Rules Frequently Asked Questions

In this area of, you will find the FAQ (frequently asked questions) about the rules, as well as answers to “how do I” and “did you know” questions. While this is not meant to represent or replace the 8 Ball Express rule book, it can be a quick reference guide or an area for discussion as to why a rule is the way it is. We welcome the feedback of our members and look forward to hearing from you.

How long do teams have to make changes to their team roster?

Teams are given 7 weeks to add & drop players from their roster.

How often do new players have to play in order to qualify for higher level play?

All players, old or new, must shoot 6 times ON EACH TEAM to be eligible for the Playoffs or End of Session Championship

How much does it cost to play 8 Ball Express?

Each Session dues are paid. The cost is $10 per member. Each player must pay the first night they play or their team will lose all points. If you play on more than 1 team you only have to pay dues once each Session. Teams should write down the names of the players who paid their Session dues or who are using the free membership card in the box provided so that the League Office knows who to give credit to.

What about “Sandbagging”?

* At times there are complaints about people banging the balls around to get extra innings.

They are then asked if they marked those shots as non-performance shots and usually the response is “Well I wasn’t keeping score” or “my scorekeeper doesn’t know what a non-performance shot is”.

* If a player is missing shots on purpose and you mark them as defensive they do not get credit for those extra innings.

There is a huge difference between 8 innings and 8 innings of which 5 were non-performance making the actual innings 3 for that player. Picking up the cue ball and giving it to your opponent is considered a defensive shot.

* The 8 Ball Express handicapping system is very analytical and considers a wide variety of information when calculating handicaps. But, at the end of the day, the system counts on correct scorekeeping and the input our members provide. If that is not accurate, no system will work properly.

* If you suspect a member or team of intentionally trying to manipulate the handicap system and are keeping score properly, the next step for you or your Team Captain is to fill out a complaint form.

This will establish a written record and will help to identify members or teams who are repeat offenders. Please find a complaint form here: Official 8 Ball Express Complaint Form and submit it to the League Office. The person filing the complaint will then be contacted directly to discuss it.

What is the highest handicap that is allowed 2 time outs in 8 ball? Are they allowed to use both each game?

* 1-3 handicaps are allowed two time outs per game.
* Yes, they can take both time outs each game.
* 4-8 are allowed one time out per game.

What is the highest handicap that is allowed 2 time outs in 9 ball? Are they allowed to use both each game?

* 1-3 handicaps are allowed two time outs per game.
* Yes, they can take both time outs each game.
* 4-8 are allowed one time out per game.
* Push time outs are available for handicaps 1-3 and are used to discuss a) should a player push and b) if so, where to. This time out is available in addition to their other 2 time outs, but only during the immediate shot following the break.

Do you have to use the cue ball provided by the bar?

No, home team has both table and cue ball choice but you must use the same cue ball for all 5 matches.

Who gets credit for a forfeit? How is this marked on the score sheet?

The only time a player is given a credit for a forfeit is if one team has a player who is present, ready to play but the other team can not provide an opponent. The team receiving the forfeit must write the player’s name on the score sheet and still stay within the 23 rule.

When does a player get credit for the forfeit gets credit for a forfeit? How is this marked on the score sheet?

At the end of the Session the League Office goes back over team records and checks to see if a player needs an additional game to qualify for their 6th match. If that player was written down on a scoresheet as receiving a forfeit during the Session (available to play but without an opponent), they will be given credit for the forfeit by duplicating their best score out of of their last 10. This may make a player’s handicap go up, so try to play qualify them without using a forfeit.

What can happen if my player is displaying bad sportsmanship during a match?

Players that are found guilty of poor sportsmanship may be removed from the League and penalty points may be accessed. If you have a player like this, remove him/her from your team BEFORE he becomes a problem. If you do have a problem, stop the match and call league management before an issue escalates.

What are “jawed balls” and what happens to them?

If 2 or more balls are locked between the “jaws” or sides of the pocket they are considered off the playing surface and are pocketed. Two balls blocking a pocket are not the same as “jawed balls”.
In 9-ball, jawed balls do count towards the shooter’s total ball count.

Is complaining openly about a player’s handicap considered sharking?

Yes, distracting or harassing a player about his handicap is considered sharking and is a ball-in-hand foul.

Who should ask for a hit to be watched?

Either player in the match may ask for a hit to be watched. Other team members may suggest that a hit be watched but continually asking that a hit be watched when it is not really a close situation may be considered sharking. See “What is Sharking”?

What is a bad break and when do you lose the break?

A bad break is when you do not strike the 1st or 2nd ball, 4 balls do not hit a rail, or when the player is “soft breaking”. You lose the lag only when you scratch on a bad break. In order to be considered a break you must make contact with the rack.

What happens if you knock a ball off the table in 9-Ball?

The ball is a dead ball and your opponent gets ball-in-hand.

What happens if you knock a ball off the table in 8-ball?

The ball is put back where it was before you struck it and there is no ball-in-hand.

How long does a team have to put a player up after the previous match is completed?

The time limit is 5 minutes. If no player is available the team will forfeit the remaining matches.

How do I report a complaint?

If you have a sportsmanship or handicap complaint you MUST fill out a complaint form so 8 Ball Express will have the issue on record.
If you issue a verbal complaint, it is difficult for both parties to remember exactly what was said that night and there is no record established for repeat offenders.
There is no cost to file a complaint. Forms can be found here: Click for Official 8 Ball Express Complaint Form for printing.

In 9-Ball, my player is going to shoot the 7 ball and the 6 ball is still on the table. How can I let him know without creating a foul by coaching illegally?

You must phrase it in a way that you are not telling him which ball to shoot. EX: You may say, “The 7 is not the lowest ball on the table.” or “You are shooting the wrong ball.” or “I think you may want to go back to school and learn to count in order”.

What happens if after a scratch on the break you fail to put the cue ball behind the head string?

It is ball-in-hand to your opponent.

When is a ball considered “out” from behind the head string?

When it is on the opposite side of the head string or dead center on the head string.

In the event of a tie for the playoffs, how is that tie broken?

Each team will be compared to ALL the teams they are tied with and the team with the most points against the others will be declared the winner.
If they are still tied, a blind draw will be done to declare the winner. (Can be coin toss).
(This is yet another reason why each team should win as many points as possible during the Session.)

How many time outs does a new player have per game?

A first time player gets 2 time outs per game

What happens if I accidentally move a ball while shooting?

If any balls are accidentally moved, they must be placed as close to the original position, after all the balls have stopped moving. If there is a question as to where the ball was, the two players should work it out to the best of their ability. Should you suspect a player of manipulating the balls with intent, stop the match and notify your league manager or the League Office immediately.

Does 8 Ball Express allow jump shots, jump sticks, and masse shots?

8 Ball Express does allow for legal jump shots, jump cues and properly executed masse shots, but the host location MUST allow them. If the host location does not, then you must heed their rules. Jump shots must be executed properly (no “scooping” of the cue ball)and a player may break apart their stick or switch sticks to jump a ball. Masse shots must be executed properly as well.

 During a push time out in 9 ball, is the opposing player allowed to speak to their coach?

Yes, but only until the player who called the push shot time is is done speaking with their coach.

Marking the pocket 8-ball: What do you do when your opponent is busy talking, drinking, etc and you are trying to call your pocket?

You must get the acknowledgement of the other player of if you can’t at least get the acknowledgement of their score keeper before shooting each shot at the 8-Ball.

How do the playoffs work in a 4 team division?

First place gets a BYE for the 1st round of playoffs and 2nd plays the wild card team. The winner of that match plays 1st place the next week.