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I am a relatively serious pool player(I try to follow all tournament rules by UPA standards anyway) But I have a question that has not been directly answered by those rules:

I have a group of balls (lets say 5 of them) and they are all grouped by a pocket either touching or close to it. The ball closest to me is of my group(lets say solids, the 2); and the ball that is closest to the pocket is my group as well(lets say the 5). The remaining 3 balls are of the other players group(stripes). Now, how do I call that shot so I can make my 5 ball without fouling since there is no way of really knowing which balls hit what?

Hi Kevin,

A "called" ball only specifies the ball that will fall and the pocket it will fall in, nothing about how that will happen. If you hit your own ball first and the ball you called falls where you called it, the shot is good. This is true even if you miss your shot and the called ball travels four rails around the table; if at last it falls where you called it, it's good.

The UPA says it this way in "Call Pocket Notes" in section 6 Call Pocket:

Call Pocket Notes:
a. It is never necessary to specify details such as the number of banks, kisses, caroms, rails, etc.
b. Any balls pocketed, legally or illegally, as a result from a called shot will remain pocketed, regardless of group (stripe or solid).
c. Any ball pocketed as a result of a legal shot will remain pocketed, and the shooter continues his/her inning.
d. The break shot is never considered a “called shot.”

Another version of the problem causes many disagreements. If an opponent's ball is near a pocket and you intend to shoot past it they may ask, "are you going to play it off my ball"? Your answer should be, "it doesn't matter, all I have to do is call the ball and the pocket, however it gets there, it's good".

Often there are shots involving subtle kisses that can't be reasonably observed. That's why the ruling is always answered by two simple questions; was it a good hit?, and did the ball go where it was called? If both answers are yes the shot is good no matter how it happens, unless of course the cue ball scratches or some other foul occurs during the shot.

Play well and enjoy,



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Bill Newsted


I can answer questions related to shot-making, aiming, position play, strategies, practice, mental preparation and the psychology of the game. Also, rules as they vary from venue to venue and how to become a winning player. I have experience recovering and maintaining tables and will also answer questions related to cues and billiard equipment. However, I prefer not to make brand recommendations. I do not offer information identifying old tables and equipment or estimating their values.


I have played over forty years in every state in the US (except Alaska). My experience is largely in pool rooms but I have also played extensively on bar tables and in league organizations. I have directed numerous tournaments up to the professional level and have played several world champion players. I am a former Billiard Congress of America instructor.


B.S. in Visual Communication M.A. in Education: Career and Technology Education

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