GENERAL RULES FOR ALL POCKET BILLIARDS
RULES SPECIFIC TO 8 BALL / RULES SPECIFIC TO 9 BALL
TABLES, BALLS, EQUIPMENT
All games described in these rules are designed for tables, balls and equipment meeting the standards prescribed in the BCA Equipment Specifications.
RACKING THE BALLS
When racking the balls a triangle must be used, and the apex ball is to be spotted on the foot spot. All the balls must be lined up behind the apex ball and pressed together so that they all have contact with each other.
STRIKING CUE BALL
Legal shots require that the cue ball be struck only with the cue tip. Failure to meet this requirement is a foul.
For games of call-shot a player may shoot any ball he chooses, but before he shoots, must designate the called ball and called pocket. He need not indicate any detail such as kisses, caroms, combinations, or cushions (all of which are legal). “Any additionally pocketed ball(s) on a legal stroke is counted in the shooter’s favor.”
FAILURE TO POCKET A BALL
If a player fails to pocket a ball on a legal shot, then the player’s inning is over, and it is the opponent’s turn at the table.
LAG FOR BREAK
The following procedure is used for the lag for the opening break. Each player should use balls of equal size and weight (preferably cue balls but, when not available, non-striped object balls). With the balls in hand behind the head string, one player to the left and one to the right of the head spot, the balls are shot simultaneously to the foot cushion and back to the head end of the table. The player whose ball is the closest to the innermost edge of the head cushion wins the lag. The lagged ball must contact the foot cushion at least once. Other cushion contacts are immaterial, except as prohibited below. It is an automatic loss of the lag if:
(a) The ball crosses into the opponent’s half of the table;
(b) The ball fails to contact the foot cushion;
(c) The ball drops into a pocket;
(d) The ball jumps off the table;
(e) The ball touches the long cushion;
(f) The ball rests within the corner pocket and past the nose of the head cushion, or;
(g) The ball contacts the foot rail more than once. If both players violate automatic-loss lag rules, or if the referee is unable to determine which ball is closer, the lag is a tie and is replayed.
OPENING BREAK SHOT
The opening break shot is determined by either lag or lot. (The lag for break procedure is required for formal competition.) The player winning the lag or lot has the choice of performing the opening break shot or assigning it to the opponent.
CUE BALL ON OPENING BREAK
The opening break shot is taken with cue ball in hand behind the head string. The object balls are positioned according to specific game rules. On the opening break, the game is considered to have commenced once the cue ball has been struck by the cue tip
DEFLECTING THE CUE BALL ON THE GAME’S OPENING BREAK
On the break shot, stopping or deflecting the cue ball after it has crossed the head string and prior to hitting the racked balls is considered a foul and loss of turn. The opponent has the option of receiving cue ball in hand behind the head string or passing the cue ball in hand behind the head string back to the offending player. (Exception: 9-Ball, see rule 5.3: “cue ball in hand anywhere on the table”). A warning must be given that a second violation during the match will result in the loss of the match by forfeiture. (See Rule 3.28.)
CUE BALL IN HAND BEHIND THE HEAD STRING
This situation applies in specific games whereby the opening break is administered or a player’s scratching is penalized by the incoming player having cue ball in hand behind the head string. The incoming player may place the cue ball anywhere behind the head string. The shooting player may shoot at any object ball as long as the base of the object ball is on or below the head string. He may not shoot at any ball, the base of which is above the head string, unless he first shoots the cue ball below the head string and then by hitting a rail causes the cue ball to come back above the head string and hit the object ball. The base of the ball (the point of the ball touching the table) determines whether it is above or below the head string. If the incoming player inadvertently places the cue ball on or below the head string, the referee or the op-posing player must inform the shooting player of improper positioning of the cue ball before the shot is made. If the opposing player does not so inform the shooting player before the shot is made, the shot is considered legal. If the shooting player is informed of improper positioning, he must then reposition the cue ball. If a player positions the cue ball completely and obviously outside the kitchen and shoots the cue ball, it is a foul. (Refer to rule 2.21) When the cue ball is in hand behind the head string, it remains in hand (not in play) until the player strikes the cue ball with his cue tip. The cue ball may be adjusted by the player’s hand, cue, etc., so long as it remains in hand. Once the cue ball is in play per the above, it may not be impeded in any way by the player; to do so is to commit a foul. Additionally, if the shot fails to contact a legal object ball or fails to drive the cue ball over the head string, the shot is a foul and the opposing player has ball in hand according to the specific game rules.
A ball is considered pocketed if as a result of an otherwise legal shot, it drops off the bed of the table into the pocket and remains there. (A ball that drops out of a ball return system onto the floor is not to be construed as a ball that has not remained pocketed.) A ball that rebounds from a pocket back onto the table bed is not a pocketed ball.
POSITION OF BALLS
The position of a ball is judged by where its base (or center) rests.
FOOT ON FLOOR
Player must have at least one foot in contact with the floor at the moment the cue tip contacts the cue ball, or the shot is a foul. Foot attire must be normal in regard to size, shape and manner in which it is worn.
SHOOTING WITH BALLS IN MOTION
It is a foul if a player shoots while the cue ball or any object ball is in motion (a spinning ball is in motion).
COMPLETION OF STROKE
A stroke is not complete (and therefore is not counted) until all balls on the table have become motionless after the stroke (a spinning ball is in motion).
HEAD STRING DEFINED
The area behind the head string does not include the head string. Thus, an object ball that is dead center on the head string is playable when specific game rules require that a player must shoot at a ball past the head string. Likewise, the cue ball when being put in play behind the head string (cue ball in hand behind the head string), may not be placed directly on the head string; it must be behind it.
GENERAL RULE, ALL FOULS
Though the penalties for fouls differ from game to game, the following apply to all fouls:
(a) Player’s inning ends;
(b) If on a stroke, the stroke is invalid and any pocketed balls are not counted to the shooter’s credit, and;
(c) Any ball(s) is re-spotted only if the rules of the specific game require it.
FAILURE TO CONTACT OBJECT BALL
It is a foul if on a stroke the cue ball fails to make contact with any legal object ball first. Playing away from a touching ball does not constitute having hit that ball.
Unless otherwise stated in a specific game rule, a player must cause the cue ball to contact a legal object ball and then:
(a) Pocket a numbered ball, or;
(b) Cause the cue ball or any numbered ball to contact a cushion or any part of the rail. Failure to meet these requirements is a foul.
CUE BALL SCRATCH
It is a foul (scratch) if on a stroke, the cue ball is pocketed. If the cue ball touches an object ball that was already pocketed (for example, in a pocket full of object balls), the shot is a foul.
FOULS BY TOUCHING BALLS
It is a foul to strike, touch or in any way make contact with the cue ball in play or any object balls in play with anything (the body, clothing, chalk, me- mechanical bridge, cue shaft, etc.) except the cue tip (while attached to the cue shaft), which may contact the cue ball in the execution of a legal shot. Whenever a referee is presiding over a match, any object ball moved during a standard foul must be returned as closely as possible to its original position as judged by the referee, and the incoming player does not have the option of restoration. (Also see Rule 1.16.1)
FOUL BY PLACEMENT
Touching any object ball with the cue ball while it is in hand is a foul.
FOULS BY DOUBLE HITS
If the cue ball is touching the required object ball prior to the shot, the player may shoot toward it, providing that any normal stroke is employed. If the cue stick strikes the cue ball more than once on a shot, or if the cue stick is in contact with the cue ball when or after the cue ball contacts an object ball, the shot is a foul. (See Rule 2.20 for judging this kind of shot.) If a third ball is close by, care should be taken not to foul that ball under the first part of this rule.
PUSH SHOT FOULS
It is a foul if the cue ball is pushed by the cue tip, with contact being maintained for more than the momentary time commensurate with a stroked shot. (Such shots are usually referred to as push shots.)
PLAYER RESPONSIBILITY FOULS
The player is responsible for chalk, bridges, files and any other items or equipment he brings to, uses at, or causes to approximate the table. If he drops a piece of chalk, or knocks off a mechanical bridge head, as examples, he is guilty of a foul should such an object make contact with any ball in play (or the cue ball only if no referee is presiding over the match).
ILLEGAL JUMPING OF BALL
It is a foul if a player strikes the cue ball below center (“digs under” or “lofts” the cue ball) and intentionally causes it to rise off the bed of the table in an effort to clear an obstructing ball. Such jumping action may occasionally occur accidentally, and such “jumps” are not to be considered fouls on their face; they may still be ruled foul strokes, if for example, the ferrule or cue shaft makes contact with the cue ball in the course of the shot.
Unless otherwise stated in rules for a specific game it is legal to cause the cue ball to rise off the bed of the table by elevating the cue stick on the shot, and forcing the cue ball to rebound from the bed of the table. Any miscue when executing a jump shot is a foul.
BALLS JUMPED OFF TABLE
Balls coming to rest other than on the bed of the table after a stroke (on the cushion top, rail surface, floor, etc.) are considered jumped balls. Balls may bounce on the cushion tops and rails of the table in play without being jumped balls if they return to the bed of the table under their own power and without touching anything not a part of the table. The table shall consist of the permanent part of the table proper. (Balls that strike or touch anything not a part of the table, such as the light fixture, chalk on the rails and cushion tops, etc., shall be considered jumped balls even though they might return to the bed of the table after contacting items which are not parts of the table proper). In all pocket billiard games, when a stroke results in the cue ball or any object ball being a jumped ball off the table, the stroke is a foul. All jumped object balls are spotted (except in 8 and 9-Ball) when all balls have stopped moving. See specific game rules for putting the cue ball in play after a jumped cue ball foul.
SPECIAL INTENTIONAL FOUL PENALTY
The cue ball in play shall not be intentionally struck with anything other than a cue’s attached tip (such as the ferrule, shaft, etc.). While such contact is automatically a foul under the provisions of Rule 3.19, if the referee deems the contact to be intentional, he shall warn the player once during a match that a second violation during that match will result in the loss of the match by forfeiture. If a second violation does occur, the match must be forfeited.
ONE FOUL LIMIT
Unless specific game rules dictate otherwise, only one foul is assessed on a player in each inning; if different penalties can apply, the most severe penalty is the factor determining which foul is assessed.
BALLS MOVING SPONTANEOUSLY
If a ball shifts, settles, turns or otherwise moves “by itself,” the ball shall remain in the position it assumed and play continues. A hanging ball that falls into a pocket “by itself” after being motionless for 5 seconds or longer shall be replaced as closely as possible to its position prior to falling, and play shall continue. If an object ball drops into a pocket “by itself” as a player shoots at it, so that the cue ball passes over the spot the ball had been on, unable to hit it, the cue ball and object ball are to be replaced to their positions prior to the stroke, and the player may shoot again. Any other object balls disturbed on the stroke are also to be replaced to their original positions before the shooter replays.
When specific game rules call for spotting balls, they shall be replaced on the table on the long string after the stroke is complete. A single ball is placed on the foot spot; if more than one ball is to be spotted, they are placed on the long string in ascending numerical order, beginning on the foot spot and advancing toward the foot rail. When balls on or near the foot spot or long string interfere with the spotting of balls, the balls to be spotted are placed on the extension of the long string “in front” of the foot spot (between the foot spot and the center spot), as near as possible to the foot spot and in the same numerical order as if they were spotted “behind” the foot spot (lowest numbered ball closest to the foot spot)..
If two or more balls are locked between the jaws or sides of the pocket, with one or more suspended in air, the referee shall inspect the balls in position and follow this procedure: he shall visually (or physically if he desires) project each ball directly downward from its locked position; any ball that in his judgement would fall in the pocket if so moved directly downward is a pocketed ball, while any ball that would come to rest on the bed of the table is not pocketed. The balls are then placed according to the referee’s assessment, and play continues according to specific game rules as if no locking or jawing of balls had occurred.
ADDITIONAL POCKETED BALLS
If extra balls are pocketed on a legal scoring stroke, they are counted in accord with the scoring rules for the particular game.
If the balls are moved (or a player bumped such that play is directly affected) by a non-player during the match, the balls shall be replaced as near as possible to their original positions immediately prior to the incident, and play shall resume with no penalty on the player affected. If the match is officiated, the referee shall replace the balls. This rule also applies to “act of God” interferences, such as earthquakes, hurricanes, light fixture falling, power failures, etc. If the balls cannot be restored to their original positions, replay the game with the original player breaking. This rule is not applicable to 14.1 Continuous where the game consists of successive racks: the rack in progress will be discontinued and a completely new rack will be started with the requirements of the normal opening break (players lag for break). Scoring of points is to be resumed at the score as it stood at the moment of game disruption.
BREAKING SUBSEQUENT RACKS
In a match that consists of short rack games, the winner of each game breaks in the next. The following are common options that may be designated by tournament officials in advance:
(a) Players alternate break.
(b) Loser breaks.
(c) Player trailing in game count breaks the next game.
PLAY BY INNINGS
During the course of play, players alternate turns (innings) at the table, with a player’s inning ending when he either fails to legally pocket a ball, or fouls. When an inning ends free of a foul, the incoming player accepts the table in position.
OBJECT BALL FROZEN TO CUSHION OR CUE BALL
This rule applies to any shot where the cue ball’s first contact with a ball is with one that is frozen to a cushion or to the cue ball itself. After the cue ball makes contact with the frozen object ball, the shot must result in either:
(a) A ball being pocketed, or;
(b) The cue ball contacting a cushion, or;
(c) The frozen ball being caused to contact a cushion attached to a separate rail, or;
(d) Another object ball being caused to contact a cushion with which it was not already in contact. Failure to satisfy one of those four requirements is a foul. (Note: 14.1 and other games specify additional requirements and applications of this rule; see specific game rules.) A ball which is touching a cushion at the start of a shot and then is forced into a cushion attached to the same rail is not considered to have been driven to that cushion unless it leaves the cushion, contacts another ball, and then contacts the cushion again. An object ball is not considered frozen to a cushion unless it is examined and announced as such by either the referee or one of the players prior to that object ball being involved in a shot.
PLAYING FROM BEHIND THE STRING
When a player has the cue ball in hand behind the head string (in the kitchen), he must drive the cue ball to a point across the head string before it contacts either a cushion, an object ball, or returns to the kitchen. Failure to do so is a foul if a referee is presiding over a match. If no referee, the opponent has the option to call it either a foul or to require the offending player to replay the shot again with the balls restored to their positions prior to the shot (and with no foul penalty imposed). Exception: if an object ball lies on or outside the head string (and is thus playable) but so close that the cue ball contacts it before the cue ball is out of the kitchen, the ball can be legally played, and will be considered to have crossed the head string. If, with cue ball in hand behind the headstring and while the shooter is attempting a legitimate shot, the cue ball accidentally hits a ball behind the head string, and the cue ball crosses the line, it is a foul. If with cue ball in hand behind the head string, the shooter causes the cue ball to hit an object ball accidentally, and the cue ball does not cross the headstring, the following applies: the incoming player has the option of calling a foul and having cue ball in hand, or having the balls returned to their original position, and having the offending player replay the shot. If a player under the same conditions intentionally causes the cue ball to contact an object ball behind the headstring, it is unsportsmanlike conduct.
CUE BALL IN HAND FOUL
During cue ball in hand placement, the player may use his hand or any part of his cue (including the tip) to position the cue ball. When placing the cue ball in position, any forward stroke motion of the cue stick contacting the cue ball will be considered a foul if not a legal shot.
If the non-shooting player distracts his opponent or interferes with his play, he has fouled. If a player shoots out of turn, or moves any ball except during his inning, it is considered to be interference.
Players are not allowed to use a ball, the triangle or any other width-measuring device to see if the cue ball or an object ball would travel through a gap, etc. Only the cue stick may be used as an aid to judge gaps or as an aid to aligning a shot., so long as the cue is held by the hand. To do so otherwise is a foul and unsportsmanlike conduct. (Also see Rules 1.3, 1.4 and 2.15)
If a player intentionally marks the table in any way (including the placement of chalk) to assist in executing the shot, it is a foul.
The following are rules that are referred to within the General Rules of Pocket Billiards above. For the complete World Standardized Rules, please consider Billiards: The Official Rules and Records Book, published by the Billiard Congress of America.
USE OF EQUIPMENT
Players may not use equipment or accessory items for purposes or in a manner other than those for which the items were intended. For example, powder containers, chalk cubes, etc., may not be used to prop up a mechanical bridge (or natural hand bridge); no more than two mechanical bridges may be used at one time, nor may they be used to support anything other than the cue shaft. Extra or out-of-play balls may not be used by players to check clearance or for any other reason (except to lag for break); the triangle may be employed to ascertain whether a ball is in the rack when a match is unofficiated and the table has not been pencil marked around the triangle area.
The following is a list of acceptable equipment items a player may bring to the table to use in a World Pool-Billiard Association sanctioned event:
(a) Cue Stick - Each player is permitted to use one or more cue sticks that meet the specifications listed in the equipment specifications section. He may use either a built-in extender or an add-on extender to increase the length of the stick.
(b) Chalk - The player may apply chalk to his tip to prevent miscues, and may use his own chalk, provided its color is compatible with the cloth.
(c) Talcum Powder
(d) Mechanical Bridges - The player may use up to two mechanical bridges to support the cue stick during the shot. He may use his own bridge if it is similar to standard commercial bridges.
(e) Gloves - The player may use gloves to improve the grip and/or bridge hand function.
CUE BALL FOULS ONLY
When a referee is presiding over a match, it is a foul for a player to touch any ball (cue ball or object ball) with the cue, clothing, body, mechanical bridge or chalk, before, during or after a shot. However, when a referee is not presiding over a game, it is not a foul to accidentally touch stationary balls located between the cue ball and the shooter while in the act of shooting. If such an accident occurs, the player should allow the Tournament Director to restore the object balls to their correct positions. If the player does not allow such a restoration, and a ball set in motion as a normal part of the shot touches such an unrestored ball, or passes partly into a region originally occupied by a disturbed ball, the shot is a foul. In short, if the accident has any effect on the outcome of the shot, it is a foul. In any case, the Tournament Director must be called upon to restore the positions of the disturbed balls as soon as possible, but not during the shot. It is a foul to play another shot before the Tournament Director has restored any accidentally moved balls. At the non-shooting player’s option, the disturbed balls will be left in their new positions. In this case, the balls are considered restored, and subsequent contact on them is not a foul. It is still a foul to make any contact with the cue ball whatsoever while it is in play, except for the normal tip-to-ball contact during a shot.
The referee shall be totally responsive to players’ inquiries regarding objective data, such as whether a ball will be in the rack, if a ball is in the kitchen, what the count is, how many points are needed for a victory, if a player or his opponent is on a foul, what rule would apply if a certain shot is made, etc. When asked for a clarification of a rule, the referee will explain the applicable rule to the best of his ability, but any misstatement by the referee will not protect a player from enforcement of the actual rules. The referee must not offer or provide any subjective opinion that would affect play, such as whether a good hit can be made on a prospective shot, whether a combination can be made, or how the table seems to be playing, etc.
INAPPROPRIATE USE OF EQUIPMENT
The referee should be alert for a player using equipment or accessory items for purposes or in a manner other than those for which they were intended, or for the use of illegal equipment, as defined under “equipment specification”. Generally no penalty is applied. However, should a player persist in such activity or use of such equipment, after having been advised that such activity or use is not permissible, the referee or other tournament official may take action as appropriate under the provisions of “Unsportsmanlike Conduct”
JUDGING DOUBLE HITS
When the distance between the cue ball and the object ball is less than the width of a chalk cube, special attention from the referee is required. In such a situation, unless the referee can positively determine a legal shot has been performed, the following guidance may apply: if the cue ball follows through the object ball more than 1/2 ball, it is a foul.
OUT OF HEAD STRING WARNING
When a player has the cue ball in hand behind the head string, the referee shall warn him before he shoots if he has placed the cue ball on or within 1/2 ball width outside of the head string. If the player then shoots from on or within the specified distance outside the head string, the stroke is a foul. If the shooter places the cue ball outside of the head string beyond the specified limit, no warning is required and the stroke is a foul.
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RULES SPECIFIC TO 8 BALL GAMES
OBJECT OF THE GAME
Eight-Ball is a call shot game played with a cue ball and 15 object balls, numbered 1 through 15. One player must pocket balls of the group numbered 1 through 7 (solid colors), while the other player has 9 through 15 (stripes). The player pocketing either group first, and then legally pocketing the 8-ball wins the game.
In Call Shot, obvious balls and pockets do not have to be indicated. It is the opponent’s right to ask which ball and pocket if he is unsure of the shot. Bank shots and combination shots are not considered obvious, and care should be taken in calling both the object ball and the intended pocket. When calling the shot, it is never necessary to indicate details such as the number of cushions, banks, kisses, caroms, etc. Any balls pocketed on a foul remain pocketed, regardless of whether they belong to the shooter or the opponent. The opening break is not a “called shot.” Any player performing a break shot in 8-Ball may continue to shoot so long as any object ball is legally pocketed on the break.
RACKING THE BALLS
The balls are racked in a triangle at the foot of the table with the 8-ball in the center of the triangle, the first ball of the rack on the foot spot, a stripe ball in one corner of the rack and a solid ball in the other corner.
ORDER OF BREAK
Winner of the lag has the option to break. The winner of each game breaks in the next. The following are common options that may be designated by tournament officials in advance:
(a) Players alternate break.
(b) Loser breaks.
(c) Player trailing in game count breaks the next game.
LEGAL BREAK SHOT
(Defined) To execute a legal break, the breaker (with the cue ball behind the head string) must either (1) pocket a ball, or (2) drive at least four numbered balls to the rail. When the breaker fails to make a legal break, it is a foul, and the incoming player has the option of (1) accepting the table in position and shooting, or (2) having the balls re-racked and having the option of shooting the opening break or allowing the offending player to re-break.
SCRATCH ON A LEGAL BREAK
If a player scratches on a legal break shot, (1) all balls pocketed remain pocketed (exception, the 8-ball: see rule 4.8), (2) it is a foul, (3) the table is open. Please Note: The incoming player has cue ball in hand behind the head string and may not shoot an object ball that is behind the head string, unless he first shoots the cue ball past the head string and causes the cue ball to come back behind the head string and hit the object ball.
OBJECT BALLS JUMPED OFF TABLE ON THE BREAK
If a player jumps an object ball off the table on the break shot, it is a foul and the incoming player has the option of (1) accepting the table in position and shooting, or (2) taking cue ball in hand behind the head string and shooting.
8-BALL POCKETED ON THE BREAK
If the 8-ball is pocketed on the break, breaker may ask for a re-rack or have the 8-ball spotted and continue shooting. If the breaker scratches while pocketing the 8-ball on the break, the incoming player has the option of a re-rack or having the 8-ball spotted and begin shooting with ball in hand behind the head string.
(Defined) The table is "open" when the choice of groups (stripes or solids) has not yet been determined. When the table is open, it is legal to hit a solid first to make a stripe or vice-versa. Note: The table is always open immediately after the break shot. When the table is open, it is legal to hit any solid or stripe first in the process of pocketing the called stripe or solid. However, when the table is open and the 8-ball is the first ball contacted, it is a foul and no stripe or solid may be scored in favor of the shooter. The shooter loses his turn; the incoming player is awarded cue ball in hand; any balls pocketed remain pocketed; and the incoming player addresses the balls with the table still open. On an open table, all illegally pocketed balls remain pocketed.
CHOICE OF GROUP
The choice of stripes or solids is not determined on the break even if balls are made from only one or both groups, because the table is always open immediately after the break shot. The choice of group is determined only when a player legally pockets a called object ball after the break shot.
If the groups have been determined and the player mistakenly shoots at and pockets a ball of the group, the opponent must call a foul on him before he takes his next shot. If he fails to do so, the player automatically takes over the group of balls (solids or stripes) at which he has been shooting during this inning.
(Defined) On all shots (except on the break and when the table is open), the shooter must hit one of his group of balls first and (1) pocket a numbered ball, or (2) cause the cue ball or any numbered ball to contact a rail. Please Note: It is permissible for the shooter to bank the cue ball off a rail before contacting the object ball; however, after contact with the object ball, an object ball must be pocketed, or the cue ball or any numbered ball must contact a rail. Failure to meet these requirements is a foul.
For tactical reasons, a player may choose to pocket an obvious object ball and also discontinue a turn at the table by declaring “safety” in advance. A safety shot is defined as a legal shot. If the shooting player intends to play safe by pocketing an obvious object ball, then prior to the shot, the shooter must declare a “safety” to the opponent. It is the shooter’s responsibility to make the opponent aware of the intended safety shot. If this is not done, and one of the shooter’s object balls is pocketed, the shooter will be required to shoot again. Any ball pocketed on a safety shot remains pocketed.
A player is entitled to continue shooting until failing to legally pocket a ball of his group. After a player has legally pocketed all of his group of balls, he shoots to pocket the 8-ball.
Opposing player gets cue ball in hand. This means that the player can place the cue ball anywhere on the table (does not have to be behind the headstring except on opening break). This rule prevents a player from making intentional fouls which would put an opponent at a disadvantage. With “cue ball in hand,” the player may use a hand or any part of a cue (including the tip) to position the cue ball. When placing the cue ball in position, any forward stroke motion contacting the cue ball will be a foul, if not a legal shot.
Combination shots are allowed; however, the 8-ball can’t be used as a first ball in the combination unless it is the shooter’s only remaining legal object ball on the table. Otherwise, should such contact occur on the 8-ball, it is a foul.
ILLEGALLY POCKETED BALLS
An object ball is considered to be illegally pocketed when (1) that object ball is pocketed on the same shot a foul is committed, or (2) the called ball did not go in the designated pocket, or (3) a safety is called prior to the shot. Illegally pocketed balls remain pocketed and are scored in favor of the shooter controlling that specific group of balls, solids or stripes.
OBJECT BALLS JUMPED OFF THE TABLE
If any object ball is jumped off the table, it is a foul and loss of turn, unless it is the 8-ball, which is a loss of game. Any jumped object balls are not re-spotted.
JUMP AND MASSÉ SHOT FOUL
While “cue ball fouls only” is the rule of play when a match is not presided over by a referee, a player should be aware that it will be considered a cue ball foul if during an attempt to jump, curve or massé the cue ball over or around an impeding numbered ball that is not a legal object ball, the impeding ball moves (regardless of whether it was moved by a hand, cue stick follow-through or bridge).
PLAYING THE 8-BALL
When the 8-ball is the legal object ball, a scratch or foul is not loss of game if the 8-ball is not pocketed or jumped from the table. Incoming player has cue ball in hand. Note: A combination shot can never be used to legally pocket the 8-ball, except when the 8-ball is the first ball contacted in the shot sequence.
LOSS OF GAME
A player loses the game by committing any of the following infractions:
1. Fouls when pocketing the 8-ball (exception: see 8-Ball Pocketed On The
2. Pockets the 8-ball on the same stroke as the last of his group of balls.
3. Jumps the 8-ball off the table at any time.
4. Pockets the 8-ball in a pocket other than the one designated.
5. Pockets the 8-ball when it is not the legal object ball.
Note: All infractions must be called before another shot is taken, or else it will be deemed that no infraction occurred.
If, after 3 consecutive turns at the table by each player (6 turns total), the referee judges that attempting to pocket or move an object ball will result in loss of game, the balls will be re-racked with the original breaker of the stalemated game breaking again. The stalemate rule may be applied regard-less of the number of balls on the table. Please Note: Three consecutive fouls by one player in 8-ball is not a loss of game.
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RULES SPECIFIC TO 9 BALL GAME
OBJECT OF THE GAME
Nine-Ball is played with nine object balls numbered one through nine and a cue ball. On each shot, the first ball the cue ball contacts must be the lowest numbered ball on the table, but the balls need not be pocketed in order. If a player pockets any ball on a legal shot, he remains at the table for another shot, and continues until missing, committing a foul, or winning the game by pocketing the 9-ball. After a miss, the incoming player must shoot from the position left by the previous player, but after any foul the incoming player may start with the cue ball anywhere on the table. Players are not required to call any shot. A match ends when one of the players has won the required number of games.
RACKING THE BALLS
The object balls are racked in a diamond shape, with the 1-ball at the top of the diamond and on the foot spot, the 9-ball in the center of the diamond, and the other balls in random order, racked as tightly as possible. The game begins with cue ball in hand behind the head string.
ORDER OF BREAK
Winner of the lag has the option to break. In 9-Ball, the winner of each game breaks in the next, unless otherwise specified by the tournament organizer. The following are common options that may be designated by tournament officials in advance:
(a) Players alternate break.
(b) Loser breaks.
(c) Player trailing in game count breaks the next game.
LEGAL BREAK SHOT
The rules governing the break shot are the same as for other shots except:
1. The breaker must strike the1-ball first and either pocket a ball or drive at least four numbered balls to the rail.
2. If the cue ball is pocketed or driven off the table, or the requirements of the opening break are not met, it is a foul, and the incoming player has cue ball in hand anywhere on the table.
3. If on the break shot, the breaker causes an object ball to jump off the table, it is a foul and the incoming player has cue ball in hand anywhere on the table. The object ball is not re-spotted (exception: if the object ball is the 9-ball, it is re-spotted).
On the shot immediately following a legal break, the shooter may play a "push out." (See Rule 5.6). If the breaker pockets one or more balls on a legal break, he continues to shoot until he misses, fouls, or wins the game. If the player misses or fouls, the other player begins an inning and shoots until missing, committing a foul, or winning. The game ends when the 9-ball is pocketed on a legal shot, or the game is forfeited for a serious infraction of the rules.
The player who shoots the shot immediately after a legal break may play a push out in an attempt to move the cue ball into a better position for the option that follows. On a push out, the cue ball is not required to con-tact any object ball nor any rail, but all other foul rules still apply. The player must announce the intention of playing a push out before the shot, or the shot is considered to be a normal shot. Any ball pocketed on a push out does not count and remains pocketed except the 9-ball. Following a legal push out, the incoming player is permitted to shoot from that position or to pass the shot back to the player who pushed out. A push out is not considered to be a foul as long as no rule (except rules 5.8 and 5.9) is violated. An illegal push out is penalized according to the type of foul committed. After a player scratches on the break shot, the incoming player cannot play a push out.
When a player commits a foul, he must relinquish his run at the table and no balls pocketed on the foul shot are re-spotted (exception: if a pocketed ball is the 9-ball, it is re-spotted). The incoming player is awarded ball in hand; prior to his first shot he may place the cue ball anywhere on the table. If a player commits several fouls on one shot, they are counted as only one foul.
If the first object ball contacted by the cue ball is not the lowest numbered ball on the table, the shot is foul.
If no object ball is pocketed, failure to drive the cue ball or any numbered ball to a rail after the cue ball contacts the object ball on is a foul.
When the cue ball is in hand, the player may place the cue ball anywhere on the bed of the table, except in contact with an object ball. The player may continue to adjust the position of the cue ball until shooting.
OBJECT BALLS JUMPED OFF THE TABLE
An un-pocketed ball is considered to be driven off the table if it comes to rest other than on the bed of the table. It is a foul to drive an object ball off the table. The jumped object ball(s) is not re-spotted (exception: if the object ball is the 9-ball, it is re-spotted) and play continues.
JUMP AND MASSÉ SHOT FOUL
If a match is not refereed, it will be considered a cue ball foul if during an attempt to jump, curve or massé the cue ball over or around an impeding numbered ball, the impeding ball moves (regardless of whether it was moved by a hand, cue stick follow-through or bridge).
THREE CONSECUTIVE FOULS
If a player fouls three consecutive times on three successive shots without making an intervening legal shot, the game is lost. The three fouls must occur in one game. The warning must be given between the second and third fouls. A player’s inning begins when it is legal to take a shot and ends at the end of a shot on which he misses, fouls or wins, or when he fouls between shots.
If the referee decides that neither player is attempting to win from the current position, he will announce his decision, and each player will have three more turns at the table. Then, if the referee still feels that there is no progress towards a conclusion, he will declare the rack a stalemate and the original breaker of the rack will break again.
END OF GAME
On the opening break, the game is considered to have commenced once the cue ball has been struck by the cue tip. The 1-ball must be legally contacted on the break shot. The game ends at the end of a legal shot which pockets the 9-ball, or when a player forfeits the game as the result of a foul.
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