Could someone explain push-outs to me?

Cue ‘old guy’ voice… Back in the old days they used to play two foul 9 ball, where you could push out on any shot and it wasn’t a penalty until you fouled a second time. It wasn’t till the 70’s that Randy Goettlicher created “Texas Express 9 ball” or one push out after the break, ball in hand on all fouls.

When: The very first shot after the break in 9-ball/10-ball is the only chance in the game you have to use a push out. At this point, if you decide to push, you must call “push” so your opponent knows it’s a push out, and you aren’t attempting a normal shot.

Why: This special shot exists in 9-ball and 10-ball because after the break, luck determines whether or not you have a shot on the next ball. It is most likely used when you are snookered (hidden) from the ball you must hit, because otherwise you would have to kick or jump at the ball to make a legal hit, and you would then risk giving your opponent ball in hand or leaving them an easy shot.

What: You can push the cue ball anywhere on the table, and you don’t have to make a legal hit like normal shots. The only foul you can commit is if you scratch (or otherwise hit the cue ball off the table), which is then ball in hand for your opponent like normal. You can even pocket any ball on the table. If you make the 9 (or 10 in 10-ball), it gets spotted, otherwise the ball stays down.

The most confusing part about the push is what happens after you complete the shot. Your opponent then has the option to either shoot the next shot themselves, or give the shot back to you, forcing you to shoot from where you pushed out to…

This is what makes the shot tricky. Your objective is to push out to a spot on the table that makes the shot easier than what you originally had (in the case your opponent decides to give the shot back to you), but is still a difficult shot for your opponent (in the case your opponent decides to shoot the shot). If you push out to a place that leaves a really easy shot, your opponent will choose to shoot the shot, and you have basically gift wrapped the game for them. If you leave too difficult of a shot, your opponent will give the shot back to you, and you are in no better shape than before the push out.

Example: Let’s say you break, make a ball, and you are hooked on the one ball in such a way you would have to kick three rails to even hit it. You could then call push and push to a place where the one ball still can’t be hit directly, but there is a fairly easy one-rail kick. Now, your opponent has the choice of whether or not to attempt the one-rail kick, or give the shot back to you. Either way, your opponent has a difficult shot, or you have a much easier shot than you originally had.

***A push out is not a safe. Leave your opponent something he wants to take but won’t make. A push out has the caveat that your opponent can give the shot back to you, so you never want to hard safe on a push out. It’s all about reading your opponents skill level and playing into it.

Break And Run

Break And Run follows the same rules of straight 8-ball and can be played with any number of players. Each player in Break And Run racks their own rack. After the break, each ball must be pocketed with a clean call, clean hit and a clean make. Penalty points are assigned for failing to do so in the following format. Balls may be pocketed in any order. Lowest total score per rack wins the match.

Lowest tie scores play a tie-breaker round.

Lowest total score overall, wins.

Traditional Straight 8

Traditional Straight 8 rules arose over time, separate from those of Standardized 8-ball pool. The word “Pool” refers to the money that players would put up in the hopes of winning the most games and collecting “The Pool”.

In order to settle arguments about what was allowed and what was not, many variations of “Official Rules” have been written. Many conflicts still exist between the various renderings of the Official Rules of Pool.

The same is true with Traditional Straight-8, but for most players who are familiar with the game, these discrepancies are minor and can be easily resolved and clarified at the start of any game.

With Traditional Straight 8-Ball you make either a Good Hit, or a Bad Hit. The words Foul, or Illegal are not used. Nor is Inning. There are only Turns.

Establishing Sets – In Straight 8, when you make a ball on the break, either that’s what you are and you continue to shoot, or you continue to shoot but must make another of either set to establish the game, and failure to make gives Open Table to the other player. (In Standard 8-ball the table is still open after the break.)

Safeties – there are no safety calls in Straight 8. In Straight 8 playing “safe” is not permitted. An honest attempt to make, or at least hit, one of your own balls is expected. (In Standard 8-ball safety play is an important part of the game).

Jump Shots are allowed only if agreed to by both players. Owning the table gives Ultimate Authority with this decision!

Legal Shot Requirements – In Straight 8 there is no requirement to ‘Drive A Ball To The Rail On Every Shot.’ (In Standard 8-ball this is a requirement, and failure to meet it results in a ‘foul’).

Ball-in-Hand – There is no ‘ball-in-hand’ in Straight 8. When you scratch, the cue ball is always placed above the head-string –AKA The Kitchen. (In Standard 8-ball the cue ball can be placed anywhere on the table).

Calling Shots – In Straight 8, you must call the pocket, the ball to be pocketed, all cushions, caroms, combinations, and all other details about the path. Failure to do so results in a ‘bad hit’ –whether the ball is pocketed, or not. (In Standard 8-ball the ball and pocket must be called, and if it goes in, it counts, regardless of the details of the shot.)

If you fail to properly call your shot on the 8-ball, or hit it off the table, it is loss of game. (In Standard 8-ball it is the same.)

If the 8-ball is made on the break without scratching, the game is won. With a scratch it is a loss. (In Standard 8-ball it is returned to the foot spot.)