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As you may well know, if you hit one of your opponent’s balls before you hit one of your own, it is deemed a foul shot. So, what happens if you manage to pocket one of your opponent’s balls? Read on to find out.
So, what are the pool rules when you pocket an opponent’s ball? Well, in most cases, nothing is going to happen to you. As long as you hit one of your own balls first, there is no penalty for pocketing the ball of your opponent. Play will continue as normal.
As with most rules in pool, this isn’t going to tell the full story. The situation may change if you hit one of your opponent’s balls first. There will be a penalty for this. If you read on, you will be able to discover everything you need to know on pool rules related to hitting or pocketing the balls of your opponent.
What Happens if You Hit the Opponent’s Ball in While Playing Pool?
Absolutely nothing…in most cases. There are various rulesets for pool. We are going to go with the most common rules here. This is because these are the ones you are most likely to encounter, whether you are playing pool as a hobby, or playing competitive pool.
As long as your shot abides by the other rules in pool, then you will not be punished for pocketing an opponent’s ball. After all, pocketing one of your opponent’s ball is punishment enough. You will have taken them one step closer to a win.
If you pocket one of your own balls at the same time, you will be allowed to take your ‘extra shot’. It won’t matter that you pocketed your opponent’s ball too. All that matters is that you pocketed one of your own.
If you are on the 8-ball (i.e. the black ball) and you pot your opponent’s ball at the same time, you will still be regarded as the winner. This is assuming that everything else about your shot is regarded as being legal.
As we said; there are some rulesets that have different rules to this. For example; if you are playing British pool, then it is likely that a foul shot will be granted against you should you pot your opponent’s ball in any situation. The same rule is often used in American bar pool. If you are playing anything other than competitive pool, it is probably worth establishing the rules before you begin play.
What Happens if You Hit the Opponent’s Ball First Without Pocketing It?
This is where you will have issues.
If the cue ball comes into contact with your opponent’s ball before it hits one of your balls, then you will have committed a foul. It doesn’t matter whether the opponent’s ball goes into a pocket or not. It is a foul.
It also doesn’t matter whether you pocket one of your own balls here. All that matters is that you touched your opponent’s ball first. Of course, the balls that you pocket will remain in the pocket. You do not lose that. However, you will have a foul ruled against you.
As with all fouls in pool, the second this happens, the play will switch to your opponent. Your opponent will now be able to place the cue ball wherever they wish on the table. They will then be able to take a shot. It is highly likely that they will place the cue ball in a position where they can pocket one of their own balls, and thus you probably want to avoid this situation happening.
How Can You Avoid Hitting the Opponent’s Ball?
As you start to pocket more and more balls, you will find that it becomes more likely that you will end up hitting one of your opponent’s balls. This is more likely to happen when you are a beginner player. This is because you will unlikely have the skill to line the shot up perfectly.
The more you play pool, the easier it will be for you to start to visualize the shots that you make. This means that you will be hitting the opponent’s balls less. It will become a little bit easier if you try to take your time with a shot. Focus on the target ball (hopefully, your own ball) and you stand a much better chance of hitting it.
Remember; if you cannot hit one of your own balls ‘straight on’, you can always use the rails. Once you have started to gain a little bit of skill, you may be able to bounce shots off of the rail to hit your balls from a different angle. There is a strong chance that you may hit your ball first like this. It is best to take the risk. That way you are not just handing a ‘free ball’ to your opponent.
Are There Any Situations Where You Should Be Pocketing an Opponent’s Ball?
As we mentioned before; this is something that you should try to avoid as much as you can. In most cases, you will not benefit from pocketing one of your opponent’s balls. However, there may be an exception to this rule.
If you watch competitive pool, then you may notice that players may sometimes pocket their opponent’s balls. This will most likely happen if one of their own balls has been surrounded. There are situations where you really have no choice but to pocket one of your opponent’s balls if you actually want to make progress in the game.
In other cases, pocketing one of your opponent’s balls may be strategic in other ways. For example, it may allow the cue ball to be put into a position where it is almost impossible for your opponent to make a shot. Remember; the goal of pool is to be both offensive and defensive. Sometimes it is better to do the latter.
All you need to remember is that you should not be hitting the opponent’s ball before one of your own. That is the only time you will ever face a penalty.
What happens if you pocket an opponent’s ball but fail to hit the rail?
Normally, when you play pool, at least one ball needs to hit the rail for it to be a valid shot. If this does not happen, then it is a foul. However, if you pocket it a ball, this counts as hitting the rail. So, even if it is the opponent’s ball, it still counts.
Should you always avoid trying to hit an opponent’s ball?
Most of the time, yes. However, there are situations where it may be strategic to hit an opponent’s ball. As you become more advanced in the game, you will start to recognize when it is the right call to hit one of your opponent’s balls. Just make sure that you do not hit one of them first.
Can you place the cue ball anywhere on the table in the event of a foul?
Yes. If a foul has been given against the opposing player, then the cue ball can be placed anywhere on the table.