FOULS IN POOL ... Everything You Need to Know

David in FL

AzB Gold Member
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The bar rules you link to would heavily favor better players, therefore they would discourage beginners from picking up the sport.

And yet, those, with minor regional variations (most often call shot vs call details) are exactly what the vast majority of casual bar players learn, and play their entire lives.

People start to play pool, or golf, or tennis, or whatever, because someone introduced them to the game and they enjoyed it. Not because they approve of the rules that they are taught. In golf and pool particularly, most casual players simply play by whatever set of rules they were taught or that they mutually agree upon amongst their buddies, and leave it at that...
 
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dr_dave

Instructional Author
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The bar rules you link to would heavily favor better players, therefore they would discourage beginners from picking up the sport.
I disagree. Here are the main differences summarized on the "bar rules" resource page:
  • there are no fouls (except scratches).
  • a scratch on any shot results in ball-in-hand in the “kitchen” (behind the head string), and you must shoot the CB out of the kitchen before contact with a ball or cushion.
  • if a shot is not obvious (e.g., carom, kiss, kick, or bank shot), you need to call how it will be pocketed.
  • if you pocket one or more balls on the break, the group with the largest number of balls down becomes your group (i.e., the table is not open).
  • if the 8-ball is pocketed on the break, you win (unless you scratch, in which case you lose).
  • safeties are considered “dirty pool.”
I think all of these favor players of lesser ability, except maybe the "if the shot is not obvious" rule. "Slop counts" might be better.
 

dr_dave

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And yet, those, with minor regional variations (most often call shot vs call details) are exactly what the vast majority of casual bar players learn, and play their entire lives.

People start to play pool, or golf, or tennis, or whatever, because someone introduced them to the game and they enjoyed it. Not because they approve of the rules that they are taught. In golf and pool particularly, most casual players simply play by whatever set of rules they were taught or that they mutually agree upon amongst their buddies, and leave it at that...

Well stated.
 

Inferno

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I disagree. Here are the main differences summarized on the "bar rules" resource page:
  • there are no fouls (except scratches).
  • a scratch on any shot results in ball-in-hand in the “kitchen” (behind the head string), and you must shoot the CB out of the kitchen before contact with a ball or cushion.
  • if a shot is not obvious (e.g., carom, kiss, kick, or bank shot), you need to call how it will be pocketed.
  • if you pocket one or more balls on the break, the group with the largest number of balls down becomes your group (i.e., the table is not open).
  • if the 8-ball is pocketed on the break, you win (unless you scratch, in which case you lose).
  • safeties are considered “dirty pool.”
I think all of these favor players of lesser ability, except maybe the "if the shot is not obvious" rule. "Slop counts" might be better.
Having an amateur pool player call incidental caroms or bounces would definitely favor the more experienced player.
Really, the only people that care about "slop pool" are the more experienced players.

I grew up with the following rules:
Draw for the break. The cueball had to hit the back bumper to be a real draw.
First one to get a color ball in gets whatever it was, solids or stripes.
Hit your ball first. If one of your balls go in, shoot again. (you could use ANY ball in a combo as long as you hit your ball first)
If you scratch, the other guy gets the ball in the kitchen.
The one that sinks the 8 ball wins. (Obviously it had to be after all your balls were in).
If you scratched and made a ball, it came back up and was spotted.

Those were the only real rules. Oh, and if a ball came off the table, mom would make us stop playing.

I never hear the word "foul" in pool til a couple decades later.
 

dr_dave

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Having an amateur pool player call incidental caroms or bounces would definitely favor the more experienced player.
Really, the only people that care about "slop pool" are the more experienced players.

You convinced me, and I think this is how most people play in bars anyway. I made a couple of changes, and here is how the "bar rules" summary now reads:
  • there are no fouls (except scratches).
  • a scratch on any shot results in ball-in-hand in the “kitchen” (behind the head string), and you must shoot the CB out of the kitchen before contact with a ball or cushion.
  • if you pocket one or more balls on the break, the group with the largest number of balls down becomes your group (i.e., the table is not open).
  • if the 8-ball is pocketed on the break, you win (unless you scratch, in which case you lose).
  • if you hit one of your balls first and pocket one of your balls, you keep shooting (i.e., “slop” counts).
  • safeties are considered “dirty pool.”
Thanks,
Dave
 

DieselPete

Active member
You convinced me, and I think this is how most people play in bars anyway. I made a couple of changes, and here is how the "bar rules" summary now reads:
  • there are no fouls (except scratches).
  • a scratch on any shot results in ball-in-hand in the “kitchen” (behind the head string), and you must shoot the CB out of the kitchen before contact with a ball or cushion.
  • if you pocket one or more balls on the break, the group with the largest number of balls down becomes your group (i.e., the table is not open).
  • if the 8-ball is pocketed on the break, you win (unless you scratch, in which case you lose).
  • if you hit one of your balls first and pocket one of your balls, you keep shooting (i.e., “slop” counts).
  • safeties are considered “dirty pool.”
Thanks,
Dave
If those were the rules, I would never play again!

: )
 

DieselPete

Active member
Why?

I believe your answer will illuminate how current rules advantage the experienced player.
Honest answer is that ball-in-hand in the kitchen means that scratching on purpose can be a legitimate strategy and I think that is just about the worst thing to introduce to a game.
 

Inferno

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Honest answer is that ball-in-hand in the kitchen means that scratching on purpose can be a legitimate strategy and I think that is just about the worst thing to introduce to a game.
Yeah, I kind of agree with that, having used it as a strategy a few dozen times in my life.
Unfortunately it was taught that way at least 45 years ago. I'm sure it was around way before that.

Having said that, amateurs are more likely to scratch on accident so, in a way, ball in hand is a disadvantage to the new player.
 

dr_dave

Instructional Author
Gold Member
Silver Member
You convinced me, and I think this is how most people play in bars anyway. I made a couple of changes, and here is how the "bar rules" summary now reads:
  • there are no fouls (except scratches).
  • a scratch on any shot results in ball-in-hand in the “kitchen” (behind the head string), and you must shoot the CB out of the kitchen before contact with a ball or cushion.
  • if you pocket one or more balls on the break, the group with the largest number of balls down becomes your group (i.e., the table is not open).
  • if the 8-ball is pocketed on the break, you win (unless you scratch, in which case you lose).
  • if you hit one of your balls first and pocket one of your balls, you keep shooting (i.e., “slop” counts).
  • safeties are considered “dirty pool.”
Thanks,
Dave
If those were the rules, I would never play again!

: )

I also agree that "bar rules" are ridiculous and I don't like playing under them one bit, regardless of which "flavor" is being forced upon me at the particular place and time.

However, I understand and accept that there is a difference between "social pool" played in bars and more-serious pool, so I accept them. People play pool in bars to have fun, and if playing under "unofficial" rules is part of the fun, why try to stand in the way. I sometimes try to convince "bar rules" disciples that there is an "official" set of pool rules (that are actually written down and available online) and that it would be better if everybody played the game under the same set of rules (just like pretty much any other sport or game in almost any setting), but I don't push it too hard if it takes away from the fun.
 

dquarasr

Registered
Not long ago I watched a video of a match between Efren and Allison. (I don't recall if it was an inter-gender tournament or an exhibition match - anyways. . . . )

While they had agreed beforehand to the competition rules, Efren seemed genuinely surprised when a foul was called on him by the referee. He was positioning the CB, ball-in-hand, after a scratch by Allison. He used the ferrule to move the CB to position it, after he had initially placed it with his hand. He was obviously repositioning the CB, and not attempting a shot.

I personally thought that was a BS rule. I have this fantasy that if it were me, I'd demonstrate sportsmanship and come to the table, and in turn, intentionally foul by just moving the CB a few inches so Efren would have BIH again.

At 65 years of age and only recently having gotten somewhat serious about getting better at pool (I'd be happy at this point to make it to a SL 6 or 7 in the next couple of years), me playing in a match against world-class players is exactly that, a fantasy, but it's fun to imagine it. (Actually, I did play in such a match - then I woke up. :))
 

dr_dave

Instructional Author
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Not long ago I watched a video of a match between Efren and Allison. (I don't recall if it was an inter-gender tournament or an exhibition match - anyways. . . . )

While they had agreed beforehand to the competition rules, Efren seemed genuinely surprised when a foul was called on him by the referee. He was positioning the CB, ball-in-hand, after a scratch by Allison. He used the ferrule to move the CB to position it, after he had initially placed it with his hand. He was obviously repositioning the CB, and not attempting a shot.

I personally thought that was a BS rule. I have this fantasy that if it were me, I'd demonstrate sportsmanship and come to the table, and in turn, intentionally foul by just moving the CB a few inches so Efren would have BIH again.

At 65 years of age and only recently having gotten somewhat serious about getting better at pool (I'd be happy at this point to make it to a SL 6 or 7 in the next couple of years), me playing in a match against world-class players is exactly that, a fantasy, but it's fun to imagine it. (Actually, I did play in such a match - then I woke up. :))

Nobody likes that kind of rule that seems unnecessary and can only lead to bad feelings and misunderstandings.
 

Bob Jewett

AZB Osmium Member
Silver Member
... He used the ferrule to move the CB to position it, after he had initially placed it with his hand. He was obviously repositioning the CB, and not attempting a shot.

I personally thought that was a BS rule. ...
It's not a rule in most rule sets. You are usually permitted to position the cue ball with the side of your cue stick. You are only in trouble if you push the cue ball forward with your tip -- that would be a shot.

It would be interesting to know which event Efern and Allison were playing in.
 

dr_dave

Instructional Author
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It's not a rule in most rule sets. You are usually permitted to position the cue ball with the side of your cue stick. You are only in trouble if you push the cue ball forward with your tip -- that would be a shot.

It would be interesting to know which event Efern and Allison were playing in.

... and to have a time-stamp video link to be able to judge if he used the tip in a forward motion or not.
 

dquarasr

Registered
It's not a rule in most rule sets. You are usually permitted to position the cue ball with the side of your cue stick. You are only in trouble if you push the cue ball forward with your tip -- that would be a shot.

It would be interesting to know which event Efern and Allison were playing in.
Of course I can't find the video again . . . . Sigh.
 

dquarasr

Registered
... and to have a time-stamp video link to be able to judge if he used the tip in a forward motion or not.
IIRC, he moved it left, right, maybe moved it forward but fully standing up, and with one hand. It was so obviously NOT a shot attempt, and per the letter of the rule, he DID commit a foul; I don't think there was any dispute about that. I just thought it was a BS rule, in that it was very clearly obvious that he was NOT attempting a shot, merely positioning the CB as part of BIH after Allison's foul.
 

dr_dave

Instructional Author
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Silver Member
IIRC, he moved it left, right, maybe moved it forward but fully standing up, and with one hand. It was so obviously NOT a shot attempt, and per the letter of the rule, he DID commit a foul; I don't think there was any dispute about that. I just thought it was a BS rule, in that it was very clearly obvious that he was NOT attempting a shot, merely positioning the CB as part of BIH after Allison's foul.

This is one of those things where the rule must be written a certain way. And once it is written, it must be followed as law, even with a "minor infraction." Obviously, it would be better if the rule were written in such a way where only an obvious shot attempt would count as a shot, and any part of the cue (including the tip) could be used to position the CB in any direction.
 

Bob Jewett

AZB Osmium Member
Silver Member
This is one of those things where the rule must be written a certain way. And once it is written, it must be followed as law, even with a "minor infraction." Obviously, it would be better if the rule were written in such a way where only an obvious shot attempt would count as a shot, and any part of the cue (including the tip) could be used to position the CB in any direction.
The rule in snooker attempts to do that:

(c) If the tip of the cue should touch the cue-ball while positioning it, and the referee is satisfied that the striker was not attempting to play a stroke, then the cue-ball is not in play.

The problem with this is, of course, "the referee is satisfied". Usually what the players is doing is obvious, but this rule adds a case of judging player intent.
 

Geosnookery

Active member
Or maybe this works as a comparison:

"In the kitchen" would be the rough equivalent of modifying basketball to where foul shots were taken from half court.

Pee-wee leagues wouldn't really change - those kids were only going to hit 1/10 shots anyway, so it really doesn't matter where they were taking them from.

The NBA would become un-recognizable though, as the price for fouling gets drastically reduced.

So obviously, as you become better at pool, you should move toward the system that penalizes you more for fouling.
Good post.

I play hockey. 99.99% of hockey isn’t played with NHL rules. We don’t allow slap shots or full body checking and a hundred other differences from having shorter games to also equal ice time for all players .

I doubt if many Americans play baseball by official MLB rules. Distance to mound? 9 innings? Aluminum bats? We would play where girls were allowed 5 strikes and if you hit the ball over the playground fence you were out.

What’s valuable is knowing a generally accepted universal set of rules and then adjusting them from there to suit the situation. Everyone is on the same page at the start line and ‘then’ changes are made. All my league members are fully aware of WS snooker rules. We use them as a base line to adjust to the skill level of players to make the game more enjoyable. Rules aren’t modified out of ignorance but full awareness of them. In our Snooker league we don’t accumulate foul points after the first 4 (an aside, newbies will lose on foul points given) ...however, we know that if we play outside of our league that we play by official rules.
 

Dan Harriman

One of the best in 14.1
Silver Member
Under the "official rules" of pool, anything goes if you hit a legal ball 1st and pocket the intended ball in the intended pocket.

The problem with "bar rules" is they are different in every bar and in every part of the country, and they vary with the person you are playing, especially when the person has been drinking in the said bar. in other words, "bar rules" = "anything goes at the whim of the people playing."

Regards,
Dave
yea anything goes for sure - including the attempted theft of Willie Mosconi's "official record" from bcapl/cseye. They always have clean shirts to play around in oink oink. Definitely some bar rules goin down there I am sorry to report. I aint drankin what they are uh pushin scholarly Dave. Any beverage that the two fellas at bca bar of consumption = strange rules. Under tyhe official rules of Pocket Billiards - not anything goes - much less pigs rollin in slop - if u catch my drift.
 
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