General Rules for Fouls

These rules continue on from the general Rules of Billiards.

The penalties for fouls vary from game to game. However, some of the common penalties that apply to all fouls include:

Failure to contact Object Ball
If, on a stroke, the cue ball does not make contact with any legal object ball first, it is considered a foul. Playing away from a touching ball is not considered as having hit that ball.

Legal Shot
Unless specifically stated in any particular game rule, a player must get the cue ball to come in contact with a legal object ball first and only then pocket a numbered ball or cause the numbered ball or cue ball to contact a cushion. It is considered foul if these requirements are not met.

Cue Ball Scratch
If, on a stroke, the cue ball is pocketed, it is considered a foul (scratch). The shot is also considered a foul if the cue ball touches an object ball that was already pocketed, as in a pocket ball full of object balls.

Fouls by Touching Balls
In the execution of a legal shot, contact with any object ball in play or the cue ball in play can only be made with the cue tip, while it is attached to the cue shaft. If contact is made with anything else, including any clothing, any part of the body, chalk, cue shaft or mechanical bridge, it is considered a foul. If any object ball is moved during a standard foul, the referee, if there is one for that game, must return the object ball as closely as possible to its original position. The incoming player has no option in the restoration process.

Foul By Placement
It is considered a foul if any object ball is touched with the cue ball while it is in the hand.


Fouls by Double Hits
In case the cue ball is in contact with the required object ball before the shot, the player may shoot towards it, using any normal stroke. The shot is considered foul if the cue stick strikes the cue ball multiple times on a shot or if the cue stick is touching the cue ball when or after the cue ball comes in contact with an object ball. In case a third ball is near by, precaution should be taken that that ball should not be fouled under the first part of the rule.

Push Shot Fouls
If the cue tip pushes the cue ball and contact is maintained for more than a momentary time equal to a stroked shot, it is a foul. These kinds of shots are called push shots.

Player Responsibility Fouls
The player takes full responsibility for any equipment or item he brings or uses at the table, including files, bridges and chalk. If any of these items fall or get knocked off and if they make contact with any ball in play, the player is guilty of a foul.

Illegal Jumping of Ball
If the player intentionally 'digs under' the cue ball, which means he intentionally strikes the cue ball below center, in an effort to make it rise off the bed of the table and clear an obstructing ball, it is considered a foul. If these jumping actions occur accidently as they sometimes do, they are not ruled as foul strokes unless the cue shaft or ferrule comes in contact with the cue ball during the course of the shot.

Jump Shots
Unless stated otherwise, it is considered legal if the cue stick is elevated on the shot causing the cue ball to rise off and rebound from the bed of the table. Any miscue while the jump shot is being executed is considered a foul.

Balls Jumping off Table
After a stroke, any balls that come to a rest anywhere else other than the bed of a table are considered jumped balls. If the balls bounce on the floor or on the cushion tops or rails of the table in play and return to the bed of the table under their own power and without touching anything that is not part of the table, they are not considered jumped balls. Balls that return to the bed of the table but strike anything that is not part of the table, including the cushion tops, chalk on the rails or the light fixture, are considered jump balls. The stroke is considered a foul if the stroke results in any object ball or the cue ball being a jumped ball off the table. This rule is standard for all pocket billiard games, however, the rule for putting the cue ball back in play after a jumped cue ball varies in different games.

Special Intentional Foul Penalty
When the cue ball is in play, it shall not be intentionally struck with anything else besides the cue's attached tip. The first time such contact is made during a game and if the referee considers the contact to be intentional, the player is given a warning that the second violation during the match will result in the player forfeiting and losing the match. In the event that a second violation does occur, the match is forfeited.

One Foul Limit
Generally, only one foul is assessed on a player in each inning unless specific game rules state otherwise. If there are different penalties that are applicable, the severest penalty is the factor that determines which foul is assessed.