Initial Break: The winner of a coin toss breaks first. The non-breaking player will rack the balls.
Remaining Breaks: The winner of the rack breaks the next rack.
Legal Break: The break must be made with the cue ball behind the head string. A legal break consists of at least one ball being pocketed or at least four numbered balls being driven to a rail.
If the breaker fails to execute a legal break, the opponent may 1) re-rack for the breaker, 2) ask the breaker to re-rack for the opponent, or 3) play the balls where they lay.
Scratching: If a player scratches (pockets the cue ball) on a legal break, the opponent is given ball in hand behind the headstring (and may not shoot any object balls which reside behind the head string without first driving the cue ball into a rail or legal object ball beyond the head string).
Scratching/8-Ball: If the breaking player scratches and sinks the 8-ball on the break, the breaking player loses the rack.
8-Ball Pocketed: If the 8-ball is pocketed on a legal break, the breaker wins the rack.
Ball Off Table: If an object ball is driven off the table on the break, that ball is spotted and the opposing player is given ball in hand behind the head string.
Ball Group: The first pocketed ball on a legal called shot determines the ball group (stripes or solids) for that player. If the table is open and a mixed group combination is used when pocketing a ball, the player's group is determined by the pocketed ball.
Safety Shot: A player may pocket a ball on a legal shot and then end their turn without having to continue shooting by first calling "Safety" before making the shot. If the player does not call "Safety" (and it is the shooter's responsibility to be clear to the opponent), they must continue shooting if one of their balls is pocketed on a legal shot.
Ball Off Table: If an object ball is driven from the table, that ball is spotted (if it's their own ball or if the table is still open) or pocketed (if it's the opponent's ball) and the opposing player is given ball in hand. If the cue ball is driven from the table, the opposing player is given ball in hand.
Pocketing Balls: To legally pocket a ball, the shooter must call the object ball and the destination pocket. The object ball may travel any route to the called pocket. When a player legally pockets one of their group of balls, they may continue their turn by taking another shot. Their turn continues until they fail to legally pocket one of their balls or until the straight is won or lost. Once all required balls (a ball-spot rule may be in effect) in their group have been pocketed, the player must legally pocket the 8-ball to win the straight (see Winning and Losing).
Cue Fouls: When lining up a shot, a cue foul may be called by the opposing team if the shooter does one or more of the following: 1) double hits the cue when striking the cue ball; 2) a push shot; 3) causes any other movement of the cue ball as a result of contact with the cue. If a player executes a cue foul, the opposing player receives ball in hand.
Interference: Unintentional interference with any non-moving object ball by the cue or shooter will result in the opposing player choosing to either leave the balls where they lay or reset them to their original location.
Interference Fouls: Intentional interference with the cue ball or any object ball by the cue or shooter while a shot is in progress (i.e. after a shot, but before all balls have come to rest) will be considered an interference foul and will result in the loss of the straight.
Jump Shots: Jump shots are legal as long as the stroke is made with the cue elevated at a 45 degree angle or greater. Failure to execute the shot with an elevated cue will result in ball in hand for the opposing player.
Combination Shots: A combination shot will only be considered legal if the cue ball hits a ball of the shooter's own group first.
"Split" Shots: Split shots are considered legal shots.
"Push" Shots: Push shots are illegal. If the cue ball is touching an object ball, the cue must strike the cue ball at an elevated angle of 45 degrees (or greater) angle or a foul may be called.
Coaching/Timeouts/Watching Shots: Coaching is allowed. A player whose skill level is 3 or less may call 2 timeouts per rack to ask for gameplay advice from a teammate. Players whose skill level is above a 3 may call 1 timeout per rack. Teammates may be called upon to watch shots (see below). Teammates may also act as "eyes" for a player by calling ball-in-hand when an opponent fouls, reminding a player which group of balls to shoot (stripes or solids), or reminding a player that they are being spotted a ball (for leagues with ball spot rules).
Questionable Shots: If a shooter thinks the shot/hit they are about to make might be questioned after the shot by an opponent, they must ask someone from the opposing team (and optionally from their team as well) to watch the shot/hit. This is especially true when shooting the 8-ball. Someone should be called upon to watch any shot that may raise even the slightest question.
Declining the Ball Spot: A player eligible for a ball-spot may decline by making their intentions known before the break of the first rack of their straight.
Losing: If a player sinks the 8-ball before all balls in their group have been pocketed (or on the same shot as the last ball of their group), the player loses the rack. If the 8-ball is driven off the table at any point, the shooter loses the rack. If the 8-ball is pocketed on a legal shot but does not fall into the called pocket, the shooter loses the rack. If the shooter scratches while shooting the 8-ball (whether or not the 8-ball is pocketed) the shooter loses the rack.
Stalemate: It is possible that a situation may arise where neither player can make a legal shot without losing the rack. Because of this, a stalemate rule has been created:
In any rack, 3 consecutive ball-in-hand fouls between the 2 shooters will result in a re-playing of that rack. The balls will be re-racked and the player who broke in the stalemated rack breaks again. The stalemated rack (and any related player performance information) will not be counted on the scoresheet.
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