WPA Rule 5. Black Ball
The Rules of Play From World Pool-Billiard Association (Effective 1/1/08)
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.
In addition to definitions defined in 8. Definitions Used in the Rules, the following
definitions apply to black ball:
Free shot 5.2 Equipment
After a foul has been committed the incoming player is awarded a free shot. On a free shot
Rule 6.2 Wrong Ball First
is suspended and the player may take the cue ball in position or in
hand in baulk. 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.” Snookered
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.
5.3 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).
5.4 Black Ball Rack
The balls are racked as illustrated with the black ball on the foot spot.
5.5 Break Shot
The following rules apply to the break shot.
5.6 Open Table / Choosing Groups
(a) The cue ball begins in hand in baulk.
(b) 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.
(c) If the black ball is pocketed on the break, all the balls are re-racked and the same player
breaks again. Any violation of 6.1 Cue Ball Scratch or off the Table
or 6.5 Ball Driven off the
is ignored on a break that pockets the black ball.
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.
5.7 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
5.8 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.
5.9 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.
5.10 Playing from a Snooker
When the shooter is snookered, Rule 6.3 No Rail after Contact is suspended for the shot.
Index: World Pool & Billiard Rules of Play
World Pool & Billiard Rules of Play: 01. General Rules
World Pool & Billiard Rules of Play: 02. Nine Ball
World Pool & Billiard Rules of Play: 03. Eight Ball
World Pool & Billiard Rules of Play: 04. 14.1 Continuous Pool
World Pool & Billiard Rules of Play: 05. Black Ball
World Pool & Billiard Rules of Play: 06. Fouls
World Pool & Billiard Rules of Play: 07. Rules for Wheelchair Competition
World Pool & Billiard Rules of Play: 08. Definitions Used in the Rules
World Pool & Billiard Rules of Play: 09. Ten Ball
World Pool & Billiard Tournament Regulations
World Pool & Billiard Tournament Table & Equipment Specifications