8 Ball Rules

1.0. Sportsman - Teams have a reasonable expectation that they will enjoy an evening of league play that includes respect both “given to” and “received from” every team in the MPL. It is expected that each team and team member act like civil respectable adults during match play. A “reasonable” amount of celebration for your team’s accomplishments is expected. Unsportsmanlike conduct includes abusive language, obscene gestures, abuse/damage of equipment/facilities, intoxication leading to any kind of disruption, including but not limited to rooting against the other team will not be tolerated. Disruptions such as making loud noises or movements while someone is addressing a shot is “sharking” and is strictly prohibited. Never is it acceptable to physically threaten or give the impression of such a threat to any member of MPL. Any team or team member that is made to feel uncomfortable or threatened before, during or while leaving a match should immediately contact a league official. See #29 for a list of MPL’s league officials to contact. At the sole discretion of the league board of directors, any team member or entire team can be suspended for any period of time, up to and including a lifetime suspension.

1.1 Rack your own rack.Every player will rack and break their own rack. With this format you cannot win or lose the game on the break. If you pocket the 8 ball on the break, the breaker may re-rack or have the 8-ball spotted and continue to shoot. In the event a player cannot rack his/her own rack, the opposing team captain must be notified in advance.

1.2 Legal Break – The cue ball is placed behind the head string and the breaker must drive at least four (4) balls into a rail or pocket a ball. If the eight ball is made on the break, it is not a win. The player has the option of spotting the eight ball and continue to shoot or may re-rack and break again. If a player makes the eight ball on the break and scratches, it is not a loss. The eight ball is spotted and the opposing player will have ball in hand behind the head string. A player has two tries to execute a legal break. If he/she fails to execute a legal break after two tries the break is turned over to the opponent. If a player scratches on the break and did not drive at least (4) balls into a rail and did not pocket a ball, the break is turned over to the opponent.

1.3 Ball in Hand Fouls on the Break – If a foul occurs on the break and the incoming player does not place the cue ball behind the head string, the opponent or opposing team is obligated to tell the player that the cue ball is to be placed behind the line. If the opponent does not tell the player, it is not a ball in hand foul and the player will be permitted to continue to shoot.

2. Legal Shot – On all shots a player must hit his group of balls and cause any ball to contact a rail.

3. Calling Shots – Players will call the ball and the pocket for each pocketed ball. Kisses, caroms, numbers of cushions need not be called. Obvious shots need not be called. It is always the opponent’s right to ask which ball and pocket is being called if he is unsure.

4. Time Limit For Shots – A Player Must Execute His Next Shot Within 60 seconds After The Cue Ball Has Stopped From The Previous Shot. If Opposing Player Calls Out “One Minute” The Player Must Take A Shot Within 15 Seconds Or A Ball In Hand Foul Can Be Called.

5. The Eight BallThe eight ball is not neutral. The eight ball made on the break with the cue ball remaining legally on the table is not a win for the player. The player has the option of spotting the eight ball and continuing to shoot or re-rack and break again. The eight ball made on the break with the cue ball leaving the table or scratching is NOT a loss for the player. Making the eight ball out of turn or scratching any time after the break is a “loss” for the player.

6. Scratches – A scratch on the break will result in “ball in hand” behind the head string. All other scratches other than a scratch on the break will result in “ball in hand”.

7. Open Table – The table is “always open” after the break (regardless what group of balls are made). Players may strike a solid ball into a striped ball (or the reverse) on an open table to establish a players group of balls. If a striped ball and a solid ball is pocketed on an open table, the ball that was called will be that players group of balls for that game.

8. Safety Shot – A safety shot is a tactical shot wherein the player may choose to pocket one of his balls or make any legal shot and then immediately forfeit his/her turn. Players must call a safety shot in advance. If a player pockets a ball and has not declared in advance his intention to play a safety, he will be required to shoot again. There is no limit to the number of safety shots played in a game.

9.1 Fouls – A foul occurs when a player strikes the eight ball first out of turn. A foul occurs when a player does not execute a “legal” shot. A foul occurs when the cue ball is pocketed. A foul occurs when any ball leaves the playing surface, meaning it ends up on the floor, (all fouls result in “ball in hand” with the exception of a scratch on the break). The ball will be brought back onto the surface and spotted.

9.2 Fouls – Cue ball foul: it is a “ball in hand” foul, if after making a legal hit, the cue ball comes in contact with anything other than another ball or a rail. This includes but is not limited to the following: a bridge, a cue, chalk, any body part, clothing and/or jewelry. This includes a “double hit” where the second contact with the cue occurs instantaneously. Both teams must agree that such a “double hit” has occurred before awarding the foul.

  • Ball in hand foul (definition one):   -  ball in hand foul – this is the occurrence when a player commits a foul and the incoming player is awarded “ball in hand”.  If the cue ball is on the surface of the pool table and incoming player accidentally moves any ball (other than the cue ball) and it doesn’t change the complexion of the game it is not a foul.  Please refer to rule 12. Accidentally moving a ball.  If the accidental movement of any ball touches the cue ball in any way, that is a foul.
  • Ball in hand (definition two):  ball in hand – this is the literal definition wherein the cue ball is literally in your hand.  It is a foul if any ball is touched or moved during the placing of the cue ball on the table.  It is also a foul is any ball is touched or moved by a bridge, a cue, piece of chalk, any body part, any part of a piece of clothing or jewelry while the cue ball is in the players hand or while placing the cue ball. 
  • 10. Time Outs – A player is permitted to receive advice from any other team player (a coach). The time out shall be no more than one-minute. The coach is the only player to approach the table and is not permitted to leave the table to receive advice from another player on the team. The opposing team captain has the right to give a warning that the one-minute time limit has been exceeded the constant abuse of exceeding time limits should be brought to the attention of league officials. A coach is permitted to place the cue ball on the table for a player. Should the coach commit a foul while placing the cue ball a ball in hand foul will be assessed. Time out limits per match: 12 time outs per match. A player cannot take two consecutive timeouts without shooting first. Once the coach leaves the play area of the time out, the time out is over and a player must take a shot.

    11. Accidental Pocketing Of Balls – When a ball is accidentally pocketed by the players’ stick, body, clothing, etc. While the player is at the table (other than the cue ball or eight ball) it will be brought back onto the playing surface to its original placement and player will be permitted to continue to shoot. If the cue ball is accidentally pocketed it is a foul and will result in a ball in hand for the opponent. If the eight ball is accidentally pocketed it will result in loss of game.When a ball is accidentally pocketed by the players’ stick, body, clothing, etc. While the player is at the table (other than the cue ball or eight ball) it will be brought back onto the playing surface to its original placement and player will be permitted to continue to shoot. If the cue ball is accidentally pocketed it is a foul and will result in a ball in hand for the opponent. If the eight ball is accidentally pocketed it will result in loss of game.

    12. Accidentally Moving Balls – If any ball is moved while placing the cue ball on the table, a ball in hand foul occurs, see rule #9. In situations other than ball in hand, if any balls (other than the cue ball) are accidentally moved by the players’ stick, body, clothing, etc. In a manner that does not change the complexion of the table, it will not result in a foul. The opponent shall have the option of replacing the moved ball(s) to its original placement or allow the ball(s) to remain at their current placement and the player may continue to shoot. If the opponent chooses to replace the ball(s), he/she must make every effort to replace ball(s) as closely to its original placement as possible. The shooting player must accept the opponents placement decision. Accidently moving the cue ball will result in a foul. In the event multiple balls are moved in a manner that changes the complexion of the table & the game it will result in a loss of game for the player committing said foul. 

    13. Loss Of Game - A player loses the game if any of the following occur:

    The eight ball is pocketed out of turn, the cue ball is pocketed while shooting the eight ball,

    The eight ball is pocketed in a pocket other than the one designated, the eight ball jumps off of the table.

    14. Playoff Handicap Change – To eliminate ties in the playoffs when handicaps are given, handicaps will change from 5, 10, 15, 25 to 5, 9, 15, 25 to eliminate ties when teams are given handicap points. See rule #23 below for tie matches when no handicaps are given.

    15. Changing Players – Only in the event a team captain realizes that the player they called will result in loss of match (playoffs only) or will cause his team to go over handicap (during regular session), the captain may change the player at any time prior to when the rack is broken, even if the previously called player has racked the balls. If this occurs the opposing captain may also change players.

    16. Going Over Handicap Foul – If it is discovered during a match that the opposing team has gone over handicap a 14 point penalty is assessed to the team going over handicap and the opposing team will be awarded the final 3 games of the match regardless of the previous outcome of each of the three games. This penalty will be assessed to any team that exceeds the 252 handicap rule. In a playoff or tournament environment, exceeding the 252 handicap rule will result in loss of match. A team has up until the rack is broken to change players without penalty or foul if they discover the called player will cause them to go over handicap. If the foul is not called by the opposing team before the end of the match, there is no foul.

    17. Handicap Updates – Handicaps will be updated during all playoff matches.

    18. Forfeits - If an active team has no players at the match, the opposing team will receive 45 points (75% of total match points). If an active team has one or more players at the match, he/she is obligated to play for the team and will continue to play until no other team members are available. The non-forfeiting team will receive the remaining points and rounds providing they pay for their portion of the entire match. Each team is responsible for their own match and must be paid in full. Any team that forfeits any number of games two times in one session will not be eligible for the playoffs.

    19. Shooting The Wrong Ball – If a player shoots the wrong ball, the opponent must tell the shooter before the shooter shoots again. If a player shoots the wrong ball twice, it is not a foul and he continues to shoot with the new balls.

    20. Rule Books - Captains must have a copy of the rule book at each match.

    21. Wild Card Draw – At the end of the session the teams that did not make the playoffs will be entered into a wild card draw, providing their monies and paperwork are all in order.

    22. PLAYOFF TIES – In the event of a tie when no handicap is given teams will decide the winner with a 5 game shootout. Game one – the home team calls first player and breaks, game two – the away team calls a player first and breaks. This continues until one team wins 3 games. A player may only shoot one game. A player did not have to play in the regular match to be eligible to play in the shootout. There is one timeout allowed per player per rack.

    23. Players Changing Teams in Mid-Session – A player is not permitted to change teams in mid-session or at any time after he or she has shot on another team. The only exception to that rule is “the survival rule”. That rule is if a team is in jeopardy of dropping out of the session because they do not have enough players they can pick up a player that has shot on another team.

    24. Jump Shots – Jump shots are legal shots in MPL. This is not to be confused as a scoop shot which is not a legal shot. To avoid any confusion the millennium rule is as follows: the cue must be raised to a 45 degree angle and you must strike down on the cue ball. Any player attempting a jump shot must declare the shot in advance.

    25. Shut Out in a Playoff Match – A playoff match is played until, regardless of how many more games are played or how much more handicap is given or received, one of the teams cannot win. This is a shutout. A shut out and subsequent win will not be legal until both captains sign both score sheets and cannot be reversed once both score sheets are signed.

    26. Adjusting Handicaps - All MPL players, especially new players are reviewed frequently and monitored closely. The number of wins a player posts isn’t always a true measure of the skill level of a player, new or existing. The MPL board of directors and the MPL handicap review board reserves the right to adjust handicaps as needed to keep in line with MPL handicap standards.

    27. Too many games played. If a player accidentally played more games then they are allowed (7 games for 9 ball, 4 games for 8 ball) the game is void and must be replayed as long as the error is caught before the start of the next rack. If neither team catches the error before the start of the next rack then the game remains as-is.