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10 Ball Rules

This is the snooker version of 10 Ball Rules. Are you looking for the 10 ball billiards rules version?

10 Ball Billiards Rules - How To Play 10 Ball Billiards

Billiard Lingo - 10 Ball

If there are any terms throughout the 10 Ball rules that you do not understand, you can search our billiard terms glossary in the search box near the top left of the page, or search the billiard terms glossary directly.

Type of Game

The players decide who plays first, and the break shot player must alternate for each frame. The balls are set and the cue ball is played from any point on or behind the baulk line by the on-player. The on-player scores points by pocketing reds and colors alternately starting with a red ball. When a red ball is legally pocketed, the player may continue their play and attempt to pocket any of the colors on the table. Every colored ball must be clearly nominated before striking the cue-ball. The value of the first colored ball legally potted during each individual break denotes the value of all of the colored balls throughout that break. For example, if the first colored ball pocketed during the break is the blue ball, all of the colored balls on the table for that break are worth five points. The colored balls revert to their original value when the on-player fails to pocket a ball. When the final red ball is pocketed and the next colored ball played, the colored balls are then pocketed in ascending order of their original set value, starting with the Green Ball,3 points, finishing with the Ten Ball, 10 points.

The Break Shot

The inning begins with the first strike of the cue ball. The cue ball must hit the apex red ball of the diamond configuration, breaking open the balls, so that at least four red balls hit the cushions or pockets of the table. If during this break shot, or at any stage during the inning, more than one red is pocketed in a single stroke, the player scores one point per pocketed red ball, continues their play, and must attempt to sink the same amount of colors as pocketed reds, but only in succession. If the cue ball or a colored ball enters a pocket during the break shot, it is deemed to be a foul, and all of the pocketed balls are respotted.

Continuation of Play

The player about to play or in-play is the "on-player" and remains as such until completion of the stroke or break. A ball must touch a cushion or be potted for a stroke to be deemed legal. If a red ball is legally pocketed, it remains out of play. If a colored ball is legally pocketed after sinking a red ball, it is replaced on its original position before the next stroke is made. The next player plays from where the cue-ball comes to rest. If the frame has not reached a conclusion when the only remaining ball is the Ten Ball, the first score or foul ends the frame. A red ball potted during an illegal stroke or off the table is repositioned on the center spot. If a foul stroke has been played, then all of the pocketed balls are respotted. If, while re-spotting any ball, the deemed spot is occupied, the ball is placed on the highest available spot. If no spots are available, then the ball is placed at the nearest point to it's designated spot, in direct line with the top cushion. If the cue ball has been pocketed, or is off the table, it must be replaced on the Brown ball spot, or if that spot is occupied, on either the Green ball spot or the Blue ball spot. If all three spots are occupied, the cue-ball must be placed on the baulk line between the Blue ball spot and the Green Ball spot. If at the end of the frame the scores are equal, a shoot out decides the winner of the game. The first pocketing of a ball after an even amount of turns, or a foul, ends the frame. This style of shoot out may also be used to decide the breaking player. A ball cannot be removed from the table and cleaned unless there is a foreign object on it. In 10 Ball, chalk dust is not deemed to be a foreign object.

10 Ball Penalties

If a foul is committed all balls shall remain where positioned, except if pocketed, or shot off of the table, in which case they shall be correctly spotted. A jump shot is not deemed to be a foul stroke. All points scored before the foul stroke are allowed. When a foul shot has been played, the next player has the option of taking the cue ball in hand or adding 10 points to their score, either playing the cue ball from its resting position or requesting the previous player to play again from the resting position. The resting position is also the respotted position, if the cue ball has been potted or is off the table. If the on-player decides to play in-hand, the cue ball may be positioned anywhere on the table and played in any direction. All fouls incur this choice of penalty apart from one; On the break shot, if four balls do not touch a cushion or the cue ball does not strike the apex red ball first, the next player has the option of either playing in-hand or requesting the previous player to break again.

10 Ball Fouls

The following situations are deemed to be fouls:

  • When playing at a red ball, the cue ball strikes any ball on the first strike other than a red ball. (Apex red on break shot.)
  • When playing at a colored ball, the cue-ball strikes any ball on the first strike other than the nominated colored ball.
  • When playing at a red ball, the on-player pockets any ball other than a red ball.
  • When playing at a colored ball, the on-player pockets any ball other than the nominated colored ball.
  • When playing at a colored ball, the on-player does not nominate a colored ball before striking the cue ball.
  • When the cue ball does not strike a ball during a stroke.
  • Shooting when the balls on the billiard table are not yet at rest.
  • Striking when the balls are not at rest.
  • Striking the cue ball more than one time per stroke.
  • Playing a stroke with both feet off the floor.
  • Playing out of turn. (Yes, it does happen!)
  • Pushing the cue ball or playing a push stroke. If however, the cue ball and an on-ball are almost touching, it shall be deemed a fair stroke if the cue-ball clips the finest possible edge of the on-ball.
  • Forcing a ball off the table if during a stroke, no balls touch a cushion or are potted. A ball at rest on a cushion is not deemed to have hit the cushion during the stroke.
  • If the on-player strikes any ball other than the cue ball, or touches the cue ball with anything other than the tip of the cue.
  • Playing at red balls in successive strokes.
  • Uses a ball, other than the nominated cue ball, as the cue-ball.
  • If players are deemed, by a referee, consensus, or other authoritative governing body, to be taking an abnormal amount of time over strokes.
  • If players conduct themselves in a manner which is deemed unsportsmanlike.

A player will lose the frame if they commit three successive fouls. Players will be warned by the referee, or other authoritative governing body (or by consensus in informal situations) that they are liable to be disqualified if they persist in any of the above fouls. If a player refuses to continue a frame or they conduct themselves in a manner which, in the opinion of the referee is willfully or persistently unfair, they shall lose the game by forfeit. A foul is any act which contravenes these rules.

Other 10 Ball Incidentals

The next player shoots from where the cue ball comes to rest. If the cue ball is deemed to be touching another ball the on-player must play away from this ball. This is not considered a foul stroke.

All balls being respotted shall be spotted on their original spot. If the deemed spot is occupied, the ball is placed on the highest available spot. If no spot is available, the ball is spotted on the nearest point to it's designated spot, in direct line with the top cushion.

If when playing a stroke it is discovered that a ball is not correctly spotted, if on the table it will be considered to be correctly spotted, and if not on the table it will be spotted before the next stroke. It is up to the striker to ensure that all balls are correctly spotted before striking. If a ball is moved by someone other than by the striker, it shall be repositioned an agreed position by the players.

The off-player shall at all times try to avoid moving whilst in the on-player's sight line, especially when the opponent is about to strike. This prevents distraction.

In games with more than two players, each side shall open the frames in turn. If playing in teams, at the beginning of each frame the order of play is decided and must remain the same throughout the frame. The players within a team, however, may change the order of play at the commencement of each frame. Players on the same side may confer during a game but not whilst one of the players is playing at the table and not after the first stroke of their break.

Wheelchair players must remain seated with their feet on footplates or blocks which must be clear of the ground. Officials and other players are allowed to assist wheelchair players who are having difficulty placing and removing ancillary equipment from the table during play.

The referee shall be the sole judge of play and whether it is deemed to be fair or unfair. The referee shall intervene if there is any contravention of the rules, if a player is color blind to call the color of the balls on request, or clean any ball if necessary or requested. The referee shall not answer any question not authorized in the rules, indicate to a player that they are about to play a foul stroke or give any advice or opinion which may affect the game. If a referee has not been appointed, decisions must be made by the players in a fair and rational manner.

10 Ball Rules

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10 Ball Rules History

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How to Play 10 Ball

Questions about 10 Ball Rules:

  • Title: 10 Ball Rules
  • Author: (Billiards Forum)
  • Published: 1/1/2006 11:32:44 PM
  • Last Updated: 6/26/2006 11:12:44 AM
  • Last Updated By: billiardsforum
  • Source: Internet

10 Ball Rules

The 10 Ball Rules article belongs to the Snooker Rules category. Snooker is a type of cue sport game that is played on a snooker table.

10 Ball Rules Comments

  1. Don ReaDon Rea from Victoria, BC on 5/27/2011 2:06:38 PM

    In my opinion, the following requires clarification:

    When a foul shot has been played, the next player has the option of taking the cue ball in hand or adding 10 points to their score, either playing the cue ball from its resting position or requesting the previous player to play again from the resting position. The resting position is also the respotted position, if the cue ball has been potted or is off the table. If the on-player decides to play in-hand, the cue ball may be positioned anywhere on the table and played in any direction. All fouls incur this choice of penalty apart from one; On the break shot, if four balls do not touch a cushion or the cue ball does not strike the apex red ball first, the next player has the option of either playing in-hand or requesting the previous player to break again.

    In view of the limited space here, can you put me in touch with someone with whom I can exchange emails directly?

  2. dax00dax00 from Boston, MA on 5/24/2017 9:23:31 AM

    To Don Rea above:

    The offender's opponent has the option to:

    1. Take ball-in-hand anywhere on the table, in which case he earns no penalty points; or
    2. Accept the cue ball in position, in which case he earns 10 penalty points. He may then either:
      • ...play the shot himself, or
      • ...elect to have his opponent play the shot.

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