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CRUD Billiard Rules

The current generation of CRUD pool rules were developed by Bill "Blister" Townsley of the American CRUD Players Association. More details on the history, the organization, etc. can be found near the end of the article. Other information was sourced from f-16.net and the Canadian Contingent website.

CRUD is entrusting billiard game that is played without pool cues and in certain modes, such as combat mode, allows full body contact. It also allows lower ranking officers challenge senior officers without any risk of being punished for their actions. From this alone it shows that CRUD is a game that likely builds camaraderie among the troops.

CRUD Pool Rules - Set-Up

No special billiard equipment is required for the game of CRUD. It is played on any pool or billiard table including snooker tables. The Canadian contingent website recommends asking the order of the pool table before play begins. They've insinuated that there were situations where the police have been called or bouncers have to intervene.

According to CRUD rules, the game requires hand eye coordination, skill, a team, and members who have decent stamina. The goal of CRUD is to sink the object ball by striking it with the cue ball, or, to keep the object ball in motion for a distance of at least 6 inches.

CRUD is best played on a snooker table, but any pool or billiard people may used. Other equipment includes the cue ball, and one striped object ball.

CRUD pool rules indicate play as follows. Player A sets an object ball in motion by striking the cue ball cue ball with his or her finger. The other members of the team must either keep the object ball moving on the table, pocket the object ball, or cause an opposing team member to miss hitting the object ball until it stops moving.

CRUD billiard rules tend to very from troop to troop, base to base, and country to country, and thus play is subject to the posted were briefed rules. Typically, illegal situations or fouls will be posted on a rule sheet. Fouls are referred to as a "life" which are tracked on a board next to the player's name.

A team wins the game at the point when it has successfully eliminated each player from the opposing team.

CRUD Rules Scoring

A CRUD player is eliminated when he or she has accumulated three lives from committing fouls or errors as determined by the judge or the referee. A player accumulates of life when he or she:

  • strikes an object ball which is pocketed next via shooter from the opposing team
  • allows the object ball to stop before being struck during their turn
  • takes a shot from any position other than the short ends of the table
  • takes a shot out of turn
  • over any other fowl or reason as deemed appropriate by the ref three or judge.

An officiating judge or referee is important part of CRUD pool rules. Typically either one or two judges or referees are used. If two referees are used one of those referees will be assigned the duties of judge. The judge shall give final ruling for any disputes, and their ruling cannot be contested. Players may not interfere with the referee and must play around them. The referee and or judge may assess a life as they deem fit for any instances of interference. And what the judge is not permitted, however the team's captain may discuss specific rulings until the replay or a final decision is declared. If the argument continues past this point a life may be assessed.

Ball Off The Table - a ball off the table situation occurs when the shooter ball was struck as such that it causes you to the shooter ball over the object ball to lead the surface of the table. Leaving the service is defined as a ball touching any surface other than that of the bed of the table. This includes contact with the actual players. In these situations the life will be called over any other life resulting from events in that round.

Choice - In CRUD rules, the next player in turn from the team that most recently received a life as the choice to receive or to serve in order to open the next round. However if the single man rule applies is the only privilege offered to the single man.

Blocking - the current shooter always has the main right to the table. This means that the shooting player shall have the right to access the shooter ball without being blocked by the defender. Yes I know this sounds strange, but the shooter has a right to make a shot. The shooters movement may not be blocked along the runway which is the long sides of the pool table. If the blocking is accidental the judge or referee may rule as such. The shooter may not grab onto the defender but may use their arms to block or clear any blocking action of the defender that hinders sight. The defender has the blocking rights and restrictions as follows:

  • the player on deck has no blocking rights
  • the defender may not touch either of the Crud balls or the shooters for arm or hand during a shots execution
  • the defender may show resistance but is not allowed to use any holding techniques and must willingly give way without resisting excessively to the shooters attempt to establish position for shot. With that said the shooter may only take as much room as is reasonably required to execute a shot. There can be no excessive force, hard pushing, hitting with hands, shoulders, hips, were elbows by either the defender or the shooter. This includes instances where the defender or the shooter are trying to establish their position.
  • during the ECM the defender's arms and hands must both be in constant movement and closer to the object ball than the shooters face. The defender may readjust and create the ECM again if the defender's hands are swept away by the shooter

CRUD - the shooters center abdomen must be within the foul lines when making a shot.

Contested Decision - as mentioned earlier team captains have the ability to contest decisions. In the rare event that a contest is accepted, the judge shall declare a replay or a decision final.

Decision Final - a decision final is a judges indication that the contested issue will no longer be discussed or entertained.

Dead Ball - a dead Ball occurs when the object ball ceases to move any longer. The neck shooter has full responsibility for the continued movement of the object ball regardless of opportunity except when the "No Six" rule applies.

Are a few other definitions that apply to Crud pool rules.

  • FOD - stands for foreign object debris on the playing surface. Clothing still the players bodies does not count as FOD unless a touch of the object Ball while in play. Players shoes or feet may not touch the playing surface or bumpers and the offender may not rest on the table when a shooter is initiating play.
  • ECM - the defender's visual blocking of the shooting player. All blocking rules apply.
  • Delay of game - judges and referees may impose a five second limit players resort to delay tactics.
  • Double Kiss - a double kiss occurs when the object Ball is trapped at least twice by the shooter's Ball. Under this regulation the ball does not need to travel the normal minimum of 6 inches. The referee will declare the shot as a double kiss.
  • Drop Shot - the cue ball, or shooter Ball, must touch the playing surface before it strikes the object Ball. Hence the name, players may not drop shot directly onto the object Ball.
  • Foot off the runway - were shot is being executed at least some part of the player slut must be on the runway and within the foul lines. The defender's feet must be on the runway somewhere around the CRUD table when actually defending.
  • Intruder - an intruder is an authorized player on the runway. During the round only the shooter the next shooter and the player on deck may be on the runway. The exiting shooter must always expeditiously leave the playing area.
  • Foul Lines - foul lines of the imaginary lines extending vertically and laterally 45 to the corner pockets of the table.
  • Lag - as mentioned earlier the lag is used at the beginning of the game to determine who has choice of for shot. Team captains take the lag from the footer and of the table at the same time. As in traditional billiards, whichever players ball returns closest to the rail is the winner of the lag.
  • No Six - players personally call"no six" before taking any shot in order to stop the round. The object Ball must travel 6 inches whenever it is hit including the bumper bounce except in cases of the double kiss shot. The judge determines if the distance traveled is sufficient. If the judge determines that there is less than 6 inches between the centers of each ball, the shooter receives a life. If more than 6 inches have been traveled, life is a dead ball on the ball in hand player. The referee does not declare "no-six" in these situations but rather rules on its validity when declared by the player.
  • Life - a life is the imposition of any infraction based on the rules of Crud billiards.
  • Object Ball - only the shooter may touch the object Ball. The object Ball must either be kept in motion or be pocketed.
  • Wrong Ball - a wrong Ball situation occurs if during play the shooter touches the object Ball.
  • Substitution - according to Crud billiard rules substitutions are not allowed without consent of the judge.
  • Receiver or Next Shooter - the receiver is the defender as the round begins in the next shooter is the next player after the shooter at any point during play.
  • Player on Deck -the player on deck is the next player in the rotation. The player on deck is allowed to be in the runway but must keep 3 feet away from the receiver at minimum as well as 3 feet away from the next shooter. The player on deck as no blocking rights.
  • Push Shot - and shower the shooter balls propelled by the players finger is considered a push shot. This is legal as long as the shooting player's fingers are not touching the shooter ball after it has touched the object Ball.
  • Warning - if a player executes a play which the judge determines to be very close to a play that would warrant a life, the player may be assessed the warning. A warning typically means that if the instance occurs again a life will be assessed.
  • Shooter Ball - typically the cue ball, the shooter ball can be picked up touched by the receiver or the next shooter from anywhere around the table only after it strikes the object ball in order to shoot in accordance with the rules. In order to strike the object Ball still in motion, the shooter may retrieve the shooter ball even from a pocket, and take as many shots as required. Accidental release of the shooter Ball is not held against the shooter unless it touches an object Ball. All shots must be directed toward the object ball and not other players. The only exception to this rule is the case where defender places any part of his or her clothing or body blow bumper level and in the vicinity of the object ball. In these situations the interfering player will be liable for an "out of turn foul" if struck by the shooter ball prior to its contact with the object ball.
  • Round - around starts with the service shot and ends when a life is called or when the play is stopped for any reason.
  • Unsportsmanlike conduct - unsportsmanlike conduct is defined as an action or language which the judge determines to be unsuitable for the game at hand. Infractions shall be assessed with a life.
  • Roughing The Judge - as one would expect, no players may make contact with the judge as such that he or she must regain composure or balance.
  • Runway - The runway is an area 3 feet wide around the table in which the shooter player on deck and the next shooter may be located. It is the responsibility of the previous shooter to leave the runway as quickly as possible without interfering with active players.
  • Playing out of Turn - anytime a player touches the shooter ball when it is not their turn will be assessed a "playing out of turn" by the referee. Team captains may also stop play when this occurs and inform the judge but doing so risks a life. If the instance is verified by the judge the offending player receives a life. If the instance is not verified a life will be assessed for stopping play. In this situation play resumes with the next posted player.
  • Pocket - a pocket occurs, of course, when an object Ball is hit into and remains in one of the pockets. What a pocket is made the judge shall determine who receives the life from the opposite team. The judge makes this decision based on their opinion of whether or not the shooter had any opportunity to influence the play with a valid shot. If the next shooter did have the ability to influence play that shooter shall receive one life. If they did not, the life is assessed against the previous shooter on that team.
  • Shooter - the shooter is the "offender" as the round begins, it is the player with the responsibility for making the next shot before the object Ball the dead or pocketed.
  • Scratch - a scratch occurs when, during service, the serving player neglects to strike the spotted object Ball after three tries.
  • Single Man - what teams didn't be down to only one player remaining that player has the choice at the beginning of each round whether to receive or to serve. When the single man faces more than one opponent, is given full ownership of the table and may not be physically blocked. ECM is permitted however. When both remaining teams have only one player each, typical choice rules apply and blocking rules remain in effect.
  • Service - service refers to the opening event of each round, and is similar to a break shot in traditional billiards. The object ball spotted on the centerline approximately 6 inches from the receiver end of the table. The shooter has up to three attempts to hit the spotted object Ball and may use any number of bumper bounces. The movement of the shooter ball may only be stopped by the judge or the shooter. Any instance where the shooter ball travels more than half of the length table shall be deemed one try.
  • Replay - if her replay is called following a contested decision, each team begins from the start of the round in question. Typically, team captains or selected players face-off in a one-on-one fashion with permission from the judge. Choice goes to the team having had possession of the cue ball at the start of the round in question.

There is also a version of full body contact CRUD called combat CRUD. Combat CRUD allows full checking and blocking similar to hockey. In this situation, junior officers are permitted to knock over generals without fearing typical military consequences.

CRUD Billiard Rules

If you have any questions about CRUD Billiard Rules, please post them in the pool rules forum.

...or view existing CRUD Billiard Rules questions in the forum.

CRUD Billiard Rules History

CRUD is a type of cue-less billiard game which was developed by World War II pilots from the Royal Canadian Air Force sometime around 1958-1959.

The pilots were apparently held over in Gander Newfoundland and were waiting for a flight to the United Kingdom. While they were waiting they attempt to play traditional billiards on an airfield billiard table. After discovering that the previous players had broken all of the pool cues, they had no choice but to develop a game using only their fingers.

This game was called CRUD. Since its inception, CRUD has grown to be played all throughout the military in all parts of the world. Many speculate that CRUD remains a strictly military game since most billiard hall owners would not allow such type of games in their establishment. Thus players are restricted to playing CRUD only in their mess halls.

For a full history of CRUD billiards, see the detailed history of CRUD billiards as researched and documented by Bill Townsley.

The official CRUD pool rules were first documented and printed in 1988 by Bill "Blister" Townsley, the founder, president, and commissioner of the American CRUD Players Association. The rules have had slight adjustments since then, with updates in 2007, 2010, and 2014.

Here are the latest four versions of the official CRUD rules:

The official CRUD Billiard Rules are predominently observed in Canada.

The official governing body for CRUD Billiard Rules is the American CRUD Players Association (ACPA).

How to Play CRUD Billiard

  • Title: CRUD Billiard Rules
  • Author: (William Townsley)
  • Published: 4/9/2008 10:22:00 PM
  • Last Updated: 3/15/2017 3:29:57 PM
  • Last Updated By: billiardsforum (Billiards Forum)
  • Source: American CRUD Players Association, Bill Townsley

CRUD Billiard Rules

The CRUD Billiard Rules article belongs to the Cueless Billiard Game Rules category. Cueless billiards is a newly developing form of billiards where no cue sticks are used to move the balls around the table.

CRUD Billiard Rules Comments

  1. SnaggletoothSnaggletooth from New Haven, CT on 4/20/2009 4:16:59 PM

    There was a decent contingent of CRUD pool players at Princeton University from around 1992 to 1998 at a few of the eating clubs there. The CRUD rules were similar to those shown here, although there was no deliberate contact or blocking allowed. However, incidental contact, and a few hits by balls to the chest and face did occur frequently. Looking through the rules here, the idea of the game is similar, although play was without teams and most of the details for our rules were homegrown e.g. you could only shoot from the opposite short side, etc. Interestingly, I don't know of any direct military link that brought the game to campus.

  2. Bill Blister TownsleyBill Blister Townsley from Yorktown, VA on 3/29/2010 5:05:22 AM

    I wrote the 1988 CRUD rules and updated them in 2000. Per your reference, that can be determined by my PDF:

    aifcv.org/pdf/CRUDRULES2000.pdf.

    CRUD rules are copyrighted, but I love the game enough to let it get around however. I would just like a little more credit for putting the rules together after working at it for 5 years beginning in 1983. The game wasn't actually invented until about 1960, not WWII as somebody wanted to write for it's ambiance. I have done much research in Canada on the matter.

    But, thanks for the effort on getting the game out there.

    Blister Townsley (Col, USAF, Ret),

    Founder of the American CRUD Players Association
    Developer of standard CRUD rules used by AIR COMBAT COMMAND in several tournaments held in Tucson and Las Vegas before 9/11.

  3. AramisAramis from Anchorage, AK on 10/30/2010 1:50:03 PM

    I've seen CRUD pool played at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Alaska, USA, since the mid 1980's, whilst still a cadet. That dates it to before 1988. It seemed to be all the rage in 1985-1987 at the O-Club, in "The Cave", which was the downstairs bar.

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