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ScratchBall Billiard Rules

Scratchball rules are relatively new in the world of cue sports. The scratchball rules are broken into two main parts; general scratchball rules and tournament scratchball rules. With the exception of a scratch not being considered a foul shot, Billiard Congress of America (BCA) General Rules of Pool apply to ScratchBall billiards.

ScratchBall Billiard Rules - How to Rack the Balls

Below is a picture showing the proper way to set up the rack in ScratchBall Billiard Rules:

How to rack in scratchball billiards

General Scratchball Billiard Rules

The object of scratchball is to actually pocket the cue ball. Scratchball is played with a set of scratchball billiard balls which consists of 14 black balls, one orange ball, and one cue ball. Balls are racked as they are with 8 ball, with the orange ball in the center of the rack. See the diagram below.

The object of scratchball billiard rules is to scratch while you sink the counter balls or the dead ball in order to gain points. When you fail to scratch in a game of scratchball billiards, your inning ends, and the next player approaches the billiard table. The game of scratchball is best played with two to three players.

Scratchball Billiards Scoring Rules

  • Scratch but do not sink a ball = 0 points + continue your turn...
  • and sink counter ball = 5 points per ball + continue your turn...
  • and sink dead ball = 10 points + continue your turn.
  • No scratch and sink counter balls = 1 point per ball + end your turn...
  • and sink dead ball = 0 points for that turn + end your turn.
  • Foul = subtract 5 points + end your turn.

As you can see, the scoring rules for scratchball billiards are fairly simple. Here are some of the other basic rules of scratchball billiards:

  1. The cue ball is required to strike a counter ball in order for your inning to continue.
  2. If the object ball is the dead ball, and you fail to scratch, then no points are received even if you pocket a counter ball.
  3. The game of scratchball billiards comes to an end when there is only one ball remaining on the billiard table.
  4. Reset shot rules are as follows: (Use after a scratch or after sinking the dead ball)
  5. On a reset shot, if the cue ball follows a counter ball into the same pocket, you lose your turn and all points for that shot.
  6. Reset the cue ball anywhere you like.
  7. Reset the dead ball on the foot spot.
  8. On a reset shot, if the player shoots the dead ball or sinks the dead ball; he or she loses his or her turn and all points associated with that shot.

Scratchball Billiards Tournament Rules

The scratchball tournament rules are the same as the official 8 ball rules, and the scoring is the same as the easy-play version of scratchball rules as listed above. Scoring is cumulative for each game, and the highest score after three games of play is granted the win.

Scratchball Rules - Taking Turns

When a player neglects to scratch in a game of scratchball pool rules, his or her turn ends. When a player commits a foul, his or her turn comes to an end.

The cue ball may follow any other ball into a pocket except on a reset shot. (see reset shot) When shooting the dead ball, the player must scratch and pocket it, otherwise their turn ends.

Scratchball Billiards Reset Shot

The player resets the cue ball anywhere on the table or the dead ball on the foot spot. On the reset shot, the object ball cannot be the dead ball. If the player shoots the dead ball or the dead ball is accidentally pocketed, that ends your turn. On the reset shot, if the cue ball goes in the same pocket as a counter ball then your turn is over.

Scratchball Dead Ball Rules

When shooting the dead ball, the player must scratch and pocket the dead ball, otherwise his or her turn is terminated and he or she forfeits all points earned from that shot. In easy play rules the dead ball can be sunk by accident. With tournament rules, the dead ball must be a call shot. If the dead ball is sunk by accident, even if you scratch, you lose your turn and receive 0 points for the shot.

Scratchball End of Game

When one ball is left alone on the table, or the table is cleared, the game ends.

Scratchball Sudden Death

To break a tie game, the players compete in a game of sudden death scratchball. To begin the scratchball sudden death match, reset the table with only the dead ball and the cue ball, set the dead ball on the foot spot, and shoot the cue ball from behind the head string. Each scratchball sudden death player gets only one shot. The table is reset after each shot. After each player has a turn and the tie is not broken, another game of scratchball sudden death shall be executed. If it is still a tie game after three games of sudden death and the scratchball game is to be considered a stalemate.

Scratchball Rules - Alternatives

There are several alternate rules for playing a game of scratchball billiards.

  1. Easy-Play version of scratchball billiards, as seen above.
  2. The dead ball stays down and is not reset after it is sunk the first time. This version may be necessary with coin operated tables
  3. Treat the dead ball the same as a counter.
  4. For practicing scratch shots, try playing without keeping score.

Some Scratchball Billiard Rules Tips

  • Opposite of normal pool games, concentrate on sinking the cue ball and not the counters. This will continue your play. The longer you play the better your chance of making points.
  • If you are far enough ahead, do not worry about sinking the cue ball. Just sink counters
  • Avoid the dead ball unless you have a good shot.
  • If you get too far behind in points, go after the dead ball for the 10 point shot. You have nothing to lose.
  • If you do not have a good shot, hit any counter to sink the cue ball. This will allow you to reset the cue ball anywhere on the table.

If you have any questions about scratchball billiard rules, please post them in our billiard rules forum.

ScratchBall Billiard Rules

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

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

ScratchBall Billiard Rules History

Here is a little history of the game. We, that is, the 3 Fenske brothers, were avid 8-ball players. Not necessarily good but players all the same. On one particularly bad game, we scratched so often that one of us said "If we could win by scratching, we'd be kings". And that started the thought process going. We searched the internet and couldn't find a game with those parameters so we made our own game. Now it is the only game we play so we decided to share it with the world to see if it would catch on. Because the game relies heavily on trying to sink the cue balls while sinking the object ball, it seems to have had a big impact on my playing skills especially with using side english. Selling of the regulation balls was a secondary idea. Probably not a lot of profit in that end but it makes the game look cool. That is about it for the story.

The official ScratchBall Billiard Rules are predominently observed in North America.

How to Play ScratchBall Billiard

  • Title: ScratchBall Billiard Rules
  • Author: (David Fenske)
  • Published: 7/9/2008 6:40:00 AM
  • Last Updated: 1/28/2019 3:38:51 PM
  • Last Updated By: billiardsforum (Billiards Forum)

ScratchBall Billiard Rules

The ScratchBall Billiard Rules article belongs to the Pocket Billiards Rules category. Pocket billiards is a class of cue sport game commonly referred to as pool.

ScratchBall Billiard Rules Comments

  1. Bob WaltersBob Walters from Pittsburgh, PA on 11/19/2008 3:36:17 PM

    We play a game here we call "Reverse 8-ball" and it is similar to yours, but also very different. We've enjoyed it here in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania since about April 2008.

  2. ScratchBallScratchBall from Portland, OR on 11/22/2008 2:17:38 PM

    We have also played reverse 8-ball and love the game.

    The familiar feel of the two games comes from the fact that, in both games, the ball struck with the cue stick is the ball you are trying to pocket.

    But as you noted, outside of that similarity, they are two very different games. The most striking difference, besides the point structure and that you are trying to scratch, is that ScratchBall players try to pocket 2 balls with every shot. So, in effect there are two object balls. Therefore, shots tend to be done faster with more english.

    I highly recommend both games. They are both fun and worth learning.

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