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8 Ball Open Table Rule

The open table rule for 8 ball is not a completely separate billiard game, but is an amendment to the current 8 ball rules and regulations. It should be considered as only an interpretation by BCA staff in order to provide increased clarification of parts of the regular 8 ball rules.

8 Ball Open Table Rule

As usual, readers should note that except when clearly contradicted by these additional rules, the General Rules of Pocket Billiards apply. This rule clarification is considered supplemental to 8 ball regulation 10 and pertains to open table in the game of 8 ball.

10. It is said that the table is "open" when the choice of groups (stripes or solids, highs or lows) has not yet been determined. During this period where the table is considered open, it is legal for the shooting player to execute a combination shot where they strike one group's object ball first and cause it to hit and pocket an object all from the opposite group.

It is also worth noting that the table is always open immediately after the opening break shot. When the table is considered open it is legal to hit any solid ball or striped ball, or to hit the 8-ball first in the process of pocketing the called stripe or solid. However, when the table is open and the 8-ball is the first ball contacted, no striped ball or solid ball may be scored in favor of the shooter. When this occurs, the shooter loses their turn, any pocketed balls remain pocketed, and the incoming player addresses the balls with the table still open.

The BCA also made clarifications for the following excerpt from their official 8 ball rules: "When the table is open it is legal to hit any solid or stripe or the 8-ball first in the process of pocketing the called stripe or solid." They insinuated that this was meant to be a straight forward regulation. They clarified the meaning, saying that "it means that when the table is open, any ball can be legally hit without resulting in a foul." They also commented that this should not be new to anyone, adding the statement; "This is not a new rule for players in the United States."

They also made clarifications for this sentence: "When the table is open and the 8-ball is the first ball contacted, no stripe or solid may be scored in favor of the shooter."

They said this sentence may seem to contradict the first, but it doesn't. It says that although it is legal to hit the 8-Ball first on an "open table", if a player does, he/she forfeits their turn whether they pocketed something or not. There is no foul, and the incoming player accepts the cue-ball in position with the table still open.

They went on to add that this particular portion of the rules is derived from the old European rule which states that it is illegal to hit the 8-Ball first anytime during the game.

8 Ball Open Table Rule

If you have any questions about 8 Ball Open Table Rule, please post them in the pool rules forum.

...or view existing 8 Ball Open Table Rule questions in the forum.

8 Ball Open Table Rule History

This rule was clarified in 1993.

The official 8 Ball Open Table Rule are predominently observed in North America.

The official governing body for 8 Ball Open Table Rule is the World Pool-Billiard Association.

How to Play 8 Ball Open Table Rule

Questions about 8 Ball Open Table Rule:

  • Title: 8 Ball Open Table Rule
  • Author: (Billiards Forum)
  • Published: 2/15/2008 6:26:00 AM
  • Source: BCA

8 Ball Open Table Rule

The 8 Ball Open Table Rule article belongs to the Pocket Billiards Rules category. Pocket billiards is a class of cue sport game commonly referred to as pool.

8 Ball Open Table Rule Comments

  1. WarrenWarren from Sterling, VA on 4/19/2008 8:26:33 AM

    If you are shooting the eight ball and your opponent has a ball in front of the pocket you are calling can you call the eight off the opponents ball and legally make both balls to win the game.

  2. Josie Villa from Milton, AU on 5/17/2008 9:18:37 AM

    Greetings! I plan to organize an 8ball competition in our province, to boost camaraderie among billiard enthusiasts. i have no knowledge about the rules of the game. please help me on how to go about organizing this event. your assistance will be highly appreciated. God bless and more power. Josie Villa

  3. billiardsforumbilliardsforum from Halifax, NS on 5/17/2008 9:23:45 AM

    Josie, with all due respect, let me understand this. So you are saying that you know nothing about the rules of eight ball billiards, and nothing about organizing a billiard event, and you want to run an eight ball billiard event? Don't get me wrong, I applaud your wanting to further the sport in your community, but you might be biting of more than you can chew. I guess my only advice is to hire people who know the game, and know how to run an event like that. Also make sure you get all of the proper permits.

  4. Josie Villa from Milton, AU on 5/18/2008 4:27:25 AM

    Thank you so much for the immediate response. your point is well taken, thank you.I know friends who can help me out on this, but i wanted a more comprehensive information regarding the rules. I thought of getting those from your site. my location is at camarines sur at the bicol region, specifically Naga city, Philippines. I hope you could help me "chew" what i am "biting". I truly appreciate your attention to my curiosity. wish you more success and more enthusiasts to the sport. God bless. Josie

  5. Ton SanderfordTon Sanderford from Aurora, CO on 11/12/2008 4:06:40 AM

    In 8 ball when you have stripes, and you make a stripe, and the cue ball goes in a pocket, do you pull the stripe out?

  6. Jeremy from Seattle on 11/29/2008 12:47:19 PM

    Me and a co-worker are having a dispute, and as stubborn as I am, I know im right. but when you call a shot, say corner pocket from across the table, you make it! now, here is the dispute, when i struck the que, the soiled ball was about two inches in front, the que followed the solid, the solid then taped the rail, and again the que ball hit the solid again, into the picket i specified...Now, is that fault? and i should loose my continuation?

  7. jonny from estonia on 1/8/2009 12:22:36 PM

    Okay, I have a serious problem. Me and my friend were playing 8ball. we both had one ball on the table and the 8ball. So..the thing was, we didnä't play by the handball rule, but we played the rule, if you make a foul, you get 2 shots. as in - if i touch his ball 1st, he gets 2 shots or if I don't touch my ball at all, he has 2 shots. so the thing was we had a ball on the table, and i shot my ball in with his. the white ball touched his ball which made a ricoshet, and touched my ball and it went in. he claimed he has 2 shots, but can he have had 2 shots if I ha donly the 8ball on the table?

  8. c eagle from houston, texas on 2/1/2009 2:17:45 PM

    hello, on 8 ball rules, when you make a break, and have like 3 solid, and 1 stripe goes in pocket, does shooter, still have a choice of group?

  9. hap from florida on 3/16/2009 7:20:51 PM

    "ball in hand" rule - when does it apply?

  10. bil391 from Spokane, Washington on 7/19/2010 9:49:59 AM

    Is there a reference for traditional (if there is such a thing) for bar room rules? Specifically my question(s) is on the break in bar room rules, if there is a ball pocketed, does the table still remain open until a "called" ball has been made? Again in bar room rules what constitutes a safety? I understand a safety should be called prior to the shot, is there a rule that the cue ball should hit the shooters own ball for it to be a safety, or is there no distinction as to what ball should be hit for the safety to be used?

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