Talk:Blackball (pool)

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No one knows this as 'Blackball' in the UK[edit]

in fact i've never even heard it called Blackball before, until I visited this article. and that was after spending a long time trying to find it (talk) 15:58, 4 March 2011 (UTC)

Not so. There are blackball leagues throughout England, Wales and Northern Ireland while in Scotland there are over 40 pool leagues playing exclusively blackball pool. More leagues play World Rules pool than Blackball rules in England however.

I was also surprised to see this called Blackball. It is more common by far to simply call the game 'Pool', and from my experience is also the more common variant. -- (talk) 02:30, 28 February 2012 (UTC)

UK pool[edit]

Helpful summary of the past UK pool organisations... forerunners of current blackball organisations in the UK — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:42, 14 September 2016 (UTC)

There's a website at which provides information about UK Blackball. The site is currently being worked on and there's much more information to be added. Feel free to use anything if you believe it would be useful. I think the Wikipedia UK blackball article could possibly benefit from a major re-write. It's been largely unchanged for quite a few years. Cheers. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Scottish8ball (talkcontribs) 14:07, 23 February 2016 (UTC)

Some basic information here... — Preceding unsigned comment added by Blackballuk (talkcontribs) 15:06, 23 February 2016 (UTC)

More relevant information? The current website address of the European Blackball Association... There's some information about blackball pool here which may prove useful... — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:53, 28 January 2016 (UTC)

May I direct you to There's a good deal of information about blackball both in Scotland (and more generally) which you may find useful in bringing Wikipedia up-to-date on this subject. In particular the introduction of certain rule changes which have had a big impact. There's also a campaign mentioned which promotes the sport and the twitter account @blackballpool indicates how popular blackball has now become. It has grown tremendously in Africa. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Scottish8ball (talkcontribs) 13:12, 7 November 2015 (UTC)

Blackball is one set of rules. 'World Rules' is another. Blackball is not a generic name for pool in the UK. There should indeed be separate pages for WEPF 'world rules' and World Pool Association 'blackball rules'. Or a single topic UK Pool and then describe various rule sets separately. The current content is flawed I'm afraid.

As regards the image description, to say that this represents a 'kick shot' in action does not really work. The rules described are not accurate as far as blackball is concerned. The set or colour is not nominated by the player. There are several other discrepancies I'm afraid.

I wonder if there should be a wider UK/English pool with a lot of this info in it. There is mention of the EPA and the World Eight Ball Pool Federation Rules but it feels a bit like this is saying everyone plays Blackball rules and calls the game Blackball and they don't.

There should be a World Eight Ball Pool Federation Rules page but I think one UK pool page with the rules (Blackball, World Eight Ball Pool Federation Rules, BAPTO)off it?

I might start a World Eight Ball Pool Federation Rules page to get the ball rolling! --Watford147 (talk) 16:56, 21 May 2008 (UTC)

I've tried to address the historical relationship a little better. You are right that the article is glaringly flawed, especially with BAPTO being missing. I would strongly advise against forking the article any time soon, as WP:AFD will just merge them again. It would be better to drastically improve this article, and then if necessary rename it (however I think it would be vastly preferable to keep this article at Blackball (pool) than to move it to Eight-ball pool, as it will be too easily confused with Eight-ball. UK pool or something like that is too general - other games than these are played on pool tables in Britain! Improve the article first, we'll worry about what to call it later. PS: I also favor the blackball name for the article, because blackball is inevitably going to be the direction of this "class" of games' evolution, as the WPA is huge and global and pushing for Olympic sanctioning. The older variants are going to be increasingly marginalized over the next decade, and are almost certainly going to see their rulesets shift toward WPA's (while WPA will almost certainly make concessions back in their direction, until all three bodies agree on a common set of rules). The same thing has been happening in US/intl. eight-ball, with WPA making rules changes to get buy-in from BCA (which eventually became satisfied and is now an official WPA affiliate and shares the same rulesets), meanwhile the major formerly-US and now increasingly international amateur league, VNEA, is making more changes every year that bring it in line with the WPA/BCA rules. It's just a natural process of compromise and nothing to worry about :-) — SMcCandlish [talk] [cont] ‹(-¿-)› 17:27, 14 August 2008 (UTC)

Pub rules[edit]

Also I believe a decent explanation of the differences between common Pub Rules and World Rules would be definitely useful, and they certainly are both in common use in the UK. Also, I read potting the black on a break means you win - I only recall playing under rulesets to the opposite effect (probably Pub Rules), it counts the same as if you had potted the black at any other time before your colours are down - you instantly lose the game. Piro RoadKill (talk) 10:28, 21 October 2008 (UTC)

We've had a terrible time with WP:V, WP:NOR and WP:NPOV (and sometimes WP:NFT) problems at Eight-ball in tryign to handle the same pub/bar vs. competition rules comparison. The problem is that there are virtually no reliable sources anywhere for pub/bar rules, and they radically vary by region, even venue. It's something more suited to some external book, a Bob's Guide to Playing Pool on the Road or whatever, that gather's actual research data on what the rules are in various areas. It's not an encyclopedia's job.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  22:45, 13 April 2014 (UTC)


The ball set up is described as that for World Rules. It is also the set up for blackball rules. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:51, 5 October 2010 (UTC)

Do you reckon we could get a few better pictures in? The current one is a smidge blurry. Might also be nice to have a picture or diagram of the setup of the balls. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:19, 12 November 2009 (UTC)

WEPF vs. WPA rules error?[edit]

The WPA section used to say:

Blackball rules are very similar to the WEPF World Rules. One notable difference is that after a fault, the incoming player has a free shot (i.e., may take the cue ball in position or in-hand in baulk; the "wrong ball first" rule is suspended) and also has next visit (continues playing even if no ball or opponent's ball is potted on the free shot).

After a recent change it now says:

Blackball rules are very similar to the WEPF World Rules. One notable difference is that after a fault, the incoming player has a free shot (i.e., may take the cue ball in position or in-hand in baulk; the "wrong ball first" rule is suspended) and also the player does not have a next visit (does not continue playing even if no ball or opponent's ball is potted on the free shot).

There's no source cited for this make-it-say-the-opposite change. Even if it's correct about the WPA rules, it would mean taht the WEPF and WPA rules are even more similar that the article said, so the section is still wrong in describing "one notable difference" that it now is suggesting is the same for both rulesets!

Given that all of this material was written something like 4 or 5 years ago, both rulesets needs to be re-checked and summarized here correctly as to what they say as of March 2017.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  22:39, 13 April 2014 (UTC)

If I understand the rule correctly I would say the WPA rule relating to being limited to one free shot when your on black is unfair. It effectively means your opponent can deliberately not play their own color in order to give you an unplayable shot on black so no matter how bad they play you never get 2 shots on black. To paraphrase Gomez. "Dirty pool old man".(Mike G 21/11/14)

Having done some research, it looks as though the WPA rules changed at the beginning of 2008, from this (published July 2006) to this (published December 2007). By my interpretation, the specific rule under discussion did indeed change.

The old rules explicitly state (section 6a) that the opponent gets "a free shot plus one visit".

The new rules do not mention a second shot or visit at all. Section 5.13 states "If the shooter commits a foul, play passes to his opponent. The incoming player has one free shot (see Free shot) as the first shot of his inning."

Assuming that "inning" (defined by Section 8.12) can be taken as synonymous with "visit", and noting that Section 5.13 does not modify Section 5.7, which indicates that if you don't legally pocket a ball then your turn/visit/inning ends, then I would conclude that the change made to the article is correct, and is in line with the change made to the rules themselves. I'd also agree that it does represent a major difference from WEPF "World Rules" in that WEPF expressly gives two visits, but no free shot (except partially so in the case of a snooker), whereas the new WPA rules do give a free shot but, seemingly, no second visit. Even before the change, it was still a fairly significant difference (colloquially, "two shots carry" vs. "two shots don't carry").

Given the great popularity of rule sets that (in varying senses) give "two shots", I personally think the WPA rules are a bit remiss in not making it more explicit that an incoming player doesn't get a second shot following a miss on the free shot. But since they don't say anywhere that you do, I can only interpret it as meaning that you don't.

As for BAPTO, the rules page of their website states that they now "adhere to the new WPBA [sic] Blackball rules", but then provides a link to the old ones!! However, the BAPTO rules dating from 2000 are still reproduced on their website. I do agree that these merit at least a mention in the article.

I'll see if I can firm up the above conclusions, and, if I get a chance, will attempt to rewrite the section at some point. In the meantime, I'd be grateful for anyone either agreeing or disagreeing with me! Quackdave (talk) 14:54, 26 July 2015 (UTC)

Thanks for doing the work on that. That's looks like a good review of the source material. I've self-reverted my {{dubious}} tag on this, and trust that you can write up clearer wording distinguishing the rules variances. The rules material on both variants could probably use a lot of copyediting and checking. An anon recently replaced one rule with a different but not incompatible rule (without a source); I re-edited it to keep both, pending verification.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  02:36, 27 July 2015 (UTC)

World Blackball Championship[edit]

The section relating to the World Blackball Championship could perhaps be updated. The WBC 2014 is to be held in Perth, Scotland. I have added relevant details here... — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:43, 18 April 2014 (UTC)

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Blackball Rules Summarised[edit]

This is a summary of blackball pool rules which you may find useful. Your coverage of the rules could benefit from updating. Currently there's more about WEPF rules which seems strange. Also view details here on google drive as a PDF...

The Objective of the Game

Blackball is played with 15 coloured object balls and a cue ball. The object balls consist of two groups of seven and the black ball. Mostly the group balls comprise one group of reds and another of yellows. Less often balls are coloured blue and yellow. The black ball may sometimes be referred to as the eightball. The player or team potting their own group of object balls and legally potting the black wins the game. Players do not need to nominate any of the shots they are about to play in blackball pool.

Terms Used

The table is comprised of rails, cushions, pockets and the playing surface. The foot end of the table is where the object balls are placed at the start of a game. The head end is where the cue ball is positioned when play is about to begin. The cushions and pockets are considered parts of the head, foot and side rails. The baulk line is parallel to the head rail. It is drawn one fifth of the length of the playing surface away from the head cushion. Baulk is the rectangular area bordered by the baulk line and the three cushions at the head of the table. The head cushion is often referred to as the baulk cushion. After an illegal or foul shot is played an incoming opponent is given a free shot. That free shot may be played either from the existing position of the cue ball on the table, or from baulk. When discussing playing options you may hear the words ‘on’ ball. An object ball is said to be on when it is legally playable. A player is snookered when the cue ball cannot take a straight path to hit at least part of a target ball. Snookers must be declared as such by a referee.

Lag and Break

Play begins when a break shot is played from baulk. However, before breaking, it is necessary to determine which player executes the first break shot of a match. It is the player winning the lag who will decide which player breaks. Prior to lagging a ball is placed on each side of baulk adjacent to, but not touching, the side cushions. The objective of opposing players is to play their ball to strike the opposite foot cushion before returning and coming to rest as close as possible to the baulk cushion. The lag winner is the player whose ball comes closest to that baulk cushion. A player may lose the lag if, for example, his or her ball strikes a side cushion or drops into a pocket.

The Rules of Breaking

The cue ball begins in hand. That means it can be placed by the breaking player anywhere within the baulk area. On breaking at least one group ball must be potted or two object balls cross the centre string. That is a line joining the two centre pockets. When two object balls fail to cross that line, and no group balls are potted, a standard foul is declared. If the cue ball is potted or driven off the table, then that to is a foul. More about fouls and their consequences in blackball pool will follow. Any fouls on the break are ignored if the black ball is potted. If that happens the object balls are always racked again and the same player breaks.

Determining Groups

In this game players do not nominate their group of object balls. At the start of a frame, before players’ groups have been determined, the table is said to be open. The table is open after the break, and remains open until a player pots a ball or balls from only one group in a normal legal shot. The ball potted decides the group of that player. However groups are not assigned if balls from both groups are potted on a shot, or on a free shot following a foul.

Continuing Play

A player remains at the table while continuing to play legal shots, or until the frame ends. If a player does not pot any ball on a shot and no foul has been committed the incoming player plays the cue ball from its current position. If a player commits a standard foul, play passes to the opposition. The incoming player then takes a free shot before continuing with his or her visit to the table in the normal way. That is provided of course the player does not commit a foul in the course of taking that free shot. In taking a free shot an incoming player may play the cue ball from the existing position on the table or choose to have the cue ball in hand. In which case the player plays the free shot from baulk. When taking that free shot a player may, if he or she wishes, first strike or pot a ball or balls from the opponent’s group. On a free shot these are not considered fouls. After a free shot play continues with a normal visit to the table.

Standard Fouls

There are a number of so-called standard fouls in the game of blackball. This term distinguishes them from fouls which lead to the automatic loss of a frame. All standard fouls result in the incoming player receiving a free shot.

On playing a normal shot it is a standard foul when an opponent’s group ball is struck first or if only an opponent’s group ball is potted. However such play is not considered a foul if a player is taking a free shot. When playing a free shot, after a foul has been awarded, a player may first strike or even pot a ball or balls from an opponent’s group.

During normal play, or when taking a free shot, it is a standard foul when….

No balls contact a cushion after the cue ball strikes an object ball. That is unless an object ball is legally potted on that same shot. The exception to this rule is in attempting to escape a snooker. It is not then necessary to strike a cushion when a shot is played. Of course if a player fails to escape a snooker it is a foul.

The cue ball is potted, or any balls leave the pool table. They must be returned to the table, and placed in accordance with official blackball rules before play continues.

A player does not have a foot on the floor when the cue tip contacts the cue ball.

Touching or moving the cue ball by hand. The exceptions being that the cue ball may be moved by hand prior to breaking or on a free shot when positioning the cue ball in baulk.

A ball is accidentally touched during the course of a game by chalk, bridges or, for example, a player's hair or clothing.

The cue tip contacts the cue ball more than once on a single shot.

The cue tip is still touching the cue ball when the cue ball contacts an object ball. Tip to ball contact is prolonged beyond that seen in a normal shot. That constitutes a push shot. A shot is played while any balls are moving.

A player unintentionally takes a shot out of turn.

If the referee feels that a player is playing too slowly he or she may be advised to speed up play. If the player does not comply a foul could be called.

Combination Shots

In considering standard fouls it is important to understand the concept of a combination shot. In normal continuing play, that is when not playing a free shot, a player may strike an object ball from his or her own group and then go on to legally pot balls from both groups in that same shot. Note, the object ball struck first must be a player's own group ball, unless a free shot has been awarded. When balls from both groups are potted in combination, it does not matter which balls fall into pockets first. Combination shots can also be played involving the black ball. Of course on playing a shot in which the black is potted in combination with any other object ball, the frame is won only if no balls from a player’s own group remain on the table. Otherwise it’s loss of frame. The term skill shot is also used to describe combinations.

Touching Ball

When a player plays a cue ball away from a touching object ball that cue ball is considered to have struck that object ball. One consequence of this is that the cue ball need not subsequently contact another object ball when executing the shot. Though of course the other requirements of a legal shot must be met, such as striking a cushion. It also follows that in playing away from a touching ball from his or her own group, the cue ball may then legally proceed to hit an opponent’s group ball. This is possible because the player is deemed to have first struck the touching object ball from his or her own group.

Loss Of Frame

Under certain circumstances a player may automatically lose the frame. This happens when a player....

Pots the black ball on an illegal shot. For example on a push shot.

Pots the black on a shot that leaves any of his or her group balls on the table.

Intentionally strikes a ball which is not an ‘on’ ball.

Deliberately touches or picks up a ball when not entitled to do so.

Does not attempt to hit an ‘on’ ball.


In some games a situation may occur when no legal shot is playable. Whether this happens by accident or design it is a stalemate and the frame is restarted. The referee will decide whether a legal shot is possible. The original breaking player breaks again if a stalemate has been called.

Unsportsmanlike Conduct

Players should be made aware that penalties will be imposed for conduct considered unsportsmanlike. The referee might issue a warning, call a standard foul, declare loss of frame, or the loss of a match. Unsportsmanlike conduct is any intentional behaviour that brings the sport into disrepute, or which disrupts the game to such an extent that fair play is affected. Such behaviour might include distracting an opponent, intentionally miscuing, marking the table, using equipment inappropriately or playing under the influence of drink or drugs. This kind of conduct could result in ejection from a competition or even the forfeiture of prizes, trophies and competition points.

You'll find much more about blackball and the history and development of the cue sport on

Contact... Bill Hunter — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:52, 12 February 2017 (UTC)