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Rules for English Pool

The game is played on a rectangular 6-pocket table with 15 balls (7 yellows, 7 reds and a black 8 ball.)

To win, a player or team must pocket all their group of object balls in any order, and then legally pocket the 8 ball.

To determine who has the right to break, both players will lag to determine who gets that advantage. (To lag, both players simultaneously play a ball up the table from anywhere behind the baulk line, with the intention of stopping it as close to the baulk cushion as possible. The person whose ball is deemed closest to the baulk cushion chooses if they wish to break or not.)

The game begins by the first player breaking the balls. To be deemed a legal break, 4 balls have to hit a cushion. The break will also be deemed a "fair break" if at least one colour is potted.

Following the break shot, regardless of whether a player has potted a ball or not, the person breaking will nominate their choice of balls. If the player breaking pots a combination of balls, for instance a red and a yellow, they can simply nominate which ball set they wish to play. Further, if one red is potted, they can if they so choose, nominate yellows without having to pot.

If a player fouls from the break, for instance, pots the white, then they will then lose the right to nominate. This advantage will then pass to their opponent who will receive two shots and a free table. With the first shot, they can play whichever ball they wish, and can then nominate a preferred set of balls on their second visit.

If the cue ball is potted on a fair break (4 balls hit the cushion or an object ball is potted) the player is penalised by the turn passing to their opponent, with two visits and an open table.

If the break is not a fair break and the cue ball is potted, the penalty for failure to perform a fair break applies. The balls are re-racked. The opponent is awarded 2 visits and an open table.

The opponent re-starts the game and is under the same obligation to achieve a fair break.

If no colours are potted on the break the table is considered open.

If a player fouls under this rule the opponent faces an open table.

The game is completed when the 8 ball (black) is pocketed legally in any pocket, and all the remaining balls have come to rest, except on the break.

A game is deemed to be lost under the following circumstances.

If a player pockets the 8 ball (black) before all the balls in their own group, except on the break.

A player going in off the 8 ball (black) when the 8 ball (black) is pocketed.

A player pocketing the 8 ball (black) and any other ball on the same shot. Except following a foul when only the 8 ball (black) and ball(s) of the opponents group are on the table, then with the first shot of the first visit, the player may legally pocket the 8 ball (black) as well as ball(s) of the opponent's group by any combination and in any order.

A player who clearly fails to make any attempt to play a ball of their own group will lose the game.

A foul is deemed to have occurred in the following circumstances.

If on any visit a player fails to pot a legal ball, either the cueball or an object ball has to touch a cushion. The only exception to the above rule is when a player is totally snookered on all of their balls, a total snooker being defined as the player not being able to see any part of their chosen ball set. In these circumstances, the need to make a ball contact the cushion after impact is not required, but the player must confirm to their opponent that they are indeed totally snookered before playing the shot.

The cue ball is pocketed.

Hitting an opponent's ball(s) with the cue ball, except with the first shot following any foul.

Failing to hit any ball the cue ball.

Jump shot - defined as when the cue ball jumps over any part of any ball before making contact with any ball.

Hitting the 8 ball (black) with the cue ball on first impact of the cue ball before all their own group are pocketed, except with the first shot following any foul.

Potting any opponent's ball, except with the first shot following any foul.

Ball off the table. A ball shall be deemed "off the table" if it comes to rest anywhere other than on the bed of the table. Any object ball or the 8 ball (black), shall be returned to the 8 ball spot, or as near as possible to that spot without touching any other ball, in direct line between that spot and the centre of the string line. If this is the cue ball, then the cue ball will be played from in hand.

Player not having at least part of one foot on the floor during a shot.

Playing or touching with the cue any ball other than the cue ball.

Striking the cue ball with any part of the cue other than the tip.

Playing out of turn.

Playing before all balls have come to rest.

Playing before any ball(s) require re-spotting.

Striking the cue ball with the cue more than once.

Push shot - defined as where the cue tip remains in contact with the cue ball for more than the momentary time commensurate with a normal stroked shot, or the cue tip remains in contact with the cue ball once it has commenced its forward motion.

Failing to nominate when balls of both groups are pocketed with the first legal pot.

Foul break, failing to pot an object ball or drive at least four object balls to hit any cushions.

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