BCA Rules In Pool – 8 Ball Rules Explained
Rules rules rules, can’t live with ‘em, can’t live without ‘em. Rules are an important part of playing pool, even though they can be frustrating and sometimes we might not agree with them.
There are a few different common rule books that different pool leagues and tournaments follow. For this article, we’re going to cover the BCA specifically.
Don’t worry, we’re not going to spew out every detail of the rule book. Just the parts most of us need to know.
We’ll be focusing on the most popular game of pool – 8 ball. But we’ll also provide the complete rulebook that you can go take a look at when you’re done!
We hope this guide to the BCA rules answers your questions and helps you know what to expect when playing.
Also known as the “Billiards Congress of America,” the BCA was formed in 1948 to promote the game and offer opportunities for competition at the local, regional and national levels.
When it first formed, the BCA was focused on games such as straight pool and 3-cushion carom, but today, other forms of pool have become much more popular.
The BCA also had a main goal of creating an official rulebook, and solicited help from professional players, pool halls, retailers and manufacturers for promotion of these rules.
Up until 1980, the BCA didn’t have an actual headquarters. This was until U.S. Open Director Robert Froeschle volunteered to set up the home office in the town he was from – Iowa City, Iowa.
In 2000, the BCA moved its headquarters to Colorado Springs, and it has remained there ever since.
The BCA (or BCAPL) has the most extensive rule book in pool, but there are certain rules that will come into play more often than others.
Now, we’ll discuss some of the most common BCA rules that players should know about.
8 Ball BCA Rules
1. The Break
The break is not a called shot. When breaking, a ball must be pocketed or 4 object balls must hit a rail to be a “legal break.” If a ball is pocketed, you continue shooting.
If a break is illegal, the other player can re-rack the balls and break, or, require the person who hit the illegal break to re-rack and break again.
A foul on the break results in the next player getting a ball-in-hand anywhere on the table.
If you pocket the 8 ball on the break, with no foul, you can either:
- Re-rack and break again
- Spot the 8 ball and accept the current table, then continue your turn
The table is always open after the break shot, and remains so until one player is able to claim stripes or solids.
2. Picking solids or stripes (groups)
After the break, a player gets assigned a group based on the next ball that’s pocketed legally – either a solid or a stripe.
The claimed group of balls remains the same for the entirety of the game. A player can’t change from stripes to solids, or vice versa, during a game.
3. During Play
Balls in the opponent’s group are illegal, as is the 8 ball, during regular play. You must contact your own group of balls first. If a ball is made legally, and other object balls go in, those balls stay in the pocket.
If balls jump off the table, they go into a pocket during the rest of the game.
4. Safeties in 8 ball
If you call a safety, your turn will end after your shot. On a safety, you must still hit a legal shot, and contact your own ball first. You must also hit a rail with either the object ball or the cue ball.
5. Shooting the 8 ball
When you’ve made all your stripes or solids, the 8 ball will be a legal object ball. Whoever calls and makes the 8 ball as intended, wins the game, as long as no foul is committed.
8 Ball Scratch Rules
Here are the BCA scratch rules you need to know for playing 8 ball:
- A scratch is when a cue ball is pocketed on a shot
- A scratch is always a foul
- Scratching results in a loss of turn, and the next player gets ball in hand
- If you scratch on the 8 ball, but don’t pocket the 8 ball, you do not lose the game
How Do You Win In 8 Ball?
Under BCA rules, you can win 8 ball in the following ways:
- Pocket the 8 ball legally (in a called pocket), after making all of your solids or stripes
- Opponent pockets the 8 ball without making their entire group of balls
- Opponent pockets the 8 ball in an unintended pocket
How Do You Lose In 8 Ball?
Under BCA rules, you can lose a game of 8 ball in one of the following ways:
- Pocket the 8 ball illegally
- Jump the 8 ball off the table on any shot other than the break
- Pocket the 8 ball while still shooting your group of balls
- Pocket the 8 ball in an uncalled pocket
These are the most important BCA rules to know when it comes to playing 8 ball. We hope this clears things up for future games, and you now have a better understanding of how to play!
If you have the base rules down, you can take a look at the rest of the rulebook here!
As always, Happy Shooting!