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How To Play Straight Pool

Instructions and Rules

Object of the Game

Straight Pool is a contest between 2 players or 2 teams using the standard set of object balls (1 through 15) and the cue ball. This shot-call game is played to a predetermined point total.

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Racking and Breaking

The balls are placed in a standard triangle rack with the apex ball on the footspot, the 1 ball at the racker's right corner, the 5 ball at the racker's left corner, and the remaining balls placed at random. All balls should touch each other. The starting player must pocket a ball or meet contact requirements in order to continue their turn and avoid point penalties.

  • At the opening break, the starting player must either:
    • Designate a ball and a pocket and accomplish the designated shot, or
    • Cause the cue ball to contact a ball and then a cushion, plus cause two object balls to contact a cushion.
  • Failure to meet either of the above criteria is a breaking violation
  • The shooter is assessed a 2-point penalty for each breaking violation.
  • In the instance of a breaking violation, the opponent may elect to:
    • Have the balls re-racked and rebroken by the starting player, or
    • Accept the table as-is.
  • If the starting player scratches on a legal opening break, they are assessed a 1-point penalty. The incoming player is awarded the cue ball to set anywhere behind the head string, with object balls in position.

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Game Play

Each player or team takes their turn trying to pocket balls for points. All shots are called in advance, and if the pre-determined point total has not been reached when 14 balls are pocketed, the balls are re-racked without stopping play.

  • The player must call their intended ball and pocket.
  • A player is awarded 1 point for each called and pocketed ball on a legal shot.
  • A player or team continues their turn until they either fail to pocket a called ball or commit a foul.
  • Players may shoot at any ball, and any incidentally pocketed ball on a legal shot is scored as 1 point for the shooter.
  • When only one ball remains on the table, the first fourteen balls are re-racked leaving the fifteenth ball in position and a space at the footspot.
  • The shooter continues play, normally pocketing the fifteenth ball and spreading the newly racked balls.
  • Illegally pocketed balls are spotted.
  • If an object ball is driven off the table, the shot is a foul and the jumped ball(s) is spotted.
  • If the cue ball is scratched or driven off the table, the incoming player may set the cue ball anywhere behind the head string.

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The player or team to first reach the predetermined point total wins the game.

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