APA Pool Rules Variations


If you’re new to the APA there are some rules variations that you should be aware of. Here they are:

8 Ball

A 2nd ball break is legal. Pocketing the 8 ball on the break is a win unless you scratch or fly the cue ball off of the table which makes it a loss.

A scratch or foul on the break where the 8 ball is not pocketed gives the 2nd player ball in hand in the kitchen. This is for the 1st shot after the break only. A scratch or foul at any other time during the game awards your opponent with ball in hand anywhere on the table.

Make it, take it. If you pocket only one object ball on the break then that’s the suit (solids or stripes) you will be shooting. If you pocket one or more of both the solids and stripes it’s open table. Open table combinations (hitting a solid to pocket a stripe and vice versa) are legal. Object balls to do not have to be “called”. The shot counts as long as a legal hit is made. Slop shots counting is one of the most common complaints I hear from players but I can tell that at the higher skill levels there’s not nearly as many slop shots as you may be lead to believe.

The player that legally pockets the 8 ball wins the rack. The 8 ball is not called but rather a designated pocket must be marked. Place a pocket marker, or other small item next to the pocket you intend to shoot the 8 ball into. DO NOT use a cube of chalk to mark your pocket. Many times there are multiple cubes of chalk on the table.


9 Ball

APA 9 ball is different than Texas Express rules 9 ball. APA 9 ball is really a hybrid of 9 ball and straight pool. Balls 1-8 count as 1 point and the 9 ball counts as 2 points. If the 9 ball is pocketed on the break it counts as 2 points and any other balls pocketed are counted as well as long as the break shot is legal (1 ball must be hit first). All other object balls are counted as dead balls and a new rack is played thereafter. Any illegally pocketed ball is counted as a dead ball and stays down. The only exception is the 9 ball which is spotted if illegally pocketed. The player that scores to his/her designated points level (determined by skill level) first wins the match.

There is no push out on the 1st shot after the break. The player at the table must play the table as it is. There is no 3 foul rule which makes sense given the way the game is scored. Jump shots are allowed but not with jump cues. Any shot where your intent is to not pocket a ball should be marked as a defensive shot. This includes if you pick the cue ball up and hand it your opponent giving them ball in hand.


This is not intended to be a comprehensive view of all the rules but rather a highlight of the differences between APA and standardized rules.