If any of the following fouls are committed, the penalty is ball-in-hand
for the incoming player. Make certain you have ball-in-hand
before you touch the cue ball. Confirm it with your opponent before touching the cue ball. Ball-in-hand
means you get to put the cue ball anywhere on the table (with the exception of a scratch on the break which result in ball-in-hand
behind the head string), and shoot any of your balls (or the 8-ball, if all of your balls have been pocketed) regardless of where that ball is. A player exercising his rights under the ball-in-hand
rule may place the cue ball on the table anywhere he desires. Even after having addressed the cue ball a player may, if not satisfied with the placement, make further adjustments with the hand, cue stick or any other reasonable piece of equipment. A foul may be called only if the player fouls the cue ball while actually stroking the cue ball, meaning a double hit of the cue ball (sometimes called double clutching). The ball-in-hand
rule penalizes a player for an error. Without this rule, a person can actually benefit by accidentally or purposely scratching or otherwise fouling. In the unlikely event that a game should ever become stalemated, meaning that neither player wants or can make use of ball-in-hand
, then the balls would be reracked and the same player breaks.
The following are the only fouls resulting in ball-in-hand
If, during the course of a shot, the cue ball does not touch anything.
Exercise caution when placing the cue ball in a ball-in-hand situation. The cue ball is always alive. If the cue ball or the hand holding or moving it, touches another ball, it is a cue ball foul and your opponent has ball-in-hand. Be especially careful when you are placing the cue ball in a tight spot.
- Anytime the cue ball goes in a pocket, on the floor, or otherwise ends up off the playing surface.
- Failure to hit a correct ball first. (A player who is shooting stripes must hit a striped ball first.) The 8-ball is not neutral. In general, the shooter has the advantage in close hit situations unless his opponent has asked an outside party to watch the hit. Protect yourself. If you think your opponent is getting ready to shoot a shot that could possibly be a bad hit, stop him from shooting and call a Tournament Official to watch the shot. Potential bad hit situations are usually fairly obvious and protests and disputes over these close situations can almost always be avoided if an official is asked to watch the shot. If the Tournament Official cannot determine which ball was struck first, such as a simultaneous hit, the call goes to the shooter.
- Failure to hit a rail after contact. A rail must be hit by either the cue ball or any other ball after the cue ball and the object ball contact. A pocketed ball counts as a rail. Even if the ball bounces back onto the playing surface, it is considered to have hit a rail, as the pocket liner if part of the rail. A sentence that should answer many questions is: ANY ball must go to a rail AFTER LEGAL contact.
- The object ball is frozen to a rail and the player is contemplating playing a safety. In order for the following frozen ball rule to be in effect, the opponent must declare that the ball is frozen and the player should verify. Once it is agreed that the ball is frozen, then the player must either drive the object ball to another rail (of course, it could hit another ball, which in turn hits a rail), or drive the cue ball to the rail after it touches the object ball. If the latter method of safety is chosen then the player should take care that he quite obviously strikes the object ball first. Unlike simultaneous hits between object balls, if the cue ball strikes the rail first or appears to hit both the rail and ball simultaneously, then it would be a foul unless either the cue ball or object ball went to some other rail.
- It is illegal and, therefore, a foul to jump a cue ball over another ball by scooping it up in the air on purpose. Accidental miscuing is not a foul unless other rules in this section are violated.
- Receiving illegal aid (coaching) during a match. It is not considered illegal aid to remind a player to call the 8-ball, or to tell a player a foul has occurred. Anyone may do so.
- Causing even the slightest movement or altering the course of the cue ball, even accidentally, is a foul. It is not a foul, however, to accidentally move any other balls (including the 8-ball) unless, during his turn at the table, a player moves a ball and it in turn comes in contact with the cue ball. Any balls moved accidentally during a shot must be replaced by the opponent after the shot is over and all balls have stopped rolling. If during the course of the shot, another ball stops in the position previously occupied by the accidentally moved ball, the opponent must place the accidentally moved ball, in an ethical manner, as close as possible to its original position. If it occurs before the shot, it must be replaced by the opponent before the shot is taken.
Exception: If an accidentally moved ball comes in contact with the cue ball, creating a foul, no object ball will be replaced.