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Is it Legal to Gently Tap the Cue Ball Into the Object Ball?


Is it Legal to Gently Tap the Cue Ball Into the Object Ball?

I was playing eight ball pool the other day and got into a conflict over the rules.

I had only the 8 ball remaining. My opponent had one object ball remaining.

It was my opponent's shot. Before his shot, the cue ball was positioned closely behind his final object ball.

To keep me from getting a good shot at the 8 ball, he gently taps the cue ball into his object ball as such that it only moves about a half of an inch (if that), with the cue ball being frozen (or close to it) to the object ball.

This left me with no shot.

Is that legal (safety shot) or is there some rule saying that the object ball and/or cue ball has to go a certain distance?

This question relates to the following billiard rules:

Is it Legal to Gently Tap the Cue Ball Into the Object Ball?

Replies & Comments

  1. excaliberuser1199646544 on 1/6/2008 7:09:04 PM

    No. What you have described is an illegal attempt at "playing safe".

    There are three components of a legal safety shot.

    1. The player must indicate the intention to play a safety shot
    2. The cue ball must hit a ball of your group first
    3. You must drive any one or more ball(s) into a rail (or into a pocket).

    Obviously, if during this shot, you pocket the 8 ball, it is a loss of game. If you pocket the cue ball it is a standard foul (with ball in hand for your opponent).

    NOTE: This is the rule in most leagues such as BCA, VNEA,etc. However, there are leagues like the APA (the Busch league of old) that allow "slop", in which case you don't have to designate a specific pocket for your ball to go in to. You still have to hit your group first or it is a foul, but you can slam and bang and hope that one of yours goes in and it's a good shot.


    Here are the relevant sections from the WPA rules:

    Section 3.6 Shots Required to be Called tells us that (a) a player must call "safety" if that is the intention, and (b) if a safety is called, it means that play automatically passes to the opponent at the end of the shot.

    3.6 Shots Required to Be Called (8 Ball)

    On each shot except the break, shots must be called as explained in 1.6 Standard Call Shot. The eight ball may be called only after the shot on which the shooter’s group has been cleared from the table. The shooter may call “safety” in which case play passes to the opponent at the end of the shot and any object ball pocketed on the safety remains pocketed. (See 8.17 Safety Shot.)

    Section 8.17 further defines the safety shot. It confirms the points made in section 3.6 above:

    8.17 Safety Shot (8 Ball)

    A shot is said to be a safety shot if the game in play is a call shot game and the shooter declared the shot to the referee or his opponent to be a “safety” before the shot. Play passes to the other player at the end of a safety shot.

    Section 3.9 of the rules of 8 ball tell us that "no rail after contact" is a "standard foul" in 8 ball pool:

    3.9 Standard Fouls (8 Ball)

    If the shooter commits a foul, play passes to his opponent. The cue ball is in hand, and the incoming player may place it anywhere on the playing surface. (See 1.5 Cue Ball in Hand.)

    The following are standard fouls at eight ball:

    • [...]
    • (6.3) No Rail after Contact
    • [...]

    Section 6.3 expands the detail on the "no rail after contact" standard foul. Again, this tells us that if no balls are pocketed, then failure to contact a rail is indeed a foul.

    6.3 No Rail after Contact (8 Ball)

    If no ball is pocketed on a shot, the cue ball must contact an object ball, and after that, at least one ball (cue ball or any object ball) must be driven to a rail, or the shot is a foul. (See 8.4 Driven to a Rail.)

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Is it Legal to Gently Tap the Cue Ball Into the Object Ball?

  • Title: Is it Legal to Gently Tap the Cue Ball Into the Object Ball?
  • Author: (Zach Anderson)
  • Published: 2/9/2007 11:09:05 PM
  • Last Updated: 3/22/2022 8:13:33 AM
  • Last Updated By: billiardsforum (Billiards Forum)