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Is this Defensive Shot Legal in 8-Ball Bar Play?

Is this Defensive Shot Legal in 8-Ball Bar Play?

I know that 8 ball "bar rules" are hazy at best, and feel like I've played this same move before without the same negative response from my opponent and onlookers.

Here is the scenario:

  • Playing 8 ball, I have three balls left on the pool table, but I don't have a make-able shot.
  • My object ball is resting along the rail with two of my opponent's balls surrounding it. I shoot, hit my object ball first, and move it about 4". The cue ball comes to rest behind it and blocks my opponent from having a make-able shot.

At this point, a drunk guy in the corner (not a player) makes a HUGE scene and I wind up leaving after the game (which I lose) because the situation gets stupidly tense.

My opponent doesn't suggest a foul and takes his shot from where it lays, but later makes noise about how my earlier shot was illegal.

I realize now that one must be careful with defensive moves in a bar, but I still think the situation went unnecessarily bad.

What do you all think?

Any comments or general recommendations about defensive 8 ball play in a bar?

This question relates to the following billiard rules:

Is this Defensive Shot Legal in 8-Ball Bar Play?

Replies & Comments

  1. user1188955161user1189026893 on 9/5/2007 9:14:53 PM

    There are two issues at play:

    1. Was your shot legal? To answer this, see the first answer to the previous question: Is it Legal to Gently Tap the Cue Ball Into the Object Ball?.
    2. If it was a legal shot, is that type of defensive play strategy "acceptable" at the bar where you're playing pool?

    I agree that the rules of 8-ball bar pool are sometimes ambiguous and vary from region to region or even bar to bar.

    However, my general experience has been that any sort of defensive play in a bar is considered tacky at best and downright despicable at worst. This may be due to the generally low level of talent in most bars, and they feel that any attempt to snooker your opponent is considered "dirty" pool. In one bar where I made a safety play, I was told in no uncertain terms that if I did it again I would never play there.

    So my advice would be to just roll with the punches and do what the locals do.

  2. user1188955161mdungelman on 9/26/2007 7:27:54 PM

    I never really see anything wrong with playing a "safe" shot when in a bar. My general rule of thumb is play like you're playing a league. So after contact with your object ball, make sure something (including your opponents ball) hits a rail. Thus, its a legal shot and you can tell the drunken fool to stop whining and take his shot. If he/she wants to contend then split cost on the next game and whoop 'em. That usually manages to silence the competition.

    -just my take on it.

  3. user1188955161ernier on 10/11/2007 5:18:54 PM

    Strictly speaking, you made a legal shot right? You can tell the drunk to pound sand. However, it has been my experience playing in bars, that people do indeed get upset when you play a purely defensive shot without trying to make a ball. In Massachusetts where I play, they call that playing "Chelsea pool", the implication being that you are less of a man for playing strictly defense instead of going for it.

    What I do in a case like that is to make an attempt at making a ball and still leave the cue in a tough position for my opponent. If you at least give the impression that you are trying to make a shot, who can argue if you just happen to leave the cue ball tied up? 8^) You could save yourself a fight that way.

  4. user1188955161ShotCaller on 10/23/2007 12:37:52 PM

    Most people playing pool in bars are not pool players.. Most don't understand the game and are just trying to have fun. Thats why its better to play serious games in pool halls..

  5. user1188955161mdungelman on 10/23/2007 9:51:15 PM

    Well playing pool at the bar on a friday night is definitely not serious pool. I'm out there to have fun (i.e. kick ass and make it look like they almost won). So, play a safe shot once in a while. The rest of the time you'll probably make it up to the table enough times to win.

  6. user1188955161whammo on 1/14/2010 10:46:37 AM

    Years back when I played lots of bar room pool, there were many times when a defensive shot was necessary. The local thugs would punch you in the face for playing "dirty pool" (e.g. playing a safety shot).

    One ploy that I used was to secretly lick my thumb and then no one was looking, wipe the chalk off your cue tip. The would allow me to purposely miscue on the next shot and come out with the same result. It works every time. They even laugh at you. Just smile back and look stupid, then run the table.

  7. user1188955161Mitch Alsup on 1/14/2010 12:35:58 PM

    From your description of the scenario, we do not have enough information to say whether it was a legal shot or not.

    What we need to know:

    1. Was your object ball actually touching the rail before your shot?
    2. Did your cue ball touch the rail after it made contact with your OB?

    If the OB was touching the rail, then the CB has to touch a rail after making contact with the OB for the shot to be legal.

  8. user1188955161Fenwick on 1/14/2010 8:46:07 PM

    "Some drunk guy in the corner" was all I needed to hear. I have a few rules that may help you. Never play a drunk, never gamble in a bar, and never play pool in a bar after midnight. They've served me well over the years. The smartest thing you did was leave.

  9. user1188955161gibson on 1/18/2010 8:50:51 AM

    If you know the guy you are playing and are known in the place you are playing, you might be okay with safety shots. I would call a "safe" before shooting, so that if anyone was going to object, it would be done before the shot rather than after. If you are playing a stranger for money in a place where you are not known, you may have made a bad choice by playing in the game. Some people object to losing, rules or no rules, and if they lose to you, you may become unpopular in a hurry.

  10. user1188955161tedmauro on 1/29/2010 1:00:47 PM

    I find that it helps to communicate with your opponent and determine which set of rules you will play by before anyone even breaks the rack. I wrote an article on my web page a while back that gives details about bar rules.


    I have to agree that if you are playing under the guide lines that safeties are uncool, shooting towards the pocket and rolling your cueball safe works better than arguing.

  11. user1188955161justinlm94 on 5/27/2023 11:22:58 PM

    In bars, anytime you don't leave your opponent with a straight-in shot, they call it "dirty pool".

    Even if you have absolutely no pocket to play it into, it's dirty every time to them.

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Is this Defensive Shot Legal in 8-Ball Bar Play?

  • Title: Is this Defensive Shot Legal in 8-Ball Bar Play?
  • Author:
  • Published: 9/5/2007 1:19:21 AM
  • Last Updated: 12/9/2022 5:40:37 AM
  • Last Updated By: billiardsforum (Billiards Forum)