Foul Rules In 8 Ball Pool: Everything You Need To Know

8 ball pool foul rules

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There are rules, fouls, and nuances to each game, and the same applies to cue games and pool. 8 Ball pool foul rules have been put up to avoid unfavourable and biased conditions on the board, or to regulate the plays that give a player undue advantage over the others.

When fouls occur, the penalties it results in are either the player giving up his turn and giving the other player two consecutive chances, having a timeout in which the player cannot partake in the game, or the game shutting entirely.

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What Type Of Fouls Are Possible In 8 Ball Pool

The 8 Ball fouls that occur commonly and are guarded against occur throughout the game, and can be called during the start of the game too during the break shot. When the cue ball doesn’t hit the rack, or the ball/s in the rack bounce off the table, or the player delays in taking the position to shoot the balls— are times when a foul is called. When the cue stick scratches the table during the legal break shot, it can be called a foul.

During the course of the game, if a solid playing player pockets a stripes (opponent’s) ball, then the player forfeits their turn earning no point or ball, and the opponent takes a shot.

The most times when fouls are called is during when the player takes position to take a shot. Jumping to adjust, or using hands to arrange the balls or stop their movement, hitting before the time is called, and hitting the 8 ball first — in times when it is not a break shot.

How Many Types Of Foul Are There

There are almost ten (and more) types of 8 Ball pool fouls that will be called out. Rules change between the many variants of pool games, and the few standard rules too aren’t stringent across all of them. Depending on the variant played, or even if it isn’t pool and simply a variant of cue ball games, rules remain the same or vary across all of them.

Fouls are called in/when:

  • Break shot
  • Ball is hit off the table
  • Potting/ pocketing an opponent’s ball
  • Push shots
  • Deciding the colours of the balls
  • Touching the table or the balls using the stick or using hands
  • Shot positioning
  • Playing out of turn
  • Taking a shot when the balls are not still
  • Double hit

The standard penalty for the player that fouls through any of the 8 Ball pool rules will miss a turn, giving the opponent two chances to play. Other instances of penalties include hitting the ball from a different position, or giving the opponent the chance to hit from the baulk line, which poses advantage to the opponent. The rack is rearranged all over again in other cases that will prolong and erase previous progress too.

What If We Hit Our Opponent Ball

After the break shot happens, the table is termed ‘open’ where players can choose a particular category of balls to game on— the solids or the stripes. The player picking the solids will aim to pocket all the solid balls, and then finally pocket the 8 ball to win the game.

If the player mistakenly pockets a stripe when they are playing solids, the pocketed ball is removed and not counted as a shot for the solids player. The opponent (stripes) will have less balls to pocket though, which makes it easy for them to pocket the 8 ball since there’s less stripes balls to pocket.

As per 8 ball pool foul rules, potting an opponent’s ball is only legal when your chance is actually a free ball given to you as a result of a previous foul, and the ball pocketed was the nominated one.

Penalty for this includes the opponent getting the ball in hand to turn the tables to their advantage.

What If We Fail To Hit Any Ball

When the cue ball doesn’t strike any object ball during a player’s shot, it is considered one of the 8 ball fouls according to the EPA World Rules.

It is, however, not a foul when the cue ball touches the object balls and goes to touch the cushions around the inside of the table when any of the object balls is not pocketed.

In another context, doesn’t hit any ball can mean it doesn’t hit any of your balls, but hits the opponent's balls first— will also be considered as a foul by 8 ball pool foul rules.

What If We Hit Black Ball Before

If the cue ball simply hits the black 8 ball as part of your ball’s path, without touching the player’s object balls first, it is called a foul on 8 ball pool foul rules. It’s also a foul if you hit the 8 ball and pocket it when there are still object balls remaining. When that happens, the 8 ball is put back in the game and your opponent gets a turn to play by reracking the ball or play by putting the 8 ball in the footspot.

What If We Scratch Black Ball

A pool scratch occurs when the cue ball is pocketed, or it bounces off the table. It can also happen along with the object ball in any order, no matter which sinks first— the cue ball and then the object ball, or vice versa.

In all these cases, it is a foul by laws of 8 ball pool foul rules. The penalty levied is what will change as per the situation of the game.

Scratching the 8 ball occurs when it’s usually the only ball left to pocket by either of the players. There are two cases:

  • The cue ball has sunk, but the 8 ball has not
  • The cue ball is pocketed and the 8 ball is too, or the 8 ball has sunk but the cue ball has sunk as well

In case 1, the foul is called for the player who has sunk the ball, and the opponent gets the chance for the ball in hand. 8 ball pool foul rules dictate that in the second case, the game is instantly lost, giving the opponent the win.

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