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FireMadeFlesh's avatar

Can you help me out with the rules of snooker and pool?

Asked by FireMadeFlesh (16548points) March 27th, 2010

My family and I moved into a house with a pool table some months back, and we are slowly learning to play. We have a copy of the rules hanging on the wall, but we are unsure on a few points.

1. In snooker, when the white ball is first played after it is sunk, does it have to go forwards?
2. When the last red ball is sunk, can you nominate a coloured ball to sink like every other time, or must you immediately move on to the yellow ball?
3. In pool (which our rules call eight ball), if your opponent fouls when you only have the 8 ball left, do you get two shots?
4. When you already have an extra shot from a foul, do you get a third when you sink a ball on the first shot, or only one following shot?

Thanks in advance for your help!

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9 Answers

Futhermucker's avatar

I’d tell you but I’m working on my second stupid fluther question. Perhaps this will help.

kittybee's avatar

I can only play pool, so for question three I think you can play both ways, but I’d be inclined to say no, you don’t get two shots then, when your playing the correct way.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@fiona Thanks. I usually play that way too, but my brother objects.

@Futhermucker I’m willing to wait for a proper answer – as I said, we have a copy of the rules and I just need clarification on these specific points.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Not sure what you mean by the first question. The white ball is the cue ball. It is not meant to be sunk. Sinking it is a foul. That foul is penalized at the same value as the “Ball On” whether it be red or colored.

#2. For Snooker. After all red balls have fallen, you must take the colored balls in rotation order from #2Y #3G #4R #5B #6P #7Black. They don’t need to be shot in order while the red balls are still on the table though.

#3. For 8 ball. No, you do not get two shots. A foul in 8 ball results in giving your opponent “Ball in Hand”. That’s for every ball, including a foul on the 8 ball. However, on the 8 ball, a cue ball pocket scratch, or cue ball or 8 ball leaving the table is a game loss. But a bad hit, or not hitting a rail is just a foul resulting in “Ball in Hand”. Ball in Hand means that the next shooter may place the cue ball anywhere upon the table they choose to shoot from. Tournament pool can be anywhere, but usually tavern pool is played behind the break line (the Kitchen).

#4. You don’t get an extra shot from fouls in either 8 ball, or Snooker. The only time an extra shot is taken is from a resulting foul in Snooker, whereas your opponent requires you to shoot again after you have committed a foul. It is your opponents choice to take the shot himself, or make you shoot it again. Once the choice is made, it cannot be reversed.

Jack79's avatar

1. To clarify what @RealEyesRealizeRealLies just said: no, you don’t have to play forward as in pool. You just have to declare the next ball (usually red).

2. Yes, you can take any ball you want (most people would try and go for black). Then, you take that ball out, and proceed to sink all the coloured ones, starting from Yellow. This is why the maximum score is 147:
15×8=120 (ie a black and a red each time)

3. Pool rules often differ. In the original rules yes, I think you play twice, but I’ve never heard of anyone using that rule. Championships have their own rules (including losing the game if you foul on the white when there’s only the black one left). In most European countries a common “house rule” is that, instead of playing twice, you can place the cue ball wherever you want. So obviously this is also used when there’s only one ball left to play.

Another common rule regarding the black ball is that you have to nominate the hole it will go in, either each time it’s your turn to play, or after the last coloured ball is potted (meaning you’ll always have to aim for that hole when it’s your turn).

Since I was not such a good player as a kid, we used to play with the “play twice” rule, even on the black.

4. Yes. You play twice. (again, this is a rule that may be different from place to place, and will be clarified if there’s something like a tournament going on).

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@Jack79 In 35 years of tournament play, I’ve never once heard of #4 being as you say. That’s a new one to me. Is that a Snooker or an 8 ball ruling? We seem to be speaking of two different games here.

I’m actually wondering though, why is the OP asking about Snooker and 8 ball on the same table? They are played with completely different tables and ball sets. They even use different types of sticks. I’ve never seen Snooker played on an 8 ball table. But I frequently practice 9 ball on an Snooker table.

Jack79's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies I’m referring to question #4 (ie about pool, not snooker).

When your opponent fouls in 8-ball pool, you get two shots. At least that’s what the original rules state (which, as I’ve already said, is hardly ever the case, since tournaments almost always have special rules). So it’s not surprising that you’ve never encountered that rule. I haven’t either, not even in amateur friendly games. People who are good enough to pot a ball don’t bother with the two shots, though many people in Europe play with the rule to place the cue ball anywhere on the table (after the opponent fouls).

Yes, a pool table is far too small for snooker, but, just like the FireMadeFlesh, I also have a pool table and snooker balls. It’s crowded, but what can you do? Some people even cover the holes and play French billiards on it.

PS: clarification on fouling: it’s not a foul to pot your opponent’s ball, as long as you hit one of yours first. It’s also not a foul to hit one colour when breaking and then go on to pot another (this is also important when you pot two different coloured balls and then get to pick one). However, your turn ends if you pot an opponent’s ball (ie you don’t get to play again, as you would if you pot one of yours).

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

Thanks @RealEyesRealizeRealLies and @Jack79. Am I right to assume that 8 ball and pool are the same game? Just to clarify, questions 1 and 2 refer to snooker, and 3 and 4 refer to pool.

Our table is a ¾ size snooker table (or at least its ¾ the size of the ones at the club where I learned to play and where they have some competitions).

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Sort of, 8 ball is one of many games that are played on a Pool table. One Pocket, 9 ball, Rotation, 3 ball, are all played on a Pool table as well.

Billiards and Snooker are completely different games played on their own tables. Billiards having only three large balls on a large table with no pockets.

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