Pool/Billiards/14-1 rules


At one time it was a 15 ball penalty for intentionally striking the cue ball with other than the tip of the cue when taking an intentional foul. I saw this occur in a match between Rayes and Dallas West. Is this rule still current? I was told is was not.

Hi Dean.

That is still the rule in the BCAPL (Official Rules of the Billiard Congress of America Pool League)- the best and most nuanced ruleset out there for most games. Specifically:

"6-17 Deliberate Foul Special Penalty
1. If you violate Rule 1-40, you are penalized one point for the foul and an additional
fifteen points for the deliberate act, for a total of sixteen points. Your opponent may:
a. accept the table in position;
b. take cue ball in hand behind the head string with the object balls in
position, or;
c. require you to re-rack all 15 balls and repeat the opening break.
 *   *   *
1-40 Deliberate Foul
...It is a deliberate foul if you intentionally:
1) strike, move or deflect the cue ball with anything other than your cue
tip (except when you have ball in hand);"

You can view these rules yourself by downloading the pdf at:

The World Rules (what replaced the World Standardized Rules (WSR) in 2008, which were incorporated into the BCA's Official Rules of Play), on the other hand do not appear to contain this rule any longer, nor did prior versions at least back to 1998 (the earliest version I have at hand). Arguably, though, this could still be imposed under the World Rules (and the WSR before that) but indirectly:

4.11 Serious Fouls
...For 6.16 Unsportsmanlike Conduct, the referee will choose a penalty depending on the nature of the offense.
 *   *   *
6.16 Unsportsmanlike Conduct
...(h) using equipment inappropriately.

But this is a long way from the direct rule the BCAPL provides. The problem is that the rules of pocket billiards have never been very well standardized; there's only ever been competing authoritative rulesets. Specific tournaments not uncommonly would post specific rules in effect for that tournament and a Referee usually has authority to make judgment calls and so the rules even at a professional level are not always applied evenly.

It's hard to say under what ruleset that match between West and Reyes was played and how the specific call played out. It could have been under the specific rule, like the BCAPL provides; the judgment call left to the referee, per the unsportsmanlike rule above; a rule imposed for that tournament; or resulted from the referee's discretion. In any case, as you can see, the rule does exist today in the BCAPL, and can be imposed indirectly under the WSR. That's about as close as I can come to a concrete answer in this somewhat murky area.

Best regards,

Pool Teacher


All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts




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.


I have been a dedicated player of pool and 3-cushion Billiards for many years. I have given lessons professionally and have run and participated in too many tournaments to name, including professional events such as the U.S. Open. I am also a cue collector and student of all aspects of the game. Note: I was starting to get far too many questions about pool cue (and pool table) valuation and identification and will no longer take these questions, sorry. I am a player and historian of the sport and the heart of my expertise is not product comparison or appraisal.


©2017 About.com. All rights reserved.