American Rotation (aka "AMRO") is a fifteen-ball rotation game with unique scoring and rules of play. "Rotation" is a general description of pool games where the cue ball must make a "good hit" on the lowest numbered object ball on the table. Nine-ball and ten-ball are also rotation games. In American Rotation, striking the lowest numbered ball is required, except in special situations detailed below.
American Rotation is a "points" game, with no designated "game ball." Balls numbered one through ten each have a designated point count of one. Balls numbered eleven through fifteen each have a designated point count of two. Rules of play are described broadly as "call pocket / call safe."
Where applicable, and not contradicted or supplemented by these OFFICIAL RULES of AMERICAN ROTATION, the GENERAL GAME RULES of the BCA POOL LEAGUE (BCAPL) apply and are hereby included by reference.
Here is a video of Joe Tucker (founder of American Rotation Pool Rules) explaining how to play American Rotation Billiards.
1. OBJECT OF THE GAME
The object of American Rotation is to reach a designated point total before the opponent. Multiple racks are required. Any agreed number of points constitutes "a game." Most games end at 100, 125, or 150 points.
2. EVERY RACK CONTAINS 20 POINTS
Except when a game ends mid-rack, a total of twenty points per rack is awarded between opponents.
3. CALL POCKET / CALL SAFE
Must call ball and pocket or call safe
Except for breaks or any "free shot", the shooter must call a ball and pocket or else call safe.
An intended safety must be actually called, else the opponent has the option of passing the next shot. A safety call must be clearly indicated. A safety is never considered obvious. BCAPL General Rule 1-17 applies to calling safety in American Rotation.
Bank, kick, kiss, carom or combination
When a ball is called (ball and pocket), it is not necessary to specify details such as banks, kicks, kisses, caroms, or combinations. Calling those details is irrelevant and not required.
All shots that involve banks, kicks, kisses, caroms, or combinations are hereby defined as "not obvious." If a pocketed ball was not called, and the shot involves (includes) a bank, kick, kiss, carom, or combination (intentional or not), then the shot is hereby ruled a non-called ball and Rule 4.2 or 4.4 ahead shall apply. If a ball is pocketed directly into a pocket, and the shot does not include a bank, kick, kiss, carom, or combination, then it is hereby defined as a called ball (an obvious shot).
Incidental contact with rail near the pocket
When the called or obvious ball touches either rail adjacent to the designated pocket but does not touch other rails on the table, the shot is not considered a "bank." Touching either of those adjacent rails does not negate an "obvious shot."
Good hit required
A called ball does not have to be the lowest numbered ball. However, a "good hit" is required. See also Rule 5 ahead, "Good Hits."
If no foul occurs, and a called ball is pocketed as designated, then the shooter gets credit for all balls pocketed on that shot. If any object balls remain on the table, then the player continues to shoot.
If no foul occurs, and a called ball is not pocketed as designated, then the opponent (the player that did not shoot) has the option of passing the next shot (assuming that object balls remain on the table).
4. NON-CALLED BALLS
On a foul
All object balls pocketed or off the table on a foul remain down and are credited to the opponent (the player who did not foul).
Final object ball of a rack
If the last object ball of the rack is pocketed improperly, or it is caused to leave the table, then all balls pocketed or driven off the table, on that final shot of the rack, remain down and are credited to the opponent (the player who did not take the final shot). No additional penalty is imposed. The next rack begins as usual with the break sequence unchanged.
Safety with object balls remaining
All object balls pocketed on a called safety remain down. If no foul occurred on the called safety, and an object ball was pocketed, and any object ball remains on the table, then the opponent (the player who did not shoot the safety) has the option of passing the next shot. Balls pocketed on the safety are credited to whichever player takes the subsequent shot.
Missed called ball with object balls remaining
All object balls pocketed improperly on a missed called ball remain down. If no foul occurred on the missed shot, and an object ball was pocketed improperly, and any object ball remains on the table, then the opponent (the player who did not shoot the missed shot) has the option of passing the next shot. Balls pocketed on the missed shot are credited to whichever player takes the subsequent shot.
If no foul occurred, and a called ball is legally pocketed, then any extra object balls pocketed on that shot remain down. Points are credited to the shooter of that shot.
If no foul occurred, then all object balls pocketed on any break remain down. Points are credited to the breaker. See also Rule 7 ahead, "Break."
If no foul occurred, then all object balls pocketed on the "free shot after three fouls" remain down. Points are credited to the shooter taking the free shot. Note: on the free shot after three fouls, some normal fouls are redefined as "not fouls." See also Rule 10 ahead, re: "Three Consecutive Fouls."
5. GOOD HITS
Lowest numbered ball
Except for "break shots" and the "free shot after three fouls," the lowest numbered ball on the table must be the first object ball contacted by the cue ball. Otherwise, it’s a foul.
On any break, any hit on any object in the rack is a "good hit."
Three foul penalty shot
On the "free shot" immediately after three consecutive fouls, contacting the lowest numbered ball first is not required. Any hit is a "good hit."
Rack your own
The breaker always racks his or her own. BCAPL Rule 1-14 Racking Procedures apply.
All racks have the same requirements:
2.1 - Fifteen object balls, numbered one through fifteen, are used.
2.2 - The fifteen-ball is placed at the head of the rack on the foot spot.
2.3 - The two-ball and three-ball are placed on either side, behind and adjacent to the fifteen-ball.
2.4 - The one-ball is centered behind and adjacent to the two and three.
2.5 - The thirteen-ball and fourteen-ball are placed on either side, adjacent to and behind the one.
2.6 - All other balls are placed anywhere in the remaining nine positions. For these nine balls, pattern racking is allowed.
**If both players agree, use of a Magic Rack is allowed. It must be available to both players. Either player may choose not to use the Magic Rack.
Players lag or flip for the opening break only. A lag is required if either player insists. The winner of the lag or flip has the option of breaking the first rack (opening break) or passing the shot to his opponent.
The player who did not break the first rack breaks the second rack. Breaks alternate thereafter.
All breaks are from the kitchen (behind the head string)
On any break, striking any object ball is a "good hit"
Failure to hit the rack
On any break, failure to strike the rack does not constitute a shot. The same player is allowed another chance to execute the break from the kitchen.
Object balls off the table
On any break, it is not a foul to cause object balls to leave the table. "Off the table" here means no longer on the table but not pocketed. These balls are spotted on the long string in ascending order, with the lowest numbered ball on or nearest the spot. After balls are spotted, play continues as if the balls had not left the table. This is the only instance in American Rotation where balls are spotted. See BCAPL Rule 1-46 Spotting Balls. Any ball off the table on any shot besides the break is a foul.
Cue ball off the table or in the pocket on a break
If the cue ball leaves the table or is pocketed, then all object balls pocketed remain down and are credited to the opponent (non-breaker). The breaker must take the next shot after the break with cue ball-in-hand anywhere on the table. Except for crediting pocketed object balls to the non-breaker, play continues as if no foul occurred.
8. FIRST SHOT AFTER THE BREAK
All object balls pocketed on the break remain down. The breaker must take the next shot with cue ball-in-hand anywhere on the table. The breaker must call a ball and pocket or call safe.
1.1 - If no foul occurred on the break, then the breaker is credited with all object balls pocketed.
1.2 - If a foul did occur on the break, then the non-breaker is credited with all object balls pocketed.
9. FOULS AND PENALTIES
Fouls must be called before the next stroke or the foul is ruled not to have occurred (BCAPL 1-23).
**Honor and integrity, and "own fouls"
**2.1 - A player is obligated to call his or her "own fouls," even if the referee or opponent (player who was not shooting) failed to see or call the foul. It is not acceptable to "get by."
2.2 - When a referee (a designated third person) calls a foul, and the opponent (player who was not shooting) believes that a foul did not occur, then the player who was not shooting may "override" the referee and call "no foul". Because the referee’s ruling is subject to this "override," the referee is prohibited from touching the balls after calling a foul.
Intentionally disturbing or interfering with the roll of a ball
Either act is a sportsmanship foul. The penalty is concession of the remainder of the rack. The point value of all object balls that remained on the table at the time of this foul (all balls that had not been legally pocketed prior to the sportsmanship foul) is credited to the opponent (the player who did not foul). If the game-ending point count has not been reached, then the balls are racked. The next rack begins as usual, with the break sequence unchanged.
Accidentally disturbing or interfering with the roll of a ball
4.1 - Ball-in-hand. If an object ball is touched or disturbed while in the act of placing cue ball-in-hand, then it is a ball-in-hand foul (BCAPL 1-38).
4.2 - Accidentally touched but not disturbed. If a stationary ball is touched by hair, clothing, etc. but not disturbed, then it is declared "not a foul".
4.3 - During the act of shooting. If any stationary ball (including object balls) is improperly disturbed, or the roll of any ball is interfered with during the "act of shooting," then it is a ball-in-hand foul. Note: In this case, the position of the balls is not restored. The incoming player (the player who did not foul) must accept the lay of the balls (as is) and take ball-in-hand anywhere on the table. The "act of shooting" is defined as: A. The final stroke of the cue stick toward and through the cue ball; B. Warm-up strokes are excluded; C. The act continues until all balls have come to a rest.
4.4 - Not during the act of shooting. Except as noted above, American Rotation is played by the "Cue Ball Fouls Only" rules (BCAPL 1-33).
The following are normal ball-in-hand fouls in American Rotation:
5.1 - Improperly disturbing the cue ball (BCAPL 1-33).
5.2 - Failure to execute a legal shot (BCAPL 1-19 and also BCAPL Applied Rulings, Section 10). Some parts of the BCAPL rules do not apply to break shots. See also Rule 7 above.
5.3 - Failure to make a "good hit" (See also Rule 5 above).
5.4 - Failure to drive a ball to the rail after contact or to pocket an object ball (BCAPL 1-19 and also BCAPL Applied Rulings, Section 10).
5.5 - Shooting with both feet off the floor (BCAPL 1-25).
5.6 - Shooting while any ball is in motion (BCAPL 1-26).
5.7 - Pocketing the cue ball. For break shot exceptions, see also Rule 7.7 above.
5.8 - Any ball jumped off the table. For break shot exceptions, see also Rules 7.6 and 7.7 above.
5.9 - Shooting a push shot (BCAPL 1-29 and also BCAPL Applied Rulings, Section 10).
5.10 - Double hitting the cue ball. BCAPL Rule 1-30-1 applies as written BCAPL Rule 1-30-2 is hereby modified to the following: 2. It is a foul if your cue tip is still in contact with the cue ball when the cue ball strikes an object ball. However, such a stroke is hereby ruled legal if no other foul occurs and the shot meets both of the following requirements. A. The alignment of the cue stick, during the final stroke, must be outside the edge (perimeter) of the object ball (the object ball that is to be struck). "Outside the edge" means the cue stick would not have touched the object ball if the cue ball had not been there, and the stroke of the cue stick had a normal, level follow through. B. And, the cue ball travels along a path on or behind the natural tangent line path immediately after contacting the object ball.
5.11 - Deliberately digging (chipping) under the cue ball in order to make it jump (BCAPL 1-34).
5.12 - Marking the table (BCAPL 1-39).
5.13 - The use of a jump cue. However, the opponent must first notify the shooter that only a full length playing cue, used throughout the game, is allowed for any non-break shots, including jump shots. If the shooter, after being notified once in the match, uses a specialized jump cue or his break cue or a partial cue, then it is a ball-in-hand foul. Specialized jump cues and break cues used for jumping are not allowed in American Rotation. Breaking down (shortening) a full length cue for jumping is not allowed. Jump shots must be executed with the playing cue (the one being used throughout the game).
10. Three Consecutive Fouls
After three consecutive visits to the table without executing a legal shot (a shot that does not include a foul), a player has committed three consecutive fouls. The following penalty scenario applies.
When a player commits the third of three consecutive fouls, the opponent (the player who did not commit the three fouls) receives two consecutive "Balls-in-Hand":
2.1 - The first is a single "Free Shot" with ball-in-hand. The free shot consists of placing the cue ball anywhere on the table and hitting any ball. On this free shot, any object ball is a good hit. If no foul occurs (see 10.2.2 below), then any object ball pocketed counts for the player taking the free shot. Calling the shot (object ball to be pocketed) is not required. See also Rule 4.7 above. Pocketing a ball is not required.
2.2 - On the "free shot," if the cue ball is pocketed, then it is not a foul. The shooter receives credit for object balls pocketed, and still receives the second ball in hand. Other fouls remain as fouls.
2.3 - On the free shot, any foul (except as noted in Rule 10.2.2 above) ends the turn and converts the situation into a normal foul situation. The fouling player is now on one consecutive foul. Any ball pocketed is credited to the opponent (the player who did not shoot the free shot).
2.4 - f no foul occurs on that single free shot, then that same player takes ball in hand again. On the next shot (the same as after other fouls), the player should call a ball and pocket or call safe. The player should make a good hit on the lowest object ball remaining on the table. Play continues as normal from this point.
Notification of two fouls
A player must be notified that a second consecutive foul has been committed. Notification should come prior to the next turn at the table for the offending player (the player on two fouls). Otherwise, a foul on the next shot does not count as the third foul. The count remains on two for that player.
Reset to zero
4.1 - A third consecutive foul charged to either player resets the consecutive foul count to zero for both players.
4.2 - Any new rack resets the consecutive foul count to zero for both players.
A foul on any break does not count toward three consecutive fouls.
American Rotation Pool and the American Rotation Pool Rules was invented in Providence, RI (USA) by Joe Tucker in February, 2012. Joe Tucker is a billiard instructor and professional pool player. He tested the concept and the game locally for the next year. In January, 2013 the American Billiard Club was founded (under association of Cue Sports International). In July, 2013, American Rotation Pool was backed by Don Owen of OB Cues.
The official American Rotation Pool Rules are predominently observed in United States.