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10 Ball Ring Game Rules

These are the rules for a 10 ball ring game tournament. They were developed out of Southern Billiards in MS.

Field of Players

The number and/or the caliber of players may be limited.

The number of players is generally limited to a maximum of eight (8) players per table and it is not recommended to have less than 5 players.

The caliber of players is generally limited by use of invitation with the intent being to form a field of approximately equal caliber players.

Initial Holdings

Each player starts with given and equal amounts.

Amounts may be referred to as "Tournament Dollars" (t$) or "Money".

Initial or starting amounts of t$ or money is generally equal to the entry fee charged to enter the match.

Game Values

Each game is assigned a value with value initially set at approximately 3% to 6% of the players' Initial Holdings.

Game values progress upward after every eight (8) games or every forty-five (45) minutes, whichever comes first, approximately doubling at every increment. Note: the time or number or games can be adjusted to either lengthen of shorten the game. The forty-five minute increment we use means the ring game will last about 4 hours. A one hour and/or 10 game increment would mean the game would last a little over 5 hours, generally.

After four (4) progressions, that is after five (5) forty-five (45) minute and/or eight (8) game segments, the game value go to All-In at which time the game values from then on are equal to the holding of the player winning the game.


With a $500 entry the initial game value would be around $25; and with a $1,500 entry the initial game value might be $50. Specifically, for the following entry fees, the game values and associated game numbers used in Progressive Ring Games at Southern Billiards are:

$500 Entry – increments or levels are forty-five (45) minutes or eight (8) games, whichever come first.

  1. $25/game for first level;
  2. $50/game for second level;
  3. $100/game for third level;
  4. $200/game for fourth level;
  5. $400/game for fifth level; and
  6. All-In beyond.

$1,500 Entry - increments or levels are forty-five (45) minutes or eight (8) games, whichever come first.

  1. $50/game for first level;
  2. $100/game for second level;
  3. $250/game for third level;
  4. $500/game for fourth level;
  5. $1000/game for fifth level; and
  6. All-In beyond.


When a player wins a game the value of the game is subtracted from the holdings of each of the other players and added to the holdings of the winner with the following exceptions.

If a losing player's holdings are less than the game value the entire holdings of the losing player are subtracted from his position, and added to the position of the winning player.

If a winning player's holdings are less than the game value, the value of the game defaults to the amount of the winning player's holdings.

Elimination of Players

When a player's holding are reduced to zero, that player is eliminated from the match.


When all players except one have been eliminated that last player standing is the winner.


The top two or three places are paid depending on the size of the field. Specifically the payouts used at Southern Billiards are:

8 Players or more

  • 3rd gets entry fee amount;
  • 2nd gets twice entry fee amount; and
  • 1st gets quin (5 times) entry fee amount.

7 Players

  • 3rd gets entry fee amount;
  • 2nd gets twice entry fee amount; and
  • 1st gets the quad entry fee amount.

6 Players

  • 3rd gets entry fee amount;
  • 2nd gets twice entry fee amount; and
  • 1st gets trice entry fee amount.

5 Players

  • 2nd gets twice entry fee; and
  • 1st gets trice entry fee amount.

4 Players (less than 5 players not recommended)

  • 2nd gets entry fee; and
  • 1st gets trice entry fee amount.

3 Players (less than 5 players not recommended)

  • 2nd gets entry fee; and
  • 1st gets twice entry fee amount.

10-Ball Ring Game

Balls numbered 1 through 10 are played in consecutive order and the player pocketing the 10-ball on a legal shot (by combination or other means) wins that game.

Break Shot

The initial break is determined by random draw, thereafter winner breaks. Breaker has cue ball-in-hand behind the head string.

Shooting Order

Initial order, including the break, is determined by pill (random) draw.

Thereafter, pills will be redrawn every eight (8) games for order position 2 through number of players remaining in the game. Note: the redraw for order is generally based on the number of players initially in the game, and is not based on time.

The winner of last game retains the break (automatically gets pill #1).

The Rack

The object balls, numbered 1 through 10, are racked in a triangle with the 10-ball in the center and the 1-ball at the apex placed on the spot. The balls are racked by a designated racker or the player that is last in order of the game for which the balls are being racked. This is generally the player that shot prior to the winner of the last game, unless order has been redrawn or that player has been eliminated from the match.

Foul Penalties (3-Shot Ball-In-Hand Rule)

If a player commits a foul on his first shot at an object ball, it ends that player's inning at the table, and the following player in the shooting order has the option to take the resulting shot or have the fouling player shoot again.

If after the first foul a player is asked to shoot again and commits a foul on his second shot at an object ball, it is considered a scratch and the incoming player gets ball-in-hand behind the head string, but still has the option to make the fouling player shoot again with ball-in-hand behind the head string. Note: the object ball is spotted only if it is behind the head string. (Refer to: Fouls: Cue Ball Scratches)

If after the second foul a player is asked to shoot again and commits a foul on his third shot at an object ball, the incoming player is awarded ball in hand anywhere on the table and must take the shot (can not pass the shot back).

Stalemated Game

Should all players successively fail (or decline) to make a legal shot after being awarded ball in hand, the tournament director will declare the game a stalemate. A stalemated game is void (like it never happened) and the game is replayed with the same breaker.


The following are considered fouls with penalties being imposed under the 3-Shot Ball-In-Hand Rule.

  • Failure to Contact the Lowest Numbered Ball First: The lowest numbered ball on the table must be contacted first and failure to do so is considered a foul.
  • Failure to Hit a Cushion After Contact: A ball must be driven to a cushion after contact with the lowest numbered object ball, the ball hitting the cushion after contact may be the cue ball or any object ball. Failure to do so is a foul. Note: pocketing a ball is considered hitting a cushion.
  • Cue Ball Scratches: If the cue ball is pocketed or jumped from the table it is a foul. The incoming players has ball in hand behind the head string (i.e., in the kitchen). Should the lowest numbered object ball be behind the head string it is spotted.
  • Cue Ball Fouls: To touch or move the cue ball with anything other than the cue tip in the act of shooting is a foul.
    1. This does not apply while the cue ball is being placed or positioned when it is in hand.
    2. A miscue in-and-by-itself, does not constitute a foul. However, to hit the cue ball with the edge of the shaft following a miscue does constitute a foul.
  • Foul by Placement: Touching any object ball with the cue ball while it is in hand is a foul.
  • Balls Jumped Off Table: Balls coming to rest other than on the table playing surface (bed) or in a pocket following a shot are considered jumped balls and result in a foul. Should a ball leave the surface of the table and touch anything not part of the table proper (e.g., light fixture, chalk, etc.) it is deemed a jumped ball and a foul is imposed.
  • Movement of Impeding Ball: Attempting to curve around or jump over a ball near and in front (general direction of aim) of the cue ball, if the impeding ball is touched it is a foul
  • Bridge Fouls: When using the mechanical bridge, any ball touched with the bridge or cue stick (other that a legal stoke on the cue ball) is a foul
  • Object Ball(s) Moved During the Act of Shooting: If object balls are moved during the act of shooting, but not as part of the shot, and the fact that the moved balls changes the outcome it is considered a foul. The outcome of the shot is considered to have changed if any ball contacts the moved ball or passes through the space occupied by the ball before it was moved. That is if the moved ball has any impact on the result of the shot it is a foul, otherwise it is not.
    1. In such a situation (i.e., foul committed) the incoming player accepts the resulting position of the balls, no attempt will be made to restore the original position of the moved balls
    2. If movement of the balls does not result in a foul, the moved balls are restored to there original position by the tournament director and play continues.
  • Intentionally Moving an Object Ball: To intentionally move an object ball is considered a foul.

All Balls Spotted

Object balls pocketed on a foul shot or jumped off the table are spotted.

The lowest numbered ball is placed on the spot, or if the spot is obstructed it is placed as close to the spot as possible on the long string behind the spot.

Balls place on the long string are frozen to any impeding object balls between it and the spot. Should the impeding ball be the cue ball, the spotted ball is place as close to it as possible, but not frozen.

If more than one ball is being spotted, they are placed along the long string from the spot in ascending order.

Moved Object Balls

If object ball(s) are accidentally moved not during the act of shooting (i.e., the cue ball has not been put in motion), the balls will be restored to their original positions by the tournament director. No foul will result from contact with the restored object ball(s) on the subsequent shot.

Position of Balls

The position of a ball is judged by where its base (or center) rests.

To be in the kitchen the base of the ball must be behind the head string. Note that the head string is not considered part of the kitchen. (Note the phrase behind the head string.)

A ball suspended above a pocket by being pinned in the jaws by another ball or resting on another ball in the pocket is considered pocketed.

Declaring Ball Frozen to a Cushion

For a ball to be considered frozen to a cushion, it must be declared frozen by a player and then confirmed by the tournament director.

Once confirmed frozen, the ball is considered to remain frozen on all subsequent shots until disturbed.

The declaration by a player that a ball is frozen must be made prior to the player at the table assuming the shooting position (bridge hand, or mechanical bridge head, touches the table). Otherwise, the tournament director will not offer confirmation until after the ensuing shot, until which time the ball is not considered frozen.

The ball frozen to a cushion will not be considered to contact that particular cushion, unless it is driven from the cushion it is frozen to and returns due to contact with a ball other that the ball that drove it form the cushion.

Jump Cues

Jump cues are not allowed. Player may shoot a jump shot but, must shoot with the cue they play with.

Break Cues

Break cues are allowed, but the only shot that may be performed with them is to break an undisturbed rack.

No Game Concessions

Penalty is the conceding player sits out the remainder of that game and takes an automatic loss on the NEXT game by sitting out the next game. Acts of concession include, but are not limited to:

  • Raking the balls (intentionally destroying the lay of the table, in which case the balls are restored to their original positions as well as can be determined by the tournament director, using any sources available to him)
  • Picking up the rack
  • Taking balls from the pocket
  • Unscrewing ones cue
  • Telling the player "That's good" or the essence there of
  • Any other acts that would constitute concession will result in ALL players being warned that a repeat occurrence by any player will be deemed an act of concession and the concession penalty imposed.

Time Limit

If a player does not immediately approach the table at the beginning of their turn, the player's name will be called and informed (in absentee if that be the case) that they have one (1) minute to shoot. Failure of the player to execute a shot within one minute from that point will result in the player being skipped. The name of the following player in rotation will be called and informed that they have 1 minute to shoot.

Each player may request, and will be granted, a two-minute extension of the time limit to shoot. If a player has requested a time limit extension and is called to shoot, or request the extension after being called to shoot, they will be informed that they have 3 minutes to shoot.

Only one time limit extension will be granted to each player during the duration of the tournament.

Slow Play (Stalling)

At the request from any player, or in the opinion of the tournament director that any player is taking excessive time in executing their turn at the table, all players will be informed that play needs to be sped up.

Excessive time does not mean the extra deliberation that a player might give to the occasional difficult shot, but rather the consistent stalling of a player during his turns at the table.

If slow play continues, the tournament director will warn the slow player that if their play is not sped up it will be considered unsportsmanlike conduct.

Unsportsmanlike conduct

Unsportsmanlike conduct in the 10 ball ring game will at a minimum result in a warning by the tournament director to all players.

Unsportsmanlike conduct will result in a penalty on subsequent occurrences once a warning has been issued.

The penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct may be anything from a loss of turn (player skipped in rotation), to one game loss (player sits out an entire game), up to and including removal from the tournament (forfeiture of match).

Unsportsmanlike conduct may result in the immediate ejection of the player from the tournament (forfeiture of match) without warning, if the act is deemed by the tournament director to be sever enough to warrant such action

All other rules

As covered by the World Standardized General Rules of Pocket Billiards as published by the Billiard Congress of America, most recent edition, and as interpreted by the tournament director.

Tournament Director

The Tournament Director has final and ultimate responsibility for all calls, any call or decision by the tournament director can be asked to be reconsidered, however after such an appeal, the decision of the tournament director is final.

10 Ball Ring Game Rules

If you have any questions about 10 Ball Ring Game Rules, please post them in the pool rules forum.

...or view existing 10 Ball Ring Game Rules questions in the forum.

10 Ball Ring Game Rules History

10-Ball progressive ring game rules and tournament format were developed by Prof. R. H. Gilmer of Southern Billiards, Inc.

Southern Billiards, Inc.
103 South Washington Street Starkville, MS 39759

The official 10 Ball Ring Game Rules are predominently observed in Starkville, MS.

How to Play 10 Ball Ring Game

Questions about 10 Ball Ring Game Rules:

  • Title: 10 Ball Ring Game Rules
  • Author: (R. Gilmer)
  • Published: 10/19/2008 6:24:51 PM
  • Last Updated: 9/19/2016 6:00:35 PM
  • Last Updated By: billiardsforum (Billiards Forum)

10 Ball Ring Game Rules

The 10 Ball Ring Game Rules article belongs to the Billiards Ring Game Rules category.

In cue sports, a ring game is a game of pool played with more than 2 players and which follow a special set of modified rules.

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