You are here:

Pool/Billiards/Balls pocketed with a scratch


I thought this would be an easy question to find the answer to, but everything I'm finding just talks about the 8 ball and scratching or that it's a 'ball-in-hand' foul, etc. All I want to know is, if I pocket a ball (either my ball or my opponents ball) and I also scratch, does the ball stay pocketed or is it replaced on the "spot"?  I've played where local rules were sometimes it stayed pocketed but you lose your turn and others where the pocketed ball came back out and you lose your turn (which the latter is how I currently play). I just want to do it right so just want to know if the ball stays pocketed or comes back out?
Thanks much for your time.

Hey Dave:

No object balls are ever spotted back to the table in 8-ball excepting two situations: 1) when the 8 ball is pocketed on the break shot (some informal rule sets designate this a win or a loss of game); and 2) when a ball that was hanging just over a hole for more than five seconds, tumbles into a pocket (an "act of nature"). Yes, this means that illegally pocketed balls, such as those made on a foul (whether yours or the opponent's), stay down.

This is from the perspective of authoritative rules, played by professionals and aficionados, which are often quite different (and many times better) than the inconsistent rules that are commonly played in bars and other informal venues. You must turn to authoritative rules because there is no actual set answer from "bar rules" since they vary all over the map.

I invite you to read the BCAPL (Official Rules of the Billiard Congress of America Pool League), the best most logical and nuanced ruleset there is:

Best of luck,

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 All rights reserved.