WPA Rule 6. Fouls
The Rules of Play From World Pool-Billiard Association (Effective 1/1/08)
The following actions are fouls at pool when included in the specific rules of the game being
played. If several fouls occur on one shot, only the most serious one is enforced. If a foul is
not called before the next shot begins, the foul is assumed not to have happened.
6.1 Cue Ball Scratch or off the Table
If the cue ball is pocketed or driven off the table, the shot is a foul. See 8.3 Ball Pocketed and
8.5 Driven off the Table.
6.2 Wrong Ball First
In those games which require the first object ball struck to be a particular ball or one of a
group of balls, it is a foul for the cue ball to first contact any other ball.
6.3 No Rail after Contact
If no ball is pocketed on a shot, the cue ball must contact an object ball, and after that contact
at least one ball (cue ball or any object ball) must be driven to a rail, or the shot is a foul. (See
8.4 Driven to a Rail.)
6.4 No Foot on Floor
If the shooter does not have at least one foot touching the floor at the instant the tip contacts
the cue ball, the shot is a foul.
6.5 Ball Driven off the Table
It is a foul to drive an object ball off the table. Whether that ball is spotted depends on the
rules of the game. (See 8.5 Driven off the Table.)
6.6 Touched Ball
It is a foul to touch, move or change the path of any object ball except by the normal ball-to-
ball contacts during shots. It is a foul to touch, move or change the path of the cue ball except
when it is in hand or by the normal tip-to-ball forward stroke contact of a shot. The shooter is
responsible for the equipment he controls at the table, such as chalk, bridges, clothing, his
hair, parts of his body, and the cue ball when it is in hand, that may be involved in such fouls.
If such a foul is accidental, it is a standard foul, but if it is intentional, it is 6.16
6.7 Double Hit / Frozen Balls
If the cue stick contacts the cue ball more than once on a shot, the shot is a foul. If the cue ball
is close to but not touching an object ball and the cue tip is still on the cue ball when the cue
ball contacts that object ball, the shot is a foul. If the cue ball is very close to an object ball,
and the shooter barely grazes that object ball on the shot, the shot is assumed not to violate the
first paragraph of this rule, even though the tip is arguably still on the cue ball when ball-ball
contact is made.
However, if the cue ball is touching an object ball at the start of the shot, it is legal to shoot
towards or partly into that ball (provided it is a legal target within the rules of the game) and if
the object ball is moved by such a shot, it is considered to have been contacted by the cue ball.
(Even though it may be legal to shoot towards such a touching or “frozen” ball, care must be
taken not to violate the rules in the first paragraph if there are additional balls close by.)
The cue ball is assumed not to be touching any ball unless it is declared touching by the
referee or opponent. It is the shooter’s responsibility to get the declaration before the shot.
Playing away from a frozen ball does not constitute having hit that ball unless specified in the
rules of the game.
6.8 Push Shot
It is a foul to prolong tip-to-cue-ball contact beyond that seen in normal shots.
6.9 Balls Still Moving
It is a foul to begin a shot while any ball in play is moving or spinning.
6.10 Bad Cue Ball Placement
When the cue ball is in hand and restricted to the area behind the head string, it is a foul to
play the cue ball from on or below the head string. If the shooter is uncertain whether the cue
ball has been placed behind the head string, he may ask the referee for a determination.
6.11 Bad Play from Behind the Head String
When the cue ball is in hand behind the head string, and the first ball the cue ball contacts is
also behind the head string, the shot is a foul unless the cue ball crosses the head string before
that contact. If such a shot is intentional, it is unsportsmanlike conduct.
The cue ball must either cross the head string or contact a ball in front of or on the head string
or the shot is a foul, and the cue ball is in hand for the following player according to the rules
of the specific game.
6.12 Cue Stick on the Table
If the shooter uses his cue stick in order to align a shot by placing it on the table without
having a hand on the stick, it is a foul.
6.13 Playing out of Turn
It is a standard foul to unintentionally play out of turn. Normally, the balls will be played from
the position left by the mistaken play. If a player intentionally plays out of turn, it should be
treated like 6.16 Unsportsmanlike Conduct.
6.14 Three Consecutive Fouls
If a player fouls three times without making an intervening legal shot, it is a serious foul. In
games scored by the rack, such as nine ball, the fouls must be in a single rack. Some games
such as eight ball do not include this rule.
The referee must warn a shooter who is on two fouls when he comes to the table that he is on
two fouls. Otherwise a possible third foul will be considered to be only the second.
6.15 Slow Play
If the referee feels that a player is playing too slowly, he may advise that player to speed up
his play. If the player does not speed up, the referee may impose a shot clock on that match
that applies to both players. If the shooter exceeds the time limit specified for the tournament,
a standard foul will be called and the incoming player is rewarded according to the rules
applicable to the game being played. (Rule 6.16 Unsportsmanlike Conduct may also apply.)
6.16 Unsportsmanlike Conduct
The normal penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct is the same as for a serious foul, but the
referee may impose a penalty depending on his judgment of the conduct. Among other
penalties possible are a warning; a standard-foul penalty, which will count as part of a three-
foul sequence if applicable; a serious-foul penalty; loss of a rack, set or match; ejection from
the competition possibly with forfeiture of all prizes, trophies and standings points.
Unsportsmanlike conduct is any intentional behavior that brings disrepute to the sport or
which disrupts or changes the game to the extent that it cannot be played fairly. It includes
(a) distracting the opponent;
(b) changing the position of the balls in play other than by a shot;
(c) playing a shot by intentionally miscuing;
(d) continuing to play after a foul has been called or play has been suspended;
(e) practicing during a match;
(f) marking the table;
(g) delay of the game; and
(h) using equipment inappropriately.
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