1. Introduction
  2. Table
  3. Balls
  4. Opening Break
  5. Lagging for Break
  6. Coming Out of the Kitchen
  7. Position of Ball
  8. Pocketed Balls
  9. Spotting
  10. Jawed Balls
  11. Frozen Object Ball
  12. Non-Player Interference
  13. Fouls


Except when clearly contradicted by rules specific to a given game these rules apply to all Pocket Billiard games.


The table should be twice as long as it is wide. Common measures are:

There will be a pocket at each corner whose opening shall measure from 4-7/8" to 5-1/8". There will also be a pocket in the middle of each long rail whose opening shall measure from 5-3/8" to 5-5/8".


The balls are 2-1/4" diameter. Generally there are fifteen numbered object balls in addition to a white cue ball.

Opening Break

The opening break is to be determined by lagging with the winning player having the option of shooting the break shot himself or allowing his opponent to shoot the break shot. The object balls are positioned according to the specific rules of the game being played. The cue ball is put into play from the kitchen.

Lagging for Break

One player has the left half of the table in which to lag his cue ball and the other player the right half of the table. The object balls are positioned as for the opening break. Each player shoots his cue ball to the foot cushion and the player whose cue ball comes to rest closest to the head cushion, whether it contacts it or not, wins the lag. If both players are the same distance from the head cushion the lag will be replayed.

Both players must lag at the same time (this is intended to keep one player from determining where the other player's cue ball may stop and hence gain an advantage in the lag -- so long as both balls are in motion before either first touches the foot cushion the timing of the lag is good).

A player will automatically loose the lag if his cue ball: fails to touch the foot cushion, touches any ball positioned for the opening break shot, jumps the table, or crosses into the other player's half of the table. If both players are subject to an automatic loss of the lag then the lag will be replayed.

Coming Out of the Kitchen

The area between the head string and the head cushion is know as the kitchen. The head string is not part of the kitchen. When a player has cue ball in hand in the kitchen the ball is not in play until it crosses the head string on an obvious attempt to shoot a ball or play safe.

For the cue ball to be put in play it must be driven outside of the kitchen before it contacts another ball or a cushion. Failure to do so is a foul. (The opponent may elect to waive the foul in favor of having the shot replayed after all balls have been restored to their original position. Note, since this returns the cue ball to shooter's hand he may change its position prior to shooting again.)

NOTE If an object ball lies close enough to the head string that contact with it, by the cue ball coming out of the kitchen, occurs in the kitchen the ball can be legally played only if it is driven at least as far as the center of the table. Failure to drive the ball at least that far is a foul.

Position of Ball

The position of a ball is determined by dropping a plumb-line through the center of the ball. For balls resting on the table, not jawed, this will be where the ball rests on the table.

Pocketed Ball

A ball is considered pocketed if, as a result of a legal shot, it falls into a pocket and stays there.


Balls to be spotted will be placed on the long string after the stroke is complete (all balls have come to rest). When more than one ball is to be spotted the balls will be spotted in ascending order (moving away from the foot spot). When spotting on the long string the ball will be placed behind the foot spot (between the foot spot and the foot cushion) as close to the foot spot as possible. If there is no room behind the foot spot then the ball will be spotted, on the long string, in front of the foot spot and as close to the foot spot as possible.

The spotted ball will be frozen to any object balls which interfere with it. If the cue ball interferes with the ball being spotted the spotted ball will be placed as close as possible to the cue ball without actually freezing the ball to it.

Jawed Balls

If two, or more, balls are jammed in the jaws of a pocket, with one or more suspended in the air then any ball which would not rest on the table if the other balls weren't there shall be deemed pocketed. The balls deemed pocketed will be placed, by hand, in the pocket and the non-pocketed balls will be placed as they were in case they moved (while pocketing the jawed balls). If a non-pocketed ball, once placed if having been disturbed while hand pocketing other balls, falls in the pocket it shall be deemed pocketed.

Frozen Object Ball

If a frozen object ball (be it to a cushion or the cue ball) is the cue ball's first contact on a shot then at least one of the following must happen to avoid a foul:
  1. a ball is pocketed,
  2. the cue ball contacts a cushion (after first contacting the object ball),
  3. the frozen ball contacts a cushion other than the one it is frozen to,
  4. or a different object ball contacts a cushion (it was not frozen to).

Non-Player Interference

Outside interference will result in the balls being placed in the positions they held prior to the interference. No penalty shall be imposed on any player.


Unless specific games rules state otherwise only one foul may be assessed at a time. In cases where where no more than one penalty can apply the more severe penalty will be enforced.

The following are fouls for which the penalty is loss of turn and no count is scored if a valid count would otherwise have been made.

  1. Playing out of turn.

  2. Accidental contact with any of the balls.

  3. Not having at least one foot on the floor during the shot (from the time the cue ball is struck, until all balls come to rest).

  4. Striking the cue ball more than once or with anything other than the cue tip (i.e. cue on the same stroke, shaft, hand, chalk, bridge, etc.).

  5. Push shots. (A shot is considered a push shot if the cue tip is in contact with the cue ball for more than the time necessary for a normal legal stroke.)

  6. Making a shot while any ball is still in motion (e.g. spinning).

  7. If the cue ball jumps off (comes to rest off of) the table.

  8. Illegally jumping the cue ball (intentionally causing the cue ball to jump by contacting it below the horizontal plane through the center of the cue ball).

    Note:   The game room has banned jump shots in order to protect the equipment.   Masse shots have been banned for the same reason.

  9. Shooting with ball in hand from the kitchen and contacting a ball or cushion before passing the head string. (Note, a ball resting outside of the kitchen may be contacted inside the kitchen legally only if that ball is driven at least as far as the center of the table.)

The following are fouls for which the penalties are described under Unsportsmanlike Conduct in the Tournament Rules and Regulations:

  1. Intentional interference with the path of the balls.

    If the referee determines that a part of the stick other than the tips was used to intentionally strike the cue ball the player will receive one warning about intentional interference. A second such incident will result in the match being forfeited by the offending player.

  2. Intentional interference with the play of your opponent.

These rules are used by Billy Aardd's Club, NMIMT, Socorro, NM.