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The Rules of Play (Effective 15/3/16) – Download PDF

1. General Rules

1.1 Player’s Responsibility
1.2 Lagging to Determine Order of Play
1.3 Player’s Use of Equipment
1.4 Spotting Balls
1.5 Cue Ball in Hand
1.6 Standard Call Shot
1.7 Balls Settling
1.8 Restoring a Position
1.9 Outside Interference
1.10 Prompting Calls and Protesting Rulings
1.11 Concession
1.12 Stalemate

The following General Rules apply to all the games covered by these rules except when

contradicted by specific game rules. In addition, the Regulations of Pool Billiards cover
aspects of the game not directly related to the game rules, such as equipment specifications
and organization of events.
The games of Pool Billiards are played on a flat table covered with cloth and bounded by
rubber cushions. The player uses a stick (pool cue) to strike a cue ball which in turn strikes
object balls. The goal is to drive object balls into six pockets located at the cushion boundary.
The games vary according to which balls are legal targets and the requirements to win a
match.
[Editorial comments on the U.S. English version: The masculine gender has been used for
simplicity of wording and is not intended to specify the gender of the players or officials. The
word “game” is used to refer to a discipline such as nine ball rather than a rack or a match.]

1.1 Player’s Responsibility

It is the player’s responsibility to be aware of all rules, regulations and schedules applying to
competition. While tournament officials will make every reasonable effort to have such
information readily available to all players as appropriate, the ultimate responsibility rests
with the player.

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1.2 Lagging to Determine Order of Play

The lag is the first shot of the match and determines order of play. The player who wins the
lag chooses who will shoot first.
The referee will place a ball on each side of the table behind the head string and near the head
string. The players will shoot at about the same time to make each ball contact the foot
cushion with the goal of returning the ball closer to the head cushion than the opponent.
A lag shot is bad and cannot win if the shooter’s ball:
(a) crosses the long string;
(b) contacts the foot cushion other than once;
(c) is pocketed or driven off the table;
(d) touches the side cushion; or
(e) the ball rests within the corner pocket and past the nose of the head cushion.
In addition, a lag will be bad if any non-object-ball foul occurs other than 6.9 Balls Still
Moving
.
The players will lag again if:
(a) a player’s ball is struck after the other ball has touched the foot cushion;
(b) the referee cannot determine which ball has stopped closer to the head cushion; or
(c) both lags are bad.

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1.3 Player’s Use of Equipment

The equipment must meet existing WPA equipment specifications. In general, players are not
permitted to introduce novel equipment into the game. The following uses, among others, are
considered normal. If the player is uncertain about a particular use of equipment, he should
discuss it with the tournament management prior to the start of play. The equipment must be
used only for the purpose or in the manner that the equipment was intended. (See 6.17
Unsportsmanlike Conduct
.)

(a) Cue Stick – The player is permitted to switch between cue sticks during the match, such as
break, jump and normal cues. 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) Mechanical Bridges – The player may use up to two mechanical bridges to support the cue
stick during the shot. The configuration of the bridges is up to the player. He may use his own
bridge if it is similar to standard bridges.
(d) Gloves – The player may use gloves to improve the grip and/or bridge hand function.
(e) Powder – A player is allowed to use powder in a reasonable amount as determined by the
referee.

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1.4 Spotting Balls

Balls are spotted (returned to play on the table) by placing them on the long string (long axis
of the table) as close as possible to the foot spot and between the foot spot and the foot rail,
without moving any interfering ball. If the spotted ball cannot be placed on the foot spot, it
should be placed in contact (if possible) with the corresponding interfering ball. However,
when the cue ball is next to the spotted ball, the spotted ball should not be placed in contact
with the cue ball; a small separation must be maintained. If all of the long string below the
foot spot is blocked by other balls, the ball is spotted above the foot spot, and as close as
possible to the foot spot.

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1.5 Cue Ball in Hand

When the cue ball is in hand, the shooter may place the cue ball anywhere on the playing
surface (see 8.1 Parts of the Table) and may continue to move the cue ball until he executes a
shot. (See definition 8.2 Shot.) Players may use any part of the cue stick to move the cue ball,
including the tip, but not with a forward stroke motion. In some games and for most break
shots, placement of the cue ball may be restricted to the area behind the head string depending
on the rules of the game, and then 6.10 Bad Cue Ball Placement and 6.11 Bad Play from
Behind the Head String
 may apply.
When the shooter has the cue ball in hand behind the head string and all the legal object balls
are behind the head string, he may request the legal object ball nearest the head string to be
spotted. If two or more balls are equal distance from the head string, the shooter may
designate which of the equidistant balls is to be spotted. An object ball that rests exactly on
the head string is playable.

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1.6 Standard Call Shot

In games in which the shooter is required to call shots, the intended ball and pocket must be
indicated for each shot if they are not obvious. Details of the shot, such as cushions struck or
other balls contacted or pocketed are irrelevant. Only one ball may be called on each shot.
For a called shot to count, the referee must be satisfied that the intended shot was made, so if
there is any chance of confusion, e.g. with bank, combination and similar shots, the shooter
should indicate the ball and pocket. If the referee or opponent is unsure of the shot to be
played, he may ask for a call.
In call shot games, the shooter may choose to call “safety” instead of a ball and pocket, and
then play passes to the opponent at the end of the shot. Whether balls are being spotted after
safeties depends on the rules of the particular game.

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1.7 Balls Settling

A ball may settle slightly after it appears to have stopped, possibly due to slight imperfections
in the ball or the table. Unless this causes a ball to fall into a pocket, it is considered a normal
hazard of play, and the ball will not be moved back. If a ball falls into a pocket as the result of
such settling, it is restored as closely as possible to its original position. If a settling ball falls
into a pocket during or just prior to a shot, and this has an effect on the shot, the referee will
restore the position and the shot will be replayed. The shooter is not penalized for shooting
while a ball is settling. See also 8.3 Ball Pocketed.

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1.8 Restoring a Position

When necessary for balls to be restored or cleaned, the referee will restore disturbed balls to
their original positions to the best of his ability. The players must accept the referee’s
judgment as to placement.

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1.9 Outside Interference

When outside interference occurs during a shot that has an effect on the outcome of that shot,
the referee will restore the balls to the positions they had before the shot, and the shot will be
replayed. If the interference had no effect on the shot, the referee will restore the disturbed
balls and play will continue. If the balls cannot be restored to their original positions, the
situation is handled like a stalemate.

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1.10 Prompting Calls and Protesting Rulings

If a player feels that the referee has made an error in judgment, he may ask the referee to
reconsider his call or lack of call, but the referee’s decision on judgment calls is final.
However, if the player feels that the referee is not applying the rules correctly, he may ask for
ruling by the designated appeals authority. The referee will suspend play while this appeal is
in process. (See also part (d) of 6.17 Unsportsmanlike Conduct.) Fouls must be called
promptly. (See 6. Fouls.)

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1.11 Concession

If a player concedes, he loses the match. For example, if a player unscrews his jointed playing
cue stick while the opponent is at the table and during the opponent’s decisive rack of a
match, it will be considered a concession of the match.

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1.12 Stalemate

If the referee observes that no progress is being made towards a conclusion, he will announce
his decision, and each player will have three more turns at the table. Then, if the referee
determines that there is still no progress, he will declare a stalemate. If both players agree,
they may accept the stalemate without taking their three additional turns. The procedure for a
stalemate is specified under the rules for each game.

2. Nine Ball

2.1 Determining the Break
2.2 Nine Ball Rack
2.3 Legal Break Shot
2.4 Second Shot of the Rack – Push Out
2.5 Continuing Play
2.6 Spotting Balls
2.7 Standard Fouls
2.8 Serious Fouls
2.9 Stalemate

Nine ball is played with nine object balls numbered one through nine and the cue ball. The
balls are played in ascending numerical order. The player legally pocketing the nine ball wins
the rack.

2.1 Determining the Break

The player who wins the lag chooses who will break the first rack. (See 1.2 Lagging to
Determine Order of Play
.) The standard format is to alternate the break, but see Regulation
16, Subsequent Break Shots.

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2.2 Nine Ball Rack

The object balls are racked as tightly as possible in a diamond shape, with the one ball at the
apex of the diamond and on the foot spot and the nine ball in the middle of the diamond. The
other balls will be placed in the diamond without purposeful or intentional pattern.
Nine Ball Rack

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2.3 Legal Break Shot

The following rules apply to the break shot:
(a) the cue ball begins in hand behind the head string;
(b) if no ball is pocketed, at least four object balls must be driven to one or more rails, or
the shot is a foul
(c) additionally, and only when Three Point Break Rule is used, if no ball is pocketed,
three balls must cross the head string, or the break is considered ‘dry break’. (See
Regulation 18, Three Point Break Rule.)

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2.4 Second Shot of the Rack – Push Out

If no foul is committed on the break shot, the shooter may choose to play a “push out” as his
shot. He must make his intention known to the referee, and then rules 6.2 Wrong Ball First
and 6.3 No Rail after Contact are suspended for the shot. If no foul is committed on a push
out, the other player chooses who will shoot next.

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2.5 Continuing Play

If the shooter legally pockets any ball on a shot (except a push out, see 2.4 Second Shot of the
Rack – Push Out
), he continues at the table for the next shot. If he legally pockets the nine
ball on any shot (except a push out), he wins the rack. If the shooter fails to pocket a ball or
fouls, play passes to the other player, and if no foul was committed, the incoming player must
play the cue ball from the position left by the other player.

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2.6 Spotting Balls

If the nine ball is pocketed on a foul or push out, or driven off the table, it is spotted. (See 1.4
Spotting Balls
.) No other object ball is ever spotted.

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2.7 Standard Fouls

If the shooter commits a standard foul, play passes to his opponent. The cue ball is in hand,
and the incoming player may place it anywhere on the playing surface. (See 1.5 Cue Ball in
Hand
)

The following are standard fouls at nine ball:

6.1 Cue Ball Scratch or off the Table
6.2 Wrong Ball First The first object ball contacted by the cue ball on each shot must be the lowest-numbered ball remaining on the table.
6.3 No Rail after Contact
6.4 No Foot on Floor
6.5 Ball Driven off the Table The only jumped object ball that is spotted is the nine.
6.6 Touched Ball 
6.7 Double Hit / Frozen Balls
6.8 Push Shot
6.9 Balls Still Moving 
6.10 Bad Cue Ball Placement
6.11 Bad Play from Behind the Head String 
6.12 Cue Stick on the Table
6.13 Playing out of Turn
6.14 Three Consecutive Fouls
6.15 Slow Play
6.16 Ball Rack Template Foul

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2.8 Serious Fouls

For 6.14 Three Consecutive Fouls, the penalty is loss of the current rack. For 6.17
Unsportsmanlike Conduct
, the referee will choose a penalty appropriate given the nature of
the offense.

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2.9 Stalemate

If a stalemate occurs the original breaker of the rack will break again. (See 1.12 Stalemate.)

3. Eight Ball

3.1 Determining First Break 
3.2 Eight Ball Rack 
3.3 Break Shot
3.4 Open Table / Choosing Groups
3.5 Continuing Play
3.6 Shots Required to Be Called 
3.7 Spotting Balls 
3.8 Losing the Rack
3.9 Standard Fouls 
3.10 Serious Fouls 
3.11 Stalemate 

Eight ball is played with fifteen numbered object balls and the cue ball. The shooter’s group
of seven balls (one through seven or nine through fifteen) must all be off the table before he
attempts to pocket the eight ball to win. Shots are called.

3.1 Determining First Break

The player winning the lag has the option to determine who has to execute the first break shot.
(See 1.2 Lagging to Determine Order of Play.) The standard format is alternate break (See
Regulation 16, Subsequent Break Shots.)

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3.2 Eight Ball Rack

The fifteen object balls are racked as tightly as possible in a triangle, with the apex ball on the
foot spot and the eight ball as the first ball that is directly below the apex ball. One from each
group of seven will be on the two lower corners of the triangle. The other balls are placed in
the triangle without purposeful or intentional pattern.

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3.3 Break Shot

The following rules apply to the break shot:
(a) The cue ball begins in hand behind the head string.
(b) No ball is called, and the cue ball is not required to hit any particular object ball first.
(c) If the breaker pockets a ball and does not foul, he continues at the table, and the table
remains open. (See 3.4 Open Table / Choosing Groups.)
(d) If no object ball is pocketed, at least four object balls must be driven to one or more rails,
or the shot results in an illegal break, and the incoming player has the option of
(1) accepting the table in position, or
(2) re-racking and breaking, or
(3) re-racking and allowing the offending player to break again.
(e) Pocketing the eight ball on a legal break shot is not a foul. If the eight ball is pocketed, the
breaker has the option of
(1) re-spotting the eight ball and accepting the balls in position, or
(2) re-breaking.
(f) If the breaker pockets the eight ball and scratches (see definition 8.6 Scratch), the opponent
has the option of:
(1) re-spotting the eight ball and shooting with cue ball in hand behind the head string;
or
(2) re-breaking.
(g) If any object ball is driven off the table on a break shot, it is a foul; such balls remain out
of play (except the eight ball which is re-spotted); and the incoming player has the option of
(1) accepting the table in position, or
(2) taking cue ball in hand behind the head string.
(h) If the breaker fouls in any manner not listed above, the following player has the option of
(1) accepting the balls in position, or
(2) taking cue ball in hand behind the head string.

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3.4 Open Table / Choosing Groups

Before groups are determined, the table is said to be “open,” and before each shot, the shooter
must call his intended ball. If the shooter legally pockets his called ball, the corresponding
group becomes his, and his opponent is assigned the other group. If he fails to legally pocket
his called ball, the table remains open and play passes to the other player. When the table is
“open”, any object ball may be struck first except the eight ball.

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3.5 Continuing Play

The shooter remains at the table as long as he continues to legally pocket called balls, or he
wins the rack by pocketing the eight ball.

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3.6 Shots Required to Be Called

On each shot except the break, shots must be called as explained in 1.6 Standard Call Shot.
The eight ball may be called only after the shot on which the shooter’s group has been cleared
from the table. The shooter may call “safety” in which case play passes to the opponent at the
end of the shot and any object ball pocketed on the safety remains pocketed. (See 8.17 Safety
Shot
.)

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3.7 Spotting Balls

If the eight ball is pocketed or driven off the table on the break, it will be spotted or the balls
will be re-racked. (See 3.3 Break Shot and 1.4 Spotting Balls.) No other object ball is ever
spotted.

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3.8 Losing the Rack

The shooter loses if he
(a) pockets the eight ball and fouls.;
(b) pockets the eight ball before his group is cleared;
(c) pockets the eight ball in an uncalled pocket; or
(d) drives the eight ball off the table.
These do not apply to the break shot. (See 3.3 Break Shot.)

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3.9 Standard Fouls

If the shooter commits a foul, play passes to his opponent. The cue ball is in hand, and the
incoming player may place it anywhere on the playing surface. (See 1.5 Cue Ball in Hand.)

The following are standard fouls at eight ball:
6.1 Cue Ball Scratch or off the Table
6.2 Wrong Ball First The first ball contacted by the cue ball on each shot must belong to the shooter’s group, except when the table is open. (See 3.4 Open Table / Choosing Groups).
6.3 No Rail after Contact
6.4 No Foot on Floor
6.5 Ball Driven off the Table (See 3.7 Spotting Balls.)
6.6 Touched Ball 
6.7 Double Hit / Frozen Balls
6.8 Push Shot
6.9 Balls Still Moving 
6.10 Bad Cue Ball Placement
6.11 Bad Play from Behind the Head String 
6.12 Cue Stick on the Table
6.13 Playing out of Turn
6.14 Three Consecutive Fouls
6.15 Slow Play
6.16 Ball Rack Template Foul

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3.10 Serious Fouls

The fouls listed under 3.8 Losing the Rack are penalized by the loss of the current rack. For
6.17 Unsportsmanlike Conduct, the referee will choose a penalty appropriate given the nature
of the offense.

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3.11 Stalemate

If a stalemate occurs (see 1.12 Stalemate), the original breaker of the rack will break again.

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4. 14.1 Continuous Pool

4.1 Lagging for the Break
4.2 The 14.1 Rack
4.3 Opening Break Shot
4.4 Continuing Play and Winning the Game
4.5 Shots Required to Be Called
4.6 Spotting Balls
4.7 Scoring
4.8 Special Racking Situations
4.9 Standard Fouls
4.10 Breaking Foul
4.11 Serious Fouls
4.12 Stalemate

14.1 Continuous Pool, also known as straight pool, is played with fifteen numbered balls and
the cue ball. Each ball pocketed on a legal called shot counts one point and the first player to
reach the required score wins the match. 14.1 is continuous in that after fourteen balls are
pocketed, they are re-racked and the shooter continues.

4.1 Lagging for the Break

Players lag to determine who will shoot first. (See 1.2 Lagging to Determine Order of Play)

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4.2 The 14.1 Rack

For an opening break shot, the fifteen balls are racked in a triangle with the apex ball on the
foot spot. When the balls are re-racked, the apex ball is omitted if only fourteen balls are
being racked. The marked outline of the triangle will be used to determine whether an
intended break ball is in the rack area. If the table is tapped at 14.1 the outline of a triangle
will still be drawn for the purpose of deciding whether a ball is in the rack area. When ball rack template is used at 14.1 the outline of a triangle will still be drawn for the purpose of deciding whether a ball is in the rack area..

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4.3 Opening Break Shot

The following rules apply to the opening break shot:
(a) The cue ball begins in hand behind the head string.
(b) If no called ball is pocketed, the cue ball and two object balls must each be driven to a rail
after the cue ball contacts the rack or the shot is a breaking foul. (See 8.4 Driven to a Rail.)
This is penalized by subtracting two points from the breaker’s score. (See 4.10 Breaking
Foul
.) The non-breaking player may accept the balls in position or may require the breaker to
play another opening break shot, until he satisfies the requirements for an opening break or
the non-shooting player accepts the table in position. (See 4.11 Serious Fouls)

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4.4 Continuing Play and Winning the Game

The shooter remains at the table as long as he continues to legally pocket called balls or wins
the game by scoring the required number of points. When fourteen balls from a rack have
been legally pocketed, play is suspended until the balls are re-racked.

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4.5 Shots Required to Be Called

Shots must be called as explained in 1.6 Standard Call Shot. The shooter may call “safety” in
which case play passes to the opponent at the end of the shot and any object ball pocketed on
the safety is spotted.

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4.6 Spotting Balls

All balls pocketed on fouls, or on safeties, or without a called ball having been pocketed, and
all balls driven off the table are spotted. (See 1.4 Spotting Balls.) If the fifteenth ball of a rack
needs to be spotted and the fourteen balls have not been touched, the fifteenth ball will spot
on the apex spot and the referee may use the triangle to assure a tight rack.

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4.7 Scoring

The shooter scores one point for legally pocketing a called shot. Each additional ball pocketed
on such a shot also counts one point. Fouls are penalized by subtracting points from the
offending player’s score. Scores may be negative due to penalties from fouls.

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4.8 Special Racking Situations

When the cue ball or fifteenth object ball interferes with racking fourteen balls for a new rack,
the following special rules apply. A ball is considered to interfere with the rack if it is within
or overlaps the outline of the rack. The referee will state when asked whether a ball interferes
with the rack.
(a) If the fifteenth ball was pocketed on the shot that scored the fourteenth ball, all fifteen
balls are re-racked.
(b) If both balls interfere, all fifteen balls are re-racked and the cue ball is in hand behind the
head string.
(c) If only the object ball interferes, it is placed on the head spot or the center spot if the cue
ball blocks the head spot.
(d) If only the cue ball interferes, then it is placed as follows: if the object ball is in front of or
on the head string, the cue ball is in hand behind the head string; if the object ball is behind
the head string, the cue ball is spotted on the head spot, or on the center spot if the head spot is
blocked.
In any case, there is no restriction on which object ball the shooter may play as the first shot
of the new rack.
If the cue ball or object ball is barely outside the marked rack area and it is time to rack, the
referee should mark the position of the ball to allow it to be accurately replaced if it is
accidentally moved by the referee when racking.

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4.9 Standard Fouls

If the shooter commits a standard foul, a point is subtracted from his score, balls are spotted as
necessary, and play passes to his opponent. The cue ball remains in position except as noted
below.

The following are standard fouls at 14.1:
6.1 Cue Ball Scratch or off the Table The cue ball is in hand behind the head string (see 1.5 Cue Ball in Hand).
6.2 Wrong Ball First
6.3 No Rail after Contact
6.4 No Foot on Floor
6.5 Ball Driven off the Table (All object balls driven off the table are respotted.)
6.6 Touched Ball 
6.7 Double Hit / Frozen Balls
6.8 Push Shot
6.9 Balls Still Moving 
6.10 Bad Cue Ball Placement
6.11 Bad Play from Behind the Head String  For a foul under the second paragraph of 6.11, the cue ball is in hand behind the head string for the incoming player.
6.12 Cue Stick on the Table
6.13 Playing out of Turn
6.14 Three Consecutive Fouls
6.15 Slow Play
6.16 Ball Rack Template Foul

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4.10 Breaking Foul 

A breaking foul is penalized by the loss of two points as mentioned under 4.3 Opening Break
Shot
, as well as a possible re-break. If both a standard foul and a breaking foul happen on one
shot, it is considered a breaking foul.

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4.11 Serious Fouls

For Rule 6.14 Three Consecutive Fouls, only standard fouls are counted, so a breaking foul
does not count as one of the three fouls. A point is subtracted for the third foul as usual, and
then the additional fifteen-point penalty is subtracted and the offending player’s consecutive
foul count is reset to zero. All fifteen balls are re-racked and the offending player is required
to shoot under the requirements of the opening break.
For 6.17 Unsportsmanlike Conduct, the referee will choose a penalty depending on the nature
of the offense.

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4.12 Stalemate

If a stalemate occurs (see 1.12 Stalemate), the players will lag again to determine who will
shoot an opening break.

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5. Blackball

5.1 Definitions
Free shot
Baulk
Snookered 
Ball On 
5.2 Equipment
5.3 Determining First Break 
5.4 Black Ball Rack
5.5 Break Shot 
5.6 Open Table / Choosing Groups 
5.7 Continuing Play 
5.8 Cue Ball in Hand in Baulk
5.9 Touching Balls 
5.10 Playing from a Snooker 
5.11 Spotting Balls 
5.12 Stalemate 
5.13 Standard Fouls 
5.14 Loss of Rack Fouls 

Black ball is played with 15 colored object balls and the cue ball. The object balls are two
groups of seven and the black ball. The player or team pocketing their group of object balls
and legally pocketing the black ball wins the game. Shots are not called.

5.1 Definitions

In addition to definitions defined in 8. Definitions Used in the Rules, the following
definitions apply to black ball:

Free shot
After a foul has been committed the incoming player is awarded a free shot. On a free shot
Rule 6.2 Wrong Ball First is suspended and the player may take the cue ball in position or in
hand in baulk.

Baulk
Baulk is the rectangular area of the table that is bordered by the baulk line and the three
cushions at the head of the table. The baulk line is parallel to the head rail and one fifth of the
length of the playing surface away from the head cushion. For the applicable general rules,
“behind the head string” should be read as “in baulk.”

Snookered
A player is said to be snookered when the cue ball has no straight, direct path to hit at least
part of a legal target ball. The snooker must be declared by the referee for it to be in effect.

Ball On
An object ball is said to be “on” when it is a legal target for the shooter.

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5.3 Determining First Break

The player winning the lag has the option to determine who has to execute the first break shot.
(See 1.2 Lagging to Determine Order of Play ) The standard format is alternate break (see
Regulations).

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5.4 Black Ball Rack

The balls are racked as illustrated with the black ball on the foot spot:

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5.5 Break Shot

The following rules apply to the break shot.
(a) The cue ball begins in hand in baulk.
(b) At least one ball must be pocketed or at least two object balls must cross the center string
or the break shot is a foul.
(c) If the black ball is pocketed on the break, all the balls are re-racked and the same player
breaks again. Any violation of 6.1 Cue Ball Scratch or off the Table or 6.5 Ball Driven off the
Table
 is ignored on a break that pockets the black ball.

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5.6 Open Table / Choosing Groups

The table is said to be “open” when the players’ groups have not been decided. The table is
open after the break shot and remains open until the shooter pockets balls from only one
group on a legal normal shot, which means not a break shot and not a free shot. The shooter is
then assigned that group of balls to pocket and the opponent is assigned the other group.

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5.7 Continuing Play

The shooter remains at the table as long as he continues to legally pocket balls or the rack
ends. If he fails to legally pocket a ball but commits no foul, the opponent shoots from the
position left.

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5.8 Cue Ball in Hand in Baulk

When the player has the cue ball in hand, he may place it by hand anywhere in baulk. The
player may continue to adjust the position of the cue ball by hand until he takes a shot. The
cue ball is not required to leave baulk before striking an object ball.

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5.9 Touching Balls

If the cue ball is touching an object ball, the shooter must not play the cue ball in the direction
of that ball. He is considered to have hit the touching ball when he shoots away from it if the
ball is on for the shot.

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5.10 Playing from a Snooker

When the shooter is snookered, Rule 6.3 No Rail after Contact is suspended for the shot.

Back to Blackball heading

5.11 Spotting Balls

Object balls driven off the table are spotted on the long string. If several balls are to be
spotted, they are spotted in the following order: (1) the black ball, (2) balls from the group of
the next shooter, or balls from the red, blue or solid group if the table is open, (3) other balls.

Back to Blackball heading

5.12 Stalemate

In case of a stalemate due to lack of progress towards a conclusion, the breaker of the rack
will break again. A stalemate also occurs if the position does not allow any legal shot.

Back to Blackball heading

5.13 Standard Fouls

If the shooter commits a foul, play passes to his opponent. The incoming player has one free
shot (see Free shot) as the first shot of his inning.

The following are standard fouls at black ball:
6.1 Cue Ball Scratch or off the Table
6.2 Wrong Ball First (suspended for a free shot)
6.3 No Rail after Contact
6.4 No Foot on Floor
6.5 Ball Driven off the Table
6.6 Touched Ball 
6.7 Double Hit / Frozen Balls
6.8 Push Shot
6.9 Balls Still Moving 
6.10 Bad Cue Ball Placement (when playing from baulk)
6.11 Bad Play from Behind the Head String 
6.12 Cue Stick on the Table
6.13 Playing out of Turn
6.14 Three Consecutive Fouls
6.15 Slow Play
6.16 Ball Rack Template Foul

The following additional situations are fouls at blackball:

5.13.1 – Pocketing Opponent’s Ball – It is a foul to pocket an opponent’s ball without also
pocketing a ball from your own group.
5.13 2 – Table Incorrect – It is a foul to play before all balls that require spotting have been
spotted.
5.13.3 – Jump Shot – Causing the cue ball to jump over any ball is a foul. (If the cue ball
leaves the bed of the table and misses an object ball that would have been struck had the cue
ball not left the table on an otherwise identical shot, the cue ball is deemed to have jumped
over that object ball.)

Back to Blackball heading

5.14 Loss of Rack Fouls

The player loses the rack if he:
(a) pockets the black ball on an illegal shot;
(b) pockets the black ball on a shot that leaves any of his group of balls on the table;
(c) intentionally violates 6.2 Wrong Ball First; or
(d) does not attempt to hit a ball on.
6.17 Unsportsmanlike Conduct will be penalized by loss of rack or other penalty depending
on the nature of the conduct.

Back to Blackball heading

6. Fouls

6.1 Cue Ball Scratch or off the Table
6.2 Wrong Ball First
6.3 No Rail after Contact
6.4 No Foot on Floor
6.5 Ball Driven off the Table
6.6 Touched Ball 
6.7 Double Hit / Frozen Balls
6.8 Push Shot
6.9 Balls Still Moving 
6.10 Bad Cue Ball Placement
6.11 Bad Play from Behind the Head String 
6.12 Cue Stick on the Table
6.13 Playing out of Turn
6.14 Three Consecutive Fouls
6.15 Slow Play
6.16 Ball Rack Template Foul
6.17 Unsportsmanlike Conduct

The following actions are fouls at pool when included in the specific rules of the game being
played. If several fouls occur on one shot, only the most serious one is enforced. If a foul is
not called before the next shot begins, the foul is assumed not to have happened.

6.1 Cue Ball Scratch or off the Table

If the cue ball is pocketed or driven off the table, the shot is a foul. See 8.3 Ball Pocketed and
8.5 Driven off the Table.

Back to Fouls heading

6.2 Wrong Ball First

In those games which require the first object ball struck to be a particular ball or one of a
group of balls, it is a foul for the cue ball to first contact any other ball.

Back to Fouls heading

6.3 No Rail after Contact

If no ball is pocketed on a shot, the cue ball must contact an object ball, and after that contact
at least one ball (cue ball or any object ball) must be driven to a rail, or the shot is a foul. (See
8.4 Driven to a Rail.)

Back to Fouls heading

6.4 No Foot on Floor

If the shooter does not have at least one foot touching the floor at the instant the tip contacts
the cue ball, the shot is a foul.

Back to Fouls heading

6.5 Ball Driven off the Table

It is a foul to drive an object ball off the table. Whether that ball is spotted depends on the
rules of the game. (See 8.5 Driven off the Table.)

Back to Fouls heading

6.6 Touched Ball

It is a foul to touch, move or change the path of any object ball except by the normal ball-toball
contacts during shots. It is a foul to touch, move or change the path of the cue ball except
when it is in hand or by the normal tip-to-ball forward stroke contact of a shot. The shooter is
responsible for the equipment he controls at the table, such as chalk, bridges, clothing, his
hair, parts of his body, and the cue ball when it is in hand, that may be involved in such fouls.
If such a foul is accidental, it is a standard foul, but if it is intentional, it is 6.17
Unsportsmanlike Conduct
.

Back to Fouls heading

6.7 Double Hit / Frozen Balls

If the cue stick contacts the cue ball more than once on a shot, the shot is a foul. If the cue ball
is close to but not touching an object ball and the cue tip is still on the cue ball when the cue
ball contacts that object ball, the shot is a foul. If the cue ball is very close to an object ball,
and the shooter barely grazes that object ball on the shot, the shot is assumed not to violate the
first paragraph of this rule, even though the tip is arguably still on the cue ball when ball-ball
contact is made.

However, if the cue ball is touching an object ball at the start of the shot, it is legal to shoot
towards or partly into that ball (provided it is a legal target within the rules of the game) and if
the object ball is moved by such a shot, it is considered to have been contacted by the cue ball.
(Even though it may be legal to shoot towards such a touching or “frozen” ball, care must be
taken not to violate the rules in the first paragraph if there are additional balls close by.)

The cue ball is assumed not to be touching any ball unless it is declared touching by the
referee or opponent. It is the shooter’s responsibility to get the declaration before the shot.
Playing away from a frozen ball does not constitute having hit that ball unless specified in the
rules of the game.

Back to Fouls heading

6.8 Push Shot

It is a foul to prolong tip-to-cue-ball contact beyond that seen in normal shots.

Back to Fouls heading

6.9 Balls Still Moving

It is a foul to begin a shot while any ball in play is moving or spinning.

Back to Fouls heading

6.10 Bad Cue Ball Placement

When the cue ball is in hand and restricted to the area behind the head string, it is a foul to
play the cue ball from on or below the head string. If the shooter is uncertain whether the cue
ball has been placed behind the head string, he may ask the referee for a determination.

Back to Fouls heading

6.11 Bad Play from Behind the Head String

When the cue ball is in hand behind the head string, and the first ball the cue ball contacts is
also behind the head string, the shot is a foul unless the cue ball crosses the head string before
that contact. If such a shot is intentional, it is unsportsmanlike conduct.
The cue ball must either cross the head string or contact a ball in front of or on the head string
or the shot is a foul, and the cue ball is in hand for the following player according to the rules
of the specific game. If such shot is intentional, it is also unsportsmanlike conduct.

Back to Fouls heading

6.12 Cue Stick on the Table

If the shooter uses his cue stick in order to align a shot by placing it on the table without
having a hand on the stick, it is a foul.

Back to Fouls heading

6.13 Playing out of Turn

It is a standard foul to unintentionally play out of turn. Normally, the balls will be played from
the position left by the mistaken play. If a player intentionally plays out of turn, it should be
treated like 6.17 Unsportsmanlike Conduct.

Back to Fouls heading

6.14 Three Consecutive Fouls

If a player fouls three times without making an intervening legal shot, it is a serious foul. In
games scored by the rack, such as nine ball, the fouls must be in a single rack. Some games
such as eight ball do not include this rule.
The referee must warn a shooter who is on two fouls when he comes to the table that he is on
two fouls. Otherwise a possible third foul will be considered to be only the second.

Back to Fouls heading

6.15 Slow Play

If the referee feels that a player is playing too slowly, he may advise that player to speed up
his play. If the player does not speed up, the referee may impose a shot clock on that match
that applies to both players. If the shooter exceeds the time limit specified for the tournament,
a standard foul will be called and the incoming player is rewarded according to the rules
applicable to the game being played. (Rule 6.17 Unsportsmanlike Conduct may also apply.)

Back to Fouls heading

6.16 Ball Rack Template Foul

It is a foul when a Ball Rack Template, removed from the playing surface, interferes with the
game i.e. if the template is lying on the rail and a ball (cue or object ball) touches the template
that is lying on the rail.

Back to Fouls heading

6.17 Unsportsmanlike Conduct

The normal penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct is the same as for a serious foul, but the
referee may impose a penalty depending on his judgment of the conduct. Among other
penalties possible are a warning; a standard-foul penalty, which will count as part of a threefoul
sequence if applicable; a serious-foul penalty; loss of a rack, set or match; ejection from
the competition possibly with forfeiture of all prizes, trophies and standings points.
Unsportsmanlike conduct is any intentional behavior that brings disrepute to the sport or
which disrupts or changes the game to the extent that it cannot be played fairly. It includes
(a) distracting the opponent;
(b) changing the position of the balls in play other than by a shot;
(c) playing a shot by intentionally miscuing;
(d) continuing to play after a foul has been called or play has been suspended;
(e) practicing during a match;
(f) marking the table;
(g) delay of the game; and
(h) using equipment inappropriately.

Back to Fouls heading

7. Rules/Regulations for Wheelchair Competition

7.1 Player’s Eligibility
7.2 Violations Resulting in Fouls
7.3 Wheelchair Requirements

7.1 Player’s Eligibility

The criteria for a player to be eligible for Wheelchair competition is that he must be
wheelchair mobility dependent for a minimum of 80% of the time. In some cases, a doctor’s
letter may be required to determine eligibility.

Back to Wheelchair Competition heading

7.2 Violations Resulting in Fouls

(a) The shooter must remain seated while playing a shot (at least one cheek on the seat or seat
pad). If a seat pad is used, it must remain flat and cover the seat of the wheelchair evenly. The
seat pad cannot be bunched up on the seat straddled by the shooter with the shooter’s legs or
stumps. The shooter may not sit on the wheel or armrest. The point where the shooter’s
buttocks rest on the seat or seat pad must not be higher than 27 in / 68.5 cm from the surface
on which the wheelchair rolls in its normal operating position.
(b) Players must not have their foot/feet on the floor while playing a shot. Players must not
use their legs or stumps as a leverage against any part of the table or the wheelchair while
playing a shot.
(c) Players are permitted to use any help aids such as cue extensions, special bridges, etc.
Players may not be assisted when actually shooting (however, another person may hold the
bridge, but must not help with the stroke of the cue). If a player requires assistance to roll
around the table, another person may help them, but must not be touching the wheelchair
during the actual shot.
Violations of the above are considered to violate 6.17 Unsportsmanlike Conduct and will
typically be penalized as follows: 1st offense, cue ball in hand for the opponent anywhere on
the table; 2nd offense, loss of the current game; 3rd offense, loss of the match. The referee may
choose a different penalty depending on the nature of the offense.

Back to Wheelchair Competition heading

7.3 Wheelchair Requirements

No standing wheelchairs may be used in the standing position. A player’s wheelchair should
be clean and in good working order.

Back to Wheelchair Competition heading

8. Definitions Used in the Rules

8.1 Parts of the Table
8.2 Shot
8.3 Ball Pocketed
8.4 Driven to a Rail
8.5 Driven off the Table
8.6 Scratch
8.7 Cue Ball
8.8 Object Balls
8.9 Set
8.10 Rack
8.11 Break
8.12 Inning
8.13 Position of Balls
8.14 Re-spotting Balls
8.15 Restoring a Position
8.16 Jump Shot
8.17 Safety Shot
8.18 Miscue

The following definitions apply throughout these rules.

8.1 Parts of the Table

The following definitions of parts of the table refer to the accompanying diagram. Some
details of exact size and placement are in the WPA Equipment Specifications. See the WPA
website at www.wpa-pool.com for current information.
The table is comprised of rails, cushions, a playing surface and pockets. The foot end of the
table is where the object balls usually begin, while the head end is where the cue ball usually
begins.
Behind the head string is the area between the head rail and the head string, not including the
head string.

The cushions, tops of the rails, pockets and pocket liners are parts of the rails.
There are four “strings” on the playing surface as shown in the diagram:
the long string down the center of the table;
the head string bounding the quarter of the table closest to the head rail;
the foot string bounding the quarter of the table closest to the foot rail; and
the center string between the two side pockets.
These lines are only marked as mentioned below.
The rails may have inlays referred to as diamonds or sights which mark 1/4th of the width and
1/8th of the length of the table measured from nose to nose on the cushions.
On the playing surface, which is the flat, cloth-covered part of the table, the following will be
marked if they are used in the game being played:
the foot spot, where the foot string and the long string meet;
the head spot, where the head string and the long string meet;
the center spot, where the center string and the long string meet;
the head string;
the long string between the foot spot and the foot rail; and
the triangle, either in outline or by alignment marks depending on the game.

Back to Definitions heading

8.2 Shot

A shot begins when the tip contacts the cue ball due to a forward stroke motion of the cue
stick. A shot ends when all balls in play have stopped moving and spinning. A shot is said to
be legal if the shooter did not foul during the shot.

Back to Definitions heading

8.3 Ball Pocketed

A ball is pocketed if it comes to rest in a pocket below the playing surface or enters the ball
return system. A ball near the brink of a pocket partly supported by another ball is considered
pocketed if removal of the supporting ball would cause the ball to fall into the pocket.
If a ball stops near the edge of a pocket, and remains apparently motionless for five seconds, it
is not considered pocketed if it later falls into the pocket by itself. See 1.7 Balls Settling for
other details. During that five second period, the referee should ensure that no other shot is
taken. An object ball that rebounds from a pocket back onto the playing surface is not a
pocketed ball. If the cue ball contacts an already pocketed ball, the cue ball will be
considered pocketed whether it rebounds from the pocket or not. The referee will remove
pocketed object balls from full or nearly full pockets, but it is the shooter’s responsibility to
see that this duty is performed.

Back to Definitions heading

8.4 Driven to a Rail

A ball is said to be driven to a rail if it is not touching that rail and then touches that rail. A
ball touching a rail at the start of a shot (said to be “frozen” to the rail) is not considered
driven to that rail unless it leaves the rail and returns. A ball that is pocketed or driven off the
table is also considered to have been driven to a rail. A ball is assumed not to be frozen to
any rail unless it is declared frozen by the referee, the shooter, or the opponent. See also
Regulation 29, Calling Frozen Balls.

Back to Definitions heading

8.5 Driven off the Table

A ball is considered driven off the table if it comes to rest other than on the playing surface
but is not pocketed. A ball is also considered driven off the table if it would have been driven
off the table except for striking an object such as a light fixture, piece of chalk or a player
which causes it to return to the table.

A ball that contacts the top of the rail is not considered to have been driven off the table if it
returns to the playing surface or enters a pocket.

Back to Definitions heading

8.6 Scratch

A shot on which the cue ball is pocketed is called a scratch.

Back to Definitions heading

8.7 Cue Ball

The cue ball is the ball that is struck by the shooter at the beginning of a shot. It is
traditionally white, but may be marked by a logo or spots. In pocket billiard games, a single
cue ball is used by both players.

Back to Definitions heading

8.8 Object Balls

The object balls are struck by the cue ball with the usual intent of driving them into pockets.
They are typically numbered from one to the number of balls used in the game. Colors and
markings of the object balls are covered under the WPA Equipment Specifications.

Back to Definitions heading

8.9 Set

In some matches, the match is divided into parts called sets, with a certain number of sets won
required to win the match. In turn, a certain number of points or racks won is required to win
each set.

Back to Definitions heading

8.10 Rack

The rack is the framing device, typically triangular, used to arrange the object balls for the
break shot at the start of the game. It also refers to the group of balls so arranged. To rack the
object balls is to group them with the rack. A rack is also a portion of a match played with a
single rack of object balls. Some games, such as nine ball, are scored at one point per rack.

Back to Definitions heading

8.11 Break

A break shot is the opening shot of a match or rack, depending on the game. It happens when
the object balls have been racked and the cue ball is played from behind the head string
usually with the intent of breaking the rack apart.

Back to Definitions heading

8.12 Inning

An inning is a player’s turn at the table. It begins when it is legal for him to take a shot, and
ends at the end of a shot when it is no longer legal for him to take a shot. In some games a
player may choose not to come to the table in certain situations when play would normally
pass to him, and then the player remaining at the table continues the inning (e.g. a push-out at
nine ball). The player whose turn it is to play is called the “shooter.”

Back to Definitions heading

8.13 Position of Balls

The position of a ball is determined by the projection of its center vertically downward onto
the playing surface. A ball is said to be placed on a line or spot when its center is placed
directly over that line or spot.

Back to Definitions heading

8.14 Re-spotting Balls

In some games, object balls are required to be placed on the playing surface other than when
forming a new rack. They are said to be re-spotted when they are so placed. See 1.4 Spotting
Balls
.

Back to Definitions heading

8.15 Restoring a Position

If the balls are disturbed, the rules of the game may require them to be replaced where they
were. The referee will replace the balls to their original position as accurately as possible.

Back to Definitions heading

8.16 Jump Shot

A jump shot is one in which the cue ball is made to go over an intervening obstacle such as an
object ball or part of the cushion. Whether such a shot is legal depends on how it is
accomplished and the intention of the shooter. Usually a legal jump shot is played by
elevating the cue stick and driving the cue ball down into the playing surface from which it
rebounds.

Back to Definitions heading

8.17 Safety Shot

A shot is said to be a safety shot if the game in play is a call shot game and the shooter
declared the shot to the referee or his opponent to be a “safety” before the shot. Play passes to
the other player at the end of a safety shot.

Back to Definitions heading

8.18 Miscue

A miscue occurs when the cue tip slides off the cue ball possibly due to a contact that is too
eccentric or to insufficient chalk on the tip. It is usually accompanied by a sharp sound and
evidenced by a discoloration of the tip. Although some miscues involve contact of the side of
the cue stick with the cue ball, unless such contact is clearly visible, it is assumed not to have
occurred. A scoop shot, in which the cue tip contacts the playing surface and the cue ball at
the same time and this causes the cue ball to rise off the cloth, is treated like a miscue. Note
that intentional miscues are covered by 6.17 Unsportsmanlike Conduct (c).

Back to Definitions heading

9. Ten Ball

9.1 Determining the Break
9.2 Ten Ball Rack
9.3 Legal Break Shot
9.4 Second Shot of the Rack – Push Out
9.5 Call Shots & Pocketing Balls
9.6 Safety
9.7 Wrongfully Pocketed Balls
9.8 Continuing Play
9.9 Spotting Balls
9.10 Standard Fouls
9.11 Serious Fouls
9.12 Stalemate

Ten ball is a call shot game played with ten object balls numbered one through ten and the cue
ball. The balls are played in ascending numerical order and the lowest numbered ball must be
contacted by the cue ball in order to establish a legal hit. If the ten ball is pocketed on a legal
break shot, it will be re-spotted and the player continues with his inning. Only one ball may be
called on each shot, except on the break shot where no ball may be called. (See 9.5 Call Shots
& Pocketing Balls).

9.1 Determining the Break

The player who wins the lag chooses who will break the first rack. (See 1.2 Lagging to
Determine Order of Play
.) The standard format is to alternate the break, but See Regulation
16, Subsequent Break Shots. But see Regulation 15, Subsequent Break Shots.

Back to 10-Ball heading

9.2 Ten Ball Rack

The object balls are racked as tightly as possible in a triangular shape, with the one ball at the
apex of the triangle and on the foot spot and the ten ball in the middle of the triangle. The
other balls will be placed in the triangle without purposeful or intentional pattern. (See
Regulation 4, Ball Rack Template.)

Back to 10-Ball heading

9.3 Legal Break Shot

The following rules apply to the break shot:
(a) the cue ball begins in hand behind the head string; and
(b) if no ball is pocketed, at least four object balls must be driven to one or more rails, or the
shot is a foul. (See Regulation 17, Open Break Requirements.)

Back to 10-Ball heading

9.4 Second Shot of the Rack – Push Out

If no foul is committed on the break shot, the shooter may choose to play a “push out” as his
shot. He must make his intention known to the referee, and then rules 6.2 Wrong Ball First
and 6.3 No Rail after Contact are suspended for the shot. If no foul is committed on a push
out, the other player chooses who will shoot next. The ten ball pocketed during a Push Out is
re-spotted, without penalty.

Back to 10-Ball heading

9.5 Call Shots & Pocketing Balls

Whenever the shooter is attempting to pocket a ball (except the break) he is required to call
shots, the intended ball and pocket must be indicated for each shot if they are not obvious.
Details of the shot, such as cushions struck or other balls contacted or pocketed are irrelevant.
For a called shot to count, the referee must be satisfied that the intended shot was made, so if
there is any chance of confusion, e.g. with bank, combination and similar shots, the shooter
should indicate the ball and pocket. If the referee or opponent is unsure of the shot to be
played, he may ask for a call.

Back to 10-Ball heading

9.6 Safety

The shooter, after the break at anytime may call “safety” which permits him to make contact
with the legal object ball without pocketing a ball and end his inning. However, if the shooter
pockets the legal object ball the incoming player has the option to play the shot as left, or
hand it back to his opponent. (See 9.7 Wrongfully Pocketed Balls which also applies during a
safety.)

Back to 10-Ball heading

9.7 Wrongfully Pocketed Balls

If a player misses his intended ball and pocket, and either makes the nominated ball in the
wrong pocket or pockets another ball, his inning has finished and the incoming player has the
option to take the shot as is, or hand it back to his opponent.

Back to 10-Ball heading

9.8 Continuing Play

If the shooter legally pockets a called/nominated ball on a shot (except a push out, see 9.4
Second Shot of the Rack – Push Out), any additional balls pocketed remain pocketed (except
the ten ball; see 9.9 Spotting Balls), and he continues at the table for the next shot. If a player
nominates and legally pockets the ten ball prior to the ten ball being the last remaining ball, the
ten ball is re-spotted and the shooter continues, while pocketing the ten ball as a final ball at the table, he wins the rack. If the shooter fails to pocket the called ball or fouls, play passes to the other player, and if no foul was committed, the incoming player must play the cue ball from the position left by the other player.

Back to 10-Ball heading

9.9 Spotting Balls

If the ten ball is pocketed on a foul or push out, or accidentally in the wrong pocket, or driven
off the table, it is re-spotted. (See 1.4 Spotting Balls.) No other object ball is ever spotted.

Back to 10-Ball heading

9.10 Standard Fouls

If the shooter commits a standard foul, play passes to his opponent. The cue ball is in hand,
and the incoming player may place it anywhere on the playing surface. (See 1.5 Cue Ball in
Hand)

The following are standard fouls at ten ball:
6.1 Cue Ball Scratch or off the Table
6.2 Wrong Ball First The first object ball contacted by the cue ball on each shot must be the lowest-numbered ball remaining on the table.
6.3 No Rail after Contact
6.4 No Foot on Floor
6.5 Ball Driven off the Table The only jumped object ball that is spotted is the ten.
6.6 Touched Ball 
6.7 Double Hit / Frozen Balls
6.8 Push Shot
6.9 Balls Still Moving 
6.10 Bad Cue Ball Placement
6.11 Bad Play from Behind the Head String 
6.12 Cue Stick on the Table
6.13 Playing out of Turn
6.14 Three Consecutive Fouls
6.15 Slow Play
6.16 Ball Rack Template Foul

Back to 10-Ball heading

9.11 Serious Fouls

For 6.14 Three Consecutive Fouls, the penalty is loss of the current rack. For 6.17
Unsportsmanlike Conduct, the referee will choose a penalty appropriate given the nature of
the offense.

Back to 10-Ball heading

9.12 Stalemate

If a stalemate occurs the original breaker of the rack will break again. (See 1.12 Stalemate.)

Back to 10-Ball heading

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