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Is Snookering Your Opponent Legal in 8 Ball Pool?


Is Snookering Your Opponent Legal in 8 Ball Pool?

My mates and I have been playing 8 ball pool each week for a couple of years.

One of the players argued that it is a foul when an opponent plays a "legal shot" by striking the object ball, causing either the cue ball or object ball (or both) to hit the cushion and come to rest there as such that it leaves the incoming player snookered on his next shot.

The incoming player finds himself blocked (snookered) when shooting the cue ball because of the previous player's object ball resting between the cue ball and incoming players target balls. As such, that player proceeded to declare a foul when his inning began.

Can this type "snookering" be a foul in 8 ball pool, even though it was a legal shot?

I can see the argument of this if a player just taps the cue ball enough to contact the object ball and cushion, leaving the opponent snookered without making an honest attempt at a pocket.

Now he is arguing that if even a part of his ball is blocked in this above manner, then the previous player is assessed a foul.

This question relates to the following billiard rules:

Is Snookering Your Opponent Legal in 8 Ball Pool?

Replies & Comments

  1. Flax-hatFenwick on 12/7/2007 11:33:11 AM

    This is called called a "safety" in 8 Ball, so that's what you'll want to look for in the official rules. In most cases, a "safety" shot is not only a great shot, it is a smart shot.

    It is completely normal in 8 ball pool, and if this one poor-sport has a problem with the rules, then it's his problem. Sorry if I sound harsh but it sounds like a little temper tantrum on the school play grounds by a 10 year old boy wanting his own way. Tell him to take his cue stick and go home to Mum's. Have him do a search and find the rule in print to prove his point. That should end the problem and perhaps save the friendship.

    However, I should note that there are specific rules which must be followed if a player intends to play a safety shot in 8 ball. He may have said that if you didn't make the required declaration.

    Here are the relevant sections of the World Pool-Billiard Association 8 Ball rules which apply (emphasis mine):

    1. The WPA rules define a Safety Shot in section 8.17 - "Safety Shot".

      8.17 - Safety Shot

      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.

    2. 8 Ball rule #3.6 - "Shots Required to Be Called" tells us that 8 ball is a "standard call shot" game, and players should observe section 1.6 "Standard Call Shot" of the General Rules of Pocket Billiards.

      3.6 - Shots Required to Be Called

      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.)

    3. General Rule #1.6 - "Standard Call Shot" tells us that if you intend to play a safety shot in 8 ball pool, you must call "safety" instead of a ball and a target pocket. It also specifies that when you do this, play always passes to the opponent at the end of the shot.

      1.6 - Standard Call Shot

      In games in which the shooter is required to call shots, the intended ball and pocket must be indicated for each shot if they are not obvious. Details of the shot, such as cushions struck or other balls contacted or pocketed are irrelevant. Only one ball may be called on each shot. For a called shot to count, the referee must be satisfied that the intended shot was made, so if there is any chance of confusion, e.g. with bank, combination and similar shots, the shooter should indicate the ball and pocket. If the referee or opponent is unsure of the shot to be played, he may ask for a call.

      In call shot games, the shooter may choose to call "safety" instead of a ball and pocket, and then play passes to the opponent at the end of the shot. Whether balls are being spotted after safeties depends on the rules of the particular game.

    4. 8 Ball rule #3.7 - "Spotting Balls" tells us that except for the 8 ball, no other object ball is ever spotted in 8 ball pool. From that we can say that any object balls pocketed on a safety shot shall remain pocketed.

      3.7 - Spotting Balls

      If the eight ball is pocketed or driven off the table on the break, it will be spotted or the balls will be re-racked. (See 3.3 Break Shot and 1.4 Spotting Balls.) No other object ball is ever spotted.

  2. Flax-hatFlax-hat on 12/7/2007 12:37:21 PM

    Thanks @Fenwick.

    That's the way I felt about it, as I couldn't find a rule for that in print.

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Is Snookering Your Opponent Legal in 8 Ball Pool?

  • Title: Is Snookering Your Opponent Legal in 8 Ball Pool?
  • Author: (Harold Deeley)
  • Published: 12/6/2007 11:49:36 PM
  • Last Updated: 12/11/2022 9:48:39 AM
  • Last Updated By: billiardsforum (Billiards Forum)