What Happens When You Call the Wrong Pocket in Pool?


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There are a lot of rules related to the game of pool. One of the more important rules in many variations is the idea of calling a pocket before you take your shot. So, what happens if you call the wrong pocket? Well, our experts have a ton of information to share with you on that front.

So, what happens when you call the wrong pocket in pool? Well, it depends on the variation of the pool that you are playing. In the majority of cases, the ball still counts as pocketed, but you will not be able to take your next shot. Play will pass straight on over to your opponent.

Of course, these are going to be the official rules for pool. Many people do not play by the official rules. Our experts want to share with you a few situations that you may encounter, as well as a bit of information on how you can pocket select a little bit better.

What happens when you call the wrong pocket in pool?

Note: this is not a rule that applies to all variations of pool. However, it is a major component of 8-ball pool.

Before you take a shot, you must state the ball and the pocket that it is going to land in. Once you take your shot, the ball that you called needs to have gone into that pocket, otherwise it is a ‘foul shot’, although it isn’t like your typical foul shot.

In the official rules of pool, if you call the wrong pocket, the ball is allowed to remain in the pocket. However, you will not gain an extra shot. Play will pass right on over to your opponent.

In some pool clubs, there will be a small variation on this rule. Some clubs will have their players remove the ball from the pocket and return it to the center of the table. This is incredibly rare, but it is always worth checking out the rules if you know that they are not playing by official 8-ball pool rules. This way you won’t be surprised if somebody picks your ball out of the pocket.

Do you always have to call the pocket in pool?

If the variation of pool you are playing has a rule that says that you need to call the pocket you are shooting at, you may be pleased to know that you do not always have to make the call. 

If it is obvious which pocket the ball will be heading into e.g. if the ball is sitting right on the cusp of the pocket, there is no need to say anything. It is just going to be obvious to your opponent what shot you are taking. Although, your opponent still has the right to ask you what shot you are making and you must tell them if asked.

For a lot of these shots, the shot taker is being a bit more tactical in their approach. Sometimes these tactics mean that you are not going to want to take a shot after successfully pocketing the ball. If you do not intend to take a second shot, then you must call a ‘safety’. This means that the opponent cannot force you to take another shot after pocketing a ball.

You can always call a safety on the trickier shots on the table, but since you will likely be calling the pocket anyway, you can just call the wrong one and it will function in much the same way as a safety shot.

How can you ensure you call the correct pocket?

This is something that is really going to come with practice. The more you take shots on the table, the more you will start to learn how balls move. The more control you will have over the ball. This means that you will know exactly where a ball is heading when you hit it.

If you are new to the game of pool, it is not uncommon to call the pocket incorrectly most of the time. However, get a few games under your belt and we promise you that shot call8ing will become a little easier.

Related questions

Why must you call the pocket in pool?

There seems to be no history related to the creation of this rule. It is generally believed that this rule was added to pool to make the game more skill based. It helps to ensure that people are not winning the game based upon ‘lucky shots’. Anybody could pocket a few balls, but it takes real skill to be able to call exactly where a certain ball is heading.

What happens if you pocket balls you didn’t call?

Assuming that you pocketed the shot that you did call, any other balls probably won’t matter that much. You will still receive your extra shot. Although, as always, there may be variations in the rules where you are playing. If you are playing at an amateur level, then it is probably going to be worth checking.

See Also:
How To Store Pool Balls (Here’s The Answer)
How To Use The White Dots On A Pool Table
What Happens When You Sink the White Ball in Pool?

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