Official Rules of 9-Ball
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Please direct questions regarding interpretation of the following,
or information on how to receive the current BCA Billiards - The Official
Rules and Records Book to the Billiard Congress of America.
"Effective January 1, 2006"
Except when clearly contradicted by these additional
rules,the General Rules of Pocket Billiards apply.
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.
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.
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:
Players alternate break.
Player trailing in game count breaks the next game.
LEGAL BREAK SHOT
The rules governing the break shot are the same as for other shots except:
The breaker must strike the1-ball first and either pocket a ball or
drive at least four numbered balls to the rail.
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.
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).
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.
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.
If the first object ball contacted by the cue ball is not the lowest
numbered ball on the table, the shot is foul.
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
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.
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
JUMP AND MASS… SHOT FOUL
If a match is not refereed, it will be considered a cue ball foul if
during an attempt to jump, curve or massÈ 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).
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 playerís 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.
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.