Pool/Billiards/not calling shot


Sorry to bother you again but if playing 8 ball or straight pool by BCA rules what happens if you pot an object ball without declaring safety or nominating to pot the intended ball?

In 8 ball: If on an open table you pot your nominated stripe ball and pot a solid ball in another pocket on the same shot is the table still open? If not why?

In 8 ball: Can you nominate more than one ball at a time?

Thank you :)

Hi Andrew

While both eight ball and straight pool are "call shot" games, that appellation comes from a time when calling the pocket orally was required, which is no longer the case. They are both still nomination games, wherein you must make your ball in the intended pocket, but you need not actually call the pocket. First of all, you can gesture ("You may make the designation verbally or by a clear, unambiguous gesture"), but more importantly, "You are not required to call obvious shots." (BCAPL rule 1-16). You probably know this but just to be clear, when you are calling an in-obvious shot, you need not indicate anything about how the ball will reach the hole, not banks, kisses, rails, etc., just the ball and pocket. An obvious shot is:

"A shot in which the non-shooting player has no doubt as to, or does not question, the
called ball and the called pocket. The following types of shots are exceptions and are
defined as being "not obvious":
a. bank shots;
b. kick shots
c. combination shots;
d. shots that include caroms, kisses or cushion contacts that are not
e. any shot judged as not obvious by the referee."

Note that there is no contradiction between what I just said about what you need to call and this rule. A combination is defined as an in-obvious shot, for example, so you must call the ball and pocket, but you need not say how it will reach the pocket. Calling the shot inoculates you from a challenge if you make it as to what you intended, but if you miss the combination but your ball still goes into the called pocket, it's still your turn,

Some other applicable rules:

"3. If you are not certain what shot your opponent is attempting, it is your responsibility
to ask. You must ask before your opponent is down on the shot. With the exception of
shots defined as not obvious, if you do not ask and a dispute arises as to whether the shot
was obvious, the referee is the sole judge.

4. You must always call shots that are defined as not obvious. This rule applies
regardless of whether or not your opponent asks about the shot, and regardless of how
simple or obvious the shot may appear.

7. If you do not call a shot defined as not obvious and you pocket any ball on such a
shot, your inning ends. The incoming player accepts the table in position."

So to answer your first question, if the shot was obvious, as defined, nothing happens. If the shot was in-obvious, you lose your turn.

Second question: Secondary balls made on an otherwise legal shot are ignored and stay down. If you pot your ball in an intended pocket, choice of group is assigned and other balls made on the same shot are ignored and stay down regardless of whether they are stripes or solids. The table does not remain open because you made an intended ball in an intended pocket, which is the trigger for group assignment.

Third question: You may not nominate more than one ball at a time, expressly:

"You may only call one ball on a shot. If you call more than one ball, or if you use any
conditional phrase such as “just in case” concerning more than one ball, your inning ends
after the shot regardless of whether you pocket any ball. Any ball pocketed on such a
shot is an illegally pocketed ball. Your opponent accepts the table in position." BCAPL 1-16(2).

Best regards,

Pool Teacher  


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I have wide ranging knowledge of all the cue sports, with the exception of snooker. I can answer most questions related to playing any of the standard games such as straight pool (14.1 continuous) eight-ball, nine-ball, one-pocket and 3-cushion billiards and the variations on these games. Questions welcomed regarding technique, strategy and rules, history of the sport, trick shots, the mental game, practice, practice drills, pool/billiards publications, and so on. I DO NOT DO CUE OR TABLE APPRAISALS OR IDENTIFICATION. See below.


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