[Standardized World Rules 1997]
Except when clearly contradicted by these additional rules, the
General Rules of Pocket Billiards
1.1. OBJECT OF THE GAME. 14.1 is a nomination game. The
player must nominate a ball and a pocket. The player is awarded
one point for every correctly nominated and pocketed ball on a
legal stroke, and is allowed to continue his turn until he either
fails to pocket a nominated ball or commits a foul. The player
can pocket the first 14 balls, but before he can continue his
turn by shooting at the 15th (and last remaining) ball on the
table, the 14 pocketed balls are racked as before, except with
the apex space vacant. The player then attempts to pocket the
15th ball in a manner so that the racked balls are disturbed and
he can continue his run.
The player who scores the pre-determined point total for a game
(usually 150 in major tournament play or any agreed upon total
in casual play) prior to his opponent, wins the game.
2. PLAYERS. 2, or 2 teams.
3. BALLS USED. Standard set of object balls numbered 1-15,
plus cue ball.
4. THE RACK. Standard triangle rack with the apex ball
on the foot spot, 1-ball on the racker's right corner, 5-ball
on left corner. Other balls are placed at random and must touch
5. SCORING. Any ball legally pocketed counts one point
for the shooter.
6. OPENING BREAK. Starting player must either (1) designate
a ball and a pocket into which that ball will be pocketed and
accomplish the shot, or (2) cause the cue ball to contact a ball
and then a cushion, plus cause two object balls to contact a cushion.
Failure to meet at least one of the above requirements is a breaking
violation. Offender's score is assessed a two point penalty for
each breaking violation. In addition, the opponent has the choice
of (1) accepting the table in position, or (2) having the balls
reracked and requiring the offending player to repeat the opening
break. That choice continues until the opening break is not a
breaking violation, or until the opponent accepts the table in
position. The three successive fouls rule does not apply to breaking
If the starting player scratches on a legal opening break, he
is charged with a foul and assessed a one point penalty, which
applies toward the "Successive Fouls Penalties." The
incoming player is awarded cue ball in hand behind the head string,
with object balls in position.
7. RULES OF PLAY.
- A legally pocketed ball entitles a shooter to continue at
the table until he fails to legally pocket a called ball on a
shot. A player may shoot any ball he chooses, but before he shoots,
must designate the called ball and called pocket. He need not
indicate any detail such as kisses, caroms, combinations, or cushions
(all of which are legal). any additionally pocketed ball(s) on
a legal stroke is scored as one point for the shooter.
- On all shots, a player must cause the cue ball to contact
an object ball and then (1) pocket a numbered ball, or (2) cause
the cue ball or any numbered ball to contact a cushion. Failure
to meet these requirements is a foul.
When an object ball is
not frozen to a cushion, but is within a ball's width of a cushion
(referee to determine by measurement if necessary), a player is
permitted only two consecutive legal safeties on that ball using
only the near rail. If such safety play is employed, that object
ball is then considered frozen to the rail on the player's next
inning. The General Rules of Pocket
Billiards "Frozen Balls" requirements apply if the player
chooses to make his first cue ball contact with that object ball
on his third shot.
(Note: If a player has committed a foul on
the shot immediately before or the shot immediately after playing
this ball, then he must immediately meet the requirements of the
"Frozen Ball" rule when playing this object ball. Also,
if he has committed two consecutive fouls, he must immediately
meet the requirements of the "Frozen Ball" rule when
playing this object ball. If such player fails to meet the requirements
of the "Frozen Ball" rule, he is considered to have
committed a third successive foul and the appropriate point penalty
is assessed as well as one point for each of the previous fouls.
All fifteen balls are then reracked and the player committing
the infraction is required to break as at the beginning of the
- When the fourteenth ball of a rack is pocketed, play stops
momentarily with the fifteenth ball remaining in position on the
table; the fourteen pocketed balls are then racked (with the space
at the foot spot vacant in the triangle). Player then continues,
normally pocketing the fifteenth (or "break" ball) in
such manner as to have the cue ball carom into the rack and spread
the balls to facilitate the continuance of his run. However, player
is not compelled to shoot the fifteenth ball; he may shoot any
ball he desires.
- A player may call a safety rather than an object ball (for
defensive purposes). Safety play is legal, but must comply with
all applicable rules. Player's inning ends when a safety is played,
and pocketed balls are not scored. Any object ball pocketed on
a called safety is spotted.
- A player may not catch, touch, or in any way interfere with
a ball as it travels toward a pocket or the rack area on a shot
(to include catching a ball as it enters a pocket by having a
hand in the pocket). If he does, he is charged with a special
"deliberate foul" and is penalized one point for the
foul and an additional fifteen point penalty, for a total of sixteen
points. The incoming player then has choice of (1) accepting the
table in position with the cue ball in hand behind the head string,
or (2) having all fifteen balls reracked and requiring the offending
player to shoot under the requirements of the opening break.
- If the fifteenth (unpocketed) ball of a rack and/or the cue
ball interferes with the triangle being lowered straight down
into position for racking, refer to the diagram , which indicates
the proper manner of relocating balls. (The lined out boxes are
those situations in which there is no interference, both balls
remain in position.)
- When a player has the cue ball in hand behind the head string
(as after a scratch) and all object balls are behind the head
string, the object ball nearest the head string may be spotted
at his request. If two or more balls are an equal distance from
the head string, the player may designate which of the equidistant
balls he desires to have spotted.
14.1 - What to do if:
8. ILLEGALLY POCKETED BALLS. All spotted. No penalty.
9. OBJECT BALLS JUMPED OFF THE TABLE. The stroke is a foul.
Any jumped ball(s) is spotted after the balls come to rest.
10. CUE BALL AFTER JUMPING OFF THE TABLE OR SCRATCH. Incoming
player has cue ball in hand behind the head string, unless the
provision of Rule of Play 7.2., 7.5. or 12." (below) apply
to the offender's foul and dictate alternate choices or procedures.
11. PENALTIES FOR FOULS. One point deducted for each foul;
NOTE: more severe penalties for deliberate fouls (Rule of Play
7.5.) and third "Successive Fouls" (12. below). Incoming
player accepts cue ball in position unless foul was a jumped cue
ball, pocket scratch, deliberate foul (Rule of Play 7.5.) or third
12. SUCCESSIVE FOUL PENALTIES. When a player commits a
foul, he is penalized one point (or more as appropriate) and a
notation is made and posted by the scorer that he is "on
a foul." The player remains "on a foul" until his
next shot attempt, at which time he may remove the foul by successfully
pocketing a called ball, or completing a legal safety. If he fails
to meet these requirements on his next turn at the table, he is
penalized one point. The notation is changed to "on two fouls."
If he fails to meet the requirements of successfully pocketing
a called ball or completing a legal safety on his third consecutive
turn at the table, a penalty of fifteen points is assessed.
The commission of a third successive foul automatically clears
the offender's record of fouls.
All balls are then reracked and the player committing the infraction
is required to break as at the beginning of the game. Rules for
the opening break apply.
It should be emphasized that successive fouls must be committed
in successive turns (or playing attempts), not merely in successive
innings. For example, if a player ends inning 6 with a foul, steps
to the table for inning 7 and fouls (he is "on two fouls"),
and then starts inning 8 with a legally pocketed ball before scratching
on his second shot attempt of the inning, he has not committed
three successive fouls, even though there were fouls in three
successive innings. As soon as he legally pocketed the ball to
start inning 8, he cleared the two fouls. he is, of course, "on
one foul" when he plays the first stroke attempt of inning
13. SCORING NOTE. The deduction of penalty points can result
in negative scores. A running score can read "minus one,"
"minus two," "minus fifteen," etc. (a player
can win a game with a score of 150 while his opponent has scored
but two fouls. The final score would read 150 to -2.)
If a player fouls on a shot that has not pocketed a ball, the
point penalty is deducted from his score at the end of the previous
inning. If a player fouls and pockets a ball on the same shot,
that ball is spotted (not scored) and the point penalty is deducted
from his score at the end of the previous inning.
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