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Billiard Snooker Pool Rules

Pool is a popular game that is played all over the world by millions of people. However, there are many different varieties of the game, all with distinctly different rules and regulations. By far, the most popular forms of the game are the ones that originated in the USA, known as ‘eight-ball’ and ‘nine-ball’ pool.

9 Ball

Both are played on a normal sized pool table with the regulation six pockets and both have multiple championships around the world. However, it is eight-ball that is the more common game – the one you’ll most likely see being played at your local pool hall and the one that most people first think of when the word pool is mentioned.

8 Ball

Eight-ball pool can be played as a singles or doubles game and is played with cues and 16 balls, 15 object balls, and one cue ball (the ball the players strike to try and hit the other balls). Pool can be a relatively high-speed game compared to its close relatives snooker and billiards but that makes it no less skilful with players requiring a high degree of skill, concentration, and tactical thinking to play the game at a high level.


Snooker is played upon a Billiards table and uses the same cues and standard equipment. Different balls are used, though - one white cue ball is used by both players together with 15 red balls worth 1 point each and 6 coloured balls worth differing points viz:

  • Yellow - 2 points - initially placed on the right corner of the D as looked at from baulk.
  • Green - 3 points - initially placed on the left corner of the D as looked at from baulk.
  • Brown - 4 points - initially placed on the middle of the baulk line directly between the yellow and green balls.
  • Blue - 5 points - initially placed slap bang in the middle of the table.
  • Pink - 6 points - initially placed on a spot midway between the blue ball and the end cushion.
  • Black - 7 points - initially placed on the spot used for the red ball in Billiards - twelve and three-quarter inches from the middle of the end cushion.

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World Eight-Ball Pool Federation (WEPF)

A The Spirit of the Game

The Game is known as Eight-Ball Pool. It is expected that players will always play the game in the true spirit and in a sporting manner. The Referee will take whatever action is necessary to ensure that the spirit and rules of the game are observed.

B Equipment

The Game of Eight-Ball Pool is played with:-

(1) A "Cue Ball" - being a white ball.

(2) Fifteen "Object Balls" - consisting of:-

 (a) "Colours" - being a group of seven red balls, (or balls numbered 1 to 7) and a group of seven yellow balls (or balls numbered 9 to 15).

 (b) The "Eight-Ball" - being a black ball marked with a number "8".

(3) A six pocket rectangular Pool Table with general characteristics as follows:-

(a) The cloth will be marked with a "Spot" at the position where a straight line drawn diagonally from the centre of a side pocket to the centre of a corner pocket would intersect with a straight line drawn diagonally from the centre of the opposite side pocket to the centre of the other corner pocket.

(b) The cloth will be marked with a "Baulk Line", being a straight line, drawn from cushion to cushion, parallel to, and one fifth of the length of the table from, the face of the cushion that lies the greatest distance from the Spot.

The World Pool-Billiard Association (WPA) 

1.1 Player’s Responsibility

It is the player’s responsibility to be aware of all rules, regulations and schedules applying to competition. While tournament officials will make every reasonable effort to have such information readily available to all players as appropriate, the ultimate responsibility rests with the player.

1.2 Lagging to Determine Order of Play

The lag is the first shot of the match and determines order of play. The player who wins the lag chooses who will shoot first.
The referee will place a ball on each side of the table behind the head string and near the head string. The players will shoot at about the same time to make each ball contact the foot cushion with the goal of returning the ball closer to the head cushion than the opponent.
A lag shot is bad and cannot win if the shooter’s ball:
(a) crosses the long string;
(b) contacts the foot cushion other than once;
(c) is pocketed or driven off the table;
(d) touches the side cushion; or
(e) the ball rests within the corner pocket and past the nose of the head cushion.
In addition, a lag will be bad if any non-object-ball foul occurs other than 6.9 Balls Still Moving.
The players will lag again if:
(a) a player’s ball is struck after the other ball has touched the foot cushion;
(b) the referee cannot determine which ball has stopped closer to the head cushion; or
(c) both lags are bad.

World Pool-Billiards Association (WPA)

1. Setting Up Balls And Breaking Off

Rack the balls with the black ball positioned at the intersection of two imaginary diagonal lines as shown in the diagram.
The lag winner decides who breaks. Opposing players break alternately in successive frames.
Position the cue ball anywhere within baulk before breaking.

2. Legal And Illegal Breaks

To achieve a legal break at least two object balls (reds, yellows or black) must completely cross an imaginary line joining the middle pockets. Alternatively, at least one ball must be potted.
If no balls are potted and two object balls do not pass over this line, then the oncoming player is awarded 'one free shot and one visit'.
The cue ball may then be played from where it lies or from baulk. Alternatively, the oncoming player may request a re-rack.
It is also a foul if the cue ball is potted on the break. The retrieved white must be played from baulk. If the black is potted the table is set up again and the same player breaks.
On a break shot, no matter the outcome, the table remains 'open'. Groups are never decided on the break.
There is no 'nomination' of groups with blackball pool rules.

3. Open Tables And Determining Groups

With an 'open table' the designated group (that is whether a player continues on red or yellow balls) is NOT determined in the following situations...
On the break shot.
When a foul is played on a shot.
When taking a free shot after a foul.
Where a combination shot is played in which balls from both groups are potted.
With the exception of those aforementioned situations, if a player pots a ball or balls from a single group the player is then 'on' that group for the duration of the frame.
So, above, potting only the red in the middle pocket would determine 'reds' as that player's group; but pot both red and yellow in a combination shot and the table remains open.

Rules for Pub Pool


The game shall be known as “8 Ball Pool”, “Pool” or “Pub Pool” and referred to in these rules as "The Game". It is intended that the game be played in good spirit and in a sportsmanlike manner.
The game is played on a pub pool table with 16 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 on the black spot.
b. Order of play is determined by the flip of a coin.
c. The opening player plays at the object balls from baulk. An object ball must be pocketed, or at least TWO object balls pass the middle line of the table to be classed as a “fair break”.
i. Failure to do so is a foul break and will result in the balls being re-racked.
ii. The opposing player then starts the game with two visits.
d. If the black is pocketed from the break shot, the balls will be reracked and the same player will restart the game. No penalty will be incurred. This applies even if a foul shot is played.
e. If the Cue Ball is potted on a fair break it is a Non-Standard Foul that is penalised by the turn passing to the opponent
f. Colours are determined by the first legally potted object ball. If one or more balls of both sets of object balls are potted then that
player must nominate his group of object balls
g. If a foul is committed, before groups are decided, then those balls are ignored in determining the groups to be played.
h. If a ball, or balls, are legally pocketed, this entitles the player to one additional shot and this continues until the player either:
i. Fails to pocket one of their own set of allocated balls, or;
ii. Commits a foul at any time.

World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA)

1 Equipment

Measurements displayed in brackets state the metric equivalent to the nearest millimetre.
1. The Standard Table
(a) The Playing Area
The playing area is within the cushion faces and shall measure 11 ft 8½ in x 5 ft 10 in (3569 mm x 1778 mm) with a tolerance on both dimensions of +/- ½ in (13 mm).
(b) Height
The height of the table from the floor to the top of the cushion rail shall be 2 ft 10 in (864 mm) with a tolerance of
+/- ½ in (13 mm).
(c) Bottom Cushion and Top Cushion
The two shorter sides of the table are defined as the Bottom (also known as Baulk) and Top Cushions of the table. Where a cloth with a nap is fitted to the table, the smooth grain of the nap runs from the Bottom Cushion to the Top Cushion.
(d) Baulk-line and Baulk
A straight line drawn 29 in (737 mm) from the face of the Bottom Cushion, and parallel to it, running from side cushion to side cushion is called the Baulk-line. That line and the intervening space is termed Baulk.
(e) The “D”
The “D” is a semi-circle marked in Baulk with the centre of its straight section in the middle of the Baulk-line and with a radius of 11½ in (292 mm).
(f) Spots
Marked at each corner of the “D”, viewed from the Baulk end, the one on the right is known as the Yellow Spot and the one on the left as the Green Spot.
Four spots are marked on the centre longitudinal line of the table:
 (i) one in the middle of the Baulk-line, known as the
 Brown Spot;
 (ii) one located midway between the points  perpendicularly below the faces of the Top and  Bottom Cushions, known as the Blue Spot;
 (iii) one located midway between the Blue Spot and a point perpendicularly below the face of the Top Cushion, known as the Pink Spot; and
 (iv) one 12¾ in (324 mm) from a point perpendicularly below the face of the Top Cushion, known as the Black Spot.
(g) Pocket Openings
There shall be a pocket at each of the four corners of the table and one each at the middle of the longer sides.

2. Balls

(a) A set of balls comprises of 15 Red balls, and one each of the following coloured balls: Yellow, Green, Brown, Blue, Pink, Black and a White.
(b) The balls shall be of an approved composition and shall each have a diameter of 52.5 mm with a tolerance of +/-
 0.05 mm.
(c) The balls shall be of equal weight where possible but the tolerance between the heaviest ball and the lightest ball in a set should be no more than 3 g.
(d) A ball or set of balls may be changed by agreement between the players or on a decision by the referee.