Rules for Blackball
GENERAL RULES OF BLACKBALL established by the W.E.P.F. (Journal Officiel Association registration no. 0044/1995) and approved by the F.B.E.B.P.
The game is played on a billiard table (playing surface) measuring at least 6 feet by 3 feet and at most 7 feet by 3.5 feet, measured at the tops of the cushions, with six round pockets. The game is played with a white cue ball 1 7/8 inches in diameter (1 inch = 2.54 cm) and seven red object balls, seven yellow object balls, and one black eight ball, all 2 inches in diameter.
I – OBJECT OF THE GAME
The game is won by the player or team who, after pocketing the object balls of their own color, legally pockets the eight ball, directly or indirectly, in one of the six pockets. Players may pocket one or several of their own colored balls with one shot, but the eight ball must be pocketed by itself.
II – STARTING THE GAME: ‘THE BREAK’
The balls are racked in the shape of a triangle (see diagram), so that the eight ball is placed at the intersection of the two diagonals. The player who starts the game will be chosen by drawing lots. The winner of the draw may choose to break or to give his or her opponent the break. In a singles match with several frames, the other person breaks in the following round. In a team event, when a frame is completed in 15 turns, the award of the break will not be changed. If a player refuses the break, then in the next match, the player from the opposing team will have the option to keep the break. The breaking player may place the cue ball wherever he or she would like, behind the line. After placing the cue ball on the cloth, the player is permitted to move it as desired, except by contact with the cue tip.
The break is deemed a “fair break” if:
- the player pockets at least one ball,
- or if at least four colored balls touch one of the cushions.
If this does not occur:
- the balls are re-racked with the triangle. The other player re-breaks according to the same rule, and is awarded two visits. If the eight ball is pocketed on break, the balls are re-racked with the triangle and the same player re-breaks, and other aspects of the break are ignored.
- If the cue ball is pocketed on break, and it is a fair break, it is the opponent’s turn, and he or she must place the cue ball behind the line. He or she is awarded only one visit.
- If the cue ball leaves the playing surface other than by being pocketed, and remains outside the playing surface without returning on its own, it is a standard foul.
- If the cue ball, an object ball, or the eight ball, comes to a rest on the top of the cushion (and therefore outside the playing surface), it is a standard foul.
- At the break, as well as during the game, if the cue ball, an object ball, or the eight ball leaves the playing surface by becoming airborne, rolls on the corner or the top of the cushion (only), and then falls and comes to rest on the playing surface, then it is no foul.
In this case:
- If an object ball is pocketed at the break, or if three other balls have touched the cushion, the break is fair.
- If this ball falls back onto the playing surface and is pocketed, and if it is:
– an object ball: the player whose turn it is continues play.
– the cue ball: the turn passes to the opponent, who must place the cue ball behind the line. He or she is awarded only one visit.
– the eight ball: the game is re-started.
– if, during the game, this ball is pocketed, and if it is:
– an object ball: the player whose turn it is continues play.
– the cue ball: the player commits a standard foul.
– the eight ball: the player loses the game.
III – CHOICE OF COLORS
After the first player has made a fair break without any balls being pocketed, the table is declared “open”. The next player may choose a color. He or she may play either color of object balls, WITHOUT FIRST ANNOUNCING.
At the break or after the break, if the turn passes but the table remains open: when a player pockets an object ball while committing a foul, the table is still open. The next player may choose a color. He or she gets two visits and may play either color of object balls, WITHOUT FIRST ANNOUNCING.
When a player has pocketed one or more balls from different colors during the break, he or she must choose a color. Whether or not a ball is pocketed on the following shot, that choice is permanent.
When a player has pocketed one or more balls from the same color on the break or on a shot to determine colors, he or she tells the referee:
– either that he or she wishes to continue playing this color (in this case, whether or not a ball is pocketed on the following shot, that choice is permanent);
– or, that he or she wishes to play the other color. The player is then obligated to pocket at least one ball from the color that he or she has just chosen. If no ball from this color is pocketed, it is the opponent’s turn and the table is open.
– Making a shot without having informed the referee of the player’s color choice, aloud and clearly, constitutes a standard foul.
IV – LEGAL SHOT
After the break, on each shot, the cue ball must first touch a ball from the group belonging to the player in control, and then the player must:
– pocket a ball from their own group
– make it so that an object ball (red, yellow, or black) or the cue ball touches a cushion.
– If the player shoots at a ball of their own group or at the eight ball, or a ball designated after a snooker foul, in contact with the cushion (touching the cushion) and, after this shot, no ball (not the shot ball, the cue ball, the eight ball, or another ball from the player’s or opponent’s group) touches a cushion, the shot is not legal.
– After the shot, if a ball that had been touching the cushion comes away lightly and re-settles at the same point on the cushion without another ball touching the cushion, the shot is not legal.
– Before the shot, if both the cue ball and the colored ball being shot at touch the same cushion, a shot that simply puts these balls against the same cushion is not legal.
– If the player makes an illegal shot, it is a foul. The opponent assumes control of the table and is awarded two visits.
– On the other hand, in the cases cited above, if the ball is pocketed after a shot without the cue or any other ball making contact with a cushion, the shot is legal. The player keeps the turn until a shot is made without pocketing a ball from the player’s own group, or until a foul is committed. V – SNOOKER A player is “snookered”:
– if the cue ball has no direct path to the left or right to hit at least part of one of the player’s object balls, no matter how slim the path.
– if the cue ball is located at the entry to a pocket and the curved section of the pocket prevents the player from making a direct shot (in a straight line) on one of the player’s object balls, to the left or right, no matter how slim.
– This player is “snookered” but must still make a legal shot (unless the player is snookered following a foul by the opponent; see: Chapter X – SNOOKER FOULS).
– On the contrary, a player may not be “snookered” by the straight parts of the rails (because when determining “snooker,” the rail is not considered), or if the ball from the player’s group is partially hidden by the curved section of the rail (the pocket entrance) or one of the player’s own balls. These cases do not constitute the state of “snooker”.
VI – TOTAL SNOOKER
A player is in “total snooker” when all the balls of the player’s group that are still in play are ENTIRELY blocked by one or several balls from the other group, and/or by the eight ball. If only the eight ball remains for the player, and it is entirely blocked by an opponent’s ball, the player is also in “total snooker”.
If a player thinks they are in total snooker, they must request confirmation from the referee. If the referee confirms total snooker, the player is excused from having to make a legal shot. It is sufficient to make contact between the cue ball and a ball from the player’s group, or with the eight ball if that is the only ball left for the player (via a cushion or a massé shot).
However, if the player does not request confirmation from the referee, they are obliged to make a legal shot. In this case, when the referee has not confirmed total snooker, if the player opts simply to contact a ball, it is a foul and the opponent receives two visits.
VII – FOULS There are five types of FOULS
– standard fouls
– non-standard fouls
– snooker fouls
– serious fouls
– loss of frame fouls
– A player may be penalised for only one foul at a time. If two or more fouls are committed by the player during one shot, the one carrying the larger penalty is applied.
VIII – STANDARD FOULS
Fouls must be announced as soon as they are committed. The offending player immediately loses control of the table. The opponent receives two visits.
– not making a legal break
– pocketing the cue ball (except at the break, see: CHAPTER II – STARTING THE GAME: THE BREAK)
– touching a ball from the other group before a ball from the player’s own group with the cue ball
– not making a legal shot
– pocketing an opponent’s ball
– not touching a ball from the player’s own group with the cue ball
– first touching the cue ball when there are still balls from the player’s group on the table
– playing the cue ball and not touching any other ball
– when positioning the cue ball behind the line, touching it with the tip before shooting
– touching a ball with the body or an article of clothing
– playing before all the balls are immobile or before a ball that has left the table is re-entered into play
– driving any ball off the playing surface (the playing surface is the part of the table between the cushions)(see exception, CHAPTER II – STARTING THE GAME: THE BREAK)
– if the cue ball leaves and stays outside the playing surface, it is replaced behind the line
– if a ball (red, yellow, or black) leaves and stays outside the playing surface, it is replaced on or as near as possible to the spot — (if the spot is occupied by another ball, as close as possible to the spot, directly between the spot and the closest short rail)
– playing without at least one foot (or part of the foot) on the ground
– touching the table when it is not the player’s turn
– at the break, or after a foul, if the base of the cue ball, positioned by the player controlling the table, is not behind the line
– not moving away from the table within 10 seconds following the end of the visit. The visit is over when all balls are immobile.
– not announcing the choice of group after one or more balls are pocketed at the break, or when colors are to be chosen. (The table remains “open”, and the opponent takes control and need not announce).
– not playing away from a touching ball
– double contact on the cue ball
– if, on a “free” shot (see definition), the player in control is snookered after the opponent’s foul and does not nominate the ball (a colored ball or the eight ball)
– leaving the playing area without permission. If a player must leave the playing area for reasons beyond the player’s control, the player must request a time-out from the referee
– talking to another player from the player’s team or club during the match (see CHAPTER XIV — AID)
– having a cigarette or a beverage (besides water) within the playing area
IX – NON-STANDARD FOULS
Non-standard fouls are called by the referee: “Non-standard foul”.
It is a non-standard foul when the fouled player is in control, and (or) the options for the incoming player may vary.
– pocketing the cue ball on a legal break: the turn is handed over and the opponent only gets one shot
– pocketing an opponent’s ball that had been balanced at the edge of a pocket, without contact and involuntarily: the turn is handed over and the opponent only gets one shot
If the eight ball has been pocketed in these conditions, it is re-entered into play as close as possible to its original position and the game continues.
– not playing within 60 seconds after the balls have come to rest from the previous shot, or in the 60 seconds after taking control of the table: the turn is passed and the opponent gets two visits and may reposition the cue ball behind the line
– HOWEVER: the referee may decide to pause the count of 60 seconds
– The 60-second countdown stops:
– if the player controlling the table requests it (if, for example, something is obstructing the player) or if one player needs to quit the game
– if the referee must retrieve an accessory requested by the player in control. The count resumes at the referee’s discretion.
– THE 60-SECOND RULE IS APPLIED IN INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION. FOR TECHNICAL REASONS (adequate equipment and competent refereeing staff), THE 60-SECOND RULE IS NOT OBLIGATORY IN A NATIONAL EVENT.
– HOWEVER: when a player plays too slowly, surpassing a minute, the referee may give a first warning. If the player does it again, then after conferring with the referee judge or the director of play, may call: “Foul” and give two visits to the opponent. If it happens a third time, the referee may award the frame to the opponent.
X – DEFINITION OF FOUL SNOOKER
When a player commits a foul shot and this causes the following player to be snookered, the second player is “foul snookered”.
– If the player believes that they may be “foul snookered,” they must request a decision from the referee
– – if the referee agrees that there is a “foul snooker,” the player gets two visits with the following options:
– – play the cue ball at the place where it is at rest
– – request that the referee replace the cue ball in order that the player can play from behind the line
– If the player chooses the first option, to play the cue ball at the place where it is at rest, the player gets two visits: the first is a free shot, but the player must designate the ball that they intend to play: the eight ball (if desired) or any other ball from the opponent’s group. The player must nominate the ball that they intend to play, either verbally or with a gesture. The referee may ask the player to be more precise.
– If, at the shot, the player pockets one or more balls from the player’s own group and/or the nominated ball (except the eight ball), the player continues with the first visit.
– DEFINITION: FREE SHOT
– Having the right to shoot, announcing to the referee:
– – A ball from the opponent’s group, including the right to pocket it,
– – or the eight ball, without pocketing it.
– If the player chooses the second option: move the eight ball behind the line, the player gets two visits but must position the cue ball so as not to be snookered. If this does not happen, the referee intervenes and compels the player to comply. On the other hand, if the player and referee cannot find a position to avoid snooker, the player gets a free shot on the first visit (see previous paragraph).
– If the player nominates the eight ball and pockets it, the player loses the frame.
– If the player in control only has the eight ball to play and is snookered, the player may nominate a ball from the other group. In this case, if the opponent’s ball and the eight ball are pocketed, the player wins the frame, or if only the eight ball is pocketed, the player wins the frame.
– On foul snooker, if the cue ball is touching one or more of the opponent’s balls, the player may designate a touching ball.
XI – MAJOR FOULS
Major fouls are called by the referee as soon as they are committed. The referee calls: “Major foul”.
In a major foul, the player at fault immediately loses control of the table.
The referee replaces the balls as close as possible to where they had been positioned before the major foul, and gives two visits to the opponent.
– accidentally or deliberately playing a shot out of turn: When a player makes a shot even though the previous shot did not give the player the right to do so.
– – deliberately or non-deliberately touching a ball other than the cue ball with the tip of the cue or with something else (any part of the cue, a body part, or other object).
– – touching the cue ball with something other than the tip (except when replacing the cue ball behind the line).
– – intentionally or unintentionally jumping the cue ball over another ball before contacting any balls.
– disrupting play with any vocal comment or gesture.
XII – LOSS OF GAME FOUL:
– committing a foul during or after the same shot that the eight ball is pocketed.
– pocketing the eight ball even though one or more balls from the player’s own group remain on the table (except at the break).
– pocketing the eight ball and the last balls of the player’s group with the same shot.
committing two major fouls in the same frame.
– committing unsportsmanlike conduct in the playing area:
– complaining against the opponent to the referee, the referee judge, the organizers, or the audience,
– committing an “ill-tempered action” that causes the movement of balls on the table,
– voluntarily throwing or breaking the billiard cue or any other object.
XIII – PENALTIES following FOULS
In general, after the controlling player commits a foul, the opponent takes control and gets two visits, and the white ball remains where it has come to rest.
– cue ball pocketed on break
– opponent’s ball balanced at the edge of a pocket, involuntarily pocketed (without contact).
– eights ball balanced at the edge of a pocket, involuntarily pocketed (without contact).
– time foul
– foul snooker
– major fouls
– For each particular case, refer to the chapter concerned, in these rules.
XIV – AID
During a game, players must not receive advice from other people on game play. If a team member or supporter gives advice to players, the referee will give a first and final warning.
If such an event recurs during the game or tournament, the players will simply be DISQUALIFIED.
XV – CONTROL
The player is in control as soon as the break is taken or when the opponent has moved away from the table (10 seconds after the balls have come to rest from the previous shot).
It is impossible for no player to be in control from the time the game has begun.
XVI – CONTACT (Balls touching)
If the cue ball is touching another ball from the player’s group, the player must play away at an angle greater than 90º and make contact with the cushion.
If the cue ball is in contact with an opponent’s ball, the player must play away at an angle greater than 90º and make contact with a ball from the player’s own group (see LEGAL SHOT).
It is not a foul if the referee judges that a player has played away, the ball touching moves without having been contacted, and contact is made with the cushion.
If the cue ball is touching several balls, the player must play away from one of these balls (the player may play off of another ball that is touching the cue ball).
IMPORTANT: Before making a shot, if the player in control judges that a ball is “touching,” the player must request confirmation from the referee. XVII – INTERFERENCE There is “interference” if one or more balls are displaced during a game:
– by a person other than the players and the referee
– as a result of a player or the referee being struck or pushed
– by an event outside the players’ control such as air current, earthquake, a light falling, a cue tip or any other object falling, a large insect, etc.).
– The referee will replace the balls as close as possible to their positions before the event. No player will be penalised and the game will continue.
XVIII – SIGHTS
Before the game, the referee will verify that no “sight” markings exist on the table.
If a player makes a mark with chalk or any other material or in any other way on any part of the table, it is not a foul at the first instance. However, the referee will remove the “sight” mark, and will warn the player.
If the player again marks the table during the game or the tournament, the referee may decide that the player is guilty of unsportsmanlike conduct and award the game to the opponent.
XIX – IMPOSSIBLE SHOT
A player may find him- or herself in a position where a shot must be made but a foul is inevitable. In this case, there is no choice: the player must commit the foul. The play may still negotiate the situation in the best interest of his or her game. XX – STALEMATE The referee may declare a stalemate if the player and the opponent, during three turns (six consecutive shots), touch no colored balls or the eight ball with the cue ball. In this case, the frame will be re-played. The break will be taken by the same player.
AFEBAS English Pool Rules General note:
The game is known as “blackball” or “English billiards”. The players and teams will play blackball in adherence with the spirit of the game, and must adopt a sportsmanlike attitude. It must be clearly understood that the referee is the sole judge of correct or incorrect game play and in no case may the referee’s decisions be contested.
Required conditions of play:
The game will be played on a rectangular table with six pockets, with 14 colored balls, a black eight ball, and a white cue ball. The 14 colored balls are separated into two groups: one group of seven red balls, and one group of seven yellow balls.
OBJECT OF THE GAME
The game is won by the player or team who, after pocketing the seven object balls of their own color, legally pockets the eight ball, directly or indirectly, in one of the six pockets. Beginning of the Game (or restart):
a. The balls are racked in the shape of a triangle, so that the eight ball is placed at the intersection of the two diagonals.
b. The player who starts the game will be chosen by drawing lots. The winner may open the game or choose to have the opponent open the game. In the next game, the player who did not break will take their turn to break.
c. The player who starts the game, or the “breaker,” may place the cue ball wherever he or she likes within the D drawn on the cloth.
d. The player beginning the game must pocket one ball or make it so that at least two balls beside the cue ball touch a rail. If the breaker does not succeed, the break is invalid, the balls must be re-racked and the opponent takes control with a free shot, following which the opponent must announce a chosen color, followed by a visit.
e. The player who has broken must announce a chosen color before the game continues, including: (1) When no ball is pocketed at the break; (2) When one or more balls (no matter the color) are pocketed at the break; (3) When a foul is committed at the break (aside from an invalid break), and before passing the turn to the opponent.
f. In all cases, the color announced by the player will remain belonging to that player until the end of the game.
g. If a player pockets the eight ball while breaking, even if the player has a free shot following a foul by the opponent, the game will be restarted immediately by the same player. No penalty will be incurred, even if a foul is committed during the shot. h. If a player legally pockets one or several balls, the player may continue to play until, during a shot: (1) The player fails to pocket a ball from their own group; (2) The player commits a foul.
i. A combination shot is valid only if the white ball first touches one of the player’s own balls (except in case 6b).
j. At any time, a player may pocket one or more balls from the opponent’s group, if both of the following conditions are fulfilled during the same shot: (1) The cue ball first touches a ball from the player’s own group;
(2) One or more balls from the player’s group are pocketed.
Note: Variation on the break: Each opponent has a ball placed on the line of the D and shoot simultaneously toward the opposite short rail. The break goes to the player who gets the ball closest to the nearer end rail (the ball may touch it and rebound). If one of the players touches one of the corners of the table or pockets their ball, they lose the break. Fouls:
a. Pocketing the cue ball.
b. Touching a ball of the opponent’s group with the cue ball before touching one of the player’s own balls (besides the case of 6b).
c. Playing the cue ball without touching any balls.
d. Jumping the cue ball over a ball or part of a ball before the cue ball has touched any balls.
e. First touching the eight ball with the cue ball, if the player has not pocketed all the balls from their own group (except as in 6b).
f. Pocketing a ball from the opponent’s group (except as in 6b and 4j).
g. Causing a ball to leave the playing surface: (1) If the eight ball or a colored ball leaves the playing surface, it must be replaced at the initial place belonging to the eight ball (see 4a) or as close as possible, without touching another ball, on the axis linking this point with the center of the D; (2) If the cue ball leaves the playing surface, it must be replaced within the D drawn on the cloth; (3) All balls resting anywhere other than the cloth-covered slate (a ball may roll on the rail). h. Touching a ball with an article of clothing or a part of the body.
i. If the player does not have at least one foot in contact with the ground.
j. Playing or touching with the cue any ball other than the cue ball.
k. Playing when it is not the player’s turn.
l. Playing before all the balls are at rest.
m. Playing before one or more balls have been repositioned.
Playing the cue ball with any part of the cue besides the tip.
o. Hitting the cue ball more than once with the cue.
p. Not clearly announcing which color the player has chosen (see 4d and 4e).
q. Committing a foul at the break (see 4e).
r. Making a push stroke (see 8a).
s. Causing a colored ball or the eight ball to move when it is touching the cue ball.
Penalties after all fouls:
a. After all fouls described in paragraph 5, the next player may play the cue ball from the place where it rests or may reposition it in the D (see 8b) and apply point 6b. Replacing the cue ball within the D does not constitute a shot or a visit.
b. After a foul during the game or at the break (see 4d and 4e), the following player has a “free shot” during which the player may use the cue ball to: (1) Touch or pocket one or more yellow or red balls; (2) Touch the eight ball; (3) Pocket the eight ball, if the player has previously pocketed all balls from the player’s own group.
c. After playing the free shot, if the player has not committed a foul (see 6a and 6b), the player has a visit. Loss of game:
a. A player loses the game if they pocket the eight ball before having pocketed all their own balls (except as in 4g).
b. A player loses the game if they pocket the cue ball and eight ball on the same shot.
c. A player loses the game if they clearly attempt to avoid touching the cue ball to one of their own balls (except as in 6b).
d. A player loses the game if they commit a foul while pocketing the eight ball.
e. A player loses the game if they voluntarily touch one or more moving balls.
a. PUSH STROKE: A “push stroke” is when the cue tip remains in contact with the cue ball even though the cue ball has begun its movement.
b. CUE BALL IN HAND: A player with the cue ball in hand places it wherever they like within the D and plays it in whichever direction seems best.
c. PLAYER IN CONTROL: A player is in control of the table from the moment when a part of their body, their clothing, or their cue contacts the table before the shot, and remains in control until the opponent in turn touches the table before playing. The player in control is responsible for all that happens on the playing surface. All balls that fall in pockets (even the during this time will score the player points or incur penalties, depending on the color (rule 5c applies).
d. The game is over when the eight ball is pocketed in one of the six pockets, and all other balls, including the cue ball, are at rest.
e. Before a shot, when the cue ball is in contact with another ball: (first case) If the ball belongs to the player’s own group, the point is made, and the player may simply play the cue ball away without needing to touch other balls — the player may even touch an opponent’s ball (see 5s); (second case) If it is not a ball from the player’s own group, the player must play the cue ball and touch one of their own balls (see 5s).
A very rare situation wherein the balls that remain in play for one of the players are not legally accessible with direct or indirect shots because the cue ball does not have sufficient room to pass through and access the balls in question. In this case, the game will be replayed without any penalty being given.
Also, after several shots, if the referee decides that the players are not developing the game, then after warning the players, the referee may require the game to be replayed without any penalty being given.
Non-development of the game: From the start of the game, and through the end of the game, the players must not take more than one minute to think before each shot. If this limit is exceeded substantially or repeatedly, the referee may sanction the player at fault by awarding a foul to the opponent.