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EPA Rules

1. The Game

2. Requirements of the game

3. Object of the game

4. Commencment of the game

5. Fouls

6. Penalty following any fouls

7. Loss of game

8. General

9. Stalemate

10. Guidance

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The game shall be known as 8 Ball Pool and referred to in these rules as ‘the game’. It is intended that players and teams should play 8 Ball Pool in the true spirit of the game and in a sportsmanlike manner. It should be clearly understood that the referee is the sole judge of what is fair and unfair play. The referee will take whatever action is necessary to ensure that these rules are observed, the referees decision is final.


The game is played on a rectangle 6-pocket table with 15 balls, plus a cue ball. Balls comprise of two groups, represented by two different coloured balls plus the 8 ball which is black. Alternatively, numerical balls may be used numbered 1-7, which are plain coloured balls and 9-15, which are striped coloured balls. Normally red replace stripe (9-15) and yellow replace solid (1-7). Balls in the two groups are known as object balls.


The player or team pocketing their group of object balls first in any order and then legally pocketing the 8 ball (black), wins the game.


(a) The balls are racked as illustrated with the 8 ball (black) on the 8 ball spot, which is at the intersection of the centre and corner pockets.

(b) Order of play is determined by the flip of a coin. The winner of the flip has the option of breaking or requesting his/her opponent to do so.

(c) The opening player plays at the triangle of object balls by striking the cue ball from any position on or behind the baulk line. That player must pot one or more object balls or cause at least two object balls to make contact with any cushion. Failure to do so is a foul break and will result in the balls being racked as shown on this rule sheet. The opposing player then starts the game with 2 visits.

(d) If the 8 ball (black) is pocketed from the break shot, the balls will be re-racked and the game will be re-started by the same player. No penalty will be incurred. This applies even if other balls including the the cue ball are pocketed or leave the playing surface ’off the table’.

(e) On the first occasion a player legally pockets an object ball, including following a foul then that ball denotes their group, unless one or more of both groups are pocketed, in which case the player must then nominate a group before play continues.

(f) If no object ball is pocketed from a legal break, then the players continue alternatively playing at either group until such time a legal pot is made which decides the players group.

(g) If a foul is comitted: (other than as rule 4 (d)), and one or more object balls are pocketed before playing groups are decided, then the balls are ignored in determining the groups to be played. The oncoming player may play at any ball on the table, including the 8 ball (black) for the first shot, the first legal pot to determine the group as rule 4 (c).

(h) If a ball or balls are legally pocketed: this entitles the player to one additional shot and this continues until the player either...

   (h1) Fails to pocket one of their allocated balls or...

   (h2) Commits a foul.

(i) Combination shots are allowed provided that the player hits one of their own group of balls first or any ball with the first shot following any foul (see rule 6 (c)).


(a) In off (cue ball pocketed).

(b) Hitting opponents ball(s) with the cue ball on first impact except with the first shot following a foul.

(c) Failing to hit any ball with the cue ball.

(d) Jump shot: defined as when the cue ball jumps over any part of any ball before making contact with any ball.

(e) If a player hits the 8 ball (black) with the cue ball on the first impact of the cue ball before all of their own balls have been potted, except with the first shot following any foul.

(f) Potting any opponents balls except, except with the first shot following any foul.

(g) Ball off the table:

   (g1) Any object ball or the 8 ball (black) shall be returned to the 8 ball spot (see 4(a)) or as    near as possible to that spot without touching any other ball, in a direct line between that    spot and the centre of the baulk line.

   (g2) If the cue ball, the ball to be played from hand (see rule 8(b)). A ball shall be deemed    ‘off the table’ if it comes to rest other than on the bed of the table.

(h) If a players clothing or body should touch any ball, (except the cue ball after the referee calls foul, when the player is entitled to the cue ball in hand (see rule 6 (b)).

(i) Player not having at least one foot on the floor.

(j) Playing or touching with the cue any other ball other than the cue ball.

(k) Striking the cue ball with any part of the cue other than the tip.

(l) Playing out of turn.

(m) Playing before balls have come to rest.

(n) Playing before the ball or balls that require re-spotting have been re-spotted.

(o) Striking the cue ball with the cue more than once.

(p) Push stroke: defined as when...

   (p1) The cue tip remains in contact with the cue ball when the cue ball makes contact with the object ball, or...

   (p2) The tip remains ‘obviously’ in contact with the cue ball once the cue ball has commenced its forward motion.

(q) Failing to nominate the group when balls of both groups are pocketed with the first legal pot.

(r) Foul break: Failing to pot an object ball or drive at least two object balls to any cushion(s).


(a) Following any foul the offending player loses their next visit to the table.

(b) If the cue ball has come to rest on the playing surface, then the player having two visits may proceed to play from where the ball lies, or the cue ball may be played from any position on or behind the baulk line. Moving the cue ball in this manner does not count as a shot or visit (Players are advised to ask the referee to hand them the cue ball).

(c) On the first shot only or the first visit the oncoming player may play the cue ball onto any ball without penalty (including any opponents ball or 8 ball (black)). If any object ball(s) is pocketed directly or by any combination then the player is deemed to have pocketed a legal ball(s) and continues with the first visit. However, the player must not pot the 8 ball (black) which would mean the loss of the game except if the player was on 8 ball (black), then the game would be won.
When the player fails to pot a ball on the first or subsequent shot of the first visit, play continues with the second visit. The second visit is deemed to have started when the cue ball is struck on the first shot of the second visit.


(a) If a player pockets the 8 ball (black) before all the balls of their own group, except on the break as allowed under rule 4 (d), the player loses the game.

(b) A player commiting any foul whilst pocketing the 8 ball (black), except on the break (see rule 4 (d)), loses the game.

(c) A player pocketing the 8 ball (black) and any other ball on the same shot will lose the game, except following a foul when only the 8 ball (black) and ball(s) of the opponents group are on the table, then with the first shot of the first visit the player may legally pocket the 8 ball (black) as well as ball(s) by any combination and in any order.

(d) A player who clearly fails to make any attempt to play a ball of their own group will lose the game.



(a1) If the cue ball is touching an object ball the player MUST play away from that ball. To move the object ball is a foul.

(a2) If the cue ball is touching any ball the player is legally entitled to play, then the player is deemed to have played that ball. Should the cue ball fail to make contact with any ball, strike an opponents ball or the 8 ball (black), then the shot is fair and so is not a foul.


When a player has the cue ball in hand, the ball is played from any position on or behind the baulk line and in any direction.


A player is said to be in control of the table from the time that their body, cue or clothing touches the table prior to their shot, throughout their visit and up until the opponent does likewise prior to their visit. Any ball(s) which fall into pockets during this period (including the 8 ball (black)) are said to have been pocketed, the player in control being liable to any penalties or benefits normally awarded for pocketing of the ball(s). However, once the cue ball has been struck a legal shot must be completed, a ball falling in DOES NOT cancel out a foul.

(d) The game is completed when the 8 ball (black) is pocketed in any pocket and all the remaining balls have come to rest, except on the break (see rule 4 (d)).


Should any situation arise whereby a legal shot cannot be played, then the game shall be re-started by the same player that started that frame, whether this situation is arrived at by accident or design.The referee should not allow numerous visits with neither player making any attempt to play the opening pot which decides the playing groups (unless it is felt progress is being made).

If the player who started that frame did so by virtue of their opponent making a foul break, that player will break on any re-start and not the opponent who made the foul break.


(a) The term 'Shot' means striking the ball once.

(b) The term ‘visit’ refers to one turn at the table comprising one or a series of shots.

(c) The term ‘break’ refers to the first shot of a game or the first shot of any game being re-started.

(d) Coaching is deemed to be unsportsmanlike behaviour (see rule 1).

(e) A referee may ‘only if requested’, advise on the rules of the game.

(f) There is an obligation on both players to ensure the breaking player nominates a group of object balls.

(g) The referee should ensure that excessive time is not taken to play a shot and should act in accordance with competition rules or guidance.

(h) In doubles matches once a player is in control of the table conversation with others including the partner is unsporting.

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