WORLD STANDARDIZED RULES: 9-BALL
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"Effective January 1, 2006"
Except when clearly contradicted by these additional rules,the General Rules of Pocket Billiards apply.
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 winning 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.
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.
If the referee decides that neither player is attempting to win from the current position, he will announce his decision, and each player will have three more turns at the table. Then, if the referee still feels that there is no progress towards a conclusion, he will declare the rack a stalemate and the original breaker of the rack will break again.
5.15 END OF GAME
On the opening break, the game is considered to have commenced once the cue ball has been struck by the cue tip. The 1-ball must be legally contacted on the break shot. The game ends at the end of a legal shot which pockets the 9-ball, or when a player forfeits the game as the result of a foul
9 Ball Pool Rules - Points of Contention
This page is intended to provide some clarification of misunderstood rules in 9 ball. It is primarily aimed at those new to 9 ball pool in the UK, and players who find themselves in need of clarification for tournament play. These are our interpretation of the official rules. Tournament organisers have the final say in what rules are played in their competition. This page will be updated in light of user feedback.
The Push Out
"On the first shot after a legal break, regardless of whether any balls were potted off the break or who is at the table, a player can opt to play a push out. This means for that one shot only he does not need to hit another ball or cushion, but he does not get to play another shot in that turn even if a ball goes in. If a ball is sunk, then it remains down, unless the 9 ball is sunk, in which case it is re-spotted.
The player must warn his opponent prior to the shot that he is going to play a 'push out'. His opponent then has the choice of playing the next shot or putting the other player back in to play." - from our own rules page
You do not need to be snookered in order to play a push out
You do not need to be snookered in order to put your opponent back in after his push out.
You are not required to hit any other ball or cushion while playing a push out.
If a ball is potted it stays down, unless it is the 9 ball, in which case it is re-spotted.
If you play a push out without declaring it first, it is a foul
Knowing whether the push-out option is open to you is simple - so long as you're at the table and the last shot played was a legal break, then you can choose to play a push out.
Three Fouls Rule
"If a player commits three consecutive fouls, he loses the frame, but only if his opponent reminds him after the second foul. If his opponent is not alert enough to mention it, this rule doesn't apply." - from our own rules page
The three fouls must occur in the same rack.
There can be no intervening legal shot between the three fouls, ie the fouls must be committed on the opening shots of three successive visits to the table.
A deliberate foul can be played by either player at any point during a game. This is a widely misunderstood rule in the UK to newcomers, who may see this type of play as unsporting or illegal, as in the sport of snooker. However, with 9 ball pool it is merely another option, or tactic if you wish, especially if you are snookered with little or no chance of getting out of it. You may instead opt to play another ball safe and therefore make the opponent's run out more difficult.
A player does not have to warn his opponent under any circumstances that he is going to play a deliberate foul.
If a ball is potted on a deliberate foul then it remains in the pocket unless it is the 9 ball, in which case it is re-spotted.
You must strike the cue ball at or above the centre for a jump shot to be legal. Making the cueball jump by digging under it is considered a foul.
Accidentally making the cueball jump, eg by hitting too low on a draw shot, is not generally considered a foul.
Fouls By Touching Balls
It is a foul to strike, touch or in any way make contact with the cue ball in play or any object balls in play with anything (the body, clothing, chalk, me- mechanical bridge, cue shaft, etc.)
This rule applies whether the contact is made intentionally or not.