The Simplified Rules of Billiards in one page

These simplified rules are for you to get started and be able to enjoy a game.


Billiards is played with 3 balls, a red, white and yellow. Each player has their own cue ball (one white one yellow). There are three ways to score: In-offs, pots or cannons. In-offs occur when your cue ball hits one or more balls and then enters a pocket. A pot occurs when any ball other than your cue ball enters a pocket. A cannon occurs when your cue ball hits both of the other balls. Cannons are always 2 points. Apart from cannons any score off the red is 3 points and off the opponent's ball is 2 points. All fouls are 2 points.

Where the balls go
When you go in-off you get your cue ball back and it can be placed anywhere in the D. When the opponent's ball is potted it stays down and you do not get it back. When the red is potted it goes on it's spot (the spot nearest the top cushion), but after 2 successive pots off this spot it is placed on the middle spot; if you then pot it again it is placed back on it's own spot and you are allowed 2 more pots of the spot etc.

The line next to the D is called the baulk line and when you are playing from the D you are not allowed to hit a ball behind the baulk line, directly. (A ball is considered IN BAULK if it is either on the line or more than half of the ball is in baulk, over the line) If your opponent pots your cue ball and then leaves the red and his cue ball behind the baulk line, you are 'double baulked' and can not aim for the balls direct - in this case you would play off one or more cushions out of baulk first.

Starting the game
The red is placed on the Billiards spot and one player takes their cue ball and plays from the D, normally playing a safety shot; this is called the break off. The opponent then plays from the D.

Spotting the balls
After your opponent commits a foul you have the option of having the balls spotted (opponent's ball on middle spot, red on it's spot, cue ball in D).

Rules of Snooker

Type of Game: International or "English" snooker is the most widely played form of snooker around the world. It is generally played on 6'x12' English billiard tables, with cushions that are more narrow than on pocket billiard tables and which curve smoothly into the pocket openings. 5 x 10 and snooker tables of even smaller playing dimensions may be used for the game. On a 6 x 12 snooker (English billiard) table the playing area within the cushion faces shall measure 11' 8.5" x 5' 10" with a tolerance on both dimensions of +/-0.5". The height of the table is measured from the floor to the top of the cushion rail, and the height shall measure 34" with an allowable variance of +/-0.5".

Players: 2

Balls Used: Set of Snooker balls: fifteen object balls that are not numbered and are solid red (called reds), six object balls of other colors that are not numbered (called colors) and a cue ball (called the white ball). Point values for object balls: red-1, yellow-2, green-3, brown-4, blue-5, pink-6, black-7. In International Snooker the balls used are 2-1/16" diameter.

The Rack: Play begins with the balls placed as in the diagram above. The pink is spotted on the Pyramid Spot. The apex ball of the triangle of reds is racked as close as possible to the pink without touching it.

Baulk-line and Baulk: A straight line drawn 29" from the face of the bottom cushion and parallel to it is called the Baulk-line and the intervening space termed the Baulk.

The Half Circle: The Half Circle is a semi-circle described in Baulk with its center at the middle of the Baulk-line and with a radius of 11.5". When the striker has cue ball in hand within the Half Circle he may place the base of the cue ball anywhere on the line or within the Half Circle, and may use his hand or any part of his cue (including the tip) to position the cue ball--as long as it is judged he is not attempting to play a stroke.


Object of the Game: To score a greater number of points than opponent.

Scoring: Points are scored in two ways: players are awarded points for fouls by the opponent (see Penalties For Fouls below), and by legally potting reds or colors. Each legally potted red ball has a point value of one; each legally potted color ball has a point value as indicated (Balls Used above). A frame ends when all balls have been potted, following the Rules of Play; if, however, only the black (7) ball is left on the table, the frame ends with the first score or foul. If the players' scores are equal after that scoring, the black is spotted on its original position and the layers lag or draw lots for the choice of playing at, or assigning opponent to play at, the black ball with the cue ball in hand within the Half Circle, first score or foul then ends the frame.

Opening Break: Players lag or draw lots for choice of break in the opening frame. In a match format the players alternate the break in subsequent frames. Starting player has cue ball in hand within the Half Circle. He must cause the cue ball to contact a red ball. It is not necessary to send a ball to a rail or into a pocket. Failure to meet this requirement is a foul (see Penalties For Fouls) A foul is scored and--with all fouls--the incoming player has a choice of (1) accepting the table and becoming the striker, or (2) requiring the offender to break again.

3. Eight Ball 
Eight ball is played with fifteen numbered object balls and the cue ball. The shooter’s group of seven balls (one through seven or nine through fifteen) must all be off the table before he attempts to pocket the eight ball to win. Shots are called.
3.1 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 Regulation 16, Subsequent Break Shots.)
3.2 Eight Ball Rack 
The fifteen object balls are racked as tightly as possible in a triangle, with the apex ball on the foot spot and the eight ball as the first ball that is directly below the apex ball. One from each group of seven will be on the two lower corners of the triangle. The other balls are placed in the triangle without purposeful or intentional pattern..
eight ball rack
Eight Ball Rack
3.3 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) If the breaker pockets a ball and does not foul, he continues at the table, and the table remains open. (See 3.4 Open Table / Choosing Groups.
(d) If no object ball is pocketed, at least four object balls must be driven to one or more rails, or the shot results in an illegal break, 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.

(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 (see definition 8.6 Scratch), 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.

(h) If the breaker fouls in any manner not listed above, the following player has the option of

(1) accepting the balls in position, or 
(2) taking cue ball in hand behind the head string.

3.4 Open Table / Choosing Groups 
Before groups are determined, the table is said to be “open,” and before each shot, the shooter must call his intended ball. If the shooter legally pockets his called ball, the corresponding group becomes his, and his opponent is assigned the other group. If he fails to legally pocket his called 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.
3.5 Continuing Play 
The shooter remains at the table as long as he continues to legally pocket called balls, or he wins the rack by pocketing the eight ball.
3.6 Shots Required to Be Called 
On each shot except the break, shots must be called as explained in 1.6 Standard Call Shot. The eight ball may be called only after the shot on which the shooter’s group has been cleared from the table. The shooter may 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. (See 8.17 Safety Shot.)
3.7 Spotting Balls 
If the eight ball is pocketed or driven off the table on the break, it will be spotted or the balls will be re-racked. (See 3.3 Break Shot and 1.4 Spotting Balls.) No other object ball is ever spotted.
3.8 Losing the Rack 
The shooter loses if he 
(a) pockets the eight ball and fouls.; 
(b) pockets the eight ball before his group is cleared; 
(c) pockets the eight ball in an uncalled pocket; or
(d) drives the eight ball off the table.
These do not apply to the break shot. (See 3.3 Break Shot.)
3.9 Standard Fouls 
If the shooter commits a foul, play passes to his opponent. The cue ball is in hand, and the incoming player may place it anywhere on the playing surface. (See1.5 Cue Ball in Hand.) The following are standard fouls at eight ball:
The following are standard fouls at eight ball:
6.2 Wrong Ball First The first ball contacted by the cue ball on each shot must belong to the shooter’s group, except when the table is open. (See 3.4 Open Table / Choosing Groups).
3.10 Serious Fouls 
The fouls listed under 3.8 Losing the Rack are penalized by the loss of the current rack. For 6.17 Unsportsmanlike Conduct, the referee will choose a penalty appropriate given the nature of the offense.
3.11 Stalemate 
If a stalemate occurs (see 1.12 Stalemate), the original breaker of the rack will break again.