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Pool Ball Hit

Clif Tavern
House Pool Rules

Below are the most common rules that get brought up during pool games. If there are any questions regarding our house rules, please contact us here. Thank you!


OBJECT OF THE GAME The object of 8-ball is to win by legally pocketing the 8-ball. 8-Ball is played with a cue ball and fifteen object balls, numbered 1 through 15. Balls 1–7 are solid colors and commonly referred to as “low balls”, and balls 9–15 are striped and commonly referred to as “high balls.” One player must pocket balls of solid colors, while the other player must pocket the striped balls. The player who pockets their entire group and then legally pockets the 8-ball wins the game.

MONEY BREAKS The next player with quarters on the board shall break. In the event that there is a name written on the board, but quarters are not present, a good faith effort should be made to find the opponent. If not available, the player may be skipped allowing the next player in line to play.

WINNER RACKS The winner of the previous game is responsible for racking the balls for the new opponent to break. In the event that both players are in agreement, letting someone else rack the balls is allowed. If requested by the new opponent, the winner may break. Only one of the two competing players is allowed to break.

HOW TO RACK The balls are racked randomly with the base of the rack being parallel to the foot rail of the pool table and is positioned so the ball in the tip of the rack is located on the center of the foot spot. Within the rack, the 8- ball is centered while the two corners are occupied by the two opposite groups (one solid ball and one striped ball).

LEGAL BREAK SHOT For the break shot to be legal, the breaker (with the base of the cue ball placed anywhere behind the head string) must either pocket a number ball or drive at least four (4) number balls to one or more rails. No ball is called, and the cue ball is not required to hit any particular object ball first. If the breaker fails to make the legal break requirement, the balls will be re-racked and the breaker will have an additional attempt at making a legal break. If, after both attempts, a legal break is not achieved, it will be the opponents choice to break or let the offending player attempt to break again.

BREAK FOULS In the event that there is a legal break, however a foul is committed (cue ball is pocketed or ANY ball leaves the table) the game is to continue with the opponent having ball in hand anywhere behind the head-string.

8-BALL POCKETED ON BREAK Legally pocketing the 8-ball on the break wins the game for the breaker. Pocketing the 8-ball on the break with a simultaneous foul results in a loss of game.

OPEN TABLE The table is always open immediately after the break shot. The player’s designated group (solids or stripes) will not be determined until a player legally pockets a called object ball. The table is considered an “open” table when the choice of groups (solid or stripes) has not yet been determined. When the table is open, it is legal to hit one group of balls in order to pocket another ball from the opposite group. The 8-ball may be utilized in a combination as long as it is not struck first; this action would result in a foul.

SCRATCH Pocketing the cue ball or driving it off the table is a ball in hand foul. Scratching on the 8-ball is a loss of game regardless of the shot being attempted (bank shot, kick shot, straight shot, etc).

BAD HIT/NO HIT If the first object ball contacted by the cue ball is not a numbered ball from the shooter’s established group, it is a ball in hand foul. Most of the time, players will allow a decent attempt at making contact to be a legal shot regardless of actual contact, but it is up to the opposing player to allow a non-contact shot to be considered a ball-in-hand foul or not.

NO RAIL If after the cue ball strikes a legal ball and neither the cue ball nor any other ball hits a rail or is pocketed, it is a ball in hand foul. A “frozen” object ball on the rail does not meet this requirement by virtue of it not “hitting” a rail. Players are encouraged to mutually acknowledge when the object ball is “frozen” to the rail before a shot is attempted.

BALLS OFF TABLE Causing any ball to come to rest off the playing surface is a foul and any such ball(s) are pocketed. This includes any accidental movement of a ball which results in a ball falling into a pocket. The ball accidentally pocketed is not brought back into play, and the incoming player has ball-in-hand.

FOOT ON FLOOR Failure to have at least one foot on the floor at the moment the cue tip strikes the cue ball is a ball in hand foul.

JUMP SHOTS Jump shots are not permitted. In the event that an accidental jump shot is performed, it is only a ball-in-hand foul if the shooters object ball is contacted and an obvious obstruction was avoided due to the jump shot.

MOVING BALL Shooting while any ball is moving is a ball-in-hand foul.

DOUBLE HIT If the cue tip strikes the cue ball twice on the same stroke, it is a ball in hand foul.

INTERFERENCE While the shooting player is at the table, the non-shooting player cannot disturb, make noises, move around, or cause distraction in any way. All players must conduct themselves in a respectful manner consistent with that of a professional, or it may result in a loss of game (decided by Tony). It is understood that the match is between the two players. Friends and onlookers are expected not to instruct or interfere with the shooting player unless agreed upon by both opponents.

MARKING THE TABLE Marking the table in any way that could provide a player with an advantage in executing a shot is a foul, unless the mark is removed to the satisfaction of the opponent prior to shooting.

WRONG BALLS When it is discovered that the shooting player has been shooting the opponent’s designated ball(s) as if it were their own, the shooter shall relinquish the table with a ball in hand foul to the opponent.

CONCESSION OF MATCH During the game: putting away the cue, unscrewing the cue, putting on a jacket, leaving the room, or undertaking any action that would indicate that the match is over prior to the closing of the game, is frowned upon and could be considered a concession of game.

FORFEITS Players are allotted five (5) minutes to begin their match, or the match is considered forfeited.

SPLIT HITS Whenever possible, split shots should be called as such. If the cue ball strikes a legal object ball and a non-legal object ball at about the same instant and it cannot be clearly determined which ball was hit first, the judgment will go in favor of the shooter.

BALL REBOUNDS Balls must remain in a pocket to count as pocketed. If a ball goes into a pocket and bounces back on to the playing surface, it is not considered pocketed. If it is the 8-ball, it is not a win/loss. If it is the cue ball, it is not a scratch.

HANGING BALL If any ball hangs in a pocket and drops within 10 seconds after coming to complete rest, the ball is considered to be pocketed. If a hanging ball drops in the pocket after being at rest for more than 10 seconds, the ball is left pocketed but the player that shot relinquishes his turn and the opposing player plays where the cue ball landed.

USE OF EQUIPMENT All equipment that is generally accepted throughout the industry is permitted. However, using any equipment in a non-customary manner is never allowed and constitutes a foul. It is the responsibility of both players to know what the intended use of each piece of equipment is and to agree on the accepted use of any such non-customary equipment.

SAFETY PLAY A player may choose to pocket an object ball and discontinue their inning by declaring “safety” to the opponent prior to the shot. The player calling “safety” must be sure that the opponent is aware of the declaration or may be forced to continue playing after a ball is pocketed. A safety may also be played when the shooters current object ball is not visible. A blind safety shot must be called and consists of hitting 2 separate rails without making contact with the opponent's object ball (unless the cue ball makes contact with the shooters object ball first). After a safety shot is called, the shooter relinqushes his turn at the table regardless of the outcome. If the safety is not acheived, it is the opponents choice to play it "where it lands" or take a ball-in-hand foul.

STALEMATE If both players agree that any attempt to pocket or move an object ball would result in a loss of the game by either player, then the game is considered a stalemate and a basic coin toss is performed to declare a winner/loser.

RESOLVING DISPUTES Any disagreement between the two players will be resolved by Tony. If Tony isn't available, just chill out and continue playing a friendly game of pool. No fighting.

BALL IN HAND All ball in in hand fouls must begin with the center of the cue ball on or behind the head string. All ball-in-hand fouls must be aimed out of the head string and make contact with a rail or object ball located outside of the “the kitchen”. A “kick” shot (hitting the rail with the cue ball first) is a legal ball-in-hand shot as long as the point of contact with the rail is outside of “the kitchen”. In the event that all of the shooters object balls (this includes the 8 ball assuming the player has no more object balls left on the table) are behind the head string (in "the kitchen") following a ball-in-hand foul, the shooter may opt to “spot” the closest object ball to the head string directly to the foot spot on the table. If the foot spot is occupied by another ball, the object ball is to be placed directly behind the occupied ball location centered with the middle diamond of the foot rail. At no point is a ball-in-hand cue to be played anywhere outside of "the kitchen"

CALLING POCKETS It is necessary to call every contact with all balls and rails prior to shooting. The break shot is never considered a “called shot.”

DEAD RAILS When calling shots, it is not necessary to call any "dead" rails. A dead rail is a rail that is contacted by the object ball immediately prior to being pocketed. For purposes of calling shots, this is not a necessary contact to call but may be called by the shooter. If the dead rail is called and not hit, it is still a legal shot and the shooter continues his inning. If the cue ball is hitting a rail first, it still must be called unless it is the result of a kick shot wherein the cue ball has already hit a rail prior to making it's way toward the object ball.

MOVED BALLS Any still object ball accidentally moved can only be moved back to its original position with the permission of the opponent. The opponent may exercise the option of keeping disturbed ball(s) in the new position if they so choose. Only after receiving consent from the opponent, the player who has committed the error may move the disturbed object ball(s) back to original position. If the player who has committed the infraction touches any of the disturbed balls without consent of opponent, it will result in a loss of turn with ball in hand to the opponent.

8 BALL If, at any point, a player accidentally or purposefully removes the 8-ball from the pool table, it results in an immediate loss of game. The 8-ball may always be utilized within a combination shot as long as it is not struck first; this action would result in a ball-in-hand foul.

STRAIGHT POOL While there are opponents waiting to use the table, the only permitted game to be played is “Straight 8-ball - Singles”. No doubles, last pocket, 9-ball, 10-ball, bank-the-8, etc. These games are not allowed to be played while there are opponents waiting to play.

SHOT CLOCKS Shot clocks are not implemented, but a "best-effort" should be made to continue gameplay at a normal pace to allow for the flow of players to be consistent and fair.

FOREIGN EQUIPMENT The use of headphones and other devices that could interfere with clear communication between both opponents are not permitted. The use of racks and/or balls that are not provided by The Clif Tavern must be reviewed and permitted by Tony prior to using them.

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