EIGHT BALL RULES
Players will lag for break. At the same time, players shoot a
ball from behind the head string,
banking it off the foot rail and back to the head of the table.
Striking the side rails or pockets
loses the lag. The ball closest to the head rail wins the lag.
You may strike the head rail. If during
the lag the balls touch each other you must lag over.
All games must be played with a red dot cue ball.
The break must be open break. A minimum of three (3) object
balls must be driven to a rail to
constitute an open break. Pocketing a ball is the same as
hitting a rail. If an open break is not
made, the balls shall be re-racked, and the opposing player
On the break, when the cue ball is scratched or jumped off the
playing surface, a ball-in-hand
penalty is enforced.
If an object ball leaves the table on break, spot the ball – no
foul (except for the 8-ball, which
constitutes automatic loss of game).
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. The table is always open immediately after
the break shot. The choice of
group is only determined when a player legally pockets a ball
after the break shot.
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. You may also
hit the eight ball first to pocket a stripe or solid. Intention
should be made as to where a
designated ball will be pocketed.
If, on the shot, the player meets the conditions above, but is
called for a foul in the process of
that particular shot, the table shall remain open. The opponent
On all shots the player shall cause the cue ball to strike one
of his group of balls first and drive
any ball to a cushion or into a pocket.
The player remains at the table by calling a designated ball of
his/her group and its intended
pocket, and then legally pocketing the called ball into the
called pocket. In the case of a
combination shots, only the pocketed ball and its intended
pocket need to be called. The 8-ball
can be used as the first ball in a combination shot when the
table is still open.
If an object ball is not intended to be made in a designated
pocket, the player may choose to call
a no-call (a.k.a. “safe”) on the shot and no foul will result as
long as the designated ball is struck
first and any other ball or the cue ball hits a rail.
Jumping the cue ball and massé shots in which the stick is above
the shoulder are not permitted
and constitute a foul with ball-in-hand penalty.
If a shooter so desires, he/she may pick up the cue ball and
hand it to his opponent, in lieu of
taking the shot.
Fouls may be called by any player of both teams. Only the
shooters must acknowledge if a foul
has occurred; however, ignorance of the rules is not an excuse
not to acknowledge a foul. If the
shooter is not sure if a foul has occurred, the team captain
must make the decision for the
shooter before the game resumes. Disputes will be settled by the
team captains. If the captains
are unable to settle the dispute, the game will continue as if
no foul occurred. A protest may be
filed with the league officers for a final decision.
Captains shall be permitted to watch and shall call close hits
if asked to do so prior to a shot.
Before exercising your option of cue ball in hand, the foul must
be called prior to removal of cue
ball from the playing surface, and must then be acknowledged by
A player shall call a foul for any of the following reasons and
a ball-in-hand penalty shall be
1. Scratching the cue ball, or jumping the cue ball off the
table is an automatic foul and
does not need to be called.
2. Failure to strike an object ball of one’s own group first.
3. Failure to drive any ball on the table to a cushion or into a
4. “Digging” under the cue ball with intent to make it jump.
5. Touching the cue ball.
6. A person or player not involved in that game, interfering, or
coaching other than
outlined in the “Coaching” section below. Good sportsmanship
advises that a warning
will be provided first.
7. If an object ball
comes to rest off the playing surface, his/her opponent should spot it at the
8. Marking the table in any way as an aiming aid.
Example A: Using a block of chalk anywhere on the table to help aim your
Example B: Wetting your finger to mark the table.
Example C: Chalking your stick and marking the table with the tip to help
aim your shot.
Example D: Having your coach hold his/her finger at the spot to shoot at
while you're shooting the ball that is in motion.
Example E: No using your stick to mark the table by sawing the table back
and forth behind the object ball to aim your shot-possibly marking the
9. Taking too much time between shots. A 60-second shot clock is
in effect. If a player is
taking more time than this, the opposing team captain shall
first inform the other team
captain that the player is taking too long. If the player
continues to take more than 60
seconds between shots, it will be considered a foul.
A player may name any member of that team to be that player’s
coach. A player may be allowed
only one coach time-out call during any one game. Time-out may
only be called by the player,
and/or the person designated as coach by the player. Time-outs
will be limited to two minutes.
If the player is coached a second time during the game, a foul
has been committed and a ball-inhand
penalty will be enforced.
Coach may not place the cue ball or mark the table in any other
way for a player.
A player shall be permitted to ask his/her teammates which group
of balls he/she is playing – no
time-out. However, if a teammate tells the player that he/she is
about to shoot at the wrong
group without the player asking, it will be considered a
CUE BALL IN HAND
When a cue ball is in hand player may use his hand or the side
of the cue stick, not the tip
surface, which includes the ferrule, to position or reposition
the cue ball prior to his shot.
After pocketing all his/her group of balls, the player will then
attempt to pocket the 8-ball. The
pocket in which the 8-ball is intended to fall shall be marked
with a “patch.” The player that
legally pockets the 8-ball in the pocket that is patched results
in a win for that player for that
If an object ball comes to rest off the playing surface, it is
placed on the foot spot unless other
object balls interfere, in which case the ball being spotted is
placed on the long string from the
foot spot as near as possible, which shall mean frozen to the
interfering ball. However, when the
cue ball is interfering with the spotting of balls, the ball
being spotted shall be placed as near as
possible to the foot spot without the ball being frozen to the
In the event the cue ball or an object ball stops on the edge of
a pocket then falls into the pocket
because of vibrations, fan interference, or stomping of the
feet, it shall be replaced on the edge
of the pocket as near as possible to its position before
interference. The home team captain shall
replace the ball; however, if it balances momentarily (5
seconds) on the edge of the pocket and
then falls in again without outside interference, it remains in
If the object ball drops in the pocket while player is shooting,
it is to be replaced and the shot is
executed again, provided the player was shooting at the fallen
BALL FROZEN TO THE CUSHION
If a ball is frozen to a cushion, opponent must notify player
and receive acknowledgement.
Players must be advised at each attempt to shoot a frozen ball.
When playing such a shot, player
1. Pocket the frozen ball;
2. Cause the cue ball to contact the cushion after striking the
3. Drive the frozen ball into another cushion; or
4. Cause another object ball to contact a cushion or be
Failure to do one of the above is a foul, and a ball-in-hand
penalty is assessed.
PLAYING WRONG OBJECT BALLS
Occasionally it occurs after the break, or anytime during the
game, that a player mistakenly
starts shooting at the wrong object balls. Although it would be
sportsmanlike to tell your
opponent he or she is about to foul, it is not a requirement. If
a player shoots at the wrong
object ball and pockets it, you must call a foul.
PLAYING THE 8 BALL
A ball-in-hand penalty is assessed when a player has the 8 ball
as his object ball and commits a
foul but does not:
1. Pocket the 8 ball;
2. Scratch the cue ball;
3. Jump the 8 ball off the playing surface; or
4. Jump the cue ball off the playing surface.
Automatic loss of game shall occur in any of the following
1. Making the 8 ball on the break, and the cue ball either
scratches or jumps the table
coming to rest off the playing surface;
2. Jumping the 8 ball off the table at any time;
3. Making the 8 ball in a pocket other than the pocket
designated by the “patch”;
4. Making the 8 ball when it is not the designated ball;
5. Scratching the cue ball when playing the 8 ball;
6. Pocketing the 8 ball by hand, bridge, body, jewelry, etc.;
7. Failure to allow the cue ball to come to a complete stop
prior to anyone touching the cue
8. Pocketing the 8 ball and touching the cue ball.
A stalemate occurs when neither player wants to shoot because
he/she will open the table for
his/her opponent. This usually occurs late in a game when few
balls remain on the table and are
touching or are very near to each other. In a stalemate
situation, if both players agree, the
game may be replayed. The same player that broke in the
stalemated game maintains the
breaking honors in the replay game