The B.E.T.T.E.R. High School Program plays by the official World Standard Rules governed by the Billiard Congress of America. These rules are followed throughout all training and competitions among the intra-mural high schools. It is highly advisable for all participating members to read and understand the rules set forth.
During competition the players may not ask their coaches or other teammates if a rule has been violated. They must call the foul as they see them occur and if their are rule disputes then the referee if one is presiding during the match will clarify the foul and call the appropriate action. If the referee is not presiding then a BCA Instructor or the Program Director will call the appropriate action. The Program Director if presiding will have final judgement on the foul.
WORLD STANDARDIZED RULES: "Effective July 1, 2000" Except when clearly contradicted by these additional rules, the General Rules of Pocket Billiards apply. All information is copyrighted by the BCA. Refer to the BCA for more information and changes. www.bca-pool.com
5.1 OBJECT OF THE GAME Nine-Ball is played with nine object balls numbered one through nine and a cue ball. On each shot, the first ball the cue ball contacts must be the lowest numbered ball on the table, but the balls need not be pocketed in order. If a player pockets any ball on a legal shot, he remains at the table for another shot, and continues until missing, committing a foul, or wining the game by pocketing the 9-ball. After a miss, the incoming player must shoot from the position left by the previous player, but after any foul the incoming player may start with the cue ball anywhere ohot, the first ball the cue ball contacts must be the lowest numbered ball on the table, but the balls need not be pocketed in order. If a player pockets any ball on a legal shot, he remains at the table for another shot, and continues until missing, committing a foul, or wining the game by pocketing the 9-ball. After a miss, the incoming player must shoot from the position left by the previous player, but after any foul the incoming player may start with the cue ball anywhere on the table. Players are not required to call any shot. A match ends when one of the players has won the required number of games.
5.2 RACKING THE BALLS The object balls are racked in a diamond shape, with the 1-ball at the top of the diamond and on the foot spot, the 9-ball in the center of the diamond, and the other balls in random order, racked as tightly as possible. The game begins with cue ball in hand behind the head string.
- 5.3 ORDER OF BREAK Winner of the lag has the option to break. In 9-Ball, the winner of each game breaks in the next, unless otherwise specified by the tournament organizer. The following are common options that may be designated by tournament officials in advance: (a) Players alternate break. (b) Loser breaks. (c) Player trailing in game count breaks the next game.
- 5.4 LEGAL BREAK SHOT The rules governing the break shot are the same as for other shots except: 1. The breaker must strike the1-ball first and either pocket a ball or drive at least four numbered balls to the rail. 2. If the cue ball is pocketed or driven off the table, or the requirements of the opening break are not met, it is a foul, and the incoming player has cue ball in hand anywhere on the table. 3. If on the break shot, the breaker causes an object ball to jump off the table, it is a foul and the incoming player has cue ball in hand anywhere on the table. The object ball is not re-spotted (exception: if the object ball is the 9-ball, it is re-spotted).
5.5 CONTINUING PLAY On the shot immediately following a legal break, the shooter may play a "push out." (See Rule 5.6). If the breaker pockets one or more balls on a legal break, he continues to shoot until he misses, fouls, or wins the game. If the player misses or fouls, the other player begins an inning and shoots until missing, committing a foul, or winning. The game ends when the 9-ball is pocketed on a legal shot, or the game is forfeited for a serious infraction of the rules.
- 5.6 PUSH OUT The player who shoots the shot immediately after a legal break may play a push out in an attempt to move the cue ball into a better position for the option that follows. On a push out, the cue ball is not required to con-tact any object ball nor any rail, but all other foul rules still apply. The player must announce the intention of playing a push out before the shot, or the shot is considered to be a normal shot. Any ball pocketed on a push out does not count and remains pocketed except the 9-ball. Following a legal push out, the incoming player is permitted to shoot from that position or to pass the shot back to the player who pushed out. A push out is not considered to be a foul as long as no rule (except rules 5.8 and 5.9) is violated. An illegal push out is penalized according to the type of foul committed. After a player scratches on the break shot, the incoming player cannot play a push out.
- 5.7 FOULS When a player commits a foul, he must relinquish his run at the table and no balls pocketed on the foul shot are re-spotted (exception: if a pocketed ball is the 9-ball, it is re-spotted). The incoming player is awarded ball in hand; prior to his first shot he may place the cue ball anywhere on the table. If a player commits several fouls on one shot, they are counted as only one foul.
- 5.8 BAD HIT If the first object ball contacted by the cue ball is not the lowest numbered ball on the table, the shot is foul.
- 5.9 NO RAIL If no object ball is pocketed, failure to drive the cue ball or any numbered ball to a rail after the cue ball contacts the object ball on is a foul.
- 5.10 IN HAND When the cue ball is in hand, the player may place the cue ball anywhere on the bed of the table, except in contact with an object ball. The player may continue to adjust the position of the cue ball until shooting.
5.11 OBJECT BALLS JUMPED OFF THE TABLE An un-pocketed ball is considered to be driven off the table if it comes to rest other than on the bed of the table. It is a foul to drive an object ball off the table. The jumped object ball(s) is not re-spotted (exception: if the object ball is the 9-ball, it is re-spotted) and play continues.
- 5.12 JUMP AND MASSÉ SHOT FOUL If a match is not refereed, it will be considered a cue ball foul if during an attempt to jump, curve or massé the cue ball over or around an impeding numbered ball, the impeding ball moves (regardless of whether it was moved by a hand, cue stick follow-through or bridge).
- 5.13 THREE CONSECUTIVE FOULS If a player fouls three consecutive times on three successive shots without making an intervening legal shot, the game is lost. The three fouls must occur in one game. The warning must be given between the second and third fouls. A player's inning begins when it is legal to take a shot and ends at the end of a shot on which he misses, fouls or wins, or when he fouls between shots.
- 4.1 OBJECT OF THE GAME Eight-Ball is a call shot game played with a cue ball and 15 object balls, numbered 1 through 15. One player must pocket balls of the group numbered 1 through 7 (solid colors), while the other player has 9 through 15 (stripes). The player pocketing either group first, and then legally pocketing the 8-ball wins the game.
- 4.2 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. Bank shots and combination shots are not considered obvious, and care should be taken in calling both the object ball and the intended pocket. When calling the shot, it is never necessary to indicate details such as the number of cushions, banks, kisses, caroms, etc. Any balls pocketed on a foul remain pocketed, regardless of whether they belong to the shooter or the opponent. The opening break is not a "called shot." Any player performing a break shot in 8-Ball may continue to shoot so long as any object ball is legally pocketed on the break.
- 4.3 RACKING THE BALLS The balls are racked in a triangle at the foot of the table with the 8-ball in the center of the triangle, the first ball of the rack on the foot spot, a stripe ball in one corner of the rack and a solid ball in the other corner.
- 4.4 ORDER OF BREAK Winner of the lag has the option to break. The winner of each game breaks in the next. The following are common options that may be designated by tournament officials in advance:
(a) Players alternate break.
(b) Loser breaks.
(c) Player trailing in game count breaks the next game.
- 4.5 LEGAL BREAK SHOT (Defined) To execute a legal break, the breaker (with the cue ball behind the head string) must either
(1) pocket a ball, or
(2) drive at least four numbered balls to the rail. When the breaker fails to make a legal break, it is a foul, and the incoming player has the option of
(1) accepting the table in position and shooting, or
(2) having the balls re-racked and having the option of shooting the opening break or allowing the offending player to re-break.
- 4.6 SCRATCH ON A LEGAL BREAK If a player scratches on a legal break shot,
(1) all balls pocketed remain pocketed (exception, the 8-ball: see rule 4.8),
(2) it is a foul,
(3) the table is open.
Please Note: The incoming player has cue ball in hand behind the head string and may not shoot an object ball that is behind the head string, unless he first shoots the cue ball past the head string and causes the cue ball to come back behind the head string and hit the object ball.
- 4.7 OBJECT BALLS JUMPED OFF TABLE ON THE BREAK If a player jumps an object ball off the table on the break shot, it is a foul and the incoming player has the option of
(1) accepting the table in position and shooting, or
(2) taking cue ball in hand behind the head string and shooting.
- 4.8 8-BALL POCKETED ON THE BREAK If the 8-ball is pocketed on the break, breaker may ask for a re-rack or have the 8-ball spotted and continue shooting. If the breaker scratches while pocketing the 8-ball on the break, the incoming player has the option of a re-rack or having the 8-ball spotted and begin shooting with ball in hand behind the head string.
- 4.9 OPEN TABLE (Defined) The table is "open" when the choice of groups (stripes or solids) has not yet been determined. When the table is open, it is legal to hit a solid first to make a stripe or vice-versa. Note: The table is always open immediately after the break shot. When the table is open, it is legal to hit any solid or stripe first in the process of pocketing the called stripe or solid. However, when the table is open and the 8-ball is the first ball contacted, it is a foul and no stripe or solid may be scored in favor of the shooter. The shooter loses his turn; the incoming player is awarded cue ball in hand; any balls pocketed remain pocketed; and the incoming player addresses the balls with the table still open. On an open table, all illegally pocketed balls remain pocketed.
- 4.10 CHOICE OF GROUP The choice of stripes or solids is not determined on the break even if balls are made from only one or both groups, because the table is always open immediately after the break shot. The choice of group is determined only when a player legally pockets a called object ball after the break shot.
- 4.11 LEGAL SHOT (Defined) On all shots (except on the break and when the table is open), the shooter must hit one of his group of balls first and
(1) pocket a numbered ball, or
(2) cause the cue ball or any numbered ball to contact a rail.
Please Note: It is permissible for the shooter to bank the cue ball off a rail before contacting the object ball; however, after contact with the object ball, an object ball must be pocketed, or the cue ball or any numbered ball must contact a rail. Failure to meet these requirements is a foul.
- 4.12 "SAFETY" SHOT For tactical reasons, a player may choose to pocket an obvious object ball and also discontinue a turn at the table by declaring "safety" in advance. A safety shot is defined as a legal shot. If the shooting player intends to play safe by pocketing an obvious object ball, then prior to the shot, the shooter must declare a "safety" to the opponent. It is the shooter's responsibility to make the opponent aware of the intended safety shot. If this is not done, and one of the shooter's object balls is pocketed, the shooter will be required to shoot again. Any ball pocketed on a safety shot remains pocketed.
- 4.13 SCORING A player is entitled to continue shooting until failing to legally pocket a ball of his group. After a player has legally pocketed all of his group of balls, he shoots to pocket the 8-ball.
- 4.14 FOUL PENALTY Opposing player gets cue ball in hand. This means that the player can place the cue ball anywhere on the table (does not have to be behind the headstring except on opening break). This rule prevents a player from making intentional fouls which would put an opponent at a disadvantage. With "cue ball in hand," the player may use a hand or any part of a cue (including the tip) to position the cue ball. When placing the cue ball in position, any forward stroke motion contacting the cue ball will be a foul, if not a legal shot. (Also see Rule 3.39.)
- 4.15 COMBINATION SHOTS Combination shots are allowed; however, the 8-ball can't be used as a first ball in the combination unless it is the shooter's only remaining legal object ball on the table. Otherwise, should such contact occur on the 8-ball, it is a foul.
- 4.16 ILLEGALLY POCKETED BALLS An object ball is considered to be illegally pocketed when
(1) that object ball is pocketed on the same shot a foul is committed, or
(2) the called ball did not go in the designated pocket, or
(3) a safety is called prior to the shot. Illegally pocketed balls remain pocketed and are scored in favor of the shooter controlling that specific group of balls, solids or stripes.
- 4.17 OBJECT BALLS JUMPED OFF THE TABLE If any object ball is jumped off the table, it is a foul and loss of turn, unless it is the 8-ball, which is a loss of game. Any jumped object balls are not re-spotted.
- 4.18 JUMP AND MASSÉ SHOT FOUL While "cue ball fouls only" is the rule of play when a match is not presided over by a referee, a player should be aware that it will be considered a cue ball foul if during an attempt to jump, curve or massé the cue ball over or around an impeding numbered ball that is not a legal object ball, the impeding ball moves (regardless of whether it was moved by a hand, cue stick follow-through or bridge).
4.19 PLAYING THE 8-BALL When the 8-ball is the legal object ball, a scratch or foul is not loss of game if the 8-ball is not pocketed or jumped from the table. Incoming player has cue ball in hand. Note: A combination shot can never be used to legally pocket the 8-ball, except when the 8-ball is the first ball contacted in the shot sequence.
- 4.20 LOSS OF GAME A player loses the game by committing any of the following infractions:
1. Fouls when pocketing the 8-ball (exception: see 8-Ball Pocketed On The Break).
2. Pockets the 8-ball on the same stroke as the last of his group of balls.
3. Jumps the 8-ball off the table at any time.
4. Pockets the 8-ball in a pocket other than the one designated.
5. Pockets the 8-ball when it is not the legal object ball.
Note: All infractions must be called before another shot is taken, or else it will be deemed that no infraction occurred.
- 4.21 STALEMATED GAME If, after 3 consecutive turns at the table by each player (6 turns total), the referee judges that attempting to pocket or move an object ball will result in loss of game, the balls will be re-racked with the original breaker of the stalemated game breaking again. The stalemate rule may be applied regard-less of the number of balls on the table.
Please Note: Three consecutive fouls by one player in 8-ball is not a loss of game. Contact the BCA for information on referees, instructors, leagues and tournaments in your area. www.bca-pool.com
For information about the BEF sanctioned B.E.T.T.E.R. High School Billiard Program go to www.betterplaybilliards.org. or www.billiardeducation.org