Rules Update Conversation

NH Steve

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Our Official One Pocket Rules were adopted in 2005 and have served the One Pocket community very well for 15 years now. Most tournaments either use them directly or they use something that is essentially a knock off of our rules.

No, we are not trying to "change the game" with these rules! One Pocket has done a great job of remaining close to the same game for at least 80 years and maybe a lot longer, since it's inception has been lost in the fog of time.

In the beginning, our Official One Pocket rules were basically created by me with input from Grady, Freddy, various tournament directors and players, along with researching prior versions of One Pocket rules, and of course the conversations and votes we had here in the forum at that time. Based on how our onepocket.org rules have been received over the last 15 years, and in some cases how they have been copied lol, I feel pretty good about how they have contributed to the game. But as has been pointed out now and then over the years in forum discussions there are places in our rules that could be better written, and also over the years there are relatively new player concerns to be addressed -- such as what to do when a player makes a ball on the break.

So I am suggesting we work to complete an updated version that our membership would vote on. To get to that, I would like to pick an area of re-write for focus here in this thread and and eventually have individual ballots on those particular areas of concern -- such as what to do if a ball is pocketed on the break. For the actual writing I would like to invite Bob Jewett and Dennis Young to work with me. They both have a ton of rules experience. But rest assured, here in our forum via conversations and votes, our membership will have the last word.

Things that immediately come to my mind that have come up often over the last 15 years are:

Making a ball on the break -- shoot again, re-rack or score the ball but sit, or what else??
Frozen ball questions
Whole ball or base of the ball at the headstring? A lot of One Pocket people prefer the whole ball even though pools general rules clearly say base of ball
What constitutes a foul in terms of inadvertent object ball contact?

For anyone who has forgotten where our rules can be found, they are here:

So what do we need to address, starting from the top...

Unless clearly contradicted below, general pocket billiards rules of play and etiquette apply to One Pocket, and complete General Rules are available from the World Pool-Billiard Association (WPA).


Common ‘house rule’ variations are noted in this color.

1. Object of the game

One Pocket is a game for two players or two teams, where each player or team can only score into one of the two corner pockets on the foot end of the table, while the other player or team can only score into the other corner pocket at the foot end of the table. The other four pockets are neutral pockets, and any balls pocketed in a neutral pocket are spotted at the end of the shooter’s inning. There is no requirement to ‘call your shot’ in One Pocket, and no special order or significance to any numbered object balls. The first player (or team) to legally score eight balls into their own pocket wins the game, whether they pocket their game-winning ball by their own shot, or as a result of their opponent’s shot. The game may be handicapped either by agreement between players or as designated by a tournament director. Standard handicaps are created by adjusting the required winning score for either one or both players, either for all breaks or for specified player’s breaks.


Please note that with One Pocket’s long tradition of after hours play, many other creative variations in handicapping have been invented over the years. As long as all those involved agree before play begins, virtually everything is negotiable in after hours contests.
 

NH Steve

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I am OK with this top section as written. One issue is the fallback to WPA rules and regulations -- which as I look at it actually. I still think we need this, but there may be certain areas that we would like to be more One Pocket specific within our rules to avoid relying on them for the game of One Pocket. But those details would show up within the specific One Pocket rules that we have decided are important to differentiate.
 

oldschool1478

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I for one am fine with rule changes that don't outright contradict WPA general rules.
The whole ball behind the line would be one of those contradictions.
Never been a fan of local or bar rules.
 

NH Steve

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I for one am fine with rule changes that don't outright contradict WPA general rules.
The whole ball behind the line would be one of those contradictions.
Never been a fan of local or bar rules.
Yes, but if we don't need feel the need to contradict, there is no need to write our own general rules -- it is exactly those areas that we would want to contradict that we need to write our own -- clearly. But in general I agree with you. If I didn't mention it before, the other over-riding principle for me is to have our official rules reflect how the majority of players like to play the game. That whole ball thing seems like it is one of those things that we might want to contradict, so as to have our official rules better reflect how players prefer to play this wonderful game.
 

darmoose

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With regard to contradicting or complying with other organization's rules I think we need to keep in mind that there exists different motives for some rules depending on things like venues such as in the case of the DCC. The only example that comes to mind at the moment is the rule(s) surrounding the CB frozen or extremely close to an OB. It is important to write rules that are not subject to interpretation and subjectivity (ambiguity). Rules should make no references to a TD and what to do under differing circumstances like when a referee is available or not. Rules should be written so that two players playing can "officiate" their game sans argument. In OP quite often it is the very small things that can impact the outcome of the game.

One of the most culpable rules in my mind is the "frozen ball or near frozen ball" rule. Requiring a "normal stroke" is highly subjective. Inherent in writing a rule is setting the criteria for determining if the rule has been violated. The current rule requires a purely subjective decision. The problem being that some players are either of a mind to do as they wish and argue, or are simply ignorant of what constitutes a foul.

In this instance i would suggest a rule in OP that requires a shooter to "shoot away" from a frozen OB or a nearly frozen OB and the distance of a cube of chalk can be used to define how close is too close. "Shooting away" would be determined BEFORE the shot by observing that the cue stick is aimed in such a direction as to not touch the OB on any follow through. These are easily determined parameters that would avoid any argument. As for those situations where the shooter wants to attempt to jack up and shoot more directly at the OB, a shot where it is difficult if not impossible to "see" the shot, I would suggest this: if the CB continues past the point of contact on this shot a foul has occurred.

I realize it is "possible" to jack up and hit this shot without fouling, although unlikely for most players at least some of the time. I feel this is a small price to pay to rid OP from a controversial and sometimes unjust situation where only some players will try to take advantage. I am not 100% sure, but I believe this is the way this rule was construed at sometime in the past. Sorry for the lengthy post, but it is necessary to address rules promulgation in enough detail for clarity and logical analysis. ;)
 
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BRLongArm

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Things that immediately come to my mind that have come up often over the last 15 years are:

Making a ball on the break -- shoot again, re-rack or score the ball but sit, or what else??
Frozen ball questions
Whole ball or base of the ball at the head string? A lot of One Pocket people prefer the whole ball even though pools general rules clearly say base of ball
What constitutes a foul in terms of inadvertent object ball contact?

-Making a ball on the break-Tournament rerack and break is the fairest way to play and is being done in almost all the pro tournaments. 'Should be default unless agreement by the players. The reasoning has been explained ad nauseum on another thread.

-Frozen ball questions: I hate that you can shoot through a frozen ball. I think you should have to shoot away from the object ball just to avoid arguments. In the end, standardized rules are in place to prevent arguments and allow the players to just play. Shooting away from a frozen or nearly frozen ball prevents arguments about fouls, whether the balls are frozen, whether I made the miraculous good hit, etc.

-Whole or base? Whole is easier to tell and many tables have a line to erase any doubt.

-foul-touch any two balls is a foul. It should be up to the incoming player whether to accept the foul, though, to avoid gamesmanship. I could see someone who made your winner, but would touch two balls to leave you in the jaws, and say, "I owe one", thus putting up the ball he made for you, but leaving you in a bad spot. You don't get ball in hand in the kitchen, but he gets to spot up your winner and one of his balls. By allowing the incoming player to decide whether to accept the foul or not, it avoids unsportsmanlike moves.
 

NH Steve

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Thank you for your input both darmoose and BRlongarm. A lot of what you both mentioned will be addressed. For basic pool issues the question always is, how much to rely on outside general rules and how much to write specifics in our One Pocket rules. The whole ball base of ball would have to be Zone Pocket specific because general rules clearly say base of ball. But like I said above, I’m fine with something like that we need to address to stay “in tune” with the way the game is generally played for real in the poolrooms and tournaments across the country.
 

BRLongArm

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As long as it is standardized and accepted by the vast majority of players, why do we care what BCA or others say? There are things that come up in our game that are not coming up in other games. The rules did not contemplate our situations. We have rules for those situations. Simple.
 

darmoose

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My thoughts on base of ball or edge of ball at the line are this. I could only support either so long as the same rule applies to how an OB is placed and played regarding the line. My preference would be that the whole ball would have to be over or behind the line, only because believe it is easier to ascertain. The only reason I can see for adopting the "base of ball" rule is that it allows one to get a slightly more aggressive angle into the rack on the break if you are inclined to do so. ;)
 

gulfportdoc

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Thank you for your input both darmoose and BRlongarm. A lot of what you both mentioned will be addressed. For basic pool issues the question always is, how much to rely on outside general rules and how much to write specifics in our One Pocket rules. The whole ball base of ball would have to be Zone Pocket specific because general rules clearly say base of ball. But like I said above, I’m fine with something like that we need to address to stay “in tune” with the way the game is generally played for real in the poolrooms and tournaments across the country.
I've always preferred "base" of the ball-- where it touches the table, and I think that's pretty standard except at the DCC. If the "face" of the ball were used, you'd have to place the CB behind the spot for the break or in the Kitchen, because part of the ball is over the line. If I have a tree in my yard, my ownership of it is because of where it's planted, not where the branches go.

I've always agreed with being able to shoot through a frozen ball. If one must shoot "away" from a frozen or nearly frozen ball, what angle is considered "away"? 45 degrees? 20 degrees 2 degrees? I can see why the 45 degree elevated cue has been adopted at the DCC for shooting at a nearly frozen ball. It eliminates arguments. Otherwise a ref must be there to observe, and even then a potential double hit is very difficult to differentiate. I've judged a few of those, and one of the players is always adamant that you called it wrong.

~Doc
 

darmoose

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I've always preferred "base" of the ball-- where it touches the table, and I think that's pretty standard except at the DCC. If the "face" of the ball were used, you'd have to place the CB behind the spot for the break or in the Kitchen, because part of the ball is over the line. If I have a tree in my yard, my ownership of it is because of where it's planted, not where the branches go.

I've always agreed with being able to shoot through a frozen ball. If one must shoot "away" from a frozen or nearly frozen ball, what angle is considered "away"? 45 degrees? 20 degrees 2 degrees? I can see why the 45 degree elevated cue has been adopted at the DCC for shooting at a nearly frozen ball. It eliminates arguments. Otherwise a ref must be there to observe, and even then a potential double hit is very difficult to differentiate. I've judged a few of those, and one of the players is always adamant that you called it wrong.

~Doc
Hi Doc,

You think my suggestion that we must shoot away from a frozen or very close OB and my explanation of how to judge the shot is inadequate? Don't you think that playing this situation as we do now causes disagreements and allows "unscrupulous" players to take advantage of the difficulty of judging the shot today. I run into this frequently while gambling, and often I just have to suck it up or lose a player as everybody thinks they are right and defends their shot after the fact to save face. There is no way to prove the foul afterwards, but we can determine the intent beforehand if we adopted the shoot away, and It is FAIR for everyone. :unsure: :)
 
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NH Steve

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Here is what I have so far starting from the very top — my writing with input from Dennis Young & Bob Jewett. It’s a fair assessment that I am reluctant to change areas of our rules that seem to already be working well — so this rewrite is not as rewritten as Dennis in particular would prefer. I wish to thank both Bob and Dennis for their input and also apologize for vetoing some perfectly good suggestions — thank you!!

Official One Pocket Rules​
Unless clearly contradicted below, general pocket billiards rules of play and etiquette apply to One Pocket, and complete General Rules are available from the World Pool-Billiard Association (WPA) or the Billiard Congress of America.​
Common ‘house rule’ variations are noted in italics.
1. Object of the game​
One Pocket is a unique game for two players or two teams, in which each player or team can only score into one of the two corner pockets on the foot end of the table, while the other player or team can only score into the other corner pocket at the foot end of the table. The other four pockets are neutral pockets, and any balls pocketed in a neutral pocket are spotted rather than scored. There is no requirement to ‘call your shot’ in One Pocket, and no special order or significance to any numbered object balls. The first player (or team) to legally score eight balls into their own pocket wins the game, whether they pocket their game-winning ball by their own shot, or as a result of their opponent’s shot.​
The game can be easily handicapped by adjusting the required winning score for either one or both players, either for all breaks or for specified player's breaks. With One Pocket's long tradition of after-hours play, many other creative variations in handicapping have been invented over the years. As long as all those involved agree before play begins, virtually everything is negotiable in after-hours contests.
 

12squared

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Regarding the making of a ball on the break and rebreaking, I would suggest that the only fair way for this to happen is if the breaker is not happy with the very next break (i.e. selling out the corner ball or scratching) they can choose to rebreak one more time. At least this is much fairer than making a good break, but making a ball and being penalized on the redo.

I hope this makes sense.

Dave
 

gulfportdoc

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Hi Doc,

You think my suggestion that we must shoot away from a frozen or very close OB and my explanation of how to judge the shot is inadequate? Don't you think that playing this situation as we do now causes disagreements and allows "unscrupulous" players to take advantage of the difficulty of judging the shot today. I run into this frequently while gambling, and often I just have to suck it up or lose a player as everybody thinks they are right and defends their shot after the fact to save face. here is no way to prove the foul afterwards, but we can determine the intent beforehand if we adopted the shoot away, and It id FAIR for everyone. :unsure: :)
When the CB and an OB are close together, it's always been a challenge to judge the hit. There are 2-3 popular methods/solutions:

6.7 Double Hit / Frozen Balls (WPA)

If the cue stick contacts the cue ball more than once on a shot, the shot is a foul. If the cue ball
is close to but not touching an object ball and the cue tip is still on the cue ball when the cue
ball contacts that object ball, the shot is a foul. If the cue ball is very close to an object ball,
and the shooter barely grazes that object ball on the shot, the shot is assumed not to violate the
first paragraph of this rule, even though the tip is arguably still on the cue ball when ball-ball
contact is made.


As far as the DCC rules, I couldn't find any section on "nearly frozen" CB/OB-- only frozen ones, in which they rule that the cue stick must be elevated 45 degrees, but that the player still must not "push through" the shot by maintaining cue tip contact. Presumably a referee must be called when the OB/CB are close to each other.

The old BCA rules admonish against the double hit, and they state that when the CB and OB are at or within a chalk's width distance to one another, if the CB follows through the OB more than 1/2 ball, then it is considered a foul.

So the WPA has it that if the CB "barely grazes" the OB then it's never considered a foul. Should we say that "barely grazing" might be, say, 85 degrees? But what about shots at 1 to 84 degrees? So "shooting away" from an OB is defined as how? AT what angle is the player "shooting away"? And who makes that judgement?

The old BCA rule is fine if there is a neutral referee closely observing the hit.

A double hit is fairly easy to determine if the CB jumps, or if there's a miscue. But in many other situations it's very difficult to determine if there's been a double hit. That's why I favor the elevated cue solution, even though there might be the danger of ignoring a minor double hit.

~Doc
 

catkins

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if the cue ball follows past the cue ball it needs to pause before moving . Honestly the really tough ones are the shots that are shot with draw or stop because they can be hit almost perfect and still be a foul but not look like it
 

cincy_kid

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I think regarding double hits / fouling the CB, its almost impossible to get something in place where it can be easily judged with or without a referee. So IMO, there needs to be something real simple, not sure exactly what it would be but something that would almost never penalize the shooter unless it was a blatant foul. All of the "close ones" are never going to be agreed upon...
 

catkins

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I don't think that one pocket is any different when it comes to a double hit than any other game. This makes me think that if your coming up with rules you should focus on rules that need to be specific to one pocket . JMHO
 

NH Steve

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Regarding the making of a ball on the break and rebreaking, I would suggest that the only fair way for this to happen is if the breaker is not happy with the very next break (i.e. selling out the corner ball or scratching) they can choose to rebreak one more time. At least this is much fairer than making a good break, but making a ball and being penalized on the redo.

I hope this makes sense.

Dave
Yeah but I can’t see that happening in the rules — good luck — you know what they say, “Them’s the breaks” lol
 

NH Steve

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I don't think that one pocket is any different when it comes to a double hit than any other game. This makes me think that if your coming up with rules you should focus on rules that need to be specific to one pocket . JMHO
My feeling exactly and that’s why whenever possible on standard pool issues we defer to standard rules. IMO
 
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