Thirsty4Balls is the only Korean Billiards bar in Singapore and it just opened in The Cathay! I’m sure not many of you are familiar with this game yet, so I got JJ, the owner of Thirsty4Balls to give us a run-through.
Unlike your typical snooker and billiards clubs with dingy lighting over the tables, Thirsty4Balls has a really bright aesthetic that makes cuesports a lot more appealing.
Aside from the pastel colour scheme, there are several Instagram-worthy spots. The ‘Jacuzzi’ ball pit is a bathtub filled with balls, which means it’s a good chill spot if you’re here to drink with friends instead of competing with them at Korean Billiards.
The drinks here are also very affordable. Bottled beers and ciders are at S$8 nett, while coffee, tea and Bundaberg soft drinks are sold at S$4.
Carom Billiards is a game played on a pocketless table, which seems really odd if you’re a frequent player of pool and snooker.
Here at Thirsty4Balls, there are two styles of Carom Billiards you can play. For beginners, Korean Four Balls is a good place to start, but if you’re more advanced, Three Cushion Billiards is available too.
Korean Four Balls, as the name suggests, is a sport that Koreans commonly play. Interestingly, JJ told me that in Korea, this game is usually played on the third or fourth floor and thus why he opened his store on the fourth floor of the building.
JJ also mentioned that back in Korea, many players will bet on the games, and the loser has to pay for either the drinks or the table. This adds an element of wager that makes the game way more competitive! “You could challenge me too if you’re up for it,” he teased.
For Korean Four Balls, there are two cue balls and two red balls, and the goal is to score as many points as possible within a limited time. To score points, you have to shoot your cue ball to hit minimally two of the other three balls.
If your cue ball touches one red ball and one cue ball, you would have scored two points. Whereas if it touches two red balls, that’ll give you three points. And if you hit all the three other balls, that’s worth five points.
JJ showed me his prowess in his sport, by exemplifying all the possibilities of scoring. But he humbly said he’s considered quite an amateur compared to the other Koreans who patronise the place.
Once you’ve understood Korean Four Balls, moving on to Three Cushion Billiards is a lot easier.
It has the same concept of using your cue ball to hit the other two red balls, with an additional rule of having your cue ball hit at least three other cushions.
If you hit the other two balls and three cushions, you will earn one point.
I feel that Korean Four Balls is not too hard to handle for someone who has experience in playing pool. The difference lies in the posture.
In pool, we usually lean as low as possible to stay almost in line with our cue, but for Korean Four Balls, you should keep your head a good 30cm above your cue.
Because the focus in Korean Four Balls lies in where your ball bounces after hitting its first target and its journey afterwards, a wider view provides a better gauge.
JJ is also a proponent of a full bridge, unlike what most of us do for pool where a half bridge is used. But doesn’t that put you at risk of a friction burn?
Don’t worry, the gloves here are free of charge!
At the moment, prices here start at S$24 per hour for a table, with a minimum of 30 minutes. They’re currently running a promotion on weekdays from 4pm – 6pm, where it’s only S$10 per person for the entire duration you’re playing. Don’t miss out on this opportunity!
Most of the patrons here were Koreans, and JJ mentioned that he opened this store to appeal to the missing market for the Koreans.
But this isn’t an exclusive sport meant for them, and he’s willing to teach any newcomer, so don’t be shy! If you’re interested in expanding your skills in cue sports, or if you’re just bored and looking for something interesting and new to do in town, head on down to Thirsty4Balls!
Prices: S$24/hour (min. 30 minutes)