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What Happens when a Pocket is Full in 8 Ball?

What Happens when a Pocket is Full in 8 Ball?

What happens in 8 ball when a pocket is full of pocketed balls and a ball goes in, but comes back out onto the table?

This is a "first time it ever happened to me" question.

  • The corner pocket was full of balls with just enough room to hold one more ball.
  • I shot the 8 ball into that pocket, and it stayed there.
  • I had a bit too much top spin on the cue ball, causing it to follow the 8 ball into the pocket as well (normally a scratch and loss-of-game).
  • However, there was NOT enough room in the pocket for the cue ball and it was rejected back out onto the playing surface, while the 8 ball remained pocketed.

Did I win the game, or lose?

This question relates to the following billiard rules:

What Happens when a Pocket is Full in 8 Ball?

Replies & Comments

  1. user1176396650user1174404592 on 3/20/2007 3:32:41 PM

    You lose.

    According to World Pool-Billiard Association rules (under "Definitions" heading), if the cue ball touches an already pocketed ball, the cue ball will be considered "pocketed", even if it rebounds back onto the pool table's surface. This applies to all games covered by the WPA.

    For your scenario, that means that you have scratched while pocketing the 8 ball, which is a "serious foul" resulting in loss of game.

    This definition also tells us that it is the shooter's fault if too many pocketed balls in the pocket causes the pocket to reject your shot. You could have removed balls. Your opponent also could have removed balls. You failing to do in this scenario came back to haunt you.

    Here's how the World Pool-Billiard Association rules apply to your scenario:

    8.3 Ball Pocketed

    A ball is pocketed if it comes to rest in a pocket below the playing surface or enters the ball return system. A ball near the brink of a pocket partly supported by another ball is considered pocketed if removal of the supporting ball would cause the ball to fall into the pocket.

    If a ball stops near the edge of a pocket, and remains apparently motionless for five seconds, it is not considered pocketed if it later falls into the pocket by itself. See 1.7 Balls Settling for other details. During that five second period, the referee should ensure that no other shot is taken.

    An object ball that rebounds from a pocket back onto the playing surface is not a pocketed ball.

    If the cue ball contacts an already pocketed ball, the cue ball will be considered pocketed whether it rebounds from the pocket or not.

    The referee will remove pocketed object balls from full or nearly full pockets, but it is the shooter’s responsibility to see that this duty is performed.

    WPA 8 ball rule 3.9 tells us that a cue ball scratch is indeed a foul in 8 ball:

    3.9 Standard Fouls (8 ball)


    The following are standard fouls at eight ball:

    • 6.1 Cue Ball Scratch or off the Table
    • [...]

    WPA 8 ball rule 6.14 further defines the scratch foul:

    6.1 Cue Ball Scratch or off the Table (8 ball)

    If the cue ball is pocketed or driven off the table, the shot is a foul. See 8.3 Ball Pocketed and 8.5 Driven off the Table.

    WPA 8 ball rule 3.8 Losing the Rack tells us that it's a loss of game to commit a standard foul while pocketing the 8 ball:

    3.8 Losing the Rack (8 ball)

    The shooter loses if he:

    • (a) pockets the eight ball and fouls.;
    • (b) pockets the eight ball before his group is cleared;
    • (c) pockets the eight ball in an uncalled pocket; or
    • (d) drives the eight ball off the table.

    These do not apply to the break shot. (See 3.3 Break Shot.)

  2. user1176396650billiardsforum on 11/25/2017 10:36:11 AM

    FYI this has also been addressed in detail in the general pocket billiard rules question: Pocket Full of Balls, Preventing Balls from Going In.

    Always do your duty as the shooting player. Make sure the pockets are clear of too many balls if there any remote change it may bounce back out or fail to drop because the pocket is full.

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What Happens when a Pocket is Full in 8 Ball?

  • Title: What Happens when a Pocket is Full in 8 Ball?
  • Author:
  • Published: 3/16/2007 8:36:53 AM
  • Last Updated: 3/29/2022 5:39:34 AM
  • Last Updated By: billiardsforum (Billiards Forum)