10 Pool Rules Most Players don't know

Date Posted:18 October 2016 

18 October 2016
Have you ever been caught out by a pedantic player citing an odd rule? There are plenty of lesser known pool rules out there and some of them are enough to make our heads spin.
Here are 10 of our favourite lesser-known Pool rules:
1. Back to Black
If you hit the black ball on the break, the breaker automatically wins the game. This is the quickest and most unknown way to win a game. Rarely are people aware of this rule, but it can be invoked surprisingly often.
2. White Worries
Sinking the cue ball while you’re trying to sink the black is also an automatic loss. Also known as scratching, this rule can cause plenty of heartache for the almost triumphant pool player.
3. Two for One
If you sink an object ball and the cue ball, only the cue ball is returned to the table. It is not uncommon to see players fetch both balls from the pocket. However, since the shot was in fact legal, the pocketing of the object ball stands.
4. Table Trouble
Hitting the cue ball off the table will constitute a scratch but do you know what happens when a numbered ball is knocked out of play?
As well as a scratched floor, hitting a numbered ball off the table will constitute a foul. This means that the ball has to be replaced on the spot the balls are racked up on, also called the ‘foul mark’. When the cue ball is hit off the table, it is brought back to behind the ‘baulk line'.
5. Pub Rules?
Walk into any pub in the country and you will no doubt see a player perched on the edge of the table attempting an awkward shot. This is in fact, illegal. At least one foot must be kept flat on the floor at all times. If you lack the reach for a shot, you must employ the use of the bridge stick or choose an alternative shot. This rule may sound slightly over the top, but it stops the player from brushing or knocking other balls in the process of their shot attempt.
6. Breaking Down the Numbers
A break is only legal if four or more numbered balls individually touch the rail at some point before the break settles. This is a little-known rule that requires a quick eye to adjudicate.
7. Pre-Emptive Strike
The key to any game of pool, snooker, or billiards is accuracy. As such, most examples of inaccuracy constitute fouls or scratches. Another example is if you knock one of your opponent’s balls before striking your own. This is a foul. Often, games just play on as if the action was simply collateral damage. However, this action is a foul and should be treated as such.
8. Hands Off
It is a foul to make contact with the table in any fashion while the opponent is the process of taking a shot. Even seemingly banal actions such as grabbing the chalk, or leaning by the opponent’s target pocket are illegal. This rule is rarely enforced, but it is more regularly seen in competitions and is considered a common courtesy.
9. Sinking Your Game
Everybody knows that pocketing the black ball throughout the game means a loss. But did you know that sinking the cue ball on the opening break is also a loss? It is surprising how often this occurs and people play on.
10. Quick Contact
If the tip of your cue stick touches the cue ball for any reason, it constitutes a shot. If you’re using your cue stick to move the ball back behind the baulk lines, for instance, it counts as a shot and subsequently a foul.

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