Pool Game Fouls To Avoid
If you play much tournament or league pool, pool game fouls are something you will probably have to deal with. In private games, there is usually no referee or official watching you, so the occasional scratch is the only foul you may encounter.
There are quite a few fouls listed in the official rules of the World Pool-Billiards Association. I will list most of them here and give brief explanations.
It is a foul to scratch the cue ball, meaning to get it in a pocket, or to hit it off the table onto the floor. It is a foul to hit the cue ball into the wrong ball first. For example, in 8-ball, it is a foul to hit your opponent's ball before yours.
If no ball is pocketed on a particular shot, the cue ball must contact an object ball, and after that contact, at least one ball (cue ball or any object ball) must be driven to a rail, or the shot is a foul.
It is a foul if at least one foot is not touching the floor during a pool shot. If an object ball is knocked off the table it is a foul. It is a foul to touch or move any ball on the table except for those involved in a legal shot.
It is a foul to double-kiss an object ball or to use a push shot. It is a foul to begin a shot when another ball is still moving or spinning. And it is a foul to place the cue ball anywhere but behind the head string after a scratch, if the rules of the particular game call for this.
The penalty for all of these previous fouls is loss of shot for the current shooter. There is a more serious class of fouls called unsportsmanlike conduct. The penalties for these fouls can include things like loss of the current rack, set, or match, ejection from the competition, and/or forfeiture of any trophies, prizes, or money.
Unsportsmanlike conduct includes things like distracting the opponent, intentionally moving balls illegally, misusing the equipment, cheating, or anything else that may be considered unfairly disrupting a game.
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