If a high ball and a low ball go in off the break
and the shooter tries to make a high and misses is the table still open

Hi Al

Yes the table's still open. In fact, in authoritative rules, choice of group is never determined on the break. I suspect that the reason you started you question by stipulating that a high and low were pocketed on the break was because you play some set of "bar rules" where if one or more balls of a single group is pocketed, choice of group is made.

But in authoritative rules the table is always open after the break and remains open until a player makes a called shot in a legal manner after the break shot. In other words, pocketing any balls on the break, regardless of what they are (two stripes; one of each, etc.), simply allows you to go again and the table remains open. If you fail to call and pocket a ball thereafter, the table passes to your opponent and it's still open table.

Assigning groups by what is pocketed on the break, as is played in most bar rules, often leads to arguments because there's no consistency as to what happens when more than one ball is pocketed of different groups. The bar rule also punishes skilled play because often one group of balls is much better situated for a run out than another, and yet the player is forced to be one or the other based on the randomness of what was initially pocketed.

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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