The game shall be known as 8 Ball Pool, referred to in these rules as "The Game". It is intended that players and teams should play in the true spirit of the game and in a sportsmanlike manner. The referee is the sole judge of what is fair & unfair play and will take whatever action is necessary to ensure that the rules are observed.


The game is played on a rectangular 6-pocket table with 15 balls plus a cue ball. Two sets of balls comprising 7 red balls and 7 yellow balls may be used, together with a solid black ball with the number 8 upon it and a solid white cue ball, or a striped black ball with the number 8 upon it and a spotted white cue ball. Balls in the groups are known as object balls.


The player or team pocketing all their group of object balls in any order, and then legally pocketing the black ball, wins the game.


a) The balls are racked as illustrated with the black ball on the 8-ball spot, which is at the intersection of the centre and corner pockets. Players must lag for the break using same size balls, both players must lag at the same time. If a player hits a side cushion, crosses over to opponent’s half of the table or commits a foul then the player loses the lag. Closest to the bottom cushion wins. Winner has choice of who breaks.

You can break from anywhere behind the baulk line. If the black is potted from the break, it is deemed a re-rack with the same player to break again, no penalty.

Once the balls are split, 2 balls must fully pass the middle pockets, or a ball must be potted for a legal break. If they fail to do this the opponent is given 3 options –

i: Play from where the ball lies   ii: Have ball in hand, to be placed anywhere behind the baulk line, or iii: Restart the frame and take the break – all options with a free ball and two shots.


Groups are never decided from the break or from the first shot following a foul. They are decided by the first legal pot thereafter. If a player breaks and pots a ball the table is still open until they pot on their 2nd visit. All balls potted on the break are disregarded. If both colours are potted on the second shot, determination moves to the next shot and so on.

To clarify, if a player has two shots on an open table, their first pot is irrelevant. Only the second pot (of a single colour) determines the colour that he or she is on, so you can pot a red and still hit red or yellow on the next shot. This includes playing combination shots i.e. red onto yellow or vice versa. You cannot hit the black ball first. NO NOMINATION IS REQUIRED.


a) In off (cue ball pocketed).

b) Hitting an opponent’s ball(s) with the cue ball on first impact of the cue ball, except with the first shot following any foul. 

c) Failing to hit any ball with the cue ball, except where rule 9a (Touching Ball) applies. 

d) Jump shot - defined as when the cue ball jumps over any part of any ball before making contact with any ball. 

e) Hitting the black ball with the cue ball on first impact before all their own group are pocketed, except with the first shot following any foul. 

f) Potting any opponent's ball, except with the first shot following any foul. 

g) Ball off the table (A ball shall be deemed off the table if it comes to rest anywhere other than on the bed of the table). 

       i) Any object ball or the black ball shall be returned to the 8-ball spot, or as near as possible to the rear without touching any other ball, in direct line between that spot & the centre     

           of the string line.       

      ii) If the cue ball, then the cue ball is played from in hand. 

h) If a player's body/clothing should touch any ball, except the cue ball after the referee calls a foul when the player has cue ball in hand. 

i) Player not having at least part of one foot on the floor. 

j) Playing or touching with the cue any ball other than the cue ball. 

k) Striking or touching the cue ball with any part of the cue other than the tip at any time.

 l) Playing out of turn. 

m) Playing before all balls have come to rest. 

n) Playing before any ball(s) requiring has been re-spotted. 

o) Striking the cue ball with the cue more than once. 

p) Push shot - defined as where the cue tip remains in contact with the cue ball for more than the momentary time commensurate with a normal stroked shot, or the cue tip remains in contact with the cue ball once it has commenced its forward motion.

q) Removing or repositioning the cue ball following a foul, unless it has been potted. It is the referee’s responsibility to hand or place the cue ball to or for the oncoming player. 

r) Foul break, see rule 4 (The Break).

s) Failure to play a shot within the time limit, see rule 10 (Time Limit).


a) Following any foul the player loses their next visit to the table, giving their opponent two consecutive visits to the table. 

b) If the cue ball has come to rest on the playing surface, then the player having two visits may proceed to play from where the cue ball lies, or the cue ball may be played from any position on or behind the baulk line. Moving the cue ball in this manner does not count as a shot or visit. Players must ask the referee to hand them the cue ball. 

c) On the first shot only of the first visit, the oncoming player may, without nomination, play the cue ball on to any ball without penalty including any opponent's ball(s) or the black ball. If any object ball(s) is pocketed directly, or by combination, the player is deemed to have pocketed a legal ball(s) and continues with the first visit. However, the player must not pot the black ball which would mean loss of game, except if the player is on the black ball in which case the game would be won. When the player fails to pot a ball on the first or subsequent shot of the first visit, play then continues with the second visit. The second visit is deemed to have started when the cue ball is struck on the first shot of the second visit.


a) If a player pockets the black ball before all the balls in their own group, except on the break (Rule 4), the player loses the game. 

b) A player going in off the black ball when the black ball is pocketed, loses the game.

 c) A player pocketing the black ball and any other ball on the same shot will lose the game, except following a foul when only the black ball and ball(s) of the opponent’s group are on the table, then with the first shot of the first visit, the player may legally pocket the black ball as well as ball(s) of the opponent's group by any combination and in any order. 

d) A player who clearly fails to make any attempt to play their own ball will lose the game. 

e) A player who retracts their cue during any game will constitute forfeit of that game.


a) Touching ball. Touching an opponent's ball or the black ball, the player must play a ball of their own group, except on the first shot of the first visit following any foul. Touching any ball the player is legally entitled to play the player may choose to either; play away from the touching ball, and be deemed to have played that ball (should the cue ball fail to make contact with any ball, or strike an opponent’s ball or the black ball, then the shot is fair and there is no foul), or play to move the touching ball, but great care should be taken not to play a push shot (foul 6p) or contact the cue ball twice (foul 6o). Moving the object ball is not automatically a foul. 

b) Cue ball in hand - When a player has the cue ball in hand it can be played from any position on or behind the baulk line and in any direction. 

c) Player in control - A player is said to be in control of the table from the time their body, cue, or clothing touches the table prior to their shot, throughout the visit, and up until the opponent does likewise prior to their visit. This player is therefore responsible for any ball(s) which fall into pockets during this period, including the black ball. 

d) Completion of game - The game is completed when the black ball is pocketed legally in any pocket and any remaining balls have come to rest, except where rule 4 (The Break) applies.


If, in the opinion of either player, the referee or official, or either Captain (or Secretary in their absence), it is felt that a player is playing too slow or taking too much time between shots on more than one occasion, the referee can be asked to impose a 60 second time limit on all future shots for that game which applies to both players. The referee (or Time-Keeper) will provide a 30 second warning at that mark, regardless of whether the player is taking a shot. If a shot is not played within 60 seconds it is a standard foul.


a) Impossible shot - Should any situation arise whereby a legal shot is not possible to play then the game shall be restarted by the player who started that game, whether this situation has been arrived at by accident or design. This decision should be made by the referee who may also seek guidance from the two team captains. 

b) Lack of progress - If in the opinion of the referee neither player is allowing the game to progress then they may advise both players that they each have four visits to start potting otherwise the game shall be restarted by the player who started that game. A time limit of 15 minutes will be imposed on the restarted game and if it is not then completed within this time the game will be regarded as void with no points will be awarded for that game.   

c) Restarted game - If the player who started the original game committed a standard foul break (see rules 4 & 6r) then their opponent has the option to break in the restarted game.