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Push Out - Billiard Term Definition

Welcome to the billiard, pool, and snooker glossary of terms. This is the definition of Push Out as it relates to cue sports. You can also view the entire billiard dictionary

Definition of Push Out

Push Out is a billiards term that is a part of Billiard Technique Terminology.

A push-out refers to a rule in most games, especially after the break shot in nine ball, that allows the player to push out the cue ball to a new position without the requirement of contacting, pocketing, or driving to a rail, any ball.

On the flip side of a push out, any pocketed balls are not counted as pocketed balls.

With the push out, the opponent is able to shoot from the new cue ball position or elect to give the shot back to the pusher who then is required to shoot from the new position.

The push out can be used in strategic play, where pocketing the money ball on a push out shot results in that ball being re-spotted. This is of strategic advantage in situations where the break shot leaves no available shot on the ball on, and a failure to hit it would give the incoming player an instant win easy shot on the money ball.

Historically (up until the 1980s - 1990s) the push out was generally allowed to be called multiple times in a game. See the Texas Express Rules definition for more on this old push out rule and what led to the change.

9-Ball Push Out Rule

The following is the definition of the 9-ball push out rule from the general nine ball rules on Wikipedia. This blurb was mainly sourced from Bob Jewitt's now infamous article in the February 2008 issue of Billiards Digest titled "The outbreak of the soft break threatens the game of 9-ball."

After the break (regardless of its result), before the second shot of the game, the player at the table may call a "push out." A push-out can be called by the breaking player if he legally pocketed a ball on the break, or the non-breaking player if no ball was pocketed on the break. Calling a push-out for the shot after the break allows the player taking the shot to legally hit the cue ball in almost any fashion with no foul, with the exception that the cue ball must stay on the table and illegal shots such as double-hitting the cue ball or a "scoop jump shot" would still be called a foul. Playing a push-out shot ends the player's inning and play passes to the opponent.

The main purpose of the push-out shot is to alleviate an unlucky lie after the break, where it is difficult to make a legal shot. Unlike any other shot of the game, for a push-out shot, the cue ball is not required to contact any object ball and if an object ball is contacted, it is not required to be the lowest numbered ball. If the nine-ball is pocketed on a push-out shot it is spotted; however, any other pocketed object ball remains pocketed and is not spotted.

A push-out should be called so that the opponent or referee hears the call, and it is customary for the opponent or referee to confirm that he heard the push-out call, so that there is no controversy surrounding the shot. After a push-out shot was called and played, the incoming player has the choice of accepting the table as it lies, or forcing the pushing-out player to take the next shot of the game (always the third shot of the game). Only one push-out is allowed per game, and it must be immediately after the break. (See also "The rise of 'Texas express' rules", below, for the historical multi-push-out rule variation.)

If the pushing-out player has a particular type of shot he feels comfortable with, such as a jump shot, or two-rail bank shot, it may be strategical to leave that type of shot after the push-out. The ideal push-out shot leaves a lie that the opponent believes likely to be make-able, and will accept, but will fail to actually make, giving control of the table back to the pusher-out, and which the pusher-out is confident to make if the shot is passed back to him. Thus nine-ball players aim for a push-out that has about a 50/50 chance of being accepted or returned.

See: pushout, push for more on the meaning of "Push Out".

Push Out - Usage

I elect to push out, and I want to invoke the push out rule.

Billiards - Push Out

  • Title: Push Out
  • Author: (Billiards Forum)
  • Published: 1/9/2008 9:02:55 PM
  • Last Updated: 1/25/2017 7:21:57 AM
  • Last Updated By: billiardsforum

Push Out Comments

  1. NAPA Jim BoylanNAPA Jim Boylan from IN, United States on 7/4/2011 2:10:27 PM

    Can you clarify the push out rule for 9 ball?

    1. What is the push out rule and the definition?
    2. Is it only after the break?
    3. What is a foul in terms of a push-out in 9 ball?
  2. billiardsforumbilliardsforum from Halifax, NS on 1/25/2017 7:09:09 AM

    @NAPA Jim Boylan - Hope these help clarify. These are the push-out rule definitions directly from the 9 ball rule documents of the major North American cue sport organizations and leagues.

    WPA Pool (World Pool-Billiard Association) 9 Ball Push-Out Rule:

    2.4 Second Shot of the Rack – Push Out

    If no foul is committed on the break shot, the shooter may choose to play a “push out” as his shot. He must make his intention known to the referee, and then rules 6.2 Wrong Ball First and 6.3 No Rail after Contact are suspended for the shot. If no foul is committed on a push out, the other player chooses who will shoot next.

    VNEA 9 Ball Push Out Rule from the VNEA 9 Ball Rules for VNEA International Championships:

    F. PUSH OUT.

    The player who shoots the shot immediately after a legal break may play a push out in an attempt to move the cue ball into a better position for the option that follows. On a push out, the cue ball is not required to contact any object ball nor any rail, but all other foul rules still apply. The player must announce his intention of playing a push out before the shot, or the shot is considered to be a normal shot. Any ball pocketed on a push out does not count and remains pocketed, except for the nine ball. Following a legal push out, the incoming player is permitted to shoot from that position or to pass the shot back to the player who pushed out. A push out is not considered to be a foul as long as no rule is violated. An illegal push out is penalized according to the type of foul committed.

    UPA 9 Ball Push-Out Rule from the UPA U.S. 9 Ball Rules:

    5.0 PUSH OUT

    Only on the shot immediately following the break, may shooting player may elect to call a “Push.” On a “Push Out,” the shooter is required to hit the cue ball with the tip of the cue, but the cue ball is not required to touch another ball or a rail. Therefore, the rules “BAD HIT” (see 7.3), and “NO RAIL” (see 7.4) under “BALL IN HAND FOUL PENALTIES,” (see 7.0) do not apply, but all other foul rules are still in effect. The shooting player must declare his intention to push by saying “Push” or “Push Out” either to his opponent or to the referee, or the shot is considered a normal shot. Any ball pocketed on a “Push” stays down except the 9-ball, which would be spotted on the foot spot immediately following the “Push.” Following a legal “Push” shot, the incoming player has the option to take the shot from the new position(s) or to pass the shot back to the player who Pushed Out. No matter who shoots next, on the shot immediately following the “Push Out,” all “BALL IN HAND FOUL PENALTIES” (see 7.0) now apply, and the normal course of play continues.

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