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Ball In Hand Rule

Ball In Hand Rule

In what year did the "ball in hand anywhere on the table" rule start?

I know about the situation where it is used during the break, but I am asking about after the break e.g. any situation that allows for ball-in-hand during regular play.

This question relates to the following billiard rules:

Ball In Hand Rule

Replies & Comments

  1. guestZeke on 5/17/2013 7:23:28 AM

    Not that long ago! It is the most offensive rule currently in vogue and the result of the coin-op bar table lobbying.

    Anything to shorten the game and induce the feeding of more quarters was the basis.

    The penalty of B-I-H - ANYWHERE ON THE TABLE is so gross, as to reduce the game to one of speed, not skill.

    Many places invoke the local rule, "B-I-H is within the kitchen - NOT anywhere on the table.

    Yes, the coin-op "partners" dislike that exception, but it's not about how much money the table can generate in an hour - it's about the integrity of the game.

    Adopting the B-I-H anywhere on the table rule, is akin to killing a fly with a sledge hammer.

  2. guestguest on 7/20/2013 2:21:37 PM

    Zeke my man, Ball In Hand is a fair punishment for a player who fouls in the game of 8-ball, just as it is the punishment in 9-Ball and 10-Ball.

    Official Rulebooks from the WPA, the BCA and the APA have included ball-in-hand rules for 8-Ball since the mid-90's.

    If you combine Ball-in-Hand with the Rail-After-Contact rule, then players are required to have more skill to pull off a snooker.

    Ball-In-Hand is a terrible rule when combined with typical bar rules such as no punishment for table fouls like missing the balls entirely, but when used like the BCA uses it, it is the most fair way to find out who is the best pool player.

    What is your problem with BIH? Are you just and old fogey who doesn't want to change to a more fair way to play? Are you a fan of dirty pool? Of despicable tactics like scratching or fouling on purpose?

    Ball-in-hand is not about the speed of the game, it is about getting rid of dirty pool, about making the game enjoyable, and giving players a set of rules that can bring the game to the masses and not piss them off with shady play.

    You are dead wrong about BIH being bad for the game, it is the BEST thing for the game.

  3. guestFenwick on 8/5/2013 7:42:32 AM

    Congratulations for hitting the nail on the head.

  4. guestZeke on 8/6/2013 4:07:00 PM

    Given B-I-H anywhere on the table has only been around since the popularity of coin op bar tables. Show me a 9' pro table with coin-ops, one must wonder about any correlation. N'cest pa?

    In amazement I ask, One can only wonder how the game ever survived without B-I-H anywhere on the table was invented ;)

    When all pool tables were rented by the hour - before the coin-slot mechanism were installed on bar tables, B-I-H was the accepted practice and worked for 100 years.

    Now all of a sudden it's wrong? It makes the game "better"? Really?


  5. guestFenwick on 8/6/2013 7:03:22 PM

    "Now all of a sudden it's wrong? It makes the game "better"? Really?"

    Yep. It's called change. Change is inevitable. It would seem you're locked in the past. Lot's of money games on a 9 Ft. table. 8 ball, 9 ball, 10 ball, banks, one pocket and straight pool. There's even a 12 X 6 and a 10 x 5 table for pool, snooker or golf. Come to Romine's High Pocket and see for yourself. http://romineshp.com/ or http://romineshp.com/pages.php?id=74

  6. guestZeke on 8/7/2013 6:24:31 AM

    Change - without IMPROVED results - is the kind this B-I-H anywhere on the table rule - is devoid of.

    Unless of course the "LETS SEE IF WE CAN MAKE MORE MONEY by shortening the game somehow" crowd is the only faction considered.

    All players hate the rule, but somehow the table franchisers and bar owners saw the 30% increase in income as trumping the desires of those that actually play the game.

    The new rule continues to be a function of profit, not the good of the game.

    I have no problem with profit motives. I have a problem with the advocates of "anywhere on the table B-I-H" being only table franchises and bar owners.

    What's next? Play the PGA on 16 holes instead of 18 because the networks can't afford to delay the 6 o'clock news 'til 6:20?

    Where does it end?

  7. guestMitch Alsup on 8/11/2013 4:57:02 PM

    I think the problem with ball-in-hand anywhere on table is that it is the ONLY penalty for a foul. In effect, BIH anywhere is tantamount to equating fisticuffs with murder.

    There should be small fouls (misdemeanors), medium fouls, and BIHA-level fouls (felonies). Things like a miscue on a jump should be in the misdemeanor category. Things like not hitting a legal ball first, CB off table or CB drops in pocket are BIHA-level fouls. Where something like touching the OB with your shirt leaning over the table I will leave for others to decide.

    But I admit that without a referee watching every movement of everything on the table BIHA is the only rational way to run penalties (without spending more time arguing abut whether or not and what level of severity is to be imposed.

    I will say one other thing about this, Pool, back in the days it was popular, was a gentleman's game.

  8. guestZeke on 8/12/2013 5:31:35 AM

    My point exactly!

    The punishment should match the crime. BIHA for minor infractions as I wrote once before, is like killing a fly with a sledge hammer.

    The distortion to the "fairness" of the penalty vs. the crime with BIHA as now invoked has only one basis:

    To make the owner of the table more money by ending games as soon as possible.


  9. guestgibson on 8/12/2013 2:04:59 PM

    I know that Bar Rules will never change, but the FTBIH is slowly being adopted, even by bar players. Back in the stone age, when I first started playing, eight ball was a lot easier to play because of its lack of special rules. Fouls were BIH behind the headstring and if any of your balls including the eight ball were behind the headspot, the closest ball to the line was spotted on the footspot. So spot shots were an important part of your game, just like in most pool games with the same penalty. Sometime in the late sixties, people stopped spotting balls and you were required to shoot an object ball lying in the kitchen after a scratch by shooting forward, which amounts to the player scratching imposing a penalty to the opponent, instead of rightfully to the scratcher. I got into so many arguments about this that I just about gave up playing 8 ball since this rule was unfair. The other part was when they started to call shots in 8 ball. Traditionally, all you had to do was hit one of your own balls first and anything that went in counted and then you called the pocket on the eight. I thought the game moved faster when the old rules applied. I think the no slop bar rules movement was a way for players to extend their time on a coin op table. I always thought that if you want to play any game on a high level you should be playing on a full sized table and not one where the machinery decides the rules. Good players don't need no slop rules because good players don't hit slop shots to begin with.

  10. guestguest on 8/13/2013 1:10:32 PM

    gibson: You are right about the old 8-ball bar rule of spotting balls in the kitchen if those were the only legal object balls on the table for a shooter BIH in the kitchen.

    This is a straight pool 14.1 rule. It was in common use back in the days when straight pool was the most popular game. But now if you asked someone at the local bar to explain straight pool they'd look at your with a blank stare.

    When straight pool went out of vogue, the spotting balls from the kitchen rule fell by the wayside in 8-ball as well.

    If there was some movement to get that spotting rule back into 8-ball I'd support it wholeheartedly. Problem is, many bar players in the modern era wouldn't like that rule either.

    I've played before by what I think is a happy medium between BCA ball-in-hand rules and typical bar rules that move scratches to the kitchen.

    • If the cue goes in a pocket, the shooter goes to the kitchen and must shoot forward, but if all legal object balls are in the kitchen, the legal object ball closest to the headstring will be spotted on the foot spot.
    • Table fouls such as wrong ball first or missing everything gives the incoming player the choice to play balls in position, or go to the kitchen with the same spotting rules as above.

    I've found that bar players are a little more receptive to that set of rules than just BIH for everything, but you still can't really screw someone by fouling on purpose.

  11. guestFenwick on 8/13/2013 4:50:46 PM

    You know your pool. I would guess you are also open minded unlike some others.

  12. guestMitch Alsup on 8/14/2013 8:45:49 PM

    The BIKitchen rules are completely unfair. Say an opponent has his only balls in the kitchen and you have a tough shot. Just shoot to scratch and snooker your opponent on a foul. This is the major reason for BIHA.

    On the other hand BIHA seems unfair when you attempt a tough shot and miss the OB by less than a millimeter. I am not suggesting I know what a reasonable rule to this foul happens to be, and I do understand that one would need a qualified referee to stand and observe such a shot to insure full compliance to the rule set.

  13. guestZeke on 8/15/2013 6:50:25 AM

    Mitch, I think you reflect solid logic on why BIHA vs. BIH-kitchen only is complicated, but doesn't address the nefarious reason the rule was changed.

    It's about money and greed at the expense of the better players. I'm not talking about the shot 'n a beer joints with 6' tables that have more house rules than a potato has eyes and play is governed by whomever has 4-quarters lined up on a nearby table for "next turn buy-ins"

    I'm referring to league play which is usually pretty consistent with established national rules and players who prioritize playing pool - over getting a bag on.

    Those are the players that have been hurt by the BIHA rules change.

    But because the coin-op pool table leasing and sales companies are in bed with bar owners with the revenue increases that the the "new rules" generates, are "organized" and can by dominating the industry, promulgate such rules, which ultimately, overwhelm the individual players that are then forced to abide by these money making schemes - or have no place to play - is evident.

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Ball In Hand Rule

  • Title: Ball In Hand Rule
  • Author:
  • Published: 5/16/2013 3:41:12 PM
  • Last Updated: 1/20/2017 11:29:30 AM
  • Last Updated By: billiardsforum (Billiards Forum)