Poll: Alternatives for Snooker foul rules

Which ruleset would be the most effective for handling fouls in Snooker?

  • World Snooker (Current Ruleset)

    Votes: 11 84.6%
  • American Snooker

    Votes: 1 7.7%
  • Alternative from The Guardian (link in table)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Eight-ball

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Snookerpool (Snooker Equipment) (link in table)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Other

    Votes: 1 7.7%

  • Total voters


Remember, just because you reply to the thread doesn't mean your opinion will be reflected in the poll results.

The specifics for each ruleset in the poll are shown below. Entries with links to another page have the appropriate hyperlink in the Ruleset column.
Note: Additional rules and rules that differ from the base ruleset are marked by an asterisk (*).

RulesetDescription of Fouls section and related rulesCan ask offender to replay?Penalty Value Range
World Snooker (Current Ruleset)
  • Opponent is awarded 4-7 points, depending on the situation.
  • Opponent may play from resulting position or ask for a replay.
  • Opponent has ball in hand within the D if the cue ball leaves the table.
  • Special Cases: Foul and a miss, free ball
    • Foul and a miss: Invoked when referee determines that the shooter has not made the "best possible attempt", except in specific circumstances. The offender loses if they commit a foul and a miss 3 times in a row.
    • Free ball: Invoked when the player is unable to hit both sides of any ball on due to a foul. The player may nominate one color to be "on" for the next shot (aka free ball). The free ball must be hit first by the cue ball, otherwise a foul occurs. A foul also occurs if the free ball causes a snooker by obstructing a ball "on," except when only the pink and black balls are on the table.
American Snooker
  • Same as World Snooker, except for the following differences.
  • Opponent is always awarded 7 points, with one exception.
    • If the cue tip touches the cloth during the shot, a foul occurs and the opponent is awarded 14 points.
Yes7, 14
Alternative from The Guardian
  • Same as World Snooker, exceot for the following differences.
  • Foul and a miss does not apply.
  • The opponent cannot ask for a replay.
  • Fouls award a free ball to the opponent in addition to the penalty points.
  • Opponent has ball-in-hand anywhere on the table
  • *Opponent is awarded a predetermined number of penalty points
NoDepends on specifics
(Snooker Equipment)†
  • Opponent is awarded four points and a free shot
  • Cannot request that the offender play again
  • During a free shot, the player to shoot may hit any object ball and no points are needed to continue the turn, but potted balls are worth one point each during the free shot
    • If a foul occurs on the free shot, the turn ends
    • Colors that are potted during a free shot are spotted
    • After a legal free shot, if any reds are left, they are the balls on for the next shot, otherwise, the lowest valued color is on
OtherDepends on ruleset usedDepends on ruleset usedDepends on ruleset used
†This is an old ruleset used when Snookerpool was still in its development stages. Currently, Snookerpool fouls follow the ruleset listed in the Eight-ball row, with a penalty value equal to four points, the value of the highest ball that is on or could be on, or the value of the highest valued ball that is pocketed, whichever is higher.
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Yep, its been stable for decades.

Pool could learn a lot from Snooker.
Not just stable rule sets.

Governance, how to split commercial side of things.
How to link the amateurs to the World tour.
Standard equipment, pocket templates, balls, cloth.. At professional level.

There is more, but you get the idea.


Snooker does have stable rules, but there are a few problems. First of all, the special cases (foul and a miss and free ball) are poorly understood, even by some professionals. I mean, how are you supposed to communicate to a youngster such complicated rules? But more importantly, the foul and a miss rule has other flaws. The Guardian article and this other article from SnookerHub looks at a few of them.

This is why I use the seven points and a free shot rule for Snookerpool. Sure, the specifics for the free shots are slightly complicated, but the rule solves all the problems the special cases were designed to solve in one go while also being much easier to understand and communicate. I get that most people that will read this probably haven't designed any games, but I have. I can tell you from experience that the best kind of rule is a simple, easy to understand rule that solves as many problems as possible.
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AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
None of the above address a fundamental flaw. A foul involving a red being potted is worth only 4 points but it deprives the opponent of the opportunity to score 8. The foul should be 8 points per red potted on a foul shot.

The miss rule is clumsy. Just award a free ball after any foul.
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WO double hemlock
Silver Member
I was the only one so far to vote for American Snooker rules.
…my first game was snooker…the free ball rule should’ve been taken out and shot long ago….they thought of ‘shoot again’after..one of the best rules in any billiard game.
My problem was hardly anybody knew American snooker rules, including Americans….they’re simple and don’t need any correcting.


Seems like this whole thread is just you 'promoting' the game you made up.
The main purpose of this thread is to get people's opinions on whether an alternate ruleset would be more effective for handling snooker fouls. Think about it. If I was trying to 'promote' a game I made up, would I use a poll? Nope. Besides, there is already a thread for 'promoting' Snookerpool, which is the one that actually talks about it. The entry is there in case someone decides to vote for it, and the corresponding link in the table is there for those that are curious.