Rules

General Rules

1. General Rules

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.

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:

  • crosses the long string
  • contacts the foot cushion other than once
  • is pocketed or driven off the table
  • touches the side cushion
  • 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 player’s ball is struck after the other ball has touched the foot cushion
  • the referee cannot determine which ball has stopped closer to the head cushion
  • both lags are bad

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

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Gloves – The player may use gloves to improve the grip and/or bridge hand function.
  • Powder – A player is allowed to use powder in a reasonable amount as determined by the referee.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

8-Ball

3. Eight Ball

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.)

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..

rack placement

Eight Ball Rack

3.3 Break Shot

The following rules apply to the break shot:

  1. The cue ball begins in hand behind the head string.
  2. No ball is called, and the cue ball is not required to hit any particular object ball first.
  3. 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
  4. 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

    • accepting the table in position, or
    • re-racking and breaking, or
    • re-racking and allowing the offending player to break again.
  5. 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

    • re-spotting the eight ball and accepting the balls in position
    • re-breaking.
  6. If the breaker pockets the eight ball and scratches See definition 8.6 Scratch, the opponent has the option of

    • re-spotting the eight ball and shooting with cue ball in hand behind the head string; or
    • re-breaking.
  7. 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

    • accepting the table in position, or
    • taking cue ball in hand behind the head string.
  8. If the breaker fouls in any manner not listed above, the following player has the option of

    • accepting the balls in position, or
    • taking cue ball in hand behind the head string.

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.

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.

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

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.

3.8 Losing the Rack

The shooter loses if he:

  • pockets the eight ball and fouls
  • pockets the eight ball before his group is cleared
  • pockets the eight ball in an uncalled pocket
  • drives the eight ball off the table

These do not apply to the break shot. See 3.3 Break Shot

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:

The following are standard fouls in eight ball:

  1. 6.1 Cue Ball Scratch or off the Table
  2. 6.2 Wrong Ball First
  3. 6.3 No Rail after Contact
  4. 6.4 No Foot on Floor
  5. 6.5 Ball Driven off the Table
  6. 6.6 Touched Ball
  7. 6.7 Double Hit / Frozen Balls
  8. 6.8 Push Shot
  9. 6.9 Balls Still Moving
  10. 6.10 Bad Cue Ball Placement
  11. 6.11 Bad Play from Behind the Head String
  12. 6.12 Cue Stick on the Table
  13. 6.13 Playing out of Turn
  14. 6.15 Slow Play
  15. 6.16 Ball Rack Template Foul

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.

3.11 Stalemate

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

Nine Ball

2. Nine Ball

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.

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.

rack placement

Nine Ball Rack

2.3 Legal Break Shot

The following rules apply to the break shot:

  • The cue ball begins in hand behind the head string;
  • If no ball is pocketed, at least four object balls must be driven to one or more rails, or the shot is a foul
  • 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.)

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.

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.

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.

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:

The following are standard fouls at nine ball:

  1. 6.1 Cue Ball Scratch or off the Table
  2. 6.2 Wrong Ball First
  3. 6.3 No Rail after Contact
  4. 6.4 No Foot on Floor
  5. 6.5 Ball Driven off the Table
  6. 6.6 Touched Ball
  7. 6.7 Double Hit / Frozen Balls
  8. 6.8 Push Shot
  9. 6.9 Balls Still Moving
  10. 6.10 Bad Cue Ball Placement
  11. 6.12 Cue Stick on the Table
  12. 6.13 Playing out of Turn
  13. 6.15 Slow Play
  14. 6.16 Ball Rack Template Foul

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.

2.9 Stalemate

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

9. Ten Ball

9. Ten Ball

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 15, Subsequent Break Shots.

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, Racking / Tapping of Balls

rack placement

Ten Ball Rack

9.3 Legal Break Shot

The following rules apply to the break shot:

  • the cue ball begins in hand behind the head string; and
  • 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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 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.

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.

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:

  1. 6.1 Cue Ball Scratch or off the Table
  2. 6.2 Wrong Ball First
  3. 6.3 No Rail after Contact
  4. 6.4 No Foot on Floor
  5. 6.5 Ball Driven off the Table
  6. 6.6 Touched Ball
  7. 6.7 Double Hit / Frozen Balls
  8. 6.8 Push Shot
  9. 6.9 Balls Still Moving
  10. 6.10 Bad Cue Ball Placement
  11. 6.12 Cue Stick on the Table
  12. 6.13 Playing out of Turn
  13. 6.14 Three Consecutive Fouls
  14. 6.15 Slow Play
  15. 6.16 Ball Rack Template Foul

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.

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

4. 14.1 Continuous Pool

14.1 Continuous Pool

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

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.

4.3 Opening Break Shot

The following rules apply to the opening break shot:

  • The cue ball begins in hand behind the head string.
  • 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

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.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.

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.

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.

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

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.

  • If the fifteenth ball was pocketed on the shot that scored the fourteenth ball, all fifteen balls are re-racked.
  • If both balls interfere, all fifteen balls are re-racked and the cue ball is in hand behind the head string.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Cue Ball Lies

15 Ball Lies
In the rack Not in the rack and
not in the head spot 1
On the head spot
In the rack 15th Ball: foot spot
Cue Ball: behind head string
15th Ball: head spot
Cue Ball: in position
15th Ball: center spot
Cue Ball: in position
Pocketed 15th Ball: foot spot
Cue Ball: behind head string
15th Ball: foot spot
Cue Ball: in position
15th Ball: foot spot
Cue Ball: in position
Behind the head string,
but not on the head spot1
15th Ball: in position
Cue Ball: head spot
Below the head string
and not in the rack
15th Ball: in position
Cue Ball: behind head string
On the head spot1 15th Ball: in position
Cue Ball: center spot
Summary of Rules for 14.1 Racking Situations

1. On the head spot means, to interfere with spotting a ball on the head spot.

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:

  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)
  2. 6.3 No Rail after Contact
  3. 6.4 No Foot on Floor
  4. 6.5 Ball Driven off the Table
  5. 6.6 Touched Ball
  6. 6.7 Double Hit / Frozen Balls
  7. 6.8 Push Shot
  8. 6.9 Balls Still Moving
  9. 6.10 Bad Cue Ball Placement
  10. 6.11 Bad Play from Behind the Head String
  11. 6.12 Cue Stick on the Table
  12. 6.13 Playing out of Turn
  13. 6.15 Slow Play
  14. 6.16 Ball Rack Template Foul

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.

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.

4.12 Stalemate

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

Doubles

5. Double Play

The general rules of play for all pool disciplines and the specific rules for distinct game types outlined by the WPA in the previous sections are in effect for all doubles games of any discipline.

5.1 Lagging for First Break

Both double teams nominate a player to participate in the lag. The double that wins the lag may choose which team should execute the first break. The breaking team may choose which player executes the first break.

5.2 First Round, Break and Order of Play

Alternate shot is in effect during double play (doubles partners take alternating turns at the table). Alternate break is in effect per double team (couple partners take alternating turns at the break). Winner breaks applies to double games (the team that wins the current frame breaks the following frame). Neglecting to adhere to these rules results in a foul, advantage for the opposing doubles teams.

Note: Alternate break has priority over alternate shot in determining which doubles partner executes the break.

5.3 Push out

In pool disciplines where a push out is allowed (e.g. 9-ball & 10-ball), continuation of play follows as in singles games. If a doubles team does not accept the push out, the player having executed the pushout must take the following shot.

Note: The player from the opposing team, having rejected the push out, has used his turn and the alternate player will continue play at the next turn.

5.4 Ball Not called 10-Ball

In 10-ball, if a non called ball is respotted respotted, and play is returned to the team having potted this ball, the same player will continue

Note: The player from the opposing team, having rejected the push out, has used his turn and the alternate player will continue play at the next turn.

5.5 Team Discussion

The team at turn is allowed to discuss strategy during their turn. A reasonable timeframe should not be exceeded to avoid Slow play, which results in a foul.

5.6 Assisting

Only the player executing a shot is allowed at the table during play. The double partner is not permitted to indicate direction or assist the shot in any way. Failure to adhere to this rule will be treated as Unsportsmanlike Conduct resulting in a foul.

Fouls

6. Fouls

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

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.

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

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.

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

6.6 Touched Ball

It is a foul to touch, move or change the path of any object ball except by the normal ball-to-ball 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.

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.

6.8 Push Shot

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

6.9 Balls Still Moving

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 6.17 Unsportsmanlike Conduct may also apply

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.

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 three-foul 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:

  • distracting the opponent
  • changing the position of the balls in play other than by a shot
  • playing a shot by intentionally miscuing
  • continuing to play after a foul has been called or play has been suspended
  • practicing during a match
  • marking the table
  • delay of the game
  • using equipment inappropriately

8. Definitions Used in the Rules

8. Definitions Used in the Rules

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.

Parts of the Table

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
  • 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

8.6 Scratch

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.”

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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).

Super Elite Rules for Real Players

5. Double Play

The general rules of play for all pool disciplines and the specific rules for distinct game types outlined by the WPA in the previous sections are in effect for all doubles games of any discipline.

5.1 Lagging for First Break

5.2 First Round, Break and Order of Play

Note: Alternate break has priority over alternate shot in determining which doubles partner executes the break, then just play fool!

5.3 Push out

5.4 Ball Not called 10-Ball

5.6 Assisting