1. 1 Determining First Break
  2. 2 Eight Ball Rack
  3. 3 Break Shot
  4. 4 Open Table / Choosing Groups
  5. 5 Continuing Play
  6. 6 Shots Required to Be Called
  7. 7 Spotting Balls
  8. 8 Losing the Rack
  9. 9 Standard Fouls
  10. 10 Serious Fouls
  11. 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.

1 Determining First Break

The player winning the lag has the option to determine who has to execute the first break shot. (See General Rules 2 Lagging to Determine Order of Play.) The standard format is alternate break (See Regulation 15, Subsequent Break Shots.)

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.

8-Ball Rack

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 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
    1. accepting the table in position, or
    2. re-racking and breaking, or
    3. 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
    1. re-spotting the eight ball and accepting the balls in position, or (2) re-breaking.
  6. If the breaker pockets the eight ball and scratches, the opponent has the option of [Scratch = A shot on which the cue ball is pocketed is called a scratch.]
    1. re-spotting the eight ball and shooting with cue ball in hand behind the head string; or
    2. 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
    1. accepting the table in position, or
    2. 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
    1. accepting the balls in position, or
    2. taking cue ball in hand behind the head string.

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.

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.

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. [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.]

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 Break Shot and General Rules 4 Spotting Balls.) No other object ball is ever spotted.

8 Losing the Rack

The shooter loses if he

  1. fouls when pocketing the eight ball;
  2. pockets the eight ball before his group is cleared;
  3. pockets the eight ball in an uncalled pocket; or
  4. drives the eight ball off the table.

These do not apply to the break shot. (See 3 Break Shot.)

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 General Rules 5 Cue Ball in Hand.) The following are standard fouls at eight ball:

1 Cue Ball Scratch or off the Table

If the cue ball is pocketed or driven off the table, the shot is a foul.

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 General Rules 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.

Ball 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.

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.

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.

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 26, Calling Frozen Balls.

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.

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.

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.

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 16 Unsportsmanlike Conduct.

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.

8 Push Shot

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

9 Balls Still Moving

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

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.

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.

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.

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 16 Unsportsmanlike Conduct.

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 16 Unsportsmanlike Conduct may also apply.)

10 Serious Fouls

The fouls listed under 8 Losing the Rack are penalized by the loss of the current rack. For Foul 16 Unsportsmanlike Conduct, the referee will choose a penalty appropriate given the nature of the offense.

16 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 (a) distracting the opponent;

  1. changing the position of the balls in play other than by a shot;
  2. playing a shot by intentionally miscuing;
  3. continuing to play after a foul has been called or play has been suspended; (e) practicing during a match;
  4. marking the table;
  5. delay of the game; and
  6. using equipment inappropriately.

11 Stalemate

If a stalemate occurs (see General Rules 12 Stalemate), the original breaker of the rack will break again.

Effective 1/1/08

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