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  Main Menu
GENERAL RULES FOR CAROM BILLIARDS


Except when clearly contradicted by rules specific to a given game these rules apply to all Carom Billiard games.


Table

The table should be either 4 feet by 8 feet, 4 1/2 feet by 9 feet, 5 feet by 10 feet, or 6 feet by 12 feet without pockets. Markings include spots in the center of the head string, foot string, and center string. There should be two additional spots on the head string six inches on either side of the head spot.


Balls

Three balls are used (except in Four Ball where a second, darker, red ball is also used) - one red bell, one white ball without spots and one yellow (or white ball with two diametrically opposed spots). The balls are roughly 2-3/8" diameter (metric equivalents range from 61mm to 65.5mm depending on the set; four ball sets are usually the largest).


Opening Break

The opening break is to be determined by lagging with the winning player having the option of shooting the break shot himself or allowing his opponent to shoot the break shot. For the break shot, place the red ball on the foot spot, the opponent's cue ball on the head spot, and the shooter's cue ball on the head string within six inches of the center spot. For the break to be legal, the cue ball must contact the red ball first.


Choice of Cue Ball

The winner of the lag has choice of cue ball. Once cue balls are assigned each player must shoot with only his cue ball (using the other player's cue ball is a foul). (In games with an odd number of people incoming player is assigned the cue ball which was not assigned to the player who's inning just ended -- alternate which cue ball is used.)


Spotting Jumped Balls

The preferred order for spotting the cue balls is: head spot, foot spot, then center spot. The latter spots come into play if the previous ones are ocuupied by another ball.

If the shooter's cue ball and his opponent's cue ball have both jumped the table then the shooter's cue ball spots first.

The preferred order for the red ball is: foot spot, head spot, then center spot.

If both object balls have jumped the table then they are spotted as above beginning with whichever can occupy it's primary spot.


Safety Play

Playing a safety leaves the player playing from safety when he begins his next inning.

There is a limit on safety play. A player may not play safe in consecutive innings. If a player does play safe in consecutive innings it is a foul and does not relieve the consecutive inning limitation on safety play (his next turn at the table is then also considered to be playing from safety).

A legal safety requires a ball, cue or object, to contact a cushion after the player's cue ball has contacted an object ball. Failure to meet this requirement is a foul.


Fouls

The following are fouls for which the penalty is loss of turn and no count if a valid count would otherwise have been made:

1. Playing out of turn.
2. Playing safe while playing from safety.
3. Accidental contact with any of the balls.
4. Striking the cue ball twice or with anything other than the cue tip (i.e. cue on the same stroke, shaft, hand, chalk, bridge, etc.).
5. Push shots. (A shot is considered a push shot if the cue tip is in contact with the cue ball for more than the time necessary for a normal legal stroke.)
6. Making a shot while one of the balls is still in motion.
7. Shooting wrong cue ball.
8. Not having at least one foot on the floor while shooting.
9. If the shooter's cue ball jumps off (comes to rest off of) the table.
10. Illegally jumping the cue ball (intentionally causing the cue ball to jump by contacting it below the horizontal plane through the center of the cue ball).

All fouls carry a deduction of one point from offender's score as a penalty. (Note: International competition does not have the point penalty on fouls unless they're deemed intentional.)

The following are fouls for which the penalties are described under unsportsman like conduct:

1. Intentional interference with the path of the the balls.
2. Intentional interference with the play of your opponent.




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