Chinese 8 Ball Pool Rules – August 2017

OFFICIAL Rules of Chinese 8-Ball (Revised Aug 2017)

1. Player’s Obligations

It’s players’ obligation to be in the know with all the rules and regulations of the game. Should there be any changes to the rules and regulations, the Organizing Committee should deliver the latest changes timely.

2. Method of Play

Chinese 8-ball game is played with 15 object balls from No.1 to No.15 and the cue ball. If one player chooses No.1 to No.7 (solids) then the other player must choose No.9 to No.15 (stripes), and vice versa. The shooter remains at the table as long as he continues to legally pocket his group of balls, and he wins the rack by pocketing the 8 ball.

3. Equipment

(a) Table: Internal edge size is 2540 x 1260mm(+/-9mm) height from the ground to the cushion top is 800mm-850mm.
(b) Cue: No less than 101.6cm. The material and shape must be up to the standard of International Chinese 8-Ball Association.
(c) Balls: Diameter 57.15mm(+/-0.05mm), Weight 156g-170g.
(d) Foot spot: 635 mm from the top cushion on longitudinal centre line.
(e) Head string: 450mm from the bottom cushion and parallel to the bottom cushion.
(f) Breaking area: Between the top cushion and the head string.

4. Racking Balls

Object balls should be racked as tightly as possible in a triangle, with the apex ball on the foot spot and the 8 ball at the centre of the triangle. A solid ball and a stripe ball should be placed on the two lower corners of the triangle. Other solids and stripes should be separated as far as possible, but being racked as tightly as possible.Players can check if the balls are placed right and tightly, and both can ask for referee’s adjustment. (This could be reappointed by the organizing committee before the game).

5. Lagging For the Break

The lag is the first shot of the match and determines order of play. The player who wins the lag chooses who will shoot first.
The referee will place a ball on each side of the table behind the head string and near the head string. After the referee’s call, the players will shoot at about the same time to make each ball contact the foot cushion with the goal of returning the ball closer to the head cushion than the opponent.

A lag shot is bad and cannot win if the shooter’s ball:

(a) crosses the long string;
(b) contacts the foot cushion other than once;
(c) is pocketed or driven off the table;
(d) touches the side cushion; or
(e) the ball rests within the corner pocket and past the nose of the head cushion.
The players will lag again if:
(a) a player’s ball is struck after the other ball has touched the foot cushion;
(b) the referee cannot determine which ball has stopped closer to the head cushion; or
(c) both lags are bad.

6. Break shot

The following rules apply to the break shot:

(a) The cue ball begins in hand behind the head string.
(b) No ball is called, and the cue ball is not required to hit any particular object ball first.
(c) A male player’s break shot should meet the minimum requirement of “head string being crossed 4 times by numbered balls”, which means:

(1) the head string is crossed (more than half or half of a ball) 4 times by numbered ball or balls (the cue ball is not included); or
(2) one ball is pocketed and the head string is crossed 3 times; or
(3) two balls are pocketed and the head string is crossed twice; or
(4) three balls are pocketed and the head string is crossed once; or
(5) four or more object balls are pocketed.

* If a ball crosses the head string and then gets pocketed, it is regarded as having crossed the head string TWICE.

Female players and the players who are under 14 years of age should meet the minimum requirement of “head string being crossed 3 times”.
If the break shot fails to meet this minimum requirement, the situation is regarded as a “loss of chance”, and the incoming player has the option of:

(1) accepting the table in position, or
(2) re-racking and breaking, or
(3) re-racking and allowing the offending player to break again.

Three accumulated ”loss of chances” will be considered as losing the ongoing rack.

(d) Soft breaks are not allowed – In the situation that less than four object balls is driven to one or more rails, the shot will be seen as an intentional attempt to slow down the game (It will NOT be regarded as a loss of chance nor an illegal break), and will result in the loss of the ongoing rack.

(e) Pocketing the eight ball on a legal break shot is not a foul. If the eight ball is pocketed, the breaker has the option of (1) re-spotting the eight ball and accepting the balls in position, or (2) re-breaking.

(f) If the breaker pockets the eight ball and scratches, it is a foul; the opponent has the option of (1) re-spotting the eight ball and shooting with cue ball in hand behind the head string; or (2) re-breaking.
(g) If any object ball is driven off the table on a break shot, it is a foul; such balls remain out of play (except the eight ball which is re-spotted); and the incoming player has the option of
(1) accepting the table in position, or (2) taking cue ball in hand behind the head string.

7. Restoring a Position

When necessary for balls to be restored or cleaned, the referee will restore disturbed balls to their original positions to the best of his ability. The players must accept the referee’s judgment as to placement.

8. Cue Ball in Hand Behind the Head String

When the breaker fouls, the opponents gets ball in hand 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. 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.
When the shooter has the cue ball in hand behind the head string and all the legal object balls are behind the head string, he may request the legal object ball nearest the head string to be spotted. If two or more balls are equal distance from the head string, the shooter may designate which of the equidistant balls is to be spotted. An object ball that rests exactly on the head string is playable.

9. Cue Ball in Hand

When the cue ball is in hand, the shooter may place the cue ball anywhere on the playing surface and may continue to move the cue ball until he executes a shot. Players may use any part of the cue stick to move the cue ball, including the tip, but not with a forward stroke motion. For break shots, placement of the cue ball is restricted to the area behind the head string.

10. Open Table

The open table means the ownership of the solid balls or stripe balls were not decided. Before groups are determined, the table is said to be “open”, If the shooter legally pockets his ball, the corresponding group becomes his, and his opponent is assigned the other group. If he fails to legally pocket his ball, the table remains open and play passes to the other player. When the table is “open”, any object ball may be struck first except the eight ball.
Under the rare circumstances that all solids (or stripes) are pocketed after the break shot, it is regarded as an open table; two players can only play for the remaining group, and when the ownership of the group is confirmed, the table is closed.

11. Call Your Shot – No Need

There is NO NEED to call your shot / designate a pocket, even for the 8 ball or the shootout. Flukes are allowed.
Attention: The shooter may NO LONGER call “safety” in which case play passes to the opponent at the end of the shot and any object ball pocketed on the safety remains pocketed.

12. When shooting

12.1 Determining Groups
Before groups are determined, the table is said to be “open”, if the shooter legally pockets the first-hit ball or ball(s) of the same group as the first-hit ball, then the table is closed, and the selected group becomes his group. The shooter remains at the table as long as he continues to legally pocket his group of balls, and he wins the rack by pocketing the 8 ball.
12.2 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.
12.3 After a shot, the cue ball and the balls not pocketed must be on the table.
12.4 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.
12.5 Double hit
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 rule, even though the tip is arguably still on the cue ball when ball-ball contact is made.
12.6 Push shot
It is a foul to prolong tip-to-cue-ball contact beyond that seen in normal shots. In other words, the hitting action between the tip and cue ball should be a momentary hit, not a push.
12.7 All the foul behaviors should be judged before the next hitting, or will be treated as no foul happens.

13. Cue Ball Contacting Legal & Illegal Balls Simultaneously

After a stroke, if the cue ball cause both the legal and illegal balls to move at almost the same time, and the referee can not judge which ball was first touched, then it will be considered the legal ball being touched first.

14. Balls Settling

A ball may settle slightly after it appears to have stopped, possibly due to slight imperfections in the ball or the table. Unless this causes a ball to fall into a pocket, it is considered a normal hazard of play, and the ball will not be moved back. If a ball falls into a pocket as the result of such settling, it is restored as closely as possible to its original position. If a settling ball falls into a pocket during or just prior to a shot, and this has an effect on the shot, the referee will restore the position and the shot will be replayed. The shooter is not penalized for shooting while a ball is settling.

15. Frozen Balls

15.1 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) and if the object ball is moved by such a shot, it is considered to have been contacted by the cue ball. Playing away from a frozen ball does not constitute having hit that ball.
15.2 When the object ball is frozen to the rail, then it’s a legal shot if only:

(a) after the cue ball contacts the object ball, the object ball hits a second rail, or
(b) there are other balls contacting the rails, or
(c) a ball or more balls are pocketed.

Violation will result in a foul.

16. Jump Shot

A jump shot is one in which the cue ball is made to go over an intervening obstacle such as an object ball or part of the cushion. Whether such a shot is legal depends on how it is accomplished and the intention of the shooter. Usually a legal jump shot is played by elevating the cue stick, hitting the upper half of the cue ball and driving the cue ball down into the playing surface from which it rebounds.

17. Fouls

If the shooter commits a foul, the opponent gets a cue ball in hand.The following are standard fouls in Chinese 8-ball:

(a) The cue ball is scratched or off the table;
(b) The cue ball hit wrong group of balls first;
(c) Begin a shot while any ball in play is moving or spinning;
(d) The shooter does not have at least one foot touching the floor at the instant the tip contacts the cue ball;
(e) The object ball is driven off the table;
(f) Touch the balls illegally;
(g) Double hit;
(h) Push shot – It is a foul to prolong tip-to-cue-ball contact beyond that seen in normal shots;
(i) Bad play from behind the head string.

18. Intentional Fouls

It is an INTENTIONAL foul for the cue ball to first contact the other group of balls on purpose / deliberately. Intentional fouls are regarded as a serious foul. A player’s first intentional foul will be judged as losing a rack, and his second intentional foul will result in losing the whole match.

19. Ball Group Confusion

After the table is closed, if a player wrongly hits the other group balls, the foul must be pronounced before his next shot. When any player or a referee realizes that the groups are wrongly played, the rack should stop at once, and re-rack.

20. Loss of rack

The shooter loses if he/she:

(a) pockets the 8 ball and fouls;
(b) pocket the 8 ball on his last shot before the 8 ball;
(c) drives the 8 ball off the table;
(d) pocket the 8 ball before his group is cleared;As long as the 8 ball stays on the table, there can only be fouls. However, if the 8 ball is driven off the table, it will be loss of rack.

21. Stalemate

If the referee observes that no progress is being made towards a conclusion, he will announce his decision, and each player will have three more turns at the table. Then, if the referee determines that there is still no progress, he will declare a stalemate. If both players agree, they may accept the stalemate without taking their three additional turns. If a stalemate occurs, the original breaker will break again.

22. Outside Interference

When outside interference occurs during a shot that has an effect on the outcome of that shot, the referee will restore the balls to the positions they had before the shot, and the shot will be replayed. If the interference had no effect on the shot, the referee will restore the disturbed balls and play will continue. If the balls cannot be restored to their original positions, the situation is handled like a stalemate.

23. Abstention

Players can make voluntary abstention only in his turn. Abstention could be designed to a rack or the game.

24. 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; 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;
(h) using equipment inappropriately;
(i) the player admits defeat before his opponent finishes the rack; and
(j) shoot with only one hand (except for the disabled player).

The Organizing Committee owns the right of final interpretation of this rule.This version of the rules referred to the WPA Rules of American eight ball, nine ball, ten ball and the draft rules of CBSA, sought the opinions from professionals and amateurs, pool halls owners, tournament operators, referees and fans. The purpose is to improve the game’s fairness, fluency and ornamental values, and to make the game integrate into the global community. We will continue to perfect the rules with the development of this sport. We are hoping to receive suggestions, understanding and support from everyone.
August 2017


The old site, for reference, is here