LDPL Regional Divisions "Table" Rules

Match Rules

The match rules for “off the table play” are available on the website here. 

If you need guidance please contact your league rep directly.



The game shall be known as 8 Ball Pool and is referred to in these rules as ‘The Game’. It is intended that players and teams should play 8 Ball Pool in the true spirit of the Game and in a sportsmanlike manner. It should be clearly understood that the referee is the sole judge of what is fair and unfair play. The referee will take whatever action is necessary to ensure that these rules are observed.  The referee sole purpose is to ensure observance of the rules such as where a player needs to nominate from the break off shot and not strictly to penalise for failure to follow the rules. 

Requirements of the Game

The Game is played with two "groups" of 7 balls, one "8 ball" and one "cue ball". The cue ball must be white and may be plain or spotted.

The colour / style of the groups and the 8 ball does not matter so long as the two groups, the 8 and the cue ball are all clearly distinguishable from one another.

The league strongly encourages the use of coloured balls in line with the EPA standards - this is 7 reds, 7 yellows, a white / dotted cue ball and a solid black or striped black 8 ball.

Object of the Game

The player or team pocketing all their group of object balls in any order, and then legally pocketing the 8 ball, wins the game.

Order of play

Order of play is decided by the flip of a coin for frame 1. The home team referee is advised to flip the coin and offer the away player the choice. The winner of the flip (the Opening Player) has the option of breaking, or requesting their opponent to break, frames will be broken alternately thereafter.

The break

  • The balls are racked in a triangle with the 8 ball (black) on the 8 ball spot, which is at the intersection of the centre and corner pockets.
  • To commence a frame, the player who is breaking, shall position the cue ball anywhere in baulk but MUST NOT position the cue ball over the break line by more than 50% of its diameter.
  • An object ball must be potted, or at least 4 different object balls (not the cue ball) hit any cushion. Failure to do 1 of these is a foul break and will result in the balls being re-racked or played from where they land with two shots to the opponent.
  • If the black is potted on the break, the balls will be re-racked and the game will be restarted by the same player. No penalty will be incurred. This applies whatever else happens regarding cue ball and object balls.
  • If the white is potted on the break, the oncoming player only has 1 shot (white in-off is loss of turn rather than 2 shots).
  • If any ball leaves the playing surface from the break (other than being potted) this is standard foul leading to 2 shots and an open table.
  • If one colour is potted from the break the player must still nominate.  If they nominate the colour they potted, they are then immediately in play with that colour (they retain that colour whether they pot or not).  They may elect to go for the colour they did not pot, if doing this, they must pot the ball to take control of that colour / if they miss, the oncoming player has a “free table”. FAILURE TO NOMINATE IS A FOUL, 2 SHOTS AND THE ONCOMING PLAYER HAS A FREE TABLE.
  • If both colours are potted from the break (without any foul occurring) then the player must clearly nominate which colour they intend to play to the referee.  They are then immediately in play with that colour (they retain that colour whether they pot or not).  FAILURE TO NOMINATE IS A FOUL, 2 SHOTS AND THE ONCOMING PLAYER HAS A FREE TABLE.
  • The referee should be helping players to remember to nominate – after a ball is potted from the break we advise the referee to clearly say “balls potted, please nominate”, however the responsibility for nominating is the players, not the referee’s.
  •  If a player pots one colour from the break and elects to nominate the other colour and then fouls (whether he pots or not) – the oncoming player has 2 shots and the choice of colour (with no obligation to nominate).  He will be whatever colour he legally pockets (if one of each is pocketed in the same shot the player simply calls which colour he will retain).
  • The option to pot one colour and then nominate the other colour is only applicable from the initial break off shot (i.e. the shot that commences the frame).
  • If no object ball (red/yellow) is pocketed from a legal break, then the players continue to alternate and play at either group (red/yellow)[open table] until such time as the first legal pot is made, which decides the player’s group.  The players do not need to nominate when playing an open table.
  • If no balls are potted on the break off shot and then the oncoming player pots one or more of each colour group (red & yellow), the player MUST then nominate a colour group before play continues.  The nomination must be made before the shot is played and clearly acknowledged by the referee.
  • The choice of colour can never be decided on a foul shot.


  •      Snookers are allowed but only if at least one ball (any ball, before or after contact) has reached a cushion during that shot, otherwise it is a foul.
  • Balls already touching a cushion do not count, these will be classed as “dead balls”. If you are unsure whether it is a dead ball, please ask the referee to check before playing the shot.
  • An accidental or unintentional snooker can still be a foul (known as a foul snooker, if for example you do not hit a cushion).  
  • A “snooker” is now defined as a player not being able to see any part of one of their own object balls.  (This is relevant mainly after a player has not hit a cushion during the previous shot and there is potential that the oncoming player is “foul snookered”).
  • If you can see even the thinnest edge of your own ball then you are not snookered.  If you can see centre to centre of an object ball you are not snookered
  • The cushions cannot be claimed as an obstruction, pretend they are not there.
  • You cannot be snookered if you are touching one of your own balls.
  • Please see the images below to assist your understanding of the information set out above relating to snookers.


Touching ball

A player must play away from ‘ALL’ touching balls at an angle perpendicular (90 degrees) or greater than and fulfil the requirements of a ‘legal shot’. A player shall not be penalised If playing away from touching ball(s) causes any touching ball to rock or move slightly because it was ‘resting’ on the cue ball. If the cue ball is touching your own ball, the player is deemed to have made ‘initial contact’ in order to fulfil the requirements of a ‘legal shot’.


Ball drops in by itself

If a ball drops in after having come to a stop for more than a few moments, it will be replaced as it was, this applies to any ball, pretend it never happened whether or not the opponent has control of the table or has touched the table to take their shot.


  • All doubles matches are to be played as “Scotch Doubles”
  • Scotch Doubles is played by a doubles partnership (“Doubles Team”) taking alternate shots, every shot regardless of whether a ball is potted.
  • Discussion between the Doubles Team is permitted immediately after the break shot and before the start of the Doubles Team’s visit to the table, but not during the Doubles Team’s shot if they pot balls (i.e. not “mid visit”)
  • Players may touch the table whilst conferring (as above) so long as only the oncoming player touches or addresses the table when ready to take the shot.

Foul Shots

  • Normal pub rules apply, potting cue ball or opponents ball, hitting the wrong colour, not hitting your own ball, touching any ball with hand or clothing, playing out of turn, both feet off the floor, playing before balls have stopped, are all fouls (with the exception of following a foul and has ball in hand), so are the following:
  • Jump shot – defined as when the cue ball jumps over any part of any ball before contacting player’s ball
  • Any ball leaving the table and coming to rest anywhere other than the bed of the table. Object Ball to be returned to the black spot or as near as possible to that spot without touching any other ball, on the centre line of the table. If the white ball, then the white ball to be played from on or behind the baulk line.
  • Touching with the cue - It will be a foul if any ball other than the cue ball is hit with any part of any player’s cue.  Additionally, only the cue tip may be used to touch, or strike a cue ball.
  • Push shot – defined as where the cue tip remains in contact with the cue ball for more than the immediate moment needed to play a shot.
  • Cue touches the cue ball twice. Plus any other foul described elsewhere in these rules.
  • The penalty for any of these fouls is 2 visits to the opposing player starting from where the cue ball lies or moving the ball behind the line. Also, a ‘free ball’, for the first shot only, any ball can be hit, any ball can be potted, black can only be legally potted if player is ‘on’ the black.  The only time this differs is if a player goes “in-off the break” – this is just loss of turn.

Following any foul

  • Following any foul the offending player loses their next visit to the table, giving their opponent two consecutive visits to the table.
  • If the cue ball has come to rest on the playing surface, then the player having two visits may proceed to play from where the cue ball lies, or the cue ball may be played from any position on or behind the baulk line. Moving the cue ball in this manner does not count as a shot or visit (players are advised to ask the referee to hand them the cue ball but this is not compulsory).
  • On the first shot only of the first visit, the oncoming player may without nomination play the cue ball onto any ball without penalty, including any opponent's ball(s) or 8 ball (black). If any object ball(s) is pocketed directly or by combination, the player is deemed to have pocketed a legal ball(s), and continues with the first visit. However, the player must not prematurely pot the 8 ball (black) which would mean loss of game, (it is ok if the player is already on the 8 ball (black) then the game would be won). When the player fails to pot a ball on the first or subsequent shot of the first visit, play then continues with the second visit.

‘Loss of frame’ fouls

  • Potting the black while still having your own colour balls on the table.
  • Potting any other ball at the same time as the black (apart from when the player is on the black and has a free ball. Only at this time may he pot the black and opponents ball[s]).
  • Deliberate fouls are an immediate loss of frame.


Stalemate is where a legal shot is physically impossible. Any gap wide enough to pass the cue ball through will not count as impossible, however improbable or unlikely it is. The game shall be restarted immediately by the same players. The player who broke originally will do so again. This stalemate situation can be produced deliberately or by accident.

No progress

  • If no ball is potted for over 5 minutes, the referee should start a 10 minute timer and inform both players of this. If no ball is potted in this time, the frame will be stopped and immediately replayed, same player breaking.
  • After a ball is potted, the timer will be reset, resetting with every pot. Players are not expected to take more than 60 seconds per shot, the referee may choose to enforce a strict 60 seconds time limit if this expectation is abused.

Shot clock

  • LDPL matches should start without a shot clock, but if a ref feels a player is not trying to play within reasonable time they may introduce a shot clock.  Likewise matches are falling behind schedule should be introduce a shot clock.  Each player is allotted 60 seconds for each shot. The 60-second shot clock will commence once all balls come to rest and cease when the cue tip strikes the cue ball. The timekeeper will verbally call out at 30 seconds and then count down from 5 seconds.
  • The expected schedule is as follows (to allow you to gauge if a match is falling behind).  Frame 1 commence shortly after 8pm. Frame 5 by 9.15pm, Frame 9 by 10.15pm.
  • We recommend the use of the following stop clock:  https://eightball.app/60


  • Persons not playing in the frame may not make suggestions to the players [however disguised] as this will be regarded as coaching. One warning will be given by the referee, the next will result in a foul being given against the team involved. If it continues then the next one will be the loss of the frame.

Refereeing & Player Conduct

  • Referees are reminded that their role in a frame is as a league representative and they should remain fair and impartial throughout.
  • Referees are encouraged to use common sense where appropriate and ensure calls are made clearly. The ref should aim to avoid any confusion – the intention is to guide players where a rule comes into play. (calls such as “2 shots” or “please nominate”)
  • No tactical advice should be given but players may ask for rule clarification.


All players are reminded that the main purpose of the league is an enjoyable night out for everybody involved. Unacceptable behaviour / violence / intimidation or unsportsmanlike behaviour will not be tolerated.