Why Do You Have To Be 18 Or 21 To Play Pool?

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If you go to many pool halls, you will often notice that they restrict entry for anybody under the age of 18, and in some cases 21. Why is this? Well, that is a question that our experts are going to answer for you on this page.

So, why do you have to be 18 or 21 to play pool? Well, technically you do not. Obviously, anybody can play pool whenever they wish. As long as you are not gambling, then it is fine. However, pool halls will often have restrictions in place due to alcohol being served on the premises. This can help to restrict their liability.

There are a few more reasons as to why there are age restrictions on who can play pool at certain pool halls. If you read on, we will go through these reasons for you.

Why Do You Have to be 18 or 21 To Play Pool?

Contrary to popular belief, there are no laws that prevent people from playing pool at any age. It is a game, after all. There will just be certain restrictions at pool halls. You can feel free to play pool in the comfort of your own home no matter how old you are.


The only time there will ever be any legal restriction on age for playing pool is when gambling is involved. In most states, you will not be allowed to gamble under the age of 18. In many states, you may not even be allowed to gamble on pool no matter how old you are. If there is money or anything that holds any monetary value at stake, that is regarded as gambling.


Most pool halls restrict entry for anybody under the age of 21 due to alcohol being on sale. They do not want to put their alcohol license at risk.

Now, of course, they could always let people in that do not drink alcohol at the bar, but there are some states that will restrict even this. These states prevent underage people from being in bars after a certain time.

Even in states where underage people are allowed in bars, asking for the ID of anybody at the entrance and preventing entry for people underage is probably going to be in the best interests of the pool hall. It means that the ID check has been carried out, and thus they do not need to constantly check ID at the bar, where mistakes often end up being made.

Protecting the equipment

Many pool halls have found that younger players are more-likely to damage the equipment. This isn’t really through any fault of their own, it is more that they do not know how to use the cue properly. This can lead to broken cues, or even tears in the cloth.

This isn’t to say that adults are not going to break equipment. It is a place where alcohol is served. Things do happen. However, they are far less likely to break the equipment than a child.

The enjoyment of other patrons

Nobody really likes to have screaming children running around, do they?

One of the reasons why many pool halls restrict children is so that the enjoyment of the facilities isn’t impacted for everybody else. Basically, it means that people will be able to play pool in peace.

Will Some Pool Halls Let these Rules Slide?

On occasion, yes.

Since it is not a law to restrict access to a pool hall for those under the age of 21, some places will let their rules slide a little bit. If a child is decent at pool, and doesn’t cause a commotion, then they may let the rules slide. You will most likely find this happens when the person under 18 or 21 is more familiar with the patrons, particularly regular players that may be able to vouch for them.

Are There Pool Halls That Will Allow People in Under 18 or 21?

There are several ‘family-friendly’ pool halls out there. These will allow you to play pool no matter your age. However, you should bear in mind that many of these pool halls will have restricted operating hours for ‘family-friendly’ games. This is because alcohol will still deliver the bulk of the income for a pool hall, and they will want to clear out the families quickly so they can start serving it properly.

Related Questions

What if I am playing pool underage in a pool hall?

If you are playing pool in an age-restricted pool hall and you are under the age requirements, then you will be removed from the pool hall. It is rare that you will receive a refund for the game. This is because pool halls do not want to jeopardize their alcohol license. 

Do you need a membership at a pool hall to play pool?

In many cases, yes. There are some pool halls that do not require a membership, but most of them do. This helps to foster a community. The membership can also lead to discounts on pool and alcohol. 

Can an adult bring their children to a pool hall, even if the child doesn’t play?

Probably not. This will be dependent on the pool hall. Most pool halls will be quite restrictive when it comes to their age requirements. Even accompanied children may not be allowed through the door.

See Also:
How Much Does It Cost To Play Pool
Can You Use the Back of the Pool Stick

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