The Invisible Line

J.R.

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Late last night I was watching a one-pocket race to 7 for $2000. I was asked to referee a shot which would involve a judgment call. The particular shot involved a cue ball approximately an inch from the object ball where the shooter was aiming directly at his pocket. It was possible for both a good hit or a bad hit because he was shooting over a nearby ball whereby his cue stick was jacked up. As I got into position to judge the shot I stated to the shooter and the opponent that if it goes past a particular line then my judgment will be that it's a foul. The same opponent who asked me to act as a referee immediately yelled that I was giving advice to the shooter. The opponent continued to state that a referee is not allowed to say anything to the shooter because it might change his shot selection.

My question is twofold. First, am I in error for stating to the shooter and opponent that it will be a foul if it goes past a particular (invisible) line? Second, does my statement constitute advice which would not be permitted by a referee?

I was only trying to be fair minded about how I was making my call. I wanted both the shooter and the opponent to be mindful that I had determined that the invisible line was very clear to me.

In hindsight, I wonder if the shooter could have yelled at me too and stated that as the referee, I am not allowed to say anything to him because it might change his shot selection. What the Hell, it's 2020, crazy times!
 
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Hardmix

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I have been in this situation before and I did the same as you. Prior to the shot, I explained to both parties what my expectations were for a good hit so everyone was on the same page. I don't think this is advise to the shooter. That said, it could be a education as they may not have been aware of the correct ruling.
 

jrhendy

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I have told them BEFORE the shot if I thought it would be a foul. That usually keeps them from asking again.
 

Bob Jewett

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Late last night I was watching a one-pocket race to 7 for $2000. I was asked to referee a shot which would involve a judgment call. The particular shot involved a cue ball approximately an inch from the object ball where the shooter was aiming directly at his pocket. It was possible for both a good hit or a bad hit because he was shooting over a nearby ball whereby his cue stick was jacked up. ...
I think you need to clarify which of several sets of rules they are playing by. The WPA rules are different from DCC rules are different from VNEA rules are different from.... Are they playing strict WPA rules under which double hits are a foul? Are they playing by DCC under which (the last time I checked) if you jack up, it is OK to hit the cue ball twice or several times? Are you playing Grady rules on close balls? You need for everyone to be clear on which rule is in use. You have to judge by their agreed rule, not the rule you prefer.

You could explain your general criteria for a decision on any close call. It might be, "I will call a foul if I'm sure there was no legal way for the shot to have happened the way it did. I will usually judge shots like this by the action of the balls."

Next I think it is good to get each player to verbally agree to abide by your decision, whatever it is. Maybe that gives you some protection from blow-back. Maybe not. Maybe Willie never wanted you to call the shot, he doesn't like the way the conversation is going and the fact that you seem to know about close-ball situations, and this gives him a chance to let you get away.

If possible, and in such an expensive game, it's good to have a video recording. Neither player should object to more info for you to make a decision.

Of course "Please call this shot" situations usually don't unfold that neatly.

I don't think you should explain to the players specifically what you are looking for. I have done that in weekly league games as instruction to both players who mostly have no clue about close-ball situations, but it can be considered to be help to the shooter. (I've also noticed that when I say, "If the cue ball advances past the contact location, I will probably call a foul," many players will shoot the shot and foul anyway.) If both players agree, you can describe how you will judge the specific shot, such as crossing the invisible line.
 

Tobermory

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Since you were clarifying the rule that would be applied to the situation you were asked to judge, your statement was proper if you accurately set forth the rule. Saying nothing and just ruling after the shot would have saved you the grief, but the basis of your ruling would not have been clear and understood by all. If either of the players had asked you to define the rule before the shot, and you said what you said, the situation would have been the same. Your definition of the rule is not advice. Better to establish the rule first so that no one can argue about the standard.
 

darmoose

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I been telling hard headed opponents about this invisible contact line for years. Usually they shoot it anyway and when I say foul, they say well I jacked up, it can't be a foul, duh. The last one that did it said the CB jumped up in the air and that;s why it went forward. It takes a village.
 

Dennis "Whitey" Young

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A good rule of thumb is; a referee is not ever allowed to advise a player how to shoot a shot. Plus, you are not allowed to say; "this will be a foul, for example, if the cb pushes through the shot". Both of which would be considered coaching.
But, if the player asks you; "what constitutes a foul on this shot", you then have to reply, but guard against coaching.

Maybe Steve should consider the above to be included in his official op rules under the referee section.

I was asked to watch a shot in which the cb ball was very close to both object balls which were split on approx. 45 degree angle upon the cb. The shooter split his shot right through both object balls in which both balls separated of course. I did not call a foul.
The opponent said how could that not be a foul. I said because the objects balls separated and going away from the path of the cb, and I did not see a double hit, nor hear one.

Well the opponent which was my team mate held it together and ran out.
But, at times the speed of the shot does not allow for a determination of a foul. A much different scenario than when shooting more directly at an ob.

I must clarify; neither bcapl or wpa specifically declare (foul criteria) what constitutes a foul on a close proximity shot. They only say it is a foul to double hit. Like I have said quite a few times the rules of pool are still in the stone age.

BCAPL has very good guidelines laid out for referees. Whitey

Ps. if the cb is within a tooth pick (.090) of the ob and you shoot the shot on a 45 degree angle using center ball hit, it is impossible to double hit, for the ob is going away from the path of the cb. Now if you use less of an angle (say 35-40 degree) then it is possible to push through the object ball / tangent line and thus it would be a foul. If in fact wpa and bcapl would have such foul criteria. Also if you were to use outside english then yes the cue ball could once again come into contact with the cue, which would be a double hit.

Note: the distance from the ob determines what approx. angle you can shoot it on without pushing through the ob. Two toothpicks for instance you could most likely be safe on a 35 degree angle.

Just a little added info. that you guys can easily verify by actually doing it on a table. Whitey
 
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darmoose

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A good rule of thumb is; a referee is not ever allowed to advise a player how to shoot a shot. Plus, you are not allowed to say; "this will be a foul, for example, if the cb pushes through the shot". Both of which would be considered coaching.
But, if the player asks you; "what constitutes a foul on this shot", you then have to reply, but guard against coaching.

Maybe Steve should consider the above to be included in his official op rules under the referee section.

I was asked to watch a shot in which the cb ball was very close to both object balls which were split on approx. 45 degree angle upon the cb. The shooter split his shot right through both object balls in which both balls separated of course. I did not call a foul.
The opponent said how could that not be a foul. I said because the objects balls separated and going away from the path of the cb, and I did not see a double hit, nor hear one.

Well the opponent which was my team mate held it together and ran out.
But, at times the speed of the shot does not allow for a determination of a foul. A much different scenario than when shooting more directly at an ob.

I must clarify; neither bcapl or wpa specifically declare (foul criteria) what constitutes a foul on a close proximity shot. They only say it is a foul to double hit. Like I have said quite a few times the rules of pool are still in the stone age.

BCAPL has very good guidelines laid out for referees. Whitey

Ps. if the cb is within a tooth pick (.090) of the ob and you shoot the shot on a 45 degree angle using center ball hit, it is impossible to double hit, for the ob is going away from the path of the cb. Now if you use less of an angle (say 35-40 degree) then it is possible to push through the object ball / tangent line and thus it would be a foul. If in fact wpa and bcapl would have such foul criteria. Also if you were to use outside english then yes the cue ball could once again come into contact with the cue, which would be a double hit.

Note: the distance from the ob determines what approx. angle you can shoot it on without pushing through the ob. Two toothpicks for instance you could most likely be safe on a 35 degree angle.

Just a little added info. that you guys can easily verify by actually doing it on a table. Whitey
Whitey,

Just a quick point of clarification. When you say shoot on a 45 degree angle, you mean on a horizontal plane, not a vertical plane (like in jacked up). Also I think it helps to understand that if when trying to determine if you are on enough of an angle to avoid a double hit, you sight down the cue stick and make sure that even on the follow through, the stick cannot hit the OB. This assures you have enough angle. :)
 

gulfportdoc

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I agree with Bob J. here. Since it was a gambling match, not a tournament, I would have asked the player what rules they are playing in which WHAT constitutes a foul in this situation. If they don't know, give them the options. Once they agree, then you can watch the hit and make a judgement based upon what they agreed to.
 

Dennis "Whitey" Young

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Whitey,

Just a quick point of clarification. When you say shoot on a 45 degree angle, you mean on a horizontal plane, not a vertical plane (like in jacked up). Also I think it helps to understand that if when trying to determine if you are on enough of an angle to avoid a double hit, you sight down the cue stick and make sure that even on the follow through, the stick cannot hit the OB. This assures you have enough angle. :)
yes, horizontal. I did a study with the tooth picks, for at the time I was pretty connected with a bcapl ref from our town, and we went through it together. Plus, I also reviewed this with Brent Baker which at the time was head of the referee program of bcapl and is and was TD of Derby City. Whitey
 

Dennis "Whitey" Young

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I agree with Bob J. here. Since it was a gambling match, not a tournament, I would have asked the player what rules they are playing in which WHAT constitutes a foul in this situation. If they don't know, give them the options. Once they agree, then you can watch the hit and make a judgement based upon what they agreed to.
I can not agree with this; 'in which What constitutes a foul in this situation'. respectfully sorry!
You can as an acting referee ask of the players which general rules they are playing by. But even then, there is absolutely no difference in general rules of major rule making bodies, for all they have the same rule; 'a double hit is a foul', and everyone knows that.
One exception I know of is APA in which within a chalk width then you have to shoot on a 45, and if you do not it is an automatic foul.

A referee is not allowed to discuss what constitutes a foul unless a player ask the question. There is just no way around this fact!
Whitey
 
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Bob Jewett

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I can not agree with this; 'in which What constitutes a foul in this situation'. respectfully sorry!
You can as an acting referee ask of the players which general rules they are playing by. But even then, there is absolutely no difference in general rules of major rule making bodies, for all they have the same rule; 'a double hit is a foul', and everyone knows that.
One exception I know of is APA in which within a chalk width then you have to shoot on a 45, and if you do not it is an automatic foul.

A referee is not allowed to discuss what constitutes a foul unless a player ask the question. There is just no way around this fact!
Whitey
A double hit is not a foul at DCC. That's kind of the largest one pocket tournament every year. I think a lot of players think they have the standard rules there.

Whitey, there are lots of matches in which neither player knows the actual rules of any organization or major tournament.
 

Dennis "Whitey" Young

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A double hit is not a foul at DCC. That's kind of the largest one pocket tournament every year. I think a lot of players think they have the standard rules there.

Whitey, there are lots of matches in which neither player knows the actual rules of any organization or major tournament.
Yes, but I do not consider that a major governing rule body, although they do go by bcapl general rules w/ their specific rule exceptions such as the elevated cue eliminates a foul on close proximity shots. thanks, but sorry I do not think DCC rules apply in this scenario outside of their venue.

Yes, there are of course many players that do not belong to a pool organization, and thus primarily go by the rules of their bar or pool hall. In my experience with bcapl the players are very knowledgeable, and the ones that are not, soon learn if they play in a sanctioned event.

Anyway I stated; "it is ok to ask the players by what rule making body rules are they playing by". But you can never advise that a shot would be a foul if. Unless the player asks about a ruling, then as a referee you have to answer. Whitey
 
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Tobermory

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And there are lots of gambling matches where the players haven't bothered to discuss the rules that will govern their match, and it isn't an issue until it comes up, and much of the time the players' opinion about the appropriate rule is entirely situational and dependent on which interpretation of the rule benefits them in that situation. It is what it is. So it is entirely appropriate for the "ref" or whoever is called upon to judge the situation to talk about the rules before the shot is shot.

A double hit is not a foul at DCC. That's kind of the largest one pocket tournament every year. I think a lot of players think they have the standard rules there.

Whitey, there are lots of matches in which neither player knows the actual rules of any organization or major tournament.
 

Dennis "Whitey" Young

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Tobermory, your statement amounts to coaching! I do not know why this is so hard to understand!

I do agree with Bob J. in this respect; not many players take the time to review the rules that govern referees. But if you play in a sanction event it is best you know these rules, for at times a judgement call by a referee is of course incorrect in your opinion, and from that point you need to know your rights.
For instance if you know as the ref's know how to judge split hits, and then if you feel the ref made the improper call you then have the knowledge to express you case.

I will say this; if the cb takes out after the ob at near speed on a fairly close proximity shot, I would then call a foul, for I believe maybe the players may know this. But even then it might be a battle.
But it is to much to expect players to know the specific foul criteria when especially it is not expressly laid out in the governing rule body they are playing by. So how can you make up this rule, you can not.

I offered up the close proximity foul criteria rule to bcapl 12 years ago in '08 but they would not adopt it, so what can you do, just live in the stone age of pool rules. Whitey
 
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Dennis "Whitey" Young

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I think that was probably Bruce Baker, who worked for the BCA for a long time.
No, Brent Baker, I have know him for many years, for he came to my tournaments way back when, and then became a bcapl referee. And now of course he is the TD of Derby City, and was the head of the bcapl ref. program, and my still be. He is fairly younger than us.

I am not familiar with the ref situation at DCC but I do know that Brent is not capable physically able to go back and forth to tables for ref ruling over the duration of the derby, and for this reason I am pretty sure that is why he enacted the elevated cue rule of 45 degrees. He absolutely knows my foul criteria for close proximity shots, for we had a session together going over this plus the 45 degree of a tooth pick apart. He filmed my doing force draws and follows within a 1/4". I went over this with him for I wanted him to have this knowledge so he could proper instruct his referees, and so players would not automatically get a foul called on them just because they executed a close proximity shot. Whitey
 
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baby huey

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I had an interesting situation during a Masters APA match last year. The cueball froze to one of my object balls in an eight ball match. I called the referee over to confirm I was frozen to the object ball which he did. I pushed through the object ball, got lucky and made one of my other object balls and my opponent called foul. APA rules allow you to push through the object ball as long as they are frozen. I got the call but knowing the rule aforehand is important.
 
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