My husband and I played a game of pool the other night against his father and mother. His parents had just the eight ball left, My husband and I had one ball left then eight ball.  He scratched on the last ball. Then he says that since we scratched he get to spot the eight ball,  to avoid arguments we let him. And they won,  but I am just curious is this true.


Hi Anni.

Generally, if you are on the eight ball and your opponent scratches and you are playing the version of eight ball where you have to shoot from behind the line, if the eight ball is also behind the line, then you do get to spot it. Please note that this is in informal rules ("bar rules") that are often played in informal venues. In authoritative rules, the issue wouldn't come up because when you scratch (except on the break shot) the opponent doesn't take the ball from behind the line but may place it anywhere on the table. Since you were playing common informal rules, your father invoked the common rule in that situation. The big problem is that these rules are not set in stone. They vary all over the map, dictated by whatever the person playing has learned by anecdote. It leads to lots of arguments. I don't think from the context of your question that you are or are planning to become a serious, dedicated player, but if you ever do decide to become one, avoid all these informal rules, and learn the right way. Here's a link to the best rule set there is.


Best of luck,

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.


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.


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