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Pool/Billiards/bca rules "safety" in 8-ball


Hello sir, I understand the need to call a safety if you plan to pocket one of your own balls, but still want to relinquish your turn, but the rule, (i believe its 1-17) makes it sound like you have to call a safety even if you simply plan to play the shot without expecting to pocket a ball. i.e. if your only shot is low percentage to make or gain position and you have a good opportunity to snooker your opponent. if you don't call safety, and take such a shot is there a penalty beyond loosing your turn?, thanks for your help

Hi Chris.

The mandatory language of rule 1-17 you're reacting to is directed at making it crystal clear that in order to claim the benefit of the special rules for a called 8-ball safety and straight pool safety it must be actually called clearly and unambiguously aloud. The rule developed I presume because of arguments like some I've witnessed ("it was obvious I was playing a safe" ... "I meant to say safety", etc.). The rule does not affect and is not addressed to the everyday playing of safes where you are just trying to hide your opponent. In short, no, there is no penalty and a good safety game is essential to top flight play.

Best regards,

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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