of the present invention is to provide a new and improved three-ball pool rack which provides means for aligning and positioning pool balls which do not employ purely manual alignment and positioning skills.

[0024] Still another object of the present invention is to provide a new and improved pool ball rack that does not employ a conventional ten-ball-capacity rack.

[0025] Yet another object of the present invention is to provide a new and improved pool ball rack which provides a three-ball-capacity rack.

[0026] Even another object of the present invention is to provide a new and improved three-ball pool rack that includes a horizontal grasping surface which permits easy lifting of the rack.

[0027] These together with still other objects of the invention, along with the various features of novelty which characterize the invention, are pointed out with particularity in the claims annexed to and forming a part of this disclosure. For a better understanding of the invention, its operating advantages and the specific objects attained by its uses, reference should be had to the accompanying drawings and descriptive matter in which there are illustrated preferred embodiments of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0028] The invention will be better understood and the above objects as well as objects other than those set forth above will become more apparent after a study of the following detailed description thereof. Such description makes reference to the annexed drawing wherein:

[0029] FIG. 1 is a top view showing a three-ball pool game being played on a conventional pool table with a conventional cue stick, cue ball, and three conventional pool balls.

[0030] FIG. 2 is a top perspective view of a three-ball rack of the invention used in a three-ball pool game.

[0031] FIG. 3 is a top view of the three-ball rack shown in FIG. 2.

[0032] FIG. 4 is cross-sectional view of the embodiment of the invention shown in FIG. 3 taken along line 4-4 thereof.

[0033] FIG. 5 is a top view of the three-ball rack shown in FIG. 3 in which three balls are positioned for a break.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0034] With reference to the drawings, a new and improved three-ball pool rack embodying the principles and concepts of the present invention will be described.

[0035] Turning to FIGS. 2-5, there is shown an exemplary embodiment of the three-ball pool rack of the invention generally designated by reference numeral 10. In its preferred form, three-ball pool rack 10 includes three straight wall portions 12 and three curved corner portions 14 connected between adjacent straight wall portions 12. The straight wall portions 12 and the curved corner portions 14 define a ball-reception space 16, and the ball-reception space 16 is of a size which is large enough to retain a maximum of three pool balls 18. Preferably, the ball-reception space 16 is of a size which is large enough to retain a maximum of three standard size object pool balls 18. Standard size object pool balls 18 have a diameter of 2.5 inches.

[0036] The straight wall portions 12 and the curved corner portions 14 form a triangular formation. The triangular formation is an equilateral triangular formation. The straight wall portions 12 and the curved corner portions 14 extend perpendicularly upward from a pool table surface 11. An inner perpendicular bisector distance 22 from an inside portion of a curved corner portion 14 to an inside portion of an opposite straight wall portion 12 can be five inches.

[0037] Preferably, a lip 20 which extends outward horizontally from top portions of the straight wall portions 12 and the curved corner portions 14. The lip 20 serves as a handle for lifting up the setting down the three-ball pool rack 10 on the pool table surface 11.

[0038] Straight wall portions 12 and the curved corner portions 14 can be one eighth inch thick. The lip 20 can extend horizontally outward from the straight wall portions 12 and the curved corner portions 14 one quarter inch. A first outer perpendicular bisector distance 24 from an outside portion of a lip portion adjacent to a curved corner portion 14 to an outside portion of a lip portion adjacent to an opposite straight wall portion 12 can be five and three quarter inches. A second outer perpendicular bisector distance 26 from an outside portion of a curved corner portion 14 to an outside portion of an opposite straight wall portion 12 can be five and three quarter inches.

[0039] A finger-reception gap 28 is provided in the ball-reception space 16 when three object balls 18 are contained in the ball-reception space 16. A user places some of one's fingers in the finger gap 28 when the object balls 18 are placed in a three ball formation in the ball-reception space 16. The three-ball rack 10 lends itself to the three-ball pool game in that it facilitates producing a tight and consistent rack (aligned formation of three object balls 18) for each player in the group.

[0040] Using the three-ball pool rack 10 of the invention, a conventional pool table 13, a cue ball 15, a cue stick 17, and three standard object pool balls 18, one can play a three-ball pool game (see FIG. 1). A three-ball pool game can be played in a variety of ways. Players may adopt a variety of protocols for scoring during the game. However, a preferred protocol is disclosed hereinbelow.

[0041] More specifically, the preferred three-ball pool game is based on a point scoring system, taking into account the number of shots and fouls. The object of the game is to break and pocket three standard size object pool balls 18 (in no particular order) in the least amount of shots committing the least amount of fouls.

[0042] The preferred game begins by placing the three-ball pool rack 10 on the pool table surface 11. Three standard size object pool balls 18 are placed with the ball-reception space 16 defined by the three-ball pool rack 10 and form a three ball formation. The three-ball pool rack 10 containing the three ball formation of the three standard size object pool balls 18 within the ball-reception space 16 is positioned on the pool table surface 11 so that the lead ball of the three ball formation rests on the foot spot 21 on the pool table surface 11. The standard size object pool balls 18 are pressed forward by fingers of the user so that there is mutual contact between all three balls. The three-ball pool rack 10 is then removed from the three ball formation of the object balls.

[0043] The cue ball 15 is placed anywhere behind the head string 23 of the pool table. This is known as ball in hand for the break. Using a cue stick 17, the first player uses a cue stick 17 to shoot the cue ball 15 to cross the head string 23 of the pool table into the three ball formation. This is referred to as the break. After the break, the player continues to shoot, causing the cue ball 15 to carom into the object balls 18 in an effort to pocket all three of the object balls 18 using the least amount of shots and committing the least amount of fouls. Once all three object balls 18 are pocketed, the player is done, and his score is recorded.

[0044] A new rack of three object balls 18 is then positioned as it was for the first player in the group. The next player in the group breaks and continues to shoot until all three object balls 18 are pocketed. Once all three object balls 18 are pocketed, that player is done, and his score is recorded.

[0045] The game continues in this fashion until each player in the group has played out their individual rack of three object balls 18. The player with the lowest score at the end of the round is the winner. In the event of a tie, another round for the entire group is played to determine a winner.

[0046] Turning to specific rules and scoring, it is not necessary for a player to call pockets, balls, combination or bank shots. The cue ball must cross the head string 23 to count as a legal break. No balls need to contact a rail on the table to constitute a legal break.

[0047] In scoring, a break earns 1 point with or without any or all object balls being hit or pocketed. If the object balls are missed during a legal opening break, the cue ball is played from the spot where it stops moving. It is not reset behind the head string 23 for another attempt at the opening break.

[0048] For each shot taken after a break, 1 point is earned. Two or more object balls pocketed with a single shot earns 1 point.

[0049] There are a number of ways to foul. Fouls are scored by earning 1 point for the shot taken and 1 point for the foul. One form of a foul is a scratch. A scratch earns 2 points, with or without any or all objects being pocketed. The cue ball 15 is placed anywhere behind the head string 23 and play continues.

[0050] When the cue ball jumps off the table, that counts as a scratch and earns 2 points. When an object ball jumps off the table, that also earns 2 points.

[0051] When this occurs, the object ball is returned to the table and placed on the foot spot 21. If more than one object ball is to be reset, they are to be lined up with the first ball on the foot spot 21 and the remaining balls placed directly behind the first ball. The cue ball 15 is played from the spot where it has stopped moving.

[0052] Any rules additional to or contrary to the above-mentioned rules should be agreed upon by the entire group of players prior to commencement of play.

[0053] When the three-ball pool rack 10 of the invention is sold, a copy of the rules for a three-ball pool game can be attached to the three-ball pool rack 10.

[0054] In accordance with another aspect of the invention, a set of pool game equipment is provided and which includes: a pool table 13; a cue stick 17; a cue ball 15; three standard object balls 18, and a three-ball pool rack 10 which includes three straight wall portions 12 and three curved corner portions 14 connected between adjacent straight wall portions 12, wherein the straight wall portions 12 and the curved corner portions 14 define a ball-reception space 16, and wherein the ball-reception space 16 is of a size which is large enough to retain a maximum of three pool balls 18.

[0055] The components of the three-ball pool rack of the invention can be made from inexpensive and durable metal and plastic materials. The three-ball pool rack 10 can be made from molded plastic materials.

[0056] As to the manner of usage and operation of the instant invention, the same is apparent from the above disclosure, and accordingly, no further discussion relative to the manner of usage and operation need be provided.

[0057] It is apparent from the above that the present invention accomplishes all of the objects set forth by providing a new and improved three-ball pool rack that is low in cost, relatively simple in design and operation, and which may advantageously be used for aligning and positioning three pool balls without employing purely manual alignment and positioning skills. With the invention, a pool rack is provided for a three-ball pool game which does not employ a conventional ten-ball-capacity rack. With the invention, a pool ball rack provides a three-ball-capacity rack. With the invention, a three-ball pool rack is provided which includes a horizontal grasping surface which permits easy lifting of the rack.

[0058] Thus, while the present invention has been shown in the drawings and fully described above with particularity and detail in connection with what is presently deemed to be the most practical and preferred embodiment(s) of the invention, it will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art that many modifications thereof may be made without departing from the principles and concepts set forth herein, including, but not limited to, variations in size, materials, shape, form, function and manner of operation, assembly and use.

[0059] Hence, the proper scope of the present invention should be determined only by the broadest interpretation of the appended claims so as to encompass all such modifications as well as all relationships equivalent to those illustrated in the drawings and described in the specification.

[0060] Finally, it will be appreciated that the purpose of the annexed Abstract is to enable the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the public generally, and especially the scientists, engineers and practitioners in the art who are not familiar with patent or legal terms or phraseology, to determine quickly from a cursory inspection the nature and essence of the technical disclosure of the application. Accordingly, the Abstract is neither intended to define the invention or the application, which only is measured by the claims, nor is it intended to be limiting as to the scope of the invention in any way.