WORLD POOL ASSOCIATION 8-BALL RULES
(Recognised by all national and continental federations of the world pool-billiard association)
1. OBJECT OF THE GAME
8-Ball is a Call Shot game (the ball and pocket must be nominated) and is played with a cue ball and fifteen coloured balls, numbered 1 through 15. One player must pocket balls of the group 1 through 7 (solid colours), while the other player has the group 9 through 15 (stripes). The player pocketing his or her group and then legally pocketing the 8-ball wins the game.
2. CALL SHOT
In Call Shot, obvious balls and pockets do not have to be indicated. It is the opponent's right to ask which ball and pocket if he is unsure of the shot. Doubles and combinations are not considered obvious and both the object ball and pocket must be called. When calling the shot, it is never necessary to indicate details such as the number of rails (cushions), doubles, cannons (caroms), kisses etc. Any additional pocketed balls on a legal stroke are counted in the shooter's favor, except the 8 ball.
3. THE RACK
The balls are racked in a triangle at the foot end of the table with the 8-Ball in the centre of the triangle, the first ball of the rack on the foot spot, a striped ball in one corner of the rack and a solid ball in the other.
4. THE LAG
By mutual consent each player chooses a side of the table. Both players must shoot their ball simultaneously down the table from behind the head string (baulk line). The player whose ball ends up nearest to the head rail (baulk cushion) having rebounded of the foot rail (bottom cushion) is the winner of the lag. A player looses the lag if:
The ball crosses into the opponent's half of the table.
The ball drops into a pocket.
The ball touches a side rail (cushion).
The ball rests in the jaws of a corner pocket, behind the head rail (baulk cushion).
5. ALTERNATING BREAK
The Winner of a coin toss or lag has the option to break or hand the break over to his opponent. During individual competition, players will break alternately in each subsequent game.
6. LEGAL BREAK SHOT
To execute a legal break, the player must shoot the cue ball from behind the head string (baulk line) and either:
Pocket a numbered ball.
Drive four numbered balls onto the rail (cushion).
If he fails to make a legal break it is a foul and the incoming player has the option of:
Accepting the table in position and shooting, or
Having the balls re-racked and shooting the opening break himself.
It is not necessary to hit the head ball (the ball that is on the head spot) to initiate a legal break.
The opening break is not a Call Shot. If any object ball is pocketed on a legal break, then that player continues his innings at the table and the table is open.
7. SCRATCH ON A LEGAL BREAK
If a player scratches (cue ball pocketed) or forces the cue ball of the table it is a foul and the table is open. All balls pocketed remain pocketed (exception: the 8-ball refer to rule 8).
Note : The incoming player has the cue ball in hand behind the head string (baulk line) and may not shoot an object ball that is behind the head string (baulk line), unless he first shoots the cue ball past the head string (baulk line).
If the base of the object ball is on the head string (baulk line) it is deemed to be in play and forward of the head string (baulk line).
If an object ball jumps of the table during the break (exception: the 8-ball refer to rule 18) it is a foul, and the incoming player has the option of:
Accepting the table in the position it is and shooting.
Taking the cue ball in hand behind the head string (baulk line) and shooting.
8. 8-BALL POCKETED ON THE BREAK
If the 8-ball is pocketed on the break, the breaking player may ask for a re-rack or have the 8-ball re-spotted and continue shooting. If the breaking player scratches while pocketing the 8-ball on the break, the incoming player has the option of a re-rack or having the 8-ball re-spotted and begins shooting with the cue ball in hand behind the head string (baulk line). If the 8-ball is to be re-spotted, it will be placed on the foot spot or as close as possible to the foot spot along the long string line.
Note : For coin operated pool tables it is recommended that if the 8-ball is pocketed on the break, the breaking player wins the game. If the breaking player fouls while pocketing the 8-ball on the break, the incoming player wins the game.
9. OPEN TABLE & CHOICE OF GROUP
Selection of a group is not determined by a ball(s) pocketed on the break shot. The first legally pocketed ball after the break shot determines the groups.
While the table is open it is legal to first hit any ball (except the 8 ball) in the process of pocketing the called object ball.
10. LEGAL SHOT
On all shots (except the break or when the table is open) the player must hit one of his group of balls first and:
Pocket an object ball, or
Cause the cue ball or any object ball to contact a rail (cushion).
Failure to do either is a foul.
Note : It is legal for the shooter to double the cue ball off a rail (cushion) before contacting his object ball. However, after contact with his object ball, an object ball must be pocketed or any ball must contact a rail (cushion).
11 JUMP SHOT
To execute a legal jump shot the cue ball must be struck above the centre line of the ball. Shooting a jump shot by striking or scooping the cue ball below centre is a foul.
12. SAFETY (TACTICAL) PLAY
Safety play is defined as a legal shot. The player may choose to pocket an object ball and discontinue his turn at the table. However, prior to the shot, he must declare to his opponent and or the referee that he is playing a safety shot. If this is not done the player will be required to shoot again.
A player is entitled to continue shooting until he fails to legally pocket a ball of his group. After a player has legally pocketed all of his group he shoots to pocket the 8-ball.
The following infractions result in fouls:
Failure to execute a legal shot as defined elsewhere in the rules.
A scratch shot (shooting the cue ball into a pocket or off the table).
Failure to contact any of the players designated group of balls.
Shooting without at least one foot touching the floor.
Moving or touching any ball in any fashion by any means other than legal play.
Note: If any ball is moved illegally by a player it must be returned as closely as possible to it's original position (by a referee if present).
Shooting while any ball is in motion.
Note: A player does not commit a foul when he accidentally miscues and causes the cue ball to lift above the surface of the table providing he makes a legal shot.
15. FOUL PENALTY
The penalty for a foul gives the opposing player the cue ball in hand which he may place anywhere on the table (except scratch on break, see rule 7).
16. COMBINATION SHOTS
Combination shots are allowed, however neither the 8-ball nor any of the opponents balls may be struck first by the cue ball.
17. ILLEGALLY POCKETED BALLS
Illegally pocketed balls are not respotted (except the 8-ball on the break, see rule 8).
18. OBJECT BALLS JUMPED OFF TABLE
At all times, if any object ball is jumped off the table, it is a foul shot. The ball(s) is respotted and the incoming player has the cue ball in hand.
If the 8-ball is jumped off the table at any time it is a loss of game (see rule 24 b).
If two balls are jumped of the table during the same shot, the lowest numbered ball is respotted closest to the foot spot.
19. OBJECT BALL FROZEN TO RAIL (CUSHION)
This rule applies when the object ball struck by the shooter is frozen (touching) to the rail (cushion). After the cue ball contacts this object ball the player must:
pocket the frozen ball or any other object ball.
drive the frozen object ball to another rail (cushion).
drive the cue ball or any other object ball onto any rail (cushion).
Failure to do any of the above is a foul.
20. TOUCHING BALL AND DOUBLE HIT (PUSH SHOT)
If the cue ball is touching (frozen to) the object ball the player may follow through the line of the object ball with the cue ball but if the two balls are only very close or almost touching, the player may still shoot towards it, providing the cue strikes rather than pushes the cue ball. However in this case if the cue ball follows through the object ball in a straight line (rather than an oblique angle) by more than half a ball it is a foul.
If the shooter plays away from a frozen ball, the cue ball will be deemed not to have made contact with it and he/she must still perform a legal shot.
When a player strikes the cue ball it is a foul if the cue tip strikes the cue ball twice or the cue tip is still in contact with the cue ball when it strikes the object ball (push shot).
21. HANGING BALL
A ball that falls into a pocket by itself after being motionless for more than 5 seconds shall be replaced as closely as possible to its position prior to falling and play shall continue.
22. JAWED BALLS
Should a situation occur where two balls are locked in the jaws of a pocket, any ball more than half a ball over the edge of the pocket will be deemed pocketed.
Should two balls be locked in the jaws of a pocket, but neither ball is more than half a ball over the edge of the pocket and a subsequent shot fails to move either ball, both balls will be respotted (see rule 18).
23. PLAYING THE 8-BALL
When shooting at the 8-ball, a scratch or a foul is not a loss of game unless the 8-ball is pocketed or jumped from the table.
24. LOSS OF GAME
A player loses the game if he commits any of the following infractions:
Any foul while pocketing the 8-ball (exception: refer rule 8).
Jumps the 8-ball off the table at any time.
Pockets the 8-ball in a pocket other than the one nominated.
Pockets the 8-ball when it is not the legal object ball.
Scratches and pockets the 8-ball in the same shot.
Players are not allowed to use a ball or any other width measuring devices to see if the cue ball or any object ball will travel through a gap. Only the cue may be used as an aid to judge gaps or as an aid to aligning a shot as long as the cue remains held in the hand. To do so otherwise is a foul. If a player intentionally marks the table in any way or places the chalk in a position in order to assist in the execution of a shot it is a foul.