I used to play pool (8-ball) quite a bit just after high-school, but went without playing much at all for a number of years after that. I’ve recently got back into it and my game has improved significantly over the last month or so. In fact, it’s improved enough that we’re considering adopting a consistent rule set (we’ve sort of been playing with a dynamic mish-mash of whatever rules people assert).
A quick web search reveals that the World Pool-Billiard Association is promoting a set of rules to unify regional variations. They called it the Blackball ruleset. Here’s a rundown of elements that stood out to me:
- Which group of balls you shoot for is never decided on the break.
- When you have the cue ball in hand, you can shoot from anywhere in the baulk and in any direction.
- You have the option of placing the cue ball in the baulk after any foul.
- You don’t need to bank a ball when you’re snookered.
- After a foul, you can play any ball and pot any ball (except the black) without penalty.
- You have to take your shot within 60 seconds.
These rules really seem to encourage conscientious play because there is a fairly significant benefit to the other player if you foul. Which is good! I hate playing against people who just smack the balls around as hard as they can!