A theory - Rules of Pocket Billiards...

Banker Burt

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
(Sorry about the length of this post, but the word RULE is big, therefore...)

This subject seems to be the greatest non-addressed contraversy in our sport. I say this because of virtually every tournament I have played. Arguments accur regularly about good hits/bad hits, good racks/bad racks, what to do with the player that takes a break during their opponents inning with an obvious intent to disrupt the flow of the match (I must add I have never seen a penalty applied to this infraction), etc.

Recently on this very website, there was a poll about which rules did we the players prefer. I did not follow it to the final numbers, which I am sure AZ could provide exact data, but the poll seemed to be indicating Texas Express as the leader, followed by BCA and then Pro Express.

My dilemma is this -
I have a current 2003 BCA World Standarized Rule Book, but in all my travels I have never seen a published copy of either Texas Express or Pro Express; and trust me I have inquired. The problem I have is that rules are supposed to govern a game, and just as there is only one rule book for all other MAJOR sports, the standard is set at the professional level. Yet, the poll reflected an opinion that voted for a set of rules that in fact may not exist; in a published form for players to review and to learn from. If they do, I would pay for a copy whereas then as a player I could learn the differences.

Using golf as a premiere example, the rules are always the same anywhere in the world. All courses do have local rules, but in direct relation to the standard rules - in if a building, structure, construction zone, ground under repair, etc. interferes with the normal playing conditions of the USGA Rule Book, Recognized by the Royal Order of St. Andrews, then a complying post of this rule is attached to your score card.

But in my opinion Billiards is not a game with different conditions, even respective of the different disciplines - Carom, Pocket, Snooker, the table may change but the nature of the games remain the same; unless of course you allow different rules of play.

My question is this -
Is it possible that this one constitutional flaw is holding our sport from being recognized as a MAJOR sport?

It would be good to know what rule book the WPBA uses. My hope is that they use the one prvided by the BCA, and if not my suggestion would be that they do. To my knowledge, this is the only set of rules for Pocket Billiards recognized by the (WCBS) World Confederation of Billiard Sports and the (WPA) World Pool-Billiards Association.

Regardless of the tour, league, or local tournament director, if the rules are not totally acceptable by the players and promoters then my hope is a vigorous involvement by those in charge of our tournaments with the BCA would strengthen a standard of sporting rules for the games of Pocket Billiards, all inclusive at the pro level.

Honestly, it doesn't really matter much anymore, I am older and am used to going along with whatever the tournament director and players agree upon. But, it would seem that if all players studied and played by the same rules, it would be a much better experience, and in the best interest of our games as a SPORT; ultimately fixing a major flaw in our sport presentation.

I must add a very large personal pet-peeve of mine - I think a great deal of integrity is lost when a player is allowed to touch a ball on the table. This act directly affects the playing field, and is not allowed in Carom or Snooker, where the vlolating player immediately takes their seat and relinquishes the table. Such was the case in the old days when playing 14.1 and One-pocket.

This is just a theory but I would like to see AZBilliards re-post this poll and approach it with a bit more info about the current status of each set of rules, or maybe just ask, "Should we use just one set of rules, and if so which would that be?"

Just a thought. I know I could be opening a can of worms here, but I would really appreciate to hear what you all have to say. I am sure we will learn a great deal...
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AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I totally agree with you Banker Burt. I experience problems with the rules most often when I'm playing 8 Ball. It seems to me that everyone has a different take on what the rules should be for 8 Ball. I know there are written rules about it but I don't like the idea of carrying the rule book around with me all the time. This is one of the reasons I shy away from playing 8 Ball.

Usually, I bend to the accepted rules of the "house". Most places that I play have tournaments and it is generally accepted that the rules of the "house" applies.

I do think you make a good point that there should be some written rules available for Texas Express. Also, your point that there should be a uniform standard for all of our games is right on the money!

Great post! Thanks for bringing these issues up for discussion and debate!

Tom In Cincy

AKA SactownTom
Silver Member

I've never seen a "Texas Express" Rules Book, but its been available on-line for ages.

I keep a current BCA and a printout of the Texas Express rules handy at the tournaments I run.

I have been told that the "Pro-Express" rules are kept by Pat Fleming of AccuStats.

I agree about a single set of rules for all tournaments. It's actually very easy to do, once everyone agrees on WHICH RULES to Follow.

In an unref'ed game, it's up to the two players to 'play by the rules', in most cases, this works just fine. IMO, it works about 95% of the time (maybe a lower % with the weekly local tournaments)

So, IMO, this discussion is focused on the very small percentage of players. But, it's enough to make a point about the rules.

"ALL Ball Fouls" (14.1) was the way I was taught to play. It meant that the players had to have a certain respect level for the game and the rules.

If the current players don't have a certain level of respect for the game, how can anyone expect 'this game' to be any better than its current condition?

One way is to educate the players of the tournaments with the basic rules.. have these rules prominately posted, and give these rules the respect they deserve.
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AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I have different rules sheets that I have accumilated for over 30 years. All of the "big boys" and lotsa local tourney versions.
I proabably have over 60. The main differences are just a few rules/ call the nine/call the eight/ cue ball fouls only/
penalties for fouls...etc./etc...
Cue ball fouls only, is used because "the tourney director or promoters are too cheap to pay a referee"!!!!!!
You can always get a few die hard pool players to be referees but even the best of them get tired of "volunteering" all of the time.

I have run/ promoted/ directed/ organised/ played in / over 1000 tourneys / and in other countries/ with money prizes from "win a turkey for thanksgiving" .. up to $250,000 ....
I try to pay a referee to watch all of my matches when I run a tourney, even small, little, one nite only tourneys!

In order to have a successful professional tourney or system of tourneys there must be a professional business type person in charge, (they do not even have to be a pool player but being a participant helps) and who has no special personal benefit in the outcome of the tourney.
There must be a budget with costs projected for the overall event.
If you go back about 25 years and read up on how the World Snooker tour got revitalised you will understand why I believe that the USA tourney pool system needs the same input.

....just lotsa individuals doing their thing...

Banker Burt

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
It doesn't surprise me that you all recognize where I am coming from with this post. Back in the days before Don King, there was much seperation as to who was the governing body of Boxing. Then the money that came through some creative marketing, by a number of promoters such as King, all of a sudden all the boxing organizations got with the program. Now look at the money these athletes have made through the years, and most of these organizations remained intact.

Then the trickle down affect of these organizations with money in hand, look at what it has done for the local boxing gyms, with an emphasis of what it has done for our youth; off the streets, create activities, and most of all teaching them that if they work hard the rewards will follow.
I think this parallels what ajrack is saying about Snooker.

Maybe Sarah could shed some light on the WPBA?

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AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
This rules question appears to be a larger problem to the US than other countries. This seems to be due to the multitude of rule sets you guys have compared to other countries.

Speaking from an international stand point, there are one set of internationally recognised standard rules, the WPA's. These are basically the same as the BCA and I understanding is they will be sycronised during changes in order to strive for THE set of rules. They can be found online at the WPA website www.wpa-pool.com.

I personally love these rules, they are truely fair. Believe me I know almost all the exploits for "house" rules, and love rubbing it into opponents why their beloved rules are seriously flawed, even had a few house rules changed after I played in their comps.

Some rules in the WPA are ambiguously worded, and I don't like cue ball fouls only, but I am willing to put up with it for the fact that I can say "do you play international 8 ball" and in that phrase I convey every rule I play by exactly. Generally these days I don't bother playing people who don't know the international rule set.

So for the sake of consistancy of rules and global harmony, I recommend everyone use the WPA rules (or BCA as you may know them). If the US tries to get its own "new" standard going then that could significantly weaken what the WPA rules have acomplished in so many countries globally.

Cheers - 8ballbanger

Banker Burt

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I could not agree more 8ballbanger. I think if we as players all took a more global outlook towards our sport, I think we would see non-billiard product sponsors coming on board more quickly; especially if all players were playing by the same rules.

Just a thought...


AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
one main objection to the WPA rules...
the three foul rule..
just think ... you could be the world champion and NEVER have made a nine ball!!!

Banker Burt

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
A champion winning every game on the Three-Foul rule is a stretch, but the post is about theory, so therefore (theoretically) ajrack is correct.

I have seen good players use the three-foul rule on beginners, and it makes me sick. Although it is a rule, and one that I can understand (just as we would not want to watch pro players tapping balls for great lengthes of time), the point of my post is (re) establishing some integrity in our games.

I have no problem with two good players facing a seemingly impossible out, to use the three foul rule, but when it is done to a lesser player just to win, our SPORT is definitely going in the wrong direction.

I honestly think that if the rules went back to two-shot-shoot-out and were televised on ESPN with this format, we would see a much more exciting game, and ones that the audience would get a much more entertaining show. Then again, I could be wrong because the standard of playing good safeties is an art in itself.