Official One Pocket Rules

Official One Pocket Rules
Official One Pocket Rules
Adopted by OnePocket.org 1-19-05
Unless clearly contradicted below, general pocket billiards rules of play and etiquette
apply to One Pocket, and complete General Rules are available from the Billiard
Congress of America or the World Pool-Billiard Association (WPA).
Common ‘house rule’ variations are noted in italics.
1. Object of the game
One Pocket is a game for two players or two teams, where each player or team can only
score into one of the two corner pockets on the foot end of the table, while the other
player or team can only score into the other corner pocket at the foot end of the table. The
other four pockets are neutral pockets, and any balls pocketed in a neutral pocket are
spotted at the end of the shooter’s inning. There is no requirement to ‘call your shot’ in
One Pocket, and no special order or significance to any numbered object balls. The first
player (or team) to legally score eight balls into their own pocket wins the game, whether
they pocket their game-winning ball by their own shot, or as a result of their opponent’s
shot. The game may be handicapped either by agreement between players or as
designated by a tournament director. Standard handicaps are created by adjusting the
required winning score for either one or both players, either for all breaks or for specified
player's breaks.
Please note that with One Pocket's long tradition of after hours play, many other creative
variations in handicapping have been invented over the years. As long as all those
involved agree before play begins, virtually everything is negotiable in after hours
contests.
2. The break
2.1 All fifteen balls are tightly racked in no particular required order in a standard triangle
with the apex ball placed as nearly as possible on the foot spot. In tournament play,
players lag for the first break. For games that follow, the break alternates back and forth
between the players, regardless of who wins each game. Prior to breaking, the breaking
player selects one of the corner pockets at the foot of the table as their own, thus the
opponent is assigned the other foot pocket by default. In subsequent games, whoever
breaks is free to change their pocket selection on their own break.
In standard practice the breaker does not ‘call his pocket'; their pocket selection is
considered obvious by virtue of the orientation of their break. Players employing an
unusual break are advised to make their pocket selection clear prior to the break, to
avoid conflict.
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Traditionally opponents rack the balls for the breaker, with the breaker having option to
inspect the rack and ask for a re-rack if they are not satisfied with the quality of the rack.
In current tournament play, players may rack their own balls, with the opponent having
the option to inspect the rack. ‘Racking your own' is recommended at all times, to reduce
racking complaints.
In a handicap situation when one player or team is awarded the break in every game,
unless otherwise agreed, they should break towards alternate pockets on alternate
breaks.
2.2 The opening break begins with ball in hand behind the head string. On the break, the
cue ball may contact either a cushion or any ball in the rack first, but in either case, after
contacting at least one ball, an object ball must be pocketed, or the cue ball or at least one
object ball must contact a rail, otherwise it is a one foul penalty. As long as a legal stroke
is employed from behind the head string on the break, the incoming player must play the
balls where they lie – there are no re-racks for a pocket scratch or failure to contact a
cushion or pocket a ball on the break.
3. Continuing play
3.1 A player’s inning continues only as long they pocket a ball or balls in their own
pocket on a legal stroke. While it is perfectly legal to pocket a ball in a neutral pocket or
in the opponent’s pocket, doing so does not entitle the shooter to continue their inning,
unless on the same stroke they legally pocket a ball into their own pocket. Any balls
pocketed either accidentally or intentionally into the opponent’s pocket are counted for
the opponent, unless on the same stroke, either the cue ball pocket scratches or jumps off
the table.
3.2 In the event that a player pockets both their own game-winning ball, and their
opponent’s game-winning ball, both on the same legal stroke, then the shooting player
wins. There are no ‘ties’, and it does not matter which ball drops first, as long as they
both drop as a result of the same stroke.
4. Safety Play
There is no option to ‘call a safety’ in One Pocket; if a player legally scores a ball into
their own pocket they must shoot again, unless the game is over. Players may play safe to
the same rail as many times as they wish, as long as either the cue ball or at least one
object ball is driven to a cushion after the cue ball contacts an object ball. Standard
‘frozen ball’ rules apply to safety play.
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5. Jumping
Players may use jump shots in One Pocket as long as they are performed with the player's
own standard playing cue using legal jumping techniques as defined in General Rules.
Specialized jump cues are not permitted in One Pocket.
Please note that many players, poolrooms and tournament directors have differing
opinions on specialized jump cues. It is recommended that players check with their
opponent, the 'house man' or the tournament director prior to an important match to
come to agreement on whether specialized jump cues shall be permitted or not.
6. Fouls
6.1 Unless otherwise announced by the tournament director, One Pocket is played
according to the World General Rules 1.16.1, ‘cue ball fouls only’. In the event that a
player accidentally moves a ball, the opponent may elect to have the disturbed ball
remain in its new position or be restored to its original position. When balls are restored,
they shall be placed as close as possible to their original positions, with no advantage to
be gained by the offending player. If no official is available to restore disturbed balls,
then the players must come to agreement on satisfactory replacement of the disturbed
balls prior to continuing play.
6.2 Any scratch or foul results in the end of the shooter’s inning, as well as a standard one
ball penalty. All balls pocketed in the shooter’s pocket as a result of a stroke that includes
a foul do not count for the shooting player and are to be immediately spotted, along with
the standard one ball penalty. Also, any balls pocketed in the opponent’s pocket on a
stroke that ends in either a pocket scratch or with the cue ball off the table are not to be
counted for the opponent, and are to be immediately spotted. However, on a stroke when
any other foul is committed (such as a push shot, double-hit or illegal ball contact), any
balls scored into the opponent’s pocket are to stay down and be counted for the opponent.
6.3 Following either a pocket scratch or the cue ball jumping the table, the incoming
player has cue ball in hand behind the head string. Following any other foul, the cue ball
is played where it lies.
6.4 If the offending player has no balls to spot, then they will owe one for each such
scratch, which must be repaid by spotting at the end of the first inning or innings in which
they score. All owed balls must be repaid before any pocketed balls count towards a
player's game score.
Typically, any owed scratches are indicated by placement of a small coin on the rail top
adjacent to the offending player's pocket. An additional coin is placed to represent each
additional scratch without a scored ball to spot. One coin is removed for each owed ball
repaid by spotting at the end of the first inning or innings in which they are scored, until
all owed scratches have been repaid, and standard scoring can commence.
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6.5 Driving either the cue ball or an object ball off the table is a foul, whenever either
comes to rest off the playing surface, or comes in contact with anything other than the
table itself while airborne.
Please note that One Pocket has been traditionally played in many areas without a foul
charged for jumping an object ball off the table, contrary to current general pocket
billiards rules; therefore it is important to verify house rules or your tournament
director's interpretation prior to an important match.
6.6 Intentional fouls are an accepted part of One Pocket tactics as long as they are played
by use of a legal stroke, such as by lightly touching the cue ball with the cue tip; by
rolling the cue ball to a new location without regard for legal contact with either an object
ball or a cushion; by pocket scratching the cue ball; or by using a legal jump technique to
force the cue ball off the table. However, if the acting official rules that a player has used
an illegal technique to direct the cue ball or any object balls to a more desirable location,
then the incoming player has the option of either playing the balls where they lie, or
requesting the official to restore all such moved balls to their location prior to the illegal
maneuver. The offending player is charged the standard one ball foul penalty, and in
addition may be further penalized at the discretion of the acting official under the general
rules of unsportsmanlike conduct.
6.7 It shall not be a foul to accidentally touch the cue ball while removing an object ball
from an adjacent pocket, or when spotting a ball where the cue ball interferes. It shall be
a foul for the incoming shooter to accidentally touch an object ball with the cue ball while
placing it in a ball in hand situation.
7. Three fouls in a row
Three consecutive fouls is loss of game, however the opponent or tournament referee
must notify the player that is on two fouls, prior to their third foul. Should no notice
occur until after the shot resulting in the third foul is in motion, it is not immediate loss of
game, but the player will be considered to be on two fouls for their next shot.
The three fouls rule is often waived in after hours situations by agreement between the
players.
8. Frozen balls
For a foul to result from failure to legally strike a rail after contacting a frozen ball, the
ball in question must be inspected and designated as frozen prior to a player’s shot,
otherwise the ball is not considered frozen. If the cue ball becomes wedged between an
object ball and the cushion and frozen to both, then legal shot requirements must be met
Copyright 2005 OnePocket.org
by pocketing the frozen ball, or by contacting either another ball or another cushion
enroute to a legal shot. Failure to do so is a foul.
9. Spotting balls
9.1 Balls are to be spotted on the foot spot, or in a direct line below the foot spot, and
tightly frozen to other object balls that fall in or interfere with that line. However if the
cue ball interferes, the spotted ball is to be placed on that line close to, but not quite
frozen to the cue ball. In the event that the line below the foot spot is full and the bottom
rail interferes with a spotted ball then balls are to be spotted on the same line, but above
the foot spot.
9.2 Any penalty balls owed by the shooter, or balls pocketed in a neutral pocket, are to be
spotted at the end of the shooter’s inning. However, if a player runs off all the balls on the
table without reaching a winning score, then all such balls are spotted immediately (all at
once, not one ball at a time), and the shooter continues their inning. At no other time in
One Pocket are balls spotted during any shooter’s ongoing inning.
9.3 In the event of a handicapped game with the combined winning ball count needed by
the two players or teams totals greater than sixteen at the start of the game, then the
player going to the longer count must spot the first ball or balls they score, immediately
at the end of the first inning in which they score, as necessary to bring the combined
winning ball count back down to sixteen, at which point the game continues in standard
fashion.
9.4 If any owed balls, or balls that have fallen into a neutral pocket are forgotten and later
remembered, then instead of being spotted after the current shooter’s inning, they are
spotted after the end of the next player’s inning, unless there are no balls left on the table,
in which case they are all spotted immediately. In any case, any owed balls are not
forgiven, but still must be paid.
In practice, forgotten balls may be spotted at any time after they are remembered, as long
as both players agree on the timing; if either player objects to an earlier spotting, then
rule 9.4 should be followed.
Please note that playing ‘snooze you lose’ is the rare exception in house rules; it is by no
means the standard rule, and it should only be accepted when it is clearly and mutually
agreed on by both players before play begins.
9.5 In the event of a scratch with the offending player having no balls to spot when all of
the balls are located behind the head string, the ball nearest the head string may be
spotted at the request of the incoming player. If two or more balls are equally close to the
head string, the highest numbered ball would be spotted.
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10. Keeping score
10.1 It is the responsibility of the shooting player to verify their own ball count as they
approach their out ball, and the non-shooting player should avoid making comments
about how many balls are needed. However, if the non-shooting player disturbs the balls,
or breaks down their stick, or in the judgment of the acting official otherwise
significantly disturbs the shooter in the assumption that the shooter is already out, such
acts are considered a concession, and the shooter is considered to have won, regardless of
whether a subsequent count reveals that more balls are needed. Likewise, if it can be
verified that the non-shooting player’s mistaken statement of the number of balls needed
leads directly to the shooter pocketing said number of balls and the assumption of the
game being over, then the shooter wins, even if it is subsequently determined that the
non-shooting player’s statement of balls needed was in error.
10.2 If the shooting player disturbs only one of the remaining balls on the table under
their own mistaken assumption that the game is over, play continues under the terms of
rule 6.1. However, if the shooting player disturbs two or more of the remaining balls in
play on their own mistaken assumption that the game is over, then it is the shooting
player that forfeits the game.
Players should refrain from moving or removing balls from their opponent's pocket or
scoring tray for any reason, except to spot a ball following a scratch or to sufficiently
clear a pocket to permit entry of additional balls for an impending shot, and should only
do so with respect for their opponent's scoring preferences.
11. Keeping track of which pocket is whose
11.1 It is each player’s responsibility to keep track of which pocket is theirs; opponents
are under no obligation – other than good sportsmanship -- to correct such an error prior
to an opponent’s shot. A ball legally pocketed in the wrong pocket counts for the player
who legitimately has that pocket, regardless of who shot the ball. However, a ball shot
into the wrong pocket does not entitle the shooter to continue their inning, unless on the
same stroke they legitimately score into their own pocket as well.
11.2 In the event that a player shooting into the wrong pocket is permitted to continue the
same inning at the table (beyond what is entitled by legally pocketing a ball in their own
pocket) by their opponent’s or the referee’s failure to notify them of their error, such
failure of notification does not legitimize any additional balls pocketed in that inning,
whether pocketed in the shooter’s pocket or their opponent’s pocket. Thus the first shot to
the wrong pocket in a given inning is the shooter’s responsibility, and the shooter’s
opponent is entitled to any balls pocketed on that first stroke. However, any subsequently
pocketed balls in the same inning are to be spotted as illegally pocketed balls, because it
is the referee’s or opponent’s responsibility to notify the shooter before they erroneously
continue their inning.
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12. Conflict resolution
12.1 Unless a referee is assigned, players shall be responsible for refereeing their own
match. Whenever the players themselves can come to an amicable agreement on any
scoring or officiating issues to their satisfaction, and play continues, their decision shall
be deemed final. If at anytime in a match either player anticipates a close call, or would
like a neutral party to spot a ball, or wishes to have an official ruling in any conflict, then
an official should be called. The non-shooting player bears extra responsibility to call an
official if they anticipate a close call. In the event of any ‘too close to call’ situation,
arbitration should favor the shooter unless there is verifiable mitigating evidence in the
judgment of the official. In the event of a disagreement over a contested ball, with no
evidence in the judgment of the official to warrant crediting the ball to either player, then
the contested ball shall be deemed a neutral ball, and spotted according to rule 9.4.
If there is no tournament official, then the ‘house man’ or another mutually agreed on
impartial observer should be summoned to arbitrate. Their decision should be considered
final.
*OnePocket.org would like to acknowledge the Billiard Congress of America for their
basic One Pocket rules, and Grady Mathews, for his “Grady’s rules” wherever their
influence appears in these expanded rules.
Copyright 2005 OnePocket.org
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