When Can You Move The White Ball In Pool?


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The rules of most versions of pool stipulate that you can move the white ball on occasion. if you want to know exactly when you can move this cue ball, read on. Our experts have plenty of knowledge to share with you.

So, when can you move the white ball in pool? This will be heavily dependent on the game you are playing. The ball can normally be moved in the event of a scratch, during the break, or if the white ball has been pocketed.

Of course, the rules are a little bit more intricate than this. There are also a few rules surrounding where the cue ball can actually be moved on the table. Let our experts explain these rules in a little more depth. This way you will know exactly what to expect when jumping into a game of pool.

When Can You Move The White Ball In Pool?

In most rulesets, there are only three situations where you will be able to move the white cue ball in pool. Where you can move them will be dependent on the situation, but we will discuss that in the next situation.

The most common time that a white ball is moved is before the break. Players are allowed to position the cue ball in a way that will set them up for the perfect break. Unlike the other two situations, there will be strict limitations on where the ball can be placed in this situation.

The second is when the opposing player commits a scratch. This is when the shooter commits a foul. The definition of a foul will be dependent on the game of pool that you are playing, but it could include:

  • Missing a ball
  • Not hitting a cushion with one of the balls during your shot
  • Hitting the opponent’s balls before any of your own

The third situation is accidentally pocketing the cue ball. While this is technically regarded as a scratch, we are going to list it separately, this is because the rules on this one can vary from game to game.

See More: What Happens When You Sink the White Ball in Pool?

Where Can The White Ball Be Moved To In Pool?

As we said, this is going to be highly dependent on the situation. It is also going to be dependent on what you have agreed with your opponent. Unless you are playing in an official tournament setting, you are free to come up with whatever rules that you like. We will cover the most common ways to move the ball.

When you are breaking, you are allowed to move the cue ball anywhere in the kitchen. This is the area behind the break line. This is one of the rules that doesn’t really vary all that much.

In the event of a scratch (unless the cue ball has been pocketed), then the main way to play is that the opponent gains ‘ball-in-hand’. They can choose to move the ball, or they can leave it in position. If they choose to move it, then they can place it wherever they like on the table. They are only allowed to move the cue ball if this happens.

If the cue ball has been pocketed, then one of the following could happen:

  • The cue ball is removed from the pocket and placed in the kitchen.
  • The cue ball is placed anywhere the opponent wishes to place it.

This is why it is so important that you talk to your opponent before the game. This will result in there being absolutely no confusion or arguments should the cue ball be accidentally pocketed. 

What Happens If You Accidentally Hit A Ball With Your Hands?

The rules will vary from game to game. It is best to talk to your opponent before the game starts. This way you are going to both be on the same page. We will cover the most common rules, though.

In almost all rule variants, moving the cue ball in a way that doesn’t involve the cue is going to be a foul. This means that you could hit it with your hand or arm. In some cases, just dropping the chalk on the cue ball will result in a foul. Basically, that cue ball shouldn’t be moving at all unless the cue is touching it. If the ball is moved accidentally by the cue, this is classed as a shot. In almost all cases, a scratch like this is going to result in a ‘ball in hand’ penalty.

The rules are often going to be different when it relates to the other balls on the pool table. There are two situations that can happen here:

  • You accidentally move the balls after you have taken the shot
  • You accidentally move the balls before you have taken your shot

In the first situation, your opponent can point out that the balls have moved. They then have a choice:

  • Restore the balls to their original position once they have finished rolling about.
  • Leave them how they are

This is not going to be classed as a foul.

In the second situation, your opponent can also point out if the balls have been moved. The balls will need to be restored to their original position before the shot is taken if the opponent requests this.

Related Questions

How many times can you move the white ball before a shot when you have a ball-in-hand?

You can place the white ball onto the table and remove it as much as you like before you take your shot. As long as the cue doesn’t touch the ball, you can take as much time as you like to get the perfect placement.

What happens to the cue ball in the event of a scratch during a break?

In most cases, it will just be a ball-in-hand. There are some people that will allow the opponent to try break again, but this is going to be rare.

See Also:
Can You Jump the Ball in Pool
What Is A Snooker In 8 Ball Pool?

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