Rules of Play for Sports

The rules of play ratified by the Cue Sports Association of Nigeria rules for billiards, Pool and snooker apply.


OBJECT OF THE GAME – Eight Ball is a call shot game played with a cue ball and fifteen object balls, numbered 1 through 15. One player must pocket balls of the group numbered 1 through 7 (solid colors), while the other player has 9 thru 15 (stripes). THE PLAYER POCKETING HIS GROUP FIRST AND THEN LEGALLY POCKETING THE 8-BALL WINS THE GAME.

CALL SHOT – In Call Shot, obvious balls and pockets do not have to be indicated. It is the opponent’s right to ask which ball and pocket if he is unsure of the shot. Bank shots and combination shots are not considered obvious, and care should be taken in calling both the object ball and the intended pocket. When calling the shot, it is NEVER necessary to indicate details such as the number of cushions, banks, kisses, caroms, etc.

Any balls pocketed on a foul remain pocketed, regardless of whether they belong to the shooter or the opponent. The opening break is not a “called shot.” Any player performing a break shot in 8-Ball may continue to shoot his next shot so long as he has legally pocketed any object ball on the break.

RACKING THE BALLS  – The balls are racked in a triangle at the foot of the table with the 8-ball in the center of the triangle, the first ball of the rack on the footspot, a stripe ball in one corner of the rack and a solid ball in the other corner.

ALTERNATING BREAK – Winner of the lag has the option to break. During individual competition, players will alternate breaking on each subsequent game.

JUMP AND MASSE SHOT FOUL  – While “cue ball fouls only” is the rule of play when a match is not presided over by a referee, a player should be aware that it will be considered a cue ball foul if during an attempt to jump, curve or masse the cue ball over or around an impeding numbered ball that is not a legal object ball, the impeding ball moves (regardless of whether it was moved by a hand, cue stick follow-through or bridge).


OBJECT OF THE GAME – Nine Ball is played with nine object balls numbered one through nine and a cue ball. On each shot the first ball the cue ball contacts must be the lowest-numbered ball on the table, but the balls need not be pocketed in order. If a player pockets any ball on a legal shot, he remains at the table for another shot, and continues until he misses, fouls, or wins the game by pocketing the 9-ball. After a miss, the incoming player must shoot from the position left by the previous player, but after any foul the incoming player may place the cue ball anywhere on the table. Players are not required to call any shot.

RACKING THE BALLS – The object balls are racked in a diamond shape, with the one ball at the top of the diamond and on the foot spot, the nine ball in the center of the diamond, and the other balls in random order, racked as tightly as possible. The game begins with cue ball in hand behind the headstring.

START OF PLAY – The home team breaks first and writes their line-up down first. The break alternates thereafter. A game starts as soon as the cue ball crosses over the headstring on the opening break.

LEGAL BREAK SHOT – The rules governing the break shot are the same as for other shots except:

  1. The breaker must strike the 1-ball first and either pocket a ball or drive at least four numbered balls to a rail, failure to do so is a foul. Incoming player accepts table the way it lies with ball in hand or requests a re-rack with cue ball behind the headstring.
  2. If the cue ball is pocketed or driven off the table, or the requirements of the opening break are not met, it is a foul, and the incoming player has cue ball in hand anywhere on the table.
  3. If on the break shot, the breaker causes an object ball to jump off the table, it is a foul and the incoming player has cue ball in hand anywhere on the table. The object ball is not re-spotted.


Black ball is played with 15 colored object balls and the cue ball. The object balls are two groups of seven and the black ball. The player or team pocketing their group of object balls and legally pocketing the black ball wins the game. Shots are not called.


The following definitions apply to black ball:

Free shot
After a foul has been committed the incoming player is awarded a free shot. On a free shot Rule Wrong Ball First is suspended and the player may take the cue ball in position or in hand in baulk.

Baulk is the rectangular area of the table that is bordered by the baulk line and the three cushions at the head of the table. The baulk line is parallel to the head rail and one fifth of the length of the playing surface away from the head cushion. For the applicable general rules, “behind the head string” should be read as “in baulk.”

A player is said to be snookered when the cue ball has no straight, direct path to hit at least part of a legal target ball. The snooker must be declared by the referee for it to be in effect.

Ball On
An object ball is said to be “on” when it is a legal target for the shooter.


The fifteen object balls include two groups of seven balls distinguished by two solid colors or by the usual pattern of numbered solids and stripes. (One through seven and nine through fifteen are the two groups.) In addition, there is a black ball or a black eight ball.

The foot spot and the baulk line should be marked.

Determining First Break
The player winning the lag has the option to determine who has to execute the first break shot. (See 1.2 Lagging to Determine Order of Play ) The standard format is alternate break (see Regulations).

Black Ball Rack
The balls are racked as illustrated with the black ball on the foot spot.

Break Shot
The following rules apply to the break shot.’

  • The cue ball begins in hand in baulk.
  • At least one ball must be pocketed or at least two object balls must cross the center string or the break shot is a foul.
  •  If the black ball is pocketed on the break, all the balls are re-racked and the same player breaks again.
  • Any violation of Cue Ball Scratch or off the Table or Ball Driven off the Table is ignored on a break that pockets the black ball.

Open Table / Choosing Groups

The table is said to be “open” when the players’ groups have not been decided. The table is open after the break shot and remains open until the shooter pockets balls from only one group on a legal normal shot, which means not a break shot and not a free shot. The shooter is then assigned that group of balls to pocket and the opponent is assigned the other group.

Continuing Play

The shooter remains at the table as long as he continues to legally pocket balls or the rack ends. If he fails to legally pocket a ball but commits no foul, the opponent shoots from the position left.

Cue Ball in Hand in Baulk

When the player has the cue ball in hand, he may place it by hand anywhere in baulk. The player may continue to adjust the position of the cue ball by hand until he takes a shot. The cue ball is not required to leave baulk before striking an object ball.

Touching Balls

If the cue ball is touching an object ball, the shooter must not play the cue ball in the direction of that ball. He is considered to have hit the touching ball when he shoots away from it if the ball is on for the shot.

Playing from a Snooker

When the shooter is snookered, Rule 6.3 No Rail after Contact is suspended for the shot.

Spotting Balls

Object balls driven off the table are spotted on the long string. If several balls are to be spotted, they are spotted in the following order: (1) the black ball, (2) balls from the group of the next shooter, or balls from the red, blue or solid group if the table is open, (3) other balls.


In case of a stalemate due to lack of progress towards a conclusion, the breaker of the rack will break again. A stalemate also occurs if the position does not allow any legal shot.

Standard Fouls

If the shooter commits a foul, play passes to his opponent. The incoming player has one free shot (see Free shot) as the first shot of his inning.

The following are standard fouls at black ball:

  1. Cue Ball Scratch or off the Table
  2. Wrong Ball First (suspended for a free shot)
  3. No Rail after Contact
  4. No Foot on Floor
  5. Ball Driven off the Table
  6. Touched Ball
  7. Double Hit / Frozen Balls
  8. Push Shot
  9. Balls Still Moving
  10. Bad Cue Ball Placement (when playing from baulk)
  11. Cue Stick on the Table
  12. Playing out of Turn
  13. Slow Play

The following additional situations are fouls at black ball.

  • Pocketing Opponent’s Ball
  • It is a foul to pocket an opponent’s ball without also pocketing a ball from your own group.
  • Table Incorrect – It is a foul to play before all balls that require spotting have been spotted.
  • Jump Shot – Causing the cue ball to jump over any ball is a foul. (If the cue ball leaves the bed of the table and misses an object ball that would have been struck had the cue ball not left the table on an otherwise identical shot, the cue ball is deemed to have jumped over that object ball.)

Loss of Rack Fouls

The player loses the rack if he:

  1. Pockets the black ball on an illegal shot;
  2. pockets the black ball on a shot that leaves any of his group of balls on the table;
  3. intentionally violates 6.2 Wrong Ball First; or
  4. does not attempt to hit a ball on.
  5. Unsportsmanlike Conduct will be penalized by loss of rack or other penalty depending on the nature of the conduct.


Snooker is one of the world’s most popular games due to its growth in India and China but, for now, it remains largely dominated by British players at the highest level. The Snooker World Championship is – for many – one of the biggest sporting events of the year but the sport is also played in clubs, and sometimes pubs, all over the UK by amateurs of all levels.

It developed from another cue sport, billiards, which began in the 16th century, with snooker coming along in the late 19th century. The first official snooker tournament was in 1916 with the first World Championship appearing in 1927 and since then the popularity of the game has ebbed and flowed, with the 1970s and 1980s probably the game’s finest era.

OBJECT OF THE GAME – The object of the game is to use the white cue ball to pot the other balls in the correct sequence and ultimately score more points than your opponent in order to win the frame, a frame being the individual game unit.

PLAYERS & EQUIPMENT – Snooker is played one against one and the size of the balls and table are regulated. The table is rectangular, measuring 12ft x 6ft and just under 3ft in height, and usually made of wood with a slate top covered in green baize. The table has six pockets into which the balls are potted, one in each corner and two in the middle of the long sides, or cushions. The end from which the game starts is called the baulk end and has a line across the width of the table 29 inches from the baulk cushion. In the centre of this is the D, an 11.5 inch-radius semi-circle with the baulk line as its diameter.

The hard balls, made from phenolic resin, are approximately 2.7 inches in diameter (they are given in metric units of 52.5mm). There are 15 red balls and one each of black, pink, blue, brown, green and yellow, as well as a white cue ball which is the only one struck by the players. The colours go on their spots, the green, brown and yellow from left to right on the baulk line across the semi-circle. The blue goes in the middle of the table, the pink midway between there and the top cushion (the opposite end to the baulk cushion) with the black in the centre, 12¾ inches off the top cushion. The 15 reds are placed in a triangle with one red at the point behind the pink.

The players use a cue, usually made of wood, to strike the white ball and this must be “not less than 3ft in length and shall show no substantial departure from the traditionally and generally accepted shape and form”.

SCORING – Players score one point for potting a red, after which they must nominate a colour for their next shot. The black is worth seven and is the most valuable going down through pink (six), blue (five), brown (four), green (three) and yellow (two). After each colour (the six colours are re-spotted but the reds are not) the player reverts to a red and alternates red, then colour until all the reds are potted. The remaining six colours are then potted in ascending points order, thus finishing with the black.

A player continues until he misses a ball or commits a foul, the players alternating turns. The maximum standard break (the term given to a consecutive run of pots) is 147 (15 reds taken with 15 blacks and then all the colours).

If a player commits a foul their opponent is awarded four points, unless the foul occurred whilst playing the blue, pink or black or hit one of those higher values first, in which case the foul is worth the value of the ball in question.

WINNING THE GAME – The winner is the person who scores the most points in a frame. Once a player has a lead of more points than remain on the table the opponent is said to “need snookers”. A snooker is where the balls are so placed so that the player cannot directly hit the next legal ball. The hope is to force a foul and earn four points. If a player thinks they cannot win, even by forcing snookers, they concede the frame, usually when around four or more snookers (fouls) would be required in addition to all the remaining balls, depending on how many balls are left.

A match is normally played “best of” a set number of frames, ranging from three right up to 35 for modern World Championship finals, such that the winner would be the first player to reach an unassailable lead.

Rules of Snooker

Players take it in turns to break (start the frame) with a coin toss deciding who starts the first frame. The break is made with the cue-ball in the D and a red must be struck. If both players agree a frame can be restarted, if, for example, both players agree the balls are so placed that the frame could lead to a stalemate.

A push shot, which is a foul, is when the tip of the cue remains in contact with the cue-ball as it in turn touches the target ball. The cue ball must only be played with one clean strike of the cue.
The referee may call a miss if the player does not strike the correct ball and is adjudged not to have made a serious attempt to. The other player is awarded the foul (four or more) and has the option to make the player replay the shot.

All balls must be stationary before the next shot is played.

The cue ball must hit the nominated ball first, or if it is a red, any red. Failure to do so is a foul, as is not hitting any ball or potting a non-nominated ball.

If the player touches any ball with any part of their body or any ball other than the white with their cue it is a foul.

Hitting a ball off the table is a foul. Reds are not replaced but colours will be re-spotted.