Rules For Tournament Play

The following rules concern the play, scoring, officiating and responsibilities for tournament competition in all pocket billiard games. However, the precepts and principles of these rules are to be considered part of the games' General Rules and should be applied as appropriate to all play, whether or not a formal tournament.

It is the player's responsibility to be aware of all rules, regulations and schedules applying to competition. While tournament officials will make every reasonable effort to have such information readily available to all players as appropriate, the ultimate responsibility rests with the player. (For exceptions to this rule, see Rule 2.16.) The player has no recourse if such information is not volunteered; the responsibility for knowing the situation and/or the rules lies with the player.

Tournament players should assure themselves, prior to beginning play, that the balls and other equipment are standard and legal. Once they begin play of a match, they may no longer question the legality of the equipment in use (unless the opponent and tournament officials both agree with the objection and any available remedy proposed by the tournament officials).

Players may not use equipment or accessory items for purposes or in a manner other than those for which the items were intended (refer to Rule 3.41 and Rule 3.42). For example, powder containers, chalk cubes, etc., may not be used to prop up a mechanical bridge (or natural hand bridge); no more than two mechanical bridges may be used at one time, nor may they be used to support anything other than the cue shaft. Extra or out-of-play balls may not be used by players to check clearances or for any other reason (except to lag for break); the triangle may be employed by players to ascertain whether a ball is in the rack when a match is not officiated and the table has not been pencil-marked around the triangle area. (Also see Rule 2.15.)

Players may use chalk, powder, mechanical bridge(s) and cue(s) of their choice or design. However, tournament officials may restrict a player if he attempts action that is disruptive of either the house equipment or normal competitive conditions. As examples, a player may: be restrained from using red chalk on green cloth; be advised not to use powder in such an excessive fashion as to unduly affect the balls or table cloth; and be barred from using a cue with a noisemaking device that is clearly disruptive to other competitors. (Also see Rule 2.15.)

When racking the balls, a triangle must be used. Prior to competition, each table and the triangle to be used on it shall be marked so as to ensure that the same triangle will be used throughout the tournament on the same table. An accurate and clearly visible pencil line must also be marked on the cloth: (1) around the outer edge of the triangle to ensure accurate and consistent placement to enable accurate judgement as to ball positions; (2) on the long string to enable accurate spotting of balls; and (3) on the head string to facilitate determinations of whether balls are behind the head string. The head spot, center spot and foot spot must also be determined to be accurately marked, whether with discreet penciled "plus" marks, or with standard spots if being employed. In games which do not require them, the center and head spots do not need to be marked.

The management of each tournament shall reserve the right to set forth rules and procedures appropriate and reasonable for the particular tournament involved, such as may regard players' dress requirements, method of receiving entry fees, refund policy of entry fees, scheduling flexibility, pairing procedures, practice procedures, etc. However, for tournaments to receive a WPA sanction, certain requirements must be met, primarily with regard to safeguarding and ensuring proper distribution of the prize fund.

A player must be ready to begin a match within 15 minutes of the start of the match, or the opponent wins by forfeit. The starting time is considered to be the scheduled time or the time the match is announced, whichever is later.

While a match is in progress, practice is not allowed. Taking a shot that is not part of that match is a foul. (Refer to Rule 1.6)

While a match is in progress, players are not allowed to ask spectators for assistance in planning or executing shots. If a player asks for and receives such assistance, he loses the game. Any person, except the opponent, who offers any significant assistance to a player, verbal or non-verbal, will be removed from the area. (Refer to Rule 2.28)

When a player's inning comes to an end, the player must discontinue shooting. Failure to do so is loss of game (exception in 14.1 - ruled as "deliberate foul").

If in the opinion of the referee a player is impeding the progress of the tournament or game with consistently slow play, the referee can warn the player and then at his discretion impose a time limit up to a maximum of 45 seconds that applies to both players between shots (that is, both players are put on a shot-clock). If the referee does impose a time limit and that limit is exceeded by a player who has received a 10 second "time" warning, a foul will be called and the incoming player is rewarded according to the rules applicable to the game being played. During a player's inning, the shot-clock starts when the previous shot ends, and runs until tip-to-ball contact begins the next shot. The time while a shot is in progress is not counted. If a player begins with cue ball in hand, the shot-clock starts when he has possession of the cue ball, and any spotting or racking is finished. If a player has not approached the shot, a warning with the announcement of "time" should be made 10 seconds prior to the time limit being reached. If a player exceeds the time limit specified for the tournament, a foul will be called and the incoming player is rewarded according to the rules applicable to the game being played. In the case of a player down over the ball at the 10 second mark prior to the time limit, no announcement is to be made and no penalty is to be imposed. In the event of a player standing up off the shot, "time" will be called at that point and normal shot clock procedure is followed. Each player may call for one extension per rack. The extension period is identical to the time limit imposed. In the event of a tie score with only one game remaining, each player may utilize two extensions. Player must insure that the referee/timekeeper is aware when an extension is called.

If a player shoots while play is suspended by the referee, he loses the game. Announcement of the suspension is considered sufficient warning. (Also see Rule 2.27)

If time outs are allowed, a player is only allowed to take a time out during his/her turn at the table or between sets (if a format with sets is used). During a time out, a sign should be placed on the table by the referee, and no practice will be allowed on that table. In general, each player will be allowed one time out per match, and a maximum of five minutes per time out. When a format with sets is used, each player will be allowed one time out in the final set (in the third set if playing best-of-3, or in the fifth set if playing the best-of-5 sets). This final-set rule applies regardless of whether a player has taken a time out in an earlier set.

If a player concedes, he loses the match. That is, if a player attempts to unscrew his jointed playing cue stick while the opponent is at the table and during the opponent's decisive game of a match, it will be considered a concession of the match. No warning from the referee is required in the case of a concession. (Refer to Rule 2.22)
Matches forfeited for any reason under these rules shall not result in any scores being included in the statistics of a tournament, regardless of whether any score had been reached prior to the declaration of forfeiture. For official records, no point scores should be recorded, but rather the notations "W(F)" and "L(F)" as appropriate should be employed. (Matches lost through disqualification are considered forfeits for purposes of this rule.) If, however, the player awarded a match through the opponent's forfeiture has posted a high run (or similar accomplishment for which an award is granted) during play of the match prior to declaration of forfeiture, that high run or other mark shall be eligible for the tournament award or prize.
When a referee is not available, any dispute between the two players will be resolved by the Tournament Director or an appointed substitute.
When a referee is presiding over a match, it is a foul for a player to touch any ball (cue ball or object ball) with the cue, clothing, body, mechanical bridge or chalk, before, during or after a shot. However, when a referee is not presiding over a game, it is not a foul to accidentally touch stationary balls located between the cue ball and the shooter while in the act of shooting. If such an accident occurs, the player should allow the Tournament Director to restore the object balls to their correct positions. If the player does not allow such a restoration, and a ball set in motion as a normal part of the shot touches such an unrestored ball, or passes partly into a region originally occupied by a disturbed ball, the shot is a foul. In short, if the accident has any effect on the outcome of the shot, it is a foul. In any case, the Tournament Director must be
called upon to restore the positions of the disturbed balls as soon as possible, but not during the shot. It is a foul to play another shot before the Tournament Director has restored any accidentally moved balls. At the non-shooting player's option, the disturbed balls will be left in their new positions. In this case, the balls are considered restored, and subsequent contact on them is not a foul. It is still a foul to make any contact with the cue ball whatsoever while it is in play, except for the normal tip-to-ball contact during a shot.
If a match is not refereed, 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).
When a shot comes up that seems likely to lead to controversy, either party may request a tournament official or a third party to judge the legality of the shot.
If the cue ball strikes a legal object ball and a non-legal object ball at approximately the same instant, and it cannot be determined which ball was hit first, the judgement will go in favor of the shooter.
1.16.5 RACKING
The balls must be racked as tightly as possible, which means each ball should be touching its neighbor. Refrain from tapping object balls more than absolutely necessary; it is preferable to thoroughly brush the area of the rack to even out the cloth. (Further instructions for Tournament Play are Included in the Next
Section, "Instructions For Referees".