top of page

Tournament 9-Ball Rules (CSI/BCA game rules) and Etiquette




Intentional sharking is not allowed.

Unscrewing your cue while your opponent is at the table is concession of that game.


There is to be no cell phone use during a match, including no texting.  Cell phones should be put away and muted during the match.  Playing the jukebox is encouraged -- but, NO cell phone use includes not using cell phone jukebox apps during the match for playing music at the venue -- playlists should be loaded to the jukebox PRIOR to the match.

Conversation with your opponent should be minimal during the match, as to not to distract their game.


Intentionally distracting or interfering with opponent's play is not allowed.  Whenever possible, players should be seated while their opponent is shooting -- Every attempt should be made to be perfectly still (including hands and feet) when in the line of an opponent's shot. 


Conversation with spectators is not allowed during the match.  Spectators may not be called upon to lend advice at any time during a match.

Should a spectator intentionally distract any player during a match, the player should not approach the spectator, but ask the tournament director to advise the spectator of their distracting behavior.  If the behavior continues, only the tournament director or host has the authority to remove the fan from the arena.


9-Ball is played with a cue ball and nine object balls numbered 1 through 9.  You shoot the balls in ascending numerical order, continuing to shoot, as long as any ball is legally pocketed.  The 9-ball is the game-winning ball.  The object of the game is to pocket the 9-ball on any legal shot.  


9-Ball Rack

The balls are racked as follows:

a. In a diamond shape with the 1-ball as the apex ball on the foot spot;

b. The rows behind the apex are parallel to the foot string;

c. The 9-ball is in the middle of the rack; 

d. The remaining balls are placed at random.

Break Requirements

1. You begin the break with ball in hand behind the head string.  The cue ball must contact the 1-ball before any other ball or cushion, or it is a foul.  You must either legally pocket a ball, or cause at least four object balls to contact one or more cushions, or it is a foul.

2. Jumped object balls, other than the 9-ball, are not returned to the table.  If the 9-ball is jumped, it is spotted.

3. If you legally pocket a ball, you continue to shoot.  Your inning ends if you do not pocket a ball, or if you foul.

4. The 9-ball does not count on the break in the bottom two pockets (because it is rack your own.)  If you legally pocket the 9-ball in any of the other 4 pockets on the break, you win the game.  If you foul on the break and pocket the 9-ball, it is spotted. 

Push-out After the Break

1. If there was no foul on the break, the player taking the first shot after the break has the option to shoot a push-out. On a push-out:

a.  You must notify your opponent before the shot and your opponent must acknowledge your intention;

b.  The cue ball does not have to contact the lowest numbered ball first, or any object ball at all;

        c.  No ball has to contact a cushion;

        d.  All other rules and fouls still apply.

2. Any object balls except the 9-ball that are pocketed on a push-out remain pocketed.  If the 9-ball is pocketed, it is spotted.

3. After a push-out without a foul, your opponent may:

        a.  Accept the table in position and shoot;

        b.  Require you to shoot again with the table in position.

If you push-out and foul, your opponent receives ball in hand. 

Continuing Play

1. After the break (and push-out, if one occurs), play continues as follows:

    a. The lowest numbered ball on the table must be the first object ball contacted by the cue ball, or it is a foul;

    b.  If you legally pocket any ball, your inning continues;

    c.  The 9-ball is spotted if it is illegally pocketed, or if it is jumped;

    d.  Other jumped object balls, and illegally pocketed balls, are not returned to the table.

2. When it is your inning, you must continue to shoot as long as you legally pocket a ball on each shot.  Your inning ends if you do not legally pocket a ball.

3. The game is won by the player who legally pockets the 9-ball. 

Three Successive Fouls

You lose the game if you commit three successive fouls in one game.



If a referee judges that the game is not progressing because the position of the table has not significantly changed through three consecutive innings by each player, the referee will declare a stalemate and the game will be replayed with the player who broke the game breaking again.  


General Rules and Guidelines

Calling a Referee

It is the responsibility of the non-shooting player to call a referee or tournament director before any controversial shot is attempted.  The shooting player must wait for the official to arrive before attempting the shot.  The decision of the official is final.



Players will have 15 minutes to report to their match, once the match is announced by the tournament director. If a player fails to report to their assigned table within the allotted fifteen (15) minutes time frame, that player forfeits that match.


Five Minute Time Out

Each players is allowed one five-minute time-out during each match.  A time-out may only be taken between racks.  The opponent may choose to practice at that table while waiting for players return, but neither may practice on another table, inside or outside the tournament arena.


Shot Clock Usage

If a match is progressing too slowly, a shot clock may be put into place.  Matches which are not on schedule will be placed on a shot clock by the tournament director at the end of the game in progress.  A match may be put on the clock at any time, at the Tournament Director’s discretion. The 30 second shot clock begins when all balls have stopped rolling and stops when the cue tip strikes the cue ball.  A player will receive a ten (10) second warning from the shot clock administrator.  A ten (10) second warning will not be issued when a player is down over a shot.  If 20 seconds has elapsed and the player stands up or breaks focus in any way from the shot, a ten (10) second warning is then issued.  Failure to shoot within the 30 second rule is a foul, allowing the opponent cue ball in hand.  One 30 second extension is allowed per player, per game except in the case of a hill-hill match in which each player will be allowed two extensions per game.  The player must ask for an extension and be acknowledged by the clock administrator.  Extensions will also be granted if a player from another table is shooting and causes the clocked player to wait for their shot, announcements from the tournament director or host, player requires the mechanical bridge or spectator actions cause interference with either the player or the clock administrator.  Time resumes when the player can once again play without interference.  The extension rule also applies when either player calls for a referee to judge a hit or situation.  Time resumes once the referee has made a decision or is in a position to observe the shot.


Illegal Marking

Players are not allowed to mark the cushions or table cloth with chalk marks, etc.  Doing so will be considered a foul.  Players are not allowed to lay their cue stick on the table, without holding it, while a game is in progress or it is considered a foul.

Use of Non-Traditional Equipment

It is the responsibility of the player to bring non-traditional equipment to the attention of the Tournament Director, prior to using such equipment in competition.  It is at the Tournament Director's discretion as to whether such equipment may be used in the tournament.  

bottom of page