Table of Contents
A. GAME RULES
1. MATCH START
2. THE LAG
3. THE RACK
4. THE BREAK
5. RESULTS OF THE BREAK
6. LEGAL STROKE
7. OPEN TABLE
8. FOLLOWING STROKES
9. WINNING THE GAME
10. THE POCKET PATCH
a) BREAK FOUL
b) BALL-IN-HAND FOUL
c) GAME-ENDING FOULS
12. SPECIAL GAME RULES
b) Accidentally Pocketed Ball
c) Hanging Ball
d) Jumped Ball
e) Jump Shots
f) Masse Shots
g) Stalemated Games
h) Accidentally Shooting the Wrong Group of Balls
i) Legal Cue Ball
j) Jammed Balls
k) Interference with Stroke
l) Final Position of Balls
13. REQUIRED WARNINGS
a) 45 Degree
b) Split Hit
c) Object Ball Frozen to Rail
d) Cue Ball Out of the Kitchen
e) Pocket Patch Overhanging Into Playing Area
f) One Foot on the Floor
g) Coaching Violations
1. DEFINITION OF
2. CHOOSING THE COACH
3. CHANGING THE COACH
4. RESTRICTIONS ON THE COACH
5. WHEN COACHING IS IN EFFECT
6. COACHING PERIOD
7. TIME LENGTH OF COACHING PERIOD
8. LIMIT OF COACHING ALLOWED
9. TIME OUTS
10. COACHING VIOLATIONS
11. SPORTSMANSHIP IN COACHING
12. PENALTIES FOR COACHING VIOLATIONS
13. DEALING WITH HABITUAL COACHING OFFENDERS
MEANING OF GOOD SPORTSMANSHIP
2. BAD SPORTSMANSHIP
for league rules
b) Displays of anger
c) "Nit picking"
d) Rating manipulation ("sandbagging")
g) Slow play
h) Verbal abuse
j) Violent behavior
3. PENALTIES FOR SPORTSMANSHIP VIOLATIONS
b) Ratings assignments
c) Forfeiture of set, match, or standings points
d) Removal as captain or coach
e) Disqualification from post-season tournaments
4. RIGHT OF
5. HOW TO DEAL WITH THE BAD BEHAVIOR OF AN OPPONENT
6. SPORTSMANSHIP VIOLATIONS AT TOURNAMENTS
D. LEAGUE & TEAM STRUCTURE
2. PLAYER REPRESENTATIVES
3. PLAYER COMMITTEES
b) Appeal Board
c) Rating Review Board
4. RULE CHANGES
a) Timing of
b) Notification of changes
c) Initiation of rule changes
d) Consideration of rule changes
e) Limitation of rule changes
b) Informal protests
c) Formal protests
7. LEAGUE FORMATS
12. M-8 MEMBERS
c) Proof of identity
d) Playing on more than one team
e) Playing more than once in a match
f) Sportsmanlike play
E. POST-SEASON PLAY
1. REGULAR SEASON POINT STANDINGS
b) Consolation teams
b) Division MVP
c) Gladiator match
d) Ranking for the Annual Team Championship
e) "Dead Heat" Tie
ELIGIBILITY FOR POST-SEASON PLAY
5. PLAYERS ELIGIBLE ON MORE THAN ONE TEAM
6. TEAM RATING CERTIFICATION
b) Automatic Disqualification
8. OTHER POST-SEASON SPECIAL RULES
a) Sudden death
b) Forfeit scoring
c) Presence of a referee
10. DIVISION PLAY-OFFS
11. SEASON CHAMPIONSHIP AND CONSOLATION TOURNAMENTS
for the Season Tournaments
b) Seeding and byes
12. M-8 ANNUAL TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
a) Ranking and Qualifying for the Tournament
13. SINGLES AND SPECIAL TOURNAMENTS
b) Singles Eligibility
F. SCORING & THE RATING SYSTEM
1. PLAYER RATINGS
and Limits of Ratings
b) Changes in Ratings
c) Ratings of Players Joining New Teams or Seasons
d) Non-rated Players
e) Assignment of Ratings
f) Team Rating Limit
g) Changes in the Rating Formula
2. SCORING RULES
b) Team Match Scoring
c) Score keeping responsibilities
G. FINANCIAL RULES
2. UNPAID PLAYERS ON THE ROSTER
3. TRANSFERRING OF MEMBERSHIP DUES
4. TEAM DEPOSIT
5. WEEKLY PLAYING FEES
6. COST OF GAMES
7. TEAM SANCTION FEE
8. OTHER FEES
10. TEAM RESPONSIBILITY FOR FEES
11. DROPOUT TEAMS
H. MISCELLANEOUS RULES
1. ROSTER CHANGES
2. UNPAID PLAYERS
3. ILLEGAL SUBSTITUTION
6. MAKE-UPS AND RESCHEDULING MATCHES
7. TEAM RIGHTS TO RESCHEDULE
9. DROPOUT TEAMS
10. REPLACEMENT TEAMS
11. BONUS AND PENALTY POINTS
12. CHOICE OF TABLE
13. TWO TABLE PLAY (Splitting Matches)
I. GLOSSARY OF TERMS
1. Summer 1993
Addendum (these changes are noted in the rule
book text as well)
2. M-8 Masters Rule Addendum
3. M-8 Advanced Rules Addendum
Organization of the Rule Book
Any handicapped pool league requires a large body of rules to provide a system of fair competition for its members. We've made every attempt to make this the most complete rule book in the game of 8-ball. For virtually every situation that may arise, you have a clear resolution. However, a complete rule book contains a very large body of rules. In order to help you easily find any given rule, this book is organized into nine separate major sections of your rules in an outline style as described below.
A. SECTIONS - Each of the nine sections is a logical grouping of the major areas of your league rules. See the Contents for these section headings and their location. Since many rules will affect more than one of these sections, cross-referencing is provided in several areas.
1. PARAGRAPHS - The next area is further defined into groups of rules within the section. These groups relate to a more specific part of your play and are called paragraphs. All are listed in the Table of Contents. In some of the smaller sections, individual rules are listed as paragraphs.
a) Subparagraphs and Rules - Some paragraphs are so large that they are further divided into subparagraphs. Subparagraphs and many of the more involved individual rules are in smaller case and underlined. Most individual rules are not. The subparagraphs and involved individual rules are listed in the Table of Contents.
1) Rules and NOTES: - The lower levels of organization contain the smaller details and notes explaining rules. These are not listed in the Table of Contents, but are easy to find since they are logically connected to the higher levels that are listed. If you spend a little time getting familiar with this outline organization, you should have no problem in quickly finding the rule you might need.
I want to thank all of the M-8 members who have provided ideas and opinions that were used in the writing of this book. We'll always work at improving your league and its rules, and you are heartily invited to become involved in supplying new ideas for better rules. I'd like to make special thanks to those of you who served on the first M-8 Rules Committee which analyzed, discussed, and passed the rules in this book: Nancy Benson, Pete Ferch, Kathy Lestersen, Brian Bolstrom, Kevin Foldesi, Ed Luby, Jeff Bottolfson, David Gunderson, Drew McPherson, Bret Cole, Janene Hague, Russ Murphy, Randy Davis, Joel Hanson, Karen Nielsen, Mike DesMarais, Steve Johnson, Elisabeth Walker, Bryant Farren, Natilee Larson, and Michael White. Thanks also to the additional members who joined in 1992 and shared in the changes of this edition: Dan Bergerson, Bill Chantry, Pete Schalwig, and Donn Whittaker.
MINNESOTA 8-BALL LEAGUE
P. O. Box 6445
Minneapolis, MN 55406
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There are dozens of varieties of rules used in the game of 8-ball, but all share the same basic concept. The game is played with one cue ball and 15 numbered balls. One player will have the solid-colored group of balls (1-7) and the other will have the striped group of balls (9-15). For each player, the object of the game is to pocket all of their group and then pocket the black 8-ball to win. All major pool leagues, including M-8, use "ball-in-hand" rules. Be sure to consult the glossary for an accurate definition of any term used in this section. There are various types of fouls and penalties for those fouls. See the FOULS paragraph near the end of this section. (These rules govern M-8 Open, Women's, & Sober formats. Since the M-8 Masters format is a BCA sanctioned league, there are many differences from this section. See the M-8 Masters Rule Addendum for Masters game rules.) Detailed M-8 rules are:
1. MATCH START - The match begins with a coin toss by the two captains. The winner of the toss will either choose a member of their team to place "at the table" or require the opposing team to place one of its members "at the table". Once that player is chosen, the other team may choose any of its members as the opponent. This order of choice reverses for each set, so that one team must choose first for the 1st, 3rd and 5th sets of the match and the other team "leads in the 2nd and 4th sets.
a) The first team to place a player "at the table" for the set has the right to change their mind until the other team decides. Once the second player has been chosen and the first team informed, neither team can make a change.
2. THE LAG - As soon as both teams have chosen the players for a set, those players will lag (see GLOSSARY) for the opening break. Rules affecting the lag are:
a) Players can lag consecutively or simultaneously.
If they cannot agree as to who goes first, they must lag
b) One player lags to the left of the center string, the other lags to the right. If a player causes their ball to cross the center string and contact the opponent's ball, they have lost the lag.
c) The lagged ball can only contact the rails at the foot and the head of the table. Any contact with a side rail or the jaws of a pocket is a loss of the lag. A scratch is also a loss.
d) The ball coming to rest closest to the head rail wins the lag. It makes no difference whether or not that ball makes contact with the head rail.
3. THE RACK - There are three requirements for an acceptable rack:
a) The 8-ball must be in the center of the third
b) The first ball of the rack must be centered on the foot spot.
c) The balls must be racked "tight" (each ball frozen to all adjoining balls).
d) If any of these conditions is not satisfied, the breaker has the right to have the balls re-racked.
1) The condition of the felt often makes it impossible to perfectly satisfy rules b and c. In this case, use reasonable judgment to accept the best rack possible.
2) Although the breaker's opponent normally racks the balls, the opponent may designate anyone they wish to rack.
4. THE BREAK - The first game of a set is broken by the winner of the lag. All other games are broken by the winner of the previous game. The breaker must satisfy four requirements:
a) The cue ball must be stroked from within the
b) The first object ball contacted by the cue ball must be in one of the first three rows.
c) At least four balls from the rack must make contact with a rail. If an object ball is pocketed on the break, this rule does not apply.
d) The break must be a HARD stroke. Intentional soft-breaking is not allowed, even if four balls have contacted a rail.
1) If the cue ball has been placed outside the kitchen prior to the break, the opponent must warn the breaker (see later paragraph - REQUIRED WARNINGS).
2) Failure to comply with rules b, c or d is considered a nonlegal break. The balls are re-racked and the same player is allowed to break again. If the shooter has also committed a break foul, the balls are re-racked and the opponent has the break (see later paragraph - FOULS).
3) The cue ball does not count as one of the four balls to contact rails. It's also not required for the cue ball to contact a rail.
4) Intentional soft-breaking is a violation of sportsmanship rules. If your opponent has been doing this, contact league management.
5. RESULTS OF THE BREAK - The break shot is a unique stroke. Several possibilities exist:
a) Break Foul - If a foul has been committed, the
following results do not apply (see later paragraph - FOULS).
b) Nonlegal Break - (see previous paragraph - THE BREAK).
c) No Balls Pocketed - The breaker's turn ends and the opponent has an open table.
d) One Group of Balls Pocketed - The breaker's turn continues. They must shoot that group of balls.
e) Both Groups of Balls Pocketed - The breaker's turn continues and they have an open table.
f) 8-Ball is Pocketed - The breaker wins the game. If the cue ball is also pocketed or is a jumped ball (see GLOSSARY), the breaker has committed a game-ending foul (see later paragraph - FOULS).
1) The number of balls pocketed on the break does not affect the results -- it is the TYPE of balls that determines the outcome. As an example, if the breaker pockets one solid and two stripes, they still have an open table and may choose solids.
2) Although unlikely, it's possible for the breaker to prefer to have the 8-ball re-spotted instead of accepting the game win. If this is done, it is the breaker's responsibility to retrieve the 8-ball. The breaker's inning will then continue with all other balls left as they came to rest and the table is open.
6. LEGAL STROKE - On every stroke after the break shot, the shooter must satisfy two rules in order to execute a legal stroke:
a) The first ball contacted by the cue ball must be
one of that shooter's group of balls.
b) After that initial contact, a ball must contact a rail or fall into a pocket.
1) The ball driven to a rail after the initial contact can be ANY ball on the table. It doesn't have to be the first object ball struck or the cue ball. Even if the originally intended object ball is completely missed, a legal shot is executed as long as rules a and b are satisfied and no other foul is committed.
2) Any rails contacted by the cue ball BEFORE the initial contact with an object ball do not count. If the shooter has "lagged out" to make a "legal hit" with their object ball, they must still drive a ball to a rail or pocket a ball after the contact.
3) The stroke is not a legal shot if some other form of foul is committed on the stroke, even if rules a and b have been satisfied.
7. OPEN TABLE - The table remains open until only one group of balls has been pocketed on a legal stroke (which might be the break stroke - see previous paragraphs). With an open table, the shooter may strike any object ball first to pocket any other ball. Any mixture of combination shots may be used if the table is open. The only exception to this is that the 8-ball can not be the first ball contacted. (The 8-ball is not "neutral".)
a) The table remains open if a foul has been committed on that stroke.
b) The table remains open if both groups of balls are pocketed, even if one group was the intended object ball and the other group was pocketed accidentally.
c) The 8-ball can legally be used at any time in a combination shot as long as it's not the first ball struck by the cue ball.
8. FOLLOWING STROKES - The player continues shooting until they have failed to pocket one of their group of balls or have committed a foul. Each player attempts to pocket each of their group of balls until all have been pocketed.
a) If a player intends to play a safety, they should tell their opponent that they are about to play a safety. A player that repeatedly "plays safe" without calling them is violating sportsmanship rules and will be penalized. Contact the league office if this happens.
b) If the shooter calls a safety and either intentionally or accidentally pockets one of their group of balls without committing a foul, they must continue shooting.
9. WINNING THE GAME - There are three ways to win the game:
a) The shooter pockets the 8-ball on the break shot
(see earlier paragraph - RESULTS OF
b) The opponent commits a game-ending foul (see later paragraph - FOULS).
c) After all of their group has been pocketed, the shooter sinks the 8-ball in a properly marked pocket on a separate legal stroke. It is not allowed for a player to pocket their last object ball and the 8-ball on the same stroke.
10. THE POCKET PATCH - The 8-ball is the only object ball which must be "called". This is done by placing the official "pocket patch on the rail nearest to that pocket. There is no need to call rails, kisses", etc. Rules affecting the pocket patch are:
a) The patch must be nearer to the called pocket
than any other pocket.
b) There must be no more than one patch on the table.
c) Anyone present may remind the shooter to "patch the pocket".
d) The patch must not hang over the rail or pocket into the area of play. However, the opponent is required to warn the shooter (see later paragraphs - FOULS and REQUIRED WARNINGS).
e) Although the league supplies an official M-8 pocket patch, any object can be used as the patch IF both players have previously agreed.
1) The distance from the patch to the called pocket does not matter, it only need be closer to that pocket.
2) If the patch happens to be nearest the intended pocket before the shooter's turn, they do not have to touch or move it.
3) Any attempt to tell the shooter WHERE to place the patch is an act of coaching and is controlled by coaching rules (see COACHING section).
11. FOULS - There are three types of fouls. If more than one type of foul is committed on the same stroke, the higher penalty applies. Any foul must be called before another stroke is taken. (An attempt to avoid the penalty for a foul by hurrying the following stroke is an act of bad sportsmanship and is forbidden. Contact league management if this happens.) These categories are:
a) BREAK FOUL (on break stroke only) -- the penalty is ball-in-kitchen:
1) The cue ball is scratched.
2) The cue ball is a jumped ball (see GLOSSARY).
3) The shooter interferes with the travel of the cue ball when the cue ball could possibly scratch. This rule requires some level of judgment. It is not a foul if the speed and direction of the cue ball before interference could not be reasonably considered to be able to fall in a pocket. ("Benefit of doubt" goes against the shooter.)
b) BALL-IN-HAND FOUL (on any stroke following the break) -- the penalty is ball-in-hand:
1) The cue ball fails to make its first contact
with the shooter's object ball.
2) No ball contacts a rail or falls in a pocket after the first contact between the cue ball and object ball.
3) The cue ball is scratched.
4) The cue ball is a jumped ball (see GLOSSARY).
5) The cue tip contacts the cue ball more than once on the same stroke. This is most commonly a double-hit shot (see the 45 Degree Rule in later paragraph - REQUIRED WARNINGS).
6) A push shot is committed. Illegal jump shots are a form of push shot (see Jump Shots in next paragraph - SPECIAL GAME RULES).
7) An object ball is accidentally moved during the stroke and then makes contact with the cue ball or has been moved from a spot that the cue ball passes through.
8) The shooter allows ANY item (their hand, hair, sleeve, piece of chalk, etc.) to contact the cue ball at any time. There are two exceptions:
a> The game isn't "live" until a stroke is
executed on a shot involving the kitchen
(see GLOSSARY). It is not a foul if the cue
ball is contacted prior to the break stroke or the stroke following a
b> If the shooter has a ball-in-hand, they may adjust the position of the cue ball with their hand only. ANY use of the cue stick or tip to adjust the cue ball is a stroke. If that stroke does not satisfy the requirements of a legal stroke, a foul has been committed. If the shooter causes the cue ball to make contact with any other ball while placing it, they have committed a foul.
9) The shooter strokes while a ball is
still in motion. A spinning ball is in motion.
10) The shooter ignores an opponent's call for a referee (see COACHING section) or an opponent's warning (see later paragraph - REQUIRED WARNINGS).
11) The shooter clearly takes a ball-in-hand shot when they were only entitled to ball-in-kitchen (see later paragraph - REQUIRED WARNINGS).
12) The shooter causes the cue ball or 8-ball to make contact with the pocket patch after being warned (see later paragraph - REQUIRED WARNINGS).
13) The shooter strokes without at least one foot on the floor while a bridge is available and after having been warned (see later paragraph - REQUIRED WARNINGS.)
14) The shooter's team has violated coaching rules (see COACHING section).
15) In some uncommon situations, the shooter may feel that they are in a position where they can only worsen their chances by taking a stroke. In this case, the shooter has the right to pick up the cue ball and hand it to their opponent. This is to be scored as a safety by the shooter. The opponent then receives a ball-in-hand (also see Stalemated Games in next paragraph - SPECIAL GAME RULES).
a> Although you are not required to call foul before taking a ball-in-hand, PROTECT YOURSELF. You should call the foul and get an acknowledgment from your opponent before picking up the cue ball. If a player has picked up the cue ball and cannot establish that a foul was committed by their opponent, they have themselves committed a ball-in-hand foul.
c) GAME-ENDING FOULS (on any stroke) - The normal penalty for any of the fouls listed below is loss of game. However, ALL game-ending fouls provide the opponent with a choice. Whenever a shooter has committed a game-ending foul, their opponent may choose to take a ball-in-hand penalty instead of the game win. If the shooter has pocketed the 8-ball and their opponent has chosen this ball-in-hand option, it's the shooter's responsibility to retrieve the 8-ball and the 8-ball is spotted (see GLOSSARY). If the 8-ball has been pocketed in some other way than the result of a stroke (player's body, interference with the shot, sweep of the cue stick, etc.), it is placed by the opponent as near as possible to its original position. IF YOU'VE COMMITTED A GAME-ENDING FOUL, DON'T TOUCH ANY BALL UNTIL YOUR OPPONENT ACCEPTS THE GAME WIN! A shooter should either wait for their opponent to choose or ask the opponent for their choice. If the shooter has moved any balls, every reasonable attempt should be made to return those balls to their original position. Just as in the case of an accidentally moved ball, the opponent controls the placement. In cases where it is impossible to reconstruct the table (and ONLY then), the shooter will receive one point for each of their group of balls which were already pocketed and their opponent will receive a 14 point game win. Players who have this ball-in-hand option are expected to make their own decision. Advice from a teammate is an act of coaching. The coach may provide advice if there is a time-out available, but if a teammate who isn't the coach provides advice OR the coach provides advice when there isn't a time-out available, the player loses this option and MUST accept the game win. If a player exercises this ball-in-hand option and takes a stroke, the game is "live". If they miss or foul, the player who had committed the game-ending foul is able to shoot and may win the game. Game-ending fouls are:
1) The 8-ball is a jumped
ball (see GLOSSARY).
2) On a stroke following the break, the 8-ball is pocketed before all of the shooter's group of balls have been pocketed ("8 out of turn"). (There is one possible exception to this - see Accidentally Shooting the Wrong Group of Balls in next paragraph - SPECIAL GAME RULES.)
3) The 8-ball is pocketed on the same stroke that pockets the shooter's last object ball.
4) The cue ball is scratched or is a jumped ball (see GLOSSARY) while the shooter's object ball is the 8-ball.
5) The cue ball is scratched or is a jumped ball on a break stroke that also pockets the 8-ball.
6) The shooter commits any type of ball-in-hand foul during a stroke in which the 8-ball is pocketed.
7) The shooter interferes with any ball that then causes or allows the 8-ball to be pocketed.
8) The shooter interferes with the cue ball or the 8-ball in a game-losing situation.
9) The 8-ball has been pocketed in violation of the rules listed in THE POCKET PATCH (paragraph ten).
a> It is NOT a game-ending foul if the shooter merely fails to execute a legal stroke while they are shooting at the 8-ball (hitting another ball first, failing to drive a ball to a rail, etc.). Unless some other form of game-ending foul has also been committed, this is a ball-in-hand foul.
12. SPECIAL GAME RULES - This paragraph lists rules that cover special situations that arise in the game of 8-ball. They are:
a) Accidentally Moved Balls - Rules covering movement of the cue ball are listed in the previous paragraph - FOULS. Accidental movement of object balls is not a foul. If the object ball is moved prior to the stroke, the shooter must stop and allow their opponent the option of returning the balls to their original position or to accept the resting position of the moved balls. If more than one ball is moved, the opponent must either return all moved balls or accept the resting position of all balls. If the accidental movement is caused during or after the stroke, all balls must be allowed to come to rest without interference. After this, the opponent has the same option described above.
1) It is not an automatic foul if the shooter attempts to return an accidentally moved ball. The important issue is that the opponent controls the replacement or acceptance of the moved ball. If the shooter has replaced the ball, the opponent can accept that, replace it themselves, or place it back to the moved position.
2) The opponent DOES NOT have the right to place the ball anywhere they wish. They must make an honest attempt to place it in the position it had actually occupied. A player who tries to take advantage of the situation by placing the ball in some new position is acting in bad sportsmanship. Contact league management if this happens.
3) It sometimes happens that so many balls have been moved that it is impossible to return them to their original position. In this case, the opponent has the choice of accepting the moved position or calling for a re-rack of the balls. A re-rack is handled as described in Stalemated Games later in this paragraph.
Accidentally Pocketed Ball - An accidentally pocketed ball is
one that the shooter has caused to fall into a pocket by some other
action than a stroke. If this ball is the cue ball, it is treated the
same as if it had been pocketed on a stroke (see previous paragraph -
FOULS). If this ball is the 8-ball, it is a
game-ending foul. If this is one of the other object balls, it is
treated as an accidentally moved ball. If the opponent chooses to
have this ball replaced to its original position, it is the shooter's
responsibility to retrieve the ball.
c) Hanging Ball - If a ball comes to a complete rest at the edge of a pocket for at least three seconds, it is a hanging ball. If this ball later falls into the pocket due to vibrations of the floor or seems to fall for no apparent reason, it is not considered pocketed. It is to be replaced as near as possible to its original position. If both players agree, the ball may be left as pocketed.
d) Jumped Ball (on the floor) - Rules covering the cue ball or 8-ball coming to rest out of play are listed in the previous paragraph - FOULS. Causing another object ball to be a jumped ball is not a foul. Any jumped ball other than the cue ball or 8-ball is spotted (see GLOSSARY) before the following stroke. If there is more than one jumped ball, the opponent chooses which is to be spotted first. If the shooter has otherwise executed a legal shot and pocketed one of their group of balls, they continue to shoot.
e) Jump Shots - There are legal and illegal jump shots. A jump shot executed with a level or nearly level cue stick aimed at a low spot on the cue ball is a form of push shot and is a foul. A jump shot executed by a downward stroke aimed near to a line passing through the center of the cue ball is a legal stroke. If the location of play has a "house rule" against jump shots, this type of shot is not allowed. A jump caused by an accidental miscue is not a foul.
f) Masse Shots - Masse shots are legal by league rules, but many locations have "house rules" against masse shots. They are not allowed in these locations.
g) Stalemated Games - It will rarely occur that neither player chooses to attempt to execute a legal stroke. If each player commits two consecutive intentional fouls (a total of four consecutive foul strokes), the game is stalemated. Upon a stalemated game, the balls are re-racked, no points are scored, all innings from the game are crossed off the score sheet, and the same player that originally broke the rack breaks again.
h) Accidentally Shooting the Wrong Group of Balls - Occasionally, the shooter will mistakenly start shooting at the opponent's group of balls. This is obviously a ball-in-hand foul on the first such stroke taken. However, if the opponent does not call the foul and instead allows the shooter to continue, the opponent loses the right to call fouls for this violation. After the shooter strokes at two or more of the opponent's object balls, the opponent can only inform the shooter of this and choose one of these options:
1) The shooter must return to their own group of
balls. If they have pocketed an object ball without committing some
other type of foul, their inning continues.
2) The game is re-racked as described in the previous rule (Stalemated Games).
a> If the opponent has allowed the shooter to pocket all of the wrong group of balls and otherwise legally pocket the 8-ball, the shooter has won the game. The shooter will receive credit for the game win and any of their correct group of balls pocketed, but will not receive credit for any other balls remaining on the table. The opponent will receive credit (7 points) for their correct group of balls.
i) Legal Cue Ball - If the cue ball provided for the match does not satisfy the definition given here, either team has the right to substitute a cue ball which is legal. Once a set has begun, no cue ball substitution can be made until that set has finished. Once a legal cue ball is substituted, it will remain in use for the rest of the set. The requirements of a legal cue ball are:
1) The cue ball must be returnable by the table if
pocketed. The table must be capable of differentiating the cue ball
from the other balls.
2) The cue ball must be the same diameter as the object balls.
3) The cue ball must be spherically balanced. It must have a "true roll" without "wobble".
4) A composition-type cue ball (commonly called "mud ball" or "mush ball") is NOT a legal cue ball. This ball has small metal flakes distributed throughout its volume and can be identified by examining its surface. The surface of this ball will have hundreds of small silvery or gray flecks throughout the surface.
Balls - In an extremely rare case, it is possible for two or more
balls to become clustered in the jaws of a pocket in such a way that
one or more of these balls would fall into the pocket if the other
balls were not preventing this. Any ball that both players agree
would otherwise fall into the pocket should be placed in the pocket
before the next stroke.
k) Interference with Stroke - It sometimes happens that another person accidentally strikes the shooter's cue stick while they are preparing to stroke. This may then cause the cue stick to contact the cue ball. The outcome depends on WHO that other person is:
1) The person causing the interference is a member
of the shooter's team or is a spectator clearly present "with" the
team, the contact with the cue ball is considered a stroke.
(Rules in LEGAL STROKE and FOULS
2) The person causing the interference is a member of the opposing team or a spectator "unconnected" to the shooter's team, no stroke has been made. The balls are returned to their positions before the interference and the shooter then continues ("no harm, no foul").
l) Final Position of Balls - The outcome of a stroke is determined by the position of the balls AFTER motion has stopped. If a ball goes into a pocket and is "spit out" onto the table, it has not been pocketed. If a ball jumps off the table and returns to rest on the table bed after striking the pool table light or a piece of chalk, it is not a jumped ball. There are several variations to this, but the basic meaning of the rule is that a ball is considered to be where it STOPS, not where it has been. The only exception to this is a case where that ball has been contacted by the shooter's body or an object held by the shooter. In this exception, the ball is considered to be a jumped ball.
13. REQUIRED WARNINGS - Some situations require a warning by the opponent BEFORE the stroke is executed. In most of these, a foul can't be called for this violation unless the warning was given. In two situations (split hits and cue ball out-of-kitchen), "benefit of doubt" will weigh in favor of the shooter. "Benefit of doubt" means that it must be clear to both teams that a foul was committed or the shooter prevails. It's obvious that the opponent should protect their own interests in a "benefit of doubt" situation by giving the warning first. Any member of the opposing team is allowed to give the required warning.
a) 45 Degree
Rule - The one foul that is most often misunderstood by many
players is the double hit shot. Double hits become extremely common
in shots where the cue ball and intended object ball are very close
to one another. Because of these facts and because most matches do
not have a qualified neutral referee present, the 45 degree rule is
provided to allow teams to have an easily defined distinction. When
the cue ball and the first object ball to be contacted are within a
distance equal to the diameter of the ferrule of the shooter's cue
stick (approximately 1/4 inch) or closer, the cue stick must be
stroked from an angle of 45 degrees or more from the line
of centers between the cue ball and the object ball (either
vertically or horizontally). If uncertain, the shooter has the right
to ask the opponent before stroking to verify that they have
satisfied this requirement.
b) Split Hit ("bad hit") - Although a true "split hit" is almost impossible to execute, the limits of human perception often make players unable to determine which object ball has been the first one contacted. This becomes the one game situation most likely to create emotional arguments. Both sides will truly believe that the other is wrong. Luckily, the majority of these shots are obvious as potential fouls before the stroke is executed. The opponent should protect themselves by warning the shooter to wait until both teams can agree on a referee or referees to watch the shot and call the "hit" legal or foul. The decision of the referee is final. Although a foul may be called after the stroke if a warning was not made, "benefit of doubt" will rule in favor of the shooter. A shooter who ignores a proper warning and strokes without waiting for an agreed referee has committed a ball-in-hand foul.
c) Object Ball Frozen to Rail - If an object ball is frozen to a rail, the contact of that ball to that rail cannot be considered to satisfy the requirements of a legal shot. No ball is considered as frozen to the rail unless it has been identified and agreed to be frozen BEFORE the stroke. If this object ball is the first ball contacted, one of the following must occur or a foul has been committed:
1) The object ball later contacts another
2) The cue ball later contacts a rail. This can be the same rail.
3) A different object ball contacts a rail.
4) A ball is pocketed.
Cue Ball Out of the Kitchen - The kitchen
exists on two strokes only - the break shot and the shot following a
break foul. On these strokes, the cue ball must be stroked from a
position inside the kitchen and its first contact must be with an
object ball or rail outside of the kitchen. A ball is determined to
be "in" or "out" by the point at which the centerline of that ball
contacts the table. A foul can only be called for violating this
requirement if it is absolutely clear to all parties that the
violation occurred. Therefore, a warning is emphatically
e) Pocket Patch Overhanging Into Playing Area - No foul can be called for any ball contacting the patch unless a warning was given by the opponent and ignored by the shooter.
f) One Foot on the Floor - It is a foul to stroke without at least one of the shooter's feet in contact with the floor. The exception to this is that a bridge must be available at the location or the rule doesn't apply. No foul can be called for this violation unless the shooter was warned prior to the stroke and a bridge was made available.
g) Coaching Violations - Some coaching fouls can only be called after a proper warning. See the COACHING section for details.
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One of the major purposes of M-8 is to teach pool-playing skills to it's less experienced members. Because of this, the right to coach players is essential. However, coaching can be abused and slow down play significantly. This section will explain the rules both allowing and restricting coaching which M-8 uses to achieve a fair balance.
1. DEFINITION OF
COACHING - Coaching consists of providing advice to the shooter
about what to shoot, how to shoot it, or calling fouls on the
player's behalf. Requests for rule interpretations are not coaching
IF that request is initiated by the player and that player has no
private conversation with a teammate.
2. CHOOSING THE COACH - Each player has the right to choose their own coach at the beginning of the set. The coach should be identified to the opposing team at the set's beginning. If your opponent hasn't identified the coach, you can avoid later confusion by asking them who is acting as coach. They must tell you.
3. CHANGING THE COACH - Once the player has chosen their coach, they are not allowed to change coaches. There is only one exception to this rule. If a match is being played on two tables and the coach is called by their team to play on the other table, they are not allowed continue coaching. The player then has the right to choose another coach. Coaches can not be changed for ANY other reason.
4. RESTRICTIONS ON THE COACH
a) The coach must be a member of the team.
b) The captain does not have automatic rights of the coach. The captain can not perform coaching duties unless the shooter has chosen them as their only coach.
c) If the coach has to leave the match for any reason, the player must complete the set without a coach.
d) The coach can not interrupt play because they have to temporarily leave the match (going to the restroom, purchasing drinks, etc.). Play continues in their absence.
e) Only the coach can provide direct advice to the player, but the coach can confer with other team members as long as the shooter is separated and can not hear the discussion.
f) The coach can not touch any ball.
g) The coach can not leave any marks on the table.
h) The coach must leave the table before the shot. This should be a distance of five feet or more (accept that some locations are too "cramped" for this - be reasonable). The coach can not stand in the shooter's "line of sight".
i) Non-coaches can not directly provide advice to the shooter or call out fouls. Teams are responsible for the actions and statements of nonmembers who are in their company.
5. WHEN COACHING IS IN
EFFECT - Calling fouls on the player's behalf AT ANY TIME is
coaching. Players are allowed to talk to their teammates and discuss
strategy between games and during the opponent's turn, but coaching
is assumed if they continue that talk after the opponent has ended
their turn at the table (balls have stopped rolling).
6. COACHING PERIOD - The coaching period begins soon as the advice is started or the foul is called. The coaching period ends when the player takes the following stroke. After calling foul for the player, the coach is allowed to advise them on their shot. The coach can leave the table and return as long as no stroke has been made and time is not excessive.
7. TIME LENGTH OF COACHING PERIOD - The time length of a coaching period should be kept to one minute or less. This is not a hard limit, but a guideline. The true issue here is the pace of play. If an occasional coaching period is longer than one minute, there is no problem. If a coach or team is habitually taking longer than a minute, they are violating the rules of league sportsmanship. If you feel that your opponents are abusing this rule, contact league management.
8. LIMIT OF COACHING ALLOWED - Players rated 30-50 and non-rated players are allowed two coaching periods in each game. Players rated 51-110 are only allowed one coaching period in a game. Any coaching given to a player that has already received this maximum limit is an automatic ball-in-hand foul.
9. TIME OUTS - A time-out is an interruption of play. Before any interruption, you are heavily requested to inform your opponent that you want a time-out and wait for an acknowledgment from them. This helps you to keep your match smoothly controlled and will help to avoid confusion and arguments. It will also help you to avoid unnecessary fouls. There are four acceptable reasons for calling a time-out:
a) Time-out for a referee - Any player may call for
a referee to watch the shot. This is NOT coaching. Teams are
recommended to avoid potential conflict by agreeing to have someone
watch a shot which may be arguable (such as a "split hit" or "double
hit"). That referee will then call the shot as a legal stroke or a
foul. Their judgment is final.
b) Time-out for a rules call - Only the shooter or their coach can interrupt play for a rule interpretation. If this is initiated by the coach, it IS coaching. If it is initiated by the shooter and the shooter has any private conversation with their coach, it IS coaching. If it is initiated by the shooter and a member of the opposing team is present to hear everything said, it is NOT coaching.
c) Time-out to check status - Only the shooter can call for a time-out to check the status of the set (such as the score or the coachings available). This is NOT coaching unless initiated by the coach.
d) Time-out for coaching - Only the shooter or their coach can initiate coaching. The proper way to initiate coaching is to call for time-out and obtain an acknowledgment from the opponent. If this is done, the shooter gains these advantages:
1) The call for time-out is NOT coaching. The
shooter or coach has the right to refuse the time-out and save that
coaching period for later.
2) If a call for time-out is made, the opponent must warn the shooter if they have already received their limit of coaching periods allowed. If an acknowledgment is made with no warning given, the coaching is allowed (even if "over the limit"). If warned, the shooter can avoid penalties by refusing coaching. It is NOT a violation to coach without first calling for time-out, but that player loses the protections listed above. If your opponent coaches without first calling for time-out, point out to them that they should use the time-out call and notify them that they are using one of their available coaching periods. If they have already used their coaching limit, they have committed a foul. Any coach that attempts to take advantage by using these time-out calls as signals to the shooter is violating league sportsmanship rules. Contact league management if this happens.
10. COACHING VIOLATIONS -
Any action of a league member that doesn't conform to the above rules
is a coaching violation. A coaching violation may or may not be a
ball-in-hand foul. Violations are to be handled as described in the
next two paragraphs on sportsmanship and penalties.
11. SPORTSMANSHIP IN COACHING - Please remember that the league is a combination of competition AND recreation and that players often forget these restrictions. We need to work together to avoid both the extremes of "nit-picking" and of rules abuse. Sportsmanlike behavior consists both of respecting the rules of the league AND of forgiving your opponents for minor transgressions. Teams that continue to commit coaching violations after being warned are not acting in good sportsmanship, but you are expected to give warnings for most first-time violations.
12. PENALTIES FOR COACHING VIOLATIONS - Coaching in excess of the limit is an automatic ball-in-hand foul. Other violations (such as a non-coach calling foul, etc.) are to be handled by warning the other team for a first-time violation and marking one coaching period as being used. If the offending player or team continues to violate coaching rules, each later violation in that set is a ball-in-hand foul.
13. DEALING WITH HABITUAL COACHING OFFENDERS - Teams that abuse their coaching privileges cause many frustrations for the others. Fouls for repeated offenses can help to solve part of the problem, but extreme delays caused by excessive coaching are very difficult to handle. This type of delay is one of the major reasons for overly late match finishes. Your league management needs your help to identify habitual violators. Your score sheet has a section where you can record the amount of coaching, the length of time-outs, and the start & end times of sets. If teams use this, we can develop a history of offending teams and penalize them. A team that continues this abuse after being warned by management will lose their right to ANY coaching.
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Good sportsmanship is at the same time the most important characteristic of league members and the most difficult to regulate. The concept of sportsmanship is basically stated best by a very ancient rule: DO UNTO OTHERS AS YOU WOULD HAVE THEM DO UNTO YOU! The simple fact is that this spirit is sometimes lost in the combination of personalities, alcohol consumption, and competition that exists in a recreational league. This section will attempt to explain the meaning of sportsmanship in M-8 and to describe the penalties for violating that meaning. (The use of the term "sportsmanship" is in no way intended to slight our equally valuable female members - "sportsmanship" is a term used in virtually all types of competition to denote a sense of fair play. Fair play means respect for the rules of the game, respect for individual players, and respect for the spirit of competitive play.)
1. THE MEANING OF GOOD SPORTSMANSHIP - Players join the league for many reasons, but the primary one is to have a good time. You have the right to enjoy yourself, but you don't have the right to ruin other members' enjoyment. A good "sport" is polite and non-abusive towards their opponents. They understand that issues of behavior are often very complicated and that it's possible for honest people to disagree. They don't allow their temper to cause them to act in ways they normally wouldn't. They recognize that almost all emotional disputes escalate because both parties feel justified to act badly because "the other person started it". Because of this, they understand that they are responsible for their own actions and they will not allow an abusive opponent to make them retaliate. A good sportsman does not "nit pick" or "shark" their opponents. They want to win, but they are not willing to "do anything for a victory". They remember that they were once new and inexperienced, and they don't try to take advantage of the confusion of new teams or players. They attempt to be helpful to members who don't fully understand the league rules without being condescending. Although the calling of a foul is an important league right, a player may choose to overlook the foul in the interest of good sportsmanship. This is especially likely when their opponent is new to the league and unsure of the rules. They are forgiving of the minor transgressions of others and understand that "what goes around, comes around". All players should show evidence of good sportsmanship by shaking hands after the set and congratulating the winner on their performance. An obvious and important requirement of good sportsmanship is to be honest towards your opponent. Even though teams are not required to disclose strategic information such as which members will be playing in that match, players ARE required to give honest answers to their opponents' questions.
Some specific examples are:
a) Shooters sometimes forget which group
of balls they are shooting. If asked by the opponent, the player must
give an honest answer.
b) If the opponent asks the shooter if they have committed a foul, the shooter must answer honestly. They cannot refuse to answer or wrongfully deny that they have committed a foul.
c) If the opponent asks for an explanation of a league rule, the player will answer honestly to the best of their knowledge. They will not refuse to answer or knowingly give an incorrect interpretation. They will not claim knowledge of a rule that they don't fully understand.
d) During the period when teams are allowed to make roster changes "on the spot", the captain MUST inform their opponent of any new players being added to the team if the opponent asks. If the opponent asks and the captain has either refused to answer or has replied that there would be no new players added to the team that night, that captain has lost the right to use a player that is already printed on the roster form.
e) Whether asked by the opponent or not, all shooters are expected to call safety when they play safety. They should inform both their opponent and the scorekeeper. Although it's not possible for teams to call penalties on an opponent for failing to do this, you should inform league management if your opponent ignores this rule.
f) The League Manager will penalize any player who has shown repeated abuse of any of these requirements.
2. BAD SPORTSMANSHIP - Following are some specific areas of unacceptable behavior within the league. Some of these are subtle and some are very serious. All are forbidden. Please notice that many of these require a decision based on the intent of the action or statement. Any decision which attempts to determine what is in the mind of the player is of course an opinion and must be made by a neutral party (league management or a peer board of players). It is simply not possible for teams to directly enforce sportsmanship penalties on one another. Any attempt to do this would actually have the effect of INCREASING unacceptable behavior.
Contempt for league rules - Any member who refuses to
acknowledge official rules of the league can only suffer by doing it.
Remember that ALL rules have a valid reason for being and that these
rules have been passed by a rules committee of league members. It is
your own responsibility to know these rules, and you have the right
to introduce your rule change ideas to be considered by your fellow
b) Displays of anger - Players who make obvious displays of anger out of frustration are acting in a childish and unacceptable manner. Even if that anger is not directed towards an opponent, it's unsportsmanlike behavior. Any member who damages equipment at a host location is responsible for making full restitution to that location before continuing play in the league. Any member who damages their own equipment has themselves to thank in the morning.
c) "Nit picking" - Sometimes people join the league who are so obsessed with winning that they will clutch at any possibility, no matter how minor, to gain advantage. LIGHTEN UP! Experience has shown that the vast majority of "nit picks" that create emotional arguments never wind up making a difference in the match. It is much more likely that players will be "thrown off their game" by heightened anger. Please carry an attitude that the game will be decided by the shots taken at the table and keep an "easy going" style. If league management decides that a team is using "nit picking" as a form of sharking, the team will be penalized.
d) Rating manipulation (Sandbagging) - Any attempt to manipulate the rating of a player is cheating. If you believe an opponent is intentionally "stretching" games or playing "fake" safeties, please inform management. Do not allow an opposing team to pressure you into changing your score sheet. There is no requirement that score sheets match each other. Just play pool and let the ratings determine themselves. If you see any evidence of an opponent or their team trying to manipulate ratings, please inform the league office. Remember that anyone who does this is a cheat and that we rely on each other to provide fair play. Your league management takes this subject very seriously and is constantly working on methods to make the M-8 handicapping system the best possible. Also please recognize that it is not necessarily true that a player is a "sandbagger" just because they have a good set. The reality is that a player who appears to be extremely underrated is more often than not just having a "hot" night. True "baggers" tend to be more subtle than that. Also give new players a chance to find their proper rating. It's not possible to claim 100% accuracy of a rating that is only based on a handful of scores.
e) Sharking - Many players misunderstand the meaning of "sharking" and confuse it with "hustling". Sharking is an action or statement intended to cause the opponent to lose concentration and make a mistake. There are several techniques that have been used to this end and some are very subtle. It's not always possible to separate sharking from unintended behavior, but "sharks" often show themselves by repeating this behavior at critical times. Remember that your best defense against sharking is to not let it affect you. Sharking can only work when the opponent allows it. SHARKING IS CHEATING! Some traditional sharking techniques are:
1) Verbal banter - The shark will constantly
comment on the opponent's shots. They may repeatedly accuse them of
blind luck or comment on the difficulty of making the next shot or
"getting out". They may constantly remind the opponent of the
importance of the match or shot. They may also profusely congratulate
them for repeated "great shots". As you can see, this is not easy to
separate from the normal commentary that happens in pool. The
difference is the amount and timing of these remarks.
2) Approaching the table - The shark may constantly "hang over" the table during the opponent's turn. They may wait until the shooter is ready to stroke and then walk up to pick up a piece of chalk. They may stand in the direct line of sight of the shooter. Players are to stay well away from the table when it is the opponent's turn.
3) "Breaking down the stick" - One of the oldest and surprisingly successful methods of sharking is to unscrew your two-piece cue when you opponent appears to be winning the match. DO NOT DO THIS! At tournaments, a player is assumed to be sharking when they do this. Any player who "breaks down their stick" during the opponent's turn at a tournament has just conceded the game.
f) Signals -
Any form of signal system is also cheating. If you have an opponent
that you believe is using signals to avoid coaching restrictions,
notify league management.
g) Slow play - Excessively slow play is another difficult area to control. Sometimes slow play is a sharking technique and sometimes it is just the natural pace of the shooter. In order to achieve a balance that is in the interests of the majority of league members, management will consider any pattern of slow play to be a violation of sportsmanship rules. If your natural tendency is to be highly deliberate in considering every shot, you will have to make a conscious effort to "pick up" your pace of play. Your score sheet has a spot that you can use if you wish to mark the start time and end time of each set played. If a pattern of slow sets by any player shows on the score sheets, that player will be warned to increase the pace of play. If it continues, that player will be penalized. At tournaments, a slow player may be placed on a stopwatch. If that occurs, any shot that takes 61 seconds for ANY reason will be a ball-in-hand foul. There will be no warning after the first shot. The opponent will not be placed under that restriction unless they have also shown themselves to be excessively slow.
h) Verbal abuse - Verbal abuse can take many forms. Nobody has the right to act insultingly towards his or her opponent. Especially offensive are racial, sexual, or ethnic insults. Any member that uses any slurs of this type towards another member will be required to make full apology or their membership will be suspended. Any member who does this repeatedly is not welcome in M-8 and will be expelled. Everyone has the right to believe what they wish, no matter how bigoted. But no one is allowed to express those bigoted insults towards another M-8 member. Other forms of verbal abuse are dealt with according to the severity and frequency of the abuse.
i) Threats - Threats of physical harm are considered extremely serious and can, depending on the situation, be treated the same as physical abuse. No one has the right to cause another member to fear for his or her safety.
j) Violent behavior - Any form of physical abuse of a league member is immediate grounds for expulsion. Any member who initiates violence towards another member is automatically expelled from the league.
3. PENALTIES FOR SPORTSMANSHIP VIOLATIONS - Dealing with violations of sportsmanship rules is an extremely difficult area for two basic reasons. The first is that it is impossible for teams that are playing self-supervised matches in their regular divisions to impose penalties on each other. Instead of solving behavioral issues, it would tend to make them worse. The second is that the league management, who must make these decisions, is at a disadvantage due to the fact that the manager was not present and must decide based on secondhand information. Please see the next heading for advice to help management make proper decisions. The difficulty is further complicated by the fact that there is a huge range of possible penalties. Whenever it is practical, the League Manager will convene a committee of neutral league members to decide the disposition of serious sportsmanship violations. However, members must recognize that the manager's authority in this area is absolute. A member that has violated sportsmanship rules can be penalized by the League Manager with anything from a warning to permanent expulsion from M-8 (or anything in between). In all other areas of league rules, the decision is made without any consideration of the history of the teams or players involved. A rule is a rule and is always interpreted in the same way. However, sportsmanship is very different! THE PAST BEHAVIORAL HISTORY OF A PLAYER OR TEAM ACCUSED OF SPORTSMANSHIP VIOLATIONS WILL BEAR HEAVILY ON THE DECISION MADE. The possible penalties are:
a) Warnings - Whenever
possible, management will give a warning to an offending member or
team before penalizing them. Some situations do not allow this and
please remember that there is no absolute right to be given a
b) Ratings assignments - If league management is satisfied that a player is guilty of rating manipulation or is seriously underrated, the right is reserved to assign that player a rating that will remove any unfair advantage.
c) Forfeiture of set, match, or standings points - If it's the League Manager's opinion that a player or team has achieved an unfair advantage through unacceptable behavior, they will lose that advantage. This can go beyond forfeiture to include removing other team points that they had previously earned.
d) Removal as captain or coach - A league member that is frequently involving themselves in disputes with opponents can lose the right to act as the team captain or the coach until it is management's opinion that they have demonstrated the maturity to perform these duties with sportsmanship.
e) Disqualification from post-season tournaments - Severe violations may result in the team losing its right to qualify for post-season play for that season. This would also result in forfeiture of any prize money for that season.
f) Suspension - A member or team may be suspended from all league events for a period of time determined by management. This suspension can also be "open-ended" - to be enforced until that player or team has reasonably shown that they are able to control the offending behavior.
g) Expulsion - This is the nuclear penalty. This applies to a member or team that has so extremely violated the sportsmanship rules that they have shown themselves to be completely unfit to participate. Their membership is revoked, they are not allowed at any league event, and they have no right to any refund of league fees paid.
4. RIGHT OF APPEAL - Members
who have been penalized for sportsmanship violations have the right
to appeal before a committee of neutral league members. However, it
must be recognized that this cannot be done immediately and that the
League Manager's decision is binding until the appeal is heard. This
appeal is normally handled by the M-8 Appeal Board, but it is
sometimes heard by a neutral group of players from that team's home
division. The decision of the Appeal Board or peer committee is
final. They may uphold or overrule the League Manager's decision.
They may specify a different penalty (either more or less severe).
They may dictate a future action to betaken by the League Manager if
the player or team commits a future offense. This right of appeal is
a two-way street. Other members have the right to appeal the League
Manager's decision if they feel that a penalty imposed on an
offending player or team is not severe enough.
5. HOW TO DEAL WITH THE BAD BEHAVIOR OF AN OPPONENT - If you are in the unfortunate position of having to deal with a poorly behaving opponent, remember the first and most important rule - KEEP YOUR OWN COOL! You can't control the behavior of opponents, but you can control your own. No excuse is ever accepted for behaving badly because "the opponent started it". If one of your own teammates is out of line, it's your team's responsibility to control them or get them out of the area. One of the most important responsibilities of the captain is to maintain an adult level of behavior from their own team. The captains are expected to control the situation and negotiate a reasonable resolution. If this is not possible, call your league office. There is usually an official available by phone when you are playing. Since you can't impose sportsmanship penalties on each other, the only possible way to get an immediate decision is through management. If unsportsmanlike behavior continues, document it! Make a protest note on your score sheet and write a description of the problem on a separate sheet. The more evidence you can supply, the better job management can do to later resolve the issue. If possible, provide management with a way to contact a neutral observer or member of the other team to support your statements.
6. SPORTSMANSHIP VIOLATIONS AT TOURNAMENTS - Tournaments provide a superior way to deal with sportsmanship issues because there is a neutral official present and in authority. Decisions can be made "on the spot". Each team is provided with the "Rules of Tournament Sportsmanship" as they begin any tournament. Please refer to those rules for details.
AS STATED ABOVE, THIS SECTION OF YOUR RULE BOOK IS THE MOST DIFFICULT TO WRITE AND ADMINISTER. THANKFULLY, THE GREAT MAJORITY OF LEAGUE MEMBERS DO ACT IN A SPORTSMAN LIKE MANNER. THESE RULES AND PENALTIES WILL PROBABLY NEVER AFFECT YOU. THANK YOU FOR MAKING YOUR LEAGUE MORE ENJOYABLE BY YOUR ADULT AND CONSIDERATE ACTIONS. HAVE A GOOD TIME AND REMEMBER - GOOD LUCK & GOOD POOL SHOOTING!!!
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M-8 is an independent handicapped pool league with its own copyrighted rating system, scoring system, and rules. Although it shares many characteristics with other recreational league organizations, many of its characteristics are unique to M-8. This section will describe the way in which the league operates and its organization.
1. MANAGEMENT - The top authority in
M-8 is the League Manager. He is a full-time worker in organizing and
administering M-8. Other paid officials of the league are the
Division Managers. They may be either full-time or part-time workers.
Your League Manager and Division Managers are available to you to
help with any problems or questions you may have involving M-8. They
are responsible for organizing teams, scheduling divisions,
maintaining ratings and standings, preparation & delivery of your
team envelopes for regular season play, providing rule
interpretations, resolving disputes, planning & supervising
league meetings, officiating tournaments, co-coordinating special
league events, providing trophies & other awards, administering
your prize funds, and making improvements in the league.
2. PLAYER REPRESENTATIVES - M-8 members have the opportunity to make decisions about the rules and direction of their league in three ways. The first is through voice votes taken on major issues at league meetings. The second is through occasional ballots distributed in team envelopes. The third is through electing Player Representatives from the membership. Each division of teams has the right to elect a Player Representative, who will be a member of the committees listed below. A player who is interested in being involved in these committees should contact the League Manager for more information. Elections will be held once each year for Player Representatives. A new division in its first year will have a Representative appointed by the League Manager.
3. PLAYER COMMITTEES - The Player Representatives form three committees. Each meets as needed to make decisions affecting your league play. They are:
Committee - This group works with the League Manager to make
decisions on the meaning and wording of M-8 rule changes. Details on
the rule change process are listed in the RULE CHANGES paragraph.
b) Appeal Board - This committee acts as a peer group to which a member or team can appeal a rule interpretation or disciplinary penalty by the League Manager. Decisions by the Appeal Board (which are in accordance with official M-8 rules) can overrule decisions by the League Manager. Members can make an appeal to this committee by following the procedures listed in the PROTESTS paragraph.
c) Rating Review Board - This group monitors ratings of M-8 members and sits in judgment on appeals made involving player ratings.
4. RULE CHANGES - Every reasonable attempt has been made to make your league rules as complete as possible. However, every organization must evolve in order to improve. This paragraph lists the rules controlling that process.
a) Timing of
changes - Rules changes can only be implemented between seasons.
If a rule has been changed or added, that change will be held until
the end of the season. Season Championship and Consolation
Tournaments will use the rules of that season. Rule changes having an
important effect on the Annual Team Championship will only be
implemented at the beginning of the Winter Season. The Annual Team
Championship will use the rules of that year's Fall Season.
b) Notification of changes - The M-8 Rule Book will be occasionally revised and a new copy provided to each team. Any rule changes not incorporated in the current edition of the rule book will be issued as a Rule Book Addendum and distributed to all teams.
c) Initiation of rule changes - Any M-8 member can initiate their idea for a rule change. They should submit their idea (in the form of a written rule) on a Rule Change Recommendation form, which can be obtained from the League Manager. The League Manager will meet with the Rules Committee on an occasional basis to discuss all change recommendations. The rule will be categorized as a minor or major change. Minor changes require a majority decision of the Rules Committee to become enacted. Major changes require a majority ballot or voice vote by the league membership.
d) Consideration of rule changes - It is obviously not possible for every rule to satisfy every member. For that reason, all rule changes being considered must pass the following tests:
1) Does this change represent the majority
2) Does this change improve the fairness of competition?
3) Is this change easily understood by the members?
4) Is the improvement created by this change greater than the probable confusion created by a change?
5) Is this change reasonably administrable by league management?
e) Limitation of rule changes - It is M-8's philosophy that the members should have the ability to control their own playing rules. Almost all league rules are changeable by the process listed in this paragraph. For basic "commonsense" reasons, there are two areas where the League Manager has final rules authority. These are financial rules and rules affecting the basic system of rating players. Although the Rules Committee and the membership will be consulted on any changes in these areas, the League Manager reserves control.
5. PROTESTS - Unfortunately, situations do arise where a member or team is dissatisfied with the result of a match or a management decision. The protest procedure is established to achieve a balance between that member's right of appeal and the need maintain a fair and efficient league. Protests can be made on an informal or a formal basis.
Notification of protest - Disputes during team matches should
be handled by the team captains. They should use this rule book and
sportsmanlike negotiating skills to resolve their problem. If they
are unable to resolve the dispute, they should attempt to contact
league management for assistance. If the teams have failed to reach
an agreement, they should finish their match "under protest". VERY
IMPORTANT - THE PROTESTING TEAM SHOULD MAKE NOTE ON THEIR SCORE SHEET
OF THE FACT THAT THEY ARE PLAYING UNDER PROTEST AND THE NATURE OF THE
PROTEST. To further their own case, the protesting team should write
down as much detail as possible to state and support their case.
Neutral observers or members of the opposing team who are in
agreement are especially valuable. If the note of protest is made on
the score sheet, it is officially logged. Protest by telephone within
24 hours will be accepted, but ONLY if it can be proven that the
protest was made during the match. "After the fact" protests are not
accepted. No team can negotiate an agreement to a dispute and later
decide to protest because they lost. Notification to the league
office more than 24 hours after the incident will not be
b) Informal protests - League management will attempt to resolve protests informally by investigating the nature of the protest and consulting league rules and procedures. The League Manager will make their best effort to resolve this in a fair and consistent manner. Their decision will provide a resolution and will be initially binding.
c) Formal protests - If either party feels that the management decision is not proper, they have the right to make a formal protest to the Appeal Board.
1) Notification of formal protest - The protest
must be made IN WRITING within 10 days of the League Manager's
resolution. Protest forms are available upon request from the league
2) Protest deposit - A formal protest must be accompanied by a deposit of $25. 00. This deposit is later returned to the team if the Appeal Board has decided that the protest has merit. If the Appeal Board decides that the protest has no merit (is a "frivolous protest"), the deposit is forfeit by the team and is placed in the M-8 prize fund. The issue here is whether or not the protest is reasonable. A team whose protest is denied by the Appeal Board will still have the deposit refunded IF the board agrees that they had a valid reason.
3) Appeal Board hearing - Once management receives a formal written protest, they will notify all parties. They will convene a meeting of the Appeal Board. Members must recognize that this can be a complicated and time-consuming process. There may be a delay of several weeks before the hearing can be scheduled. Each party will have the opportunity to present their case to the board. The Appeal Board rules by majority decision within the rules of M-8. That decision is final and cannot be appealed.
6. SEASONS - M-8 has three seasons
available to teams each year. Winter Season begins in January and
ends in late April. It is normally 14 weeks long. Summer Season
begins after Memorial Day and ends near Labor Day. It is normally 12
weeks long. Fall Season begins at the end of September and ends in
January. It is normally 14 weeks long. All seasons are followed by
two weeks of play-offs.
7. LEAGUE FORMATS - Most M-8 teams play in the "Open" format. Open teams use all rules listed in this book unless specifically noted otherwise. There are no gender restrictions on Open teams. Teams can consist of players who are all men, all women, or any combination. M-8 does offer other formats. M-8 Masters is a similar format, but has many differences from the Open rules. It's primarily designed for higher-skilled players and has no team rating limit. There is a separate M-8 Masters Rule Addendum which details these differences. Women's format is similar to Open with two basic changes. No male players are allowed and there are is a different team rating limit. Sober Shooters is an Open format restricted to nondrinkers only. Other formats will be created overtime and will be detailed in future editions of this book.
8. DIVISIONS - M-8 teams are organized into divisions. Each division normally consists of 8 to 12 teams (although smaller divisions sometimes exist in special cases). The division is geographically set to reduce drive time between locations as much as possible. Each division will have matches scheduled for a given day of the week at a given time. Most divisions start play at 7:00 PM. Each division has its own self-contained schedule, play-offs, and awards. All teams in a division have the opportunity to qualify for league-wide tournaments (see the POST-SEASON PLAY section). Most divisions compete with the same structure and rules. There are some special divisions that may have differences from the others in some rules or prize funds. Teams in these special divisions will be provided with notification of any differences from this rule book.
9. TEAMS - A team consists of 5 to 8 M-8 members. Five team members play in each team match. Restrictions on changes to the team roster are listed in the MISCELLANEOUS RULES section. Rules affecting the eligibility of team members for post-season play are listed in the POST-SEASON PLAY section. Fees responsibilities of the team are described in the FINANCIAL RULES section.
10. CAPTAIN - The captain is the leader of the team. Although there is usually one person serving as team captain, it's acceptable for team members to share or rotate the captain's duties. The team is responsible for having a member that league management can contact as the captain if necessary. The captain is responsible for the following:
a) Organizer - The captain makes sure that the team
has the right players at the right place at the right time. They
ensure that the team roster is correct and that members' eligibility
is maintained. They schedule the members for play and are responsible
for the team adjusting to any schedule changes that may arise.
b) Communicator - The captain provides to league management any information needed to protect the team's interests and to satisfy league rules. They make sure that team members are aware of information provided by league management and understand the ways that information affects the members.
c) Negotiator - The captain represents the team's interests in issues that require negotiation with other teams (such as rules questions, scheduling of make-ups, etc.). They take control of any situation where emotions may arise and ensure that the team acts in a sportsmanlike manner to resolve any disputes that may occur.
d) Rules Authority - The captain is knowledgeable about the league rules and helps their teammates to also learn these rules. They are provided with a rule book and are invited to contact the league office for any interpretation or further rule information needed.
e) Treasurer - The captain protects the team's financial interests by taking responsibility for keeping the records necessary to ensure that all fees are paid by team members.
11. COACH - Each player has the right to
choose a coach. Details are listed in the COACHING RULES section. Any
team member can act as a coach, but the team must remember that the
captain is not necessarily the coach. If another member is acting as
coach, the captain is not allowed to do such things as calling of
fouls for the player or providing direct advice on the player's
12. M-8 MEMBERS - A player must be a member of M-8 to be on a team roster or compete in M-8 events. There are certain rules and restrictions involving membership.
professionals allowed - M-8 members are amateur pool players. The
standards used for determining professionalism are: Is this player a
touring member of the MPBA or WPBA? (ALL "circuit pros" are required
to join one of these organizations.) Does this player make their
living playing the game of pool? Please recognize that there are
amateur players who have the ability to compete as professionals, but
make their living in other ways and shoot pool as a hobby.
b) Age - There is no age restriction set by M-8. However, players are warned that most league activity takes place in locations with alcohol present. An M-8 member younger than the legal drinking age must conform to all laws and policies of the establishment where that league activity is occurring. They must recognize that they have no inherent right to compete in any M-8 event that excludes them because of age. Many areas allow the presence of a minor when accompanied by a legal guardian. It is the player's responsibility to know these restrictions and obey them. Any underage member that attempts to violate age laws or policies affecting an M-8 event will be immediately expelled from the league.
c) Proof of identity - M-8 players must always be able to provide proof of their identity. If a referee or opponent asks for this proof, they must do this in a sportsmanlike manner. If a player cannot provide this proof, contact league management for assistance. If a player is refused entrance to a location because they don't carry proper I. D., there is no allowance made in other league rules (the team must either play five other members or forfeit the fifth set). Penalties for playing another person using the member's name are listed in Illegal Substitutions in the MISCELLANEOUS RULES section.
d) Playing on more than one team - Members are allowed to play on as many teams as they wish, but only one team in a given division in a given season. Members are not normally allowed to change teams within the same division if they have played that season for another team. A change can be approved for team survival purposes if the League Manager and the majority of teams within the division agree to the change.
e) Playing more than once in a match - A player can only play one set for their team in a match. The only exception to this occurs in rare cases during post-season play (see Gladiator Matches in the POST-SEASON PLAY section).
f) Sportsmanlike play - Players must respect the rules and spirit of sportsmanship. A member that continually violates these rules will be penalized. This can include revocation of their membership (see SPORTSMANSHIP section).
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The major rewards of M-8 are earned by players and teams after the regularly scheduled season ends. The seeding and pairings of teams are determined by the regular season point standings, but ALL teams have an opportunity to compete for some portion of these rewards in post-season play. The great majority of league rules are unchanged from regular to post-season, but there are some differences. Those differences are detailed in this section. There are a few special M-8 divisions, which may have post-season rules that differ from this section. Teams in those divisions will be informed in advance of any exceptions to this section.
1. REGULAR SEASON POINT STANDINGS - The division point standings at the end of regular season determine the direction and seeding of teams in post-season play.
teams - The teams that finish in the top four positions become
the ones that compete for the Division Championship, the Season
Championship Tournament, and earn ranking towards the M-8 Annual Team
b) Consolation teams - The teams that finish in the fifth through last positions within the division compete for the division's Consolation Championship and the Season Consolation Tournament. They cannot earn credit during that season towards the M-8 Annual Team Championship.
2. DIVISION MVP - At the end of
the regular season, each division has a player who earns the title of
Most Valuable Player. Players are ranked according to three factors:
The standings points they earn for their team, their set wins, and
their set losses. Total points scored by the player are added to a
200-point bonus for each set win and a 200-point penalty for each
loss. Players who receive forfeit wins earn credit for the standings
points gained by their team, but do not receive the extra 200 point
set win bonus. The resulting total becomes that player's MVP ranking.
The player who has the highest MVP ranking at the end of regular
season is the Division MVP.
3. TIE-BREAKS - There are four possible situations that require a procedure for breaking ties:
a) Team standings - Since the top four team positions in regular season point standings affect the teams' rankings and seeding for post-season play, a tiebreaker is needed if two teams finish in a tie.
1st - The head-to-head point totals of the teams
during that season.
2nd - The total sets won during the regular season by each team.
3rd - The total points lost to each team's regular season opponents.
4th - The two teams' season records against the team that has finished immediately below them in the division standings.
b) Division MVP -
1st - If the tied players had competed against
each other during the regular season, the player who had earned the
most head-to-head points is the MVP.
2nd - The average ratings of their regular season opponents are compared. If there is a difference of 5 or more rating points between these averages, the player who has competed against the stronger opponents is the MVP.
3rd - The players play a single set to determine the MVP.
Gladiator match - Since post-season matches are sudden-death,
it can happen that two teams have played less than five sets and do
not have a clear winner. In the rare case that neither team has
another player present to accept a forfeit, each team is allowed to
choose one of their members who has already played a set. All other
league rules are in force and scoring of the match is otherwise the
d) Ranking for the Annual Team Championship - See Tie-break rule in M-8 ANNUAL TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP section.
e) "Dead Heat" Tie - Although extremely rare, it's possible for two teams to have scored the exact same point totals at the end of a five-set match. During regular season play, this will stand as a tie. During post-season play, a "dead heat" is broken by awarding the win to the team that has won three of the five sets played.
4. PLAYER ELIGIBILITY FOR POST-SEASON PLAY - In order to help ensure fairness of competition during post-season matches, there are minimums of the number of times that each player must have played with their team and the number of scores in their M-8 history. Scores in a player's history can come from any recorded M-8 match. They DO NOT have to be connected to any given team or season. Any member who has not completed a membership application or renewal for that year and returned it to the league office is NOT eligible for post-season events. Members of a team who are ineligible cannot play, but they can be used as forfeits for rating limit purposes. These are the numbers required BEFORE entering the following events:
Annual Team Championship
Explanation of headings:
TWT= Times With Team - The number of sets played THAT season as a member of THAT team. In the case of the Annual Team Championship, this is the number of times played with that team over the tournament-qualifying year. If a player is dropped from a team roster and later re-added, they must start this number over again.
TM8= Total M-8 Scores (Veteran) - The number of set scores that the player must have in their rating history as a member of M-8. This number applies to any player who was a member of M-8 at any time before the most current season. It also applies to any NEW members of a team that has 50% or more players who were M-8 members prior to the most current season.
TM8N= Total M-8 Scores (New) - The number of set scores that the player must have in their rating history as a member of M-8. This number applies only to new members of a team that has a majority of players who are new to M-8 in the most current season. Even if the team qualifies for this number, any player who has a previous M-8 record will have to satisfy "Total M-8 Scores (Veteran) ".
Special case - A player can receive credit for one set played as a member of their team if:
a) They have previously been present to
play for that team and have received a forfeited set.
b) They were listed on the score sheet from that match.
c) The player has satisfied requirements for the number of set scores in their rating history. No exceptions will be made to these requirements.
d) No more than one set can be credited, no matter how many times the player has received forfeits.
5. PLAYERS ELIGIBLE ON MORE THAN ONE TEAM - Many league members choose to play in more than one division. When post-season tournaments mix the competition of all divisions, complications can result. A player who has earned post-season eligibility on more than one team retains their right to compete with each of those teams. This does create the need for these added rules:
a) If the player is eligible on the rosters of two
teams who happen to meet in a tournament match, the player cannot
play against themselves. They can play in this match for either or
both teams, but they must play in the first or second set only. If
they play for both teams, they must obviously play for one team in
the first set and the other in the second. If there is a difference
between the two ratings of that player, they will play in that match
for either team at the average rating of the two (rounding up to next
whole number). Teams are strongly recommended to have a mutual player
"sit out" if this situation should arise (there is a likelihood of
creating resentments). This rule can be suspended upon request from
BOTH team captains.
b) A team who has an eligible member who is playing at the same time for another team has the right to list that player for a set, delay the set, and then continue to the next "match-up". This player must be involved in another M-8 tournament match; this right does NOT extend to a player who is merely not present at that time. As soon as that player is available, the set will begin on the first open and acceptable table. This determination will be made by the tournament director.
c) The above right to "by-pass" does not exclude a team from normal forfeit rules. Once a player has been listed and "matched-up", they can't be later withdrawn. If all other sets of the match are completed and the player is not yet available, the by-passed set becomes forfeit. No extra consideration will be given if the match has previously been required to start two-table play. If the Tournament Director (T. D.) decides that a team is stalling for an absent player, ONE warning will be given. After that point, any evidence of stalling tactics will be considered a violation of sportsmanship rules and the T. D. will penalize accordingly. This can include forfeiture of match.
6. TEAM RATING CERTIFICATION - Each team must return their Team Rating Certification sheet before playing any post-season match. If any members of the team (for any reason) have pool-playing abilities beyond their rating, their captain is expected to raise them to the proper level. Any team that does not sign and return this sheet will automatically have ALL members of their team raised three rating points for each post-season match the team plays until the sheet is signed. This sheet is an honor system (with teeth), but you are heavily cautioned to take it seriously. New teams should be very careful about this and contact the league office if at all uncertain. There are points at which rises in team or player ratings can cause disqualification. If disqualified, a team loses all rights to any prize money it may have earned. Ratings of members at the end of post-season play are compared to their ratings at the beginning. If these changes exceed the limits shown below, the penalty will be as follows:
Potential Disqualification - If the rating of a team member
rises from the beginning of post-season play by 15 or more points OR
if the total ratings of all team members rise by 40 or more points,
the team is potentially disqualified. This is not automatic. If, in
the judgment of league management, the team is determined to be
guilty of rating manipulation, the team is disqualified. A team that
has been disqualified on this basis has the right to appeal to the
Rating Review Board. The judgment of that committee is final.
b) Automatic Disqualification - If the rating of a team member rises from the beginning of post-season play by 20 or more points OR if the total ratings of all team members rise by 60 or more points, the team is automatically disqualified. There is no judgment exercised by league management and there is no right of appeal.
7. LEAGUE AWARDS - M-8 provides the following awards to its members and teams:
a) Division Championship Team - In each
division each season, the team that wins the Championship Play-Offs
is the Division Champion. A trophy is awarded to that team and (if
there are at least 6 teams in the division) an individual trophy is
awarded to each team member that is qualified for post-season
b) Consolation Champion Team - In each Consolation Bracket each season, the team that wins the Bracket Play-Offs is the Consolation Champ. A trophy is awarded to that team if there are at least 3 teams in the bracket.
c) Most Valuable Player - In each division each season, a trophy is awarded to the Division MVP.
d) Cash Prizes - Every team wins some prize money in each season. The starting prizes are usually small and rise as the team advances through play-offs and the post-season tournaments. The exact amount of these prizes changes from season to season and year to year depending on the size of the league and the fees collected.
8. OTHER POST-SEASON SPECIAL RULES - Almost all league rules are exactly the same in regular season play and in post-season play. However, there are some essential differences, which are listed in this section. If a rule pertains to a particular event, it is listed in the paragraph for that event. If it applies to multiple events, it is listed here.
a) Sudden death - All post-season matches
end at the time when it is agreed that one of the teams has a lead
that the other team can't possibly overcome. The completion of five
sets is not always necessary. Teams are strongly advised to be
careful to be sure that a "comeback" is not possible before admitting
defeat. Factors such as the possible rating bonus or penalty and
forfeit rules can have a material effect. If in doubt, teams are wise
to continue play.
b) Forfeit scoring - In any post-season match, the team receiving a forfeited set does not receive the "flat" 125 points (see Team Match Scoring (Forfeits) in the SCORING AND THE RATING SYSTEM section). For this set, they will receive 100 points plus the rating of the player who receives the forfeit. This is done to limit a potential abuse by a team which tries to "blow out" their opponents by using three high-skilled players and intentionally forfeiting with low-skilled ineligible players.
c) Presence of a referee (tournaments only) - Some league rules exist because of the necessity for teams to be able to resolve situations without a neutral authority present. Since tournaments have a Tournament Director (hereafter called T. D.) acting as a referee, there are some differences. These differences are:
1) 45 degree rule - This rule does not necessarily
apply. Any shot involving this rule will not be considered a foul if
the shooter conforms to the rule, but the T. D. has the ability to
determine that a player may have been able to execute a legal stroke
while shooting from an angle that is less than 45 degrees. Be very
careful with this unless you fully understand the physics of the
double hit shot.
2) Breaking down the cue stick - If it is the T. D. 's opinion that a player has unscrewed a two-piece cue stick during the opponent's inning, that player has conceded the game. The shooter is awarded 14 points.
3) Two-table play - Normal league rules on two-table play do not apply in tournaments. The "pace of play" at tournaments is especially critical. The T. D. will monitor the progress of all matches. If it's the T. D. 's judgment that a particular match is proceeding slowly or well behind schedule, they will warn the teams that two-table play is likely to be imposed. If, after the warning, the pace doesn't noticeably accelerate, the T. D. will make a determination. Unless the T. D. can determine that a particular team or player is responsible for the slow pace, the match will proceed on two tables.
4) Stopwatch - If the T. D. has judged that one player or team is responsible for an unacceptably slow "pace of play", the T. D. will warn that team. If there is not an increase in this pace that is acceptable to the T. D., that player will be timed by a stopwatch. The first time that player exceeds 60 seconds between strokes, they will be warned and must shoot immediately. After the first warning, any delay of 61 seconds will result in a ball-in-hand foul. There will be no consideration given to the reason for the delay. There will be no subsequent warnings.
5) Tournament rules sheet - The T. D. provides all teams with a sheet listing tournament rules as they begin their competition. This sheet is an extension of this rule book and describes the T. D.'s authority.
6) Coaching violations - The T. D. decides the point at which fouls are to assessed for these violations according to guidelines established by the tournament rules sheet.
7) Sportsmanship violations - The T. D. has the authority to assess penalties "on the spot" for unsportsmanlike behavior. These are detailed on the tournament rules sheet.
8) Shot calls by the T. D. - The T. D. is available to players as a referee for questionable shots ("split hits", etc.). USE THEM!!! Any player can call for a time-out for the referee. It does not count as coaching. A player who has ignored a call for the referee and shoots without waiting has committed a foul. If called in officially, the T. D. will call the shot as a foul or a legal stroke. If the T. D. happens to witness a shot without having been called as a referee, they will not offer a ruling unless directly asked by one of the players. It's very important to call the T. D. for questionable shots, since it's very difficult for to make an "after the fact" judgment and the "benefit of doubt" will weigh in favor of the shooter.
9) T. D. in competition - At some sites, the T. D. may also be competing. They are to disqualify themselves from any judgment that may affect their own team. Shot calls will be made by a neutral party. Rule interpretations and appeals can be made by calling the League Manager.
9. PLAY-OFF MEETING - There is a play-off meeting held for each division during the week between the end of regular season and the first week of play-offs. This is the only required league meeting of the season - each team is required to have at least one member present. The announcement of the meeting location, date, and time will be in the team envelope on the last night of regular season play. This meeting serves several purposes:
a) Championship team pairings and locations are
b) Consolation team pairings and locations are drawn. Any Consolation team that is not represented automatically loses the right to draw for potential byes or home field advantage.
c) The division MVP is announced.
d) Paperwork and information necessary for teams to compete in post-season matches is distributed at this meeting.
e) Any major rule change deemed necessary to take to a ballot is decided by the players present at the play-off meetings.
10. DIVISION PLAY-OFFS
a) Championship play-offs are paired by finish
position. The first place team earns home field vs. the fourth place
team. The second place team earns home field advantage vs. the third
place team. The two winning teams compete for the Division
Championship; with home field awarded to the team with the higher
b) Consolation play-offs are paired and seeded by draw. Finish position is not considered in Consolation play-offs. Since there are differing numbers of teams in divisions, Consolation play-offs are divided into brackets of four teams. This will give all Consolation teams an equal opportunity to advance. If necessary, cross-divisional brackets are formed. In some cases, byes must be awarded. The two winning teams from the first round of each bracket will compete for the Consolation Championship.
11. SEASON CHAMPIONSHIP AND CONSOLATION TOURNAMENTS - After play-offs end each season, all divisions are combined into two league-wide tournaments - the Championship and the Consolation. These are single-elimination tournaments with opening round byes awarded for performance as described below (there is an additional match played to determine the 3rd and 4th place teams). The bulk of the season's prize pool is awarded according to success in these tournaments, with approximately 2/3 of the prize pool earned by Championship teams and 1/3 by Consolation teams. There are separate Season Tournaments for each league format (Open, Masters, etc.)
1) Championship - The regular season first place
team is automatically the highest-ranked team in the
division for the Season Championship, regardless of play-off
results. The second place team is automatically qualified,
regardless of play-off results. The third and fourth places
teams must win a play-off match to qualify for this
Changed Text (S93):
a) Qualifying for the Season Tournaments - When setting rules for team qualification for Season Tournaments, M-8 is trying to achieve two separate, but conflicting goals. We want as many teams as possible to enjoy the tournament competition, but they must be able to complete the tournament in a reasonable period of time. Because of this, the rules for team qualification change as the number of M-8 teams vary each season. The basic effect of this change is that only the first week of play-offs is used to qualify tournament teams when there are 200 or fewer teams and that both the first and second weeks are used when there are more than 200 teams. In this manner, the league is able to offer the Season Tournaments to as many teams as possible, while till allowing each team to complete their competition in three total days or less.
1) Championship - In a season with 200 or fewer
teams in competition, both the first and second place
regular season teams from each division are automatically
qualified for the Season Championship Tournament. The third
and fourth place teams must win a play-off match to qualify
for this event. In a season with more than 200 teams in
competition, only the first place regular season team is
automatically qualified. The second, third, and fourth place
teams must win the Division Championship match to qualify
for this event.
b) Seeding and byes - Preferential seeding is awarded to teams in the form of byes. The number of byes available changes each season according to the number of qualified teams. Teams are ranked into the categories listed below. Byes are given to teams in the top-ranked group. If there are more teams than byes, a drawing is held amongst that group. If there are more byes than teams, all teams in that group have earned byes and the next group draws for the remaining byes.
a> Teams that both finished first place and won
the Division Championship.
b> Teams that finished first, but did not win the Division Championship.
c> Teams that finished below first place and won the Division Championship.
d> Other qualified teams.
a> Teams that won their Consolation bracket
with back-to-back wins.
b> Teams that won their Consolation bracket after receiving a bye.
c> Other qualified teams.
12. M-8 ANNUAL TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP (Open divisions only) - The Annual Team Championship is the premier event within M-8. Teams have the opportunity to earn credit towards this tournament in each season of the calendar year. Once the Fall Season Championship Tournament is complete, all teams are ranked and the 64 teams that have earned the most credit throughout the year are offered entry into the M-8 Annual Team Championship.
a) Ranking and Qualifying for the Tournament - In each of the three seasons, there are three ways in which a team can earn credit towards this tournament. Credit is earned for Championship play only. No credit is earned in Consolation matches.
1) Ranking points -
a> Regular season finish position
First place - 6 points
Second place - 4 points
Third place - 2 points
Fourth place - 1 point
b> Division Championship play-offs
3 points for each play-off match won
c> Season Championship Tournament
First place - 20 points
Second place - 14 points
Third place - 10 points
Fourth place - 7 points
5th-8th - 4 points
9th-16th - 2 points
2) Team eligibility - The team roster
for the Annual Championship is the Fall Season roster. Players must
be members of the fall team to be eligible for this event. The fall
team must have at least four members who were on a winter or Summer
team roster in order to retain ranking points earned by that Winter
or Summer team. The key to eligibility is four common players between
the qualified team and any past teams. A team has rights to past
credits regardless of the team name, division played, night of play,
home location, or captain.
3) Total ranking points for the team - A team can have earned enough points in one season to qualify or it could earn points in up to three seasons. As long as team eligibility rules are satisfied, the Fall team has a right to combine any points earned by past teams during the year. If two Fall teams are both eligible for past credit from the same team, they have the right to divide those points as they wish. If those teams are unable to negotiate an agreement, the League Manager will act as arbitrator.
4) Ranking of the Fall teams - The total points earned are recorded by the league office and the Fall teams are listed in order of ranking. The 64 teams with the most points are offered entry to the Annual Team Championship. If a team declines, the slot is offered to the 65th team.
5) Tie-breaks - If there is a tie between teams for 16th, 32nd, or 64th position, the higher ranking will be awarded to the team that has scored the highest "points per set" average during all seasons in which that team has earned ranking points.
6) Tournament seeding - The top 16 teams are awarded double byes and are guaranteed a minimum of 17th place in the tournament. These teams are also guaranteed to receive prize money. The 17th-32nd teams are awarded a single bye and are guaranteed a minimum of 33rd place. The 33rd-64th teams are given entry, but no byes. All pairings are determined by blind draw.
7) Player ratings - The current rating of each player is compared to their finishing rating on any previous team roster whose ranking points were used to gain tournament entry for the team. If there is a difference between those ratings, the player will play at the higher one.
13. SINGLES AND SPECIAL TOURNAMENTS - M-8 also organizes other tournaments, the most important of which is the Annual Singles Championship. Since there are many possible formats for a special tournament, any differences from this rule book will be provided at these tournaments. Rules determining play in the Singles Championship are provided to players as they enter, but the basic format is described here.
a) Singles Format - The Singles Championship is a two-level event. Throughout the qualifying period, groups of four to eight eligible members compete in Qualifying Tournaments. The winner of each qualifier advances to the Singles Finals.
1) Qualifying tournaments - These can be run at
any time during the qualifying period. They are designed as single-elimination
tournaments of eight players. It is possible to play with less than
eight, but no Qualifying Tournament can be allowed more than one bye
per player (minimum of four players). Players compete at their
current M-8 rating. Although any group of eligible members is allowed
to compete, an effort is made to provide qualifiers for specific
groups (only players rated 50 or lower, women only, etc.).
2) Singles Finals - All qualifier winners compete in a modified double-elimination tournament using the flight system. There will be separate tournaments for men and for women. Players will be seeded in flights by rating. This will ensure that lower-skilled players can rise in the tournament while competing against others of their same general abilities. Two players from the lower half of all ratings are guaranteed to advance to the top four positions of the tournament.
b) Singles Eligibility - In order to compete in the Singles Championship, a player must satisfy these rules:
1) They must have a currently paid M-8
2) They must be currently on an M-8 team roster.
3) They must have a rating based on at least seven league scores to enter a Qualifying Tournament.
4) They must have a rating based on at least twelve league scores to compete in the Singles Finals.
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The heart of the Minnesota 8-Ball League is its unique scoring and rating system. The M-8 rating system is well tested and we are confident that it is the fairest and most accurate handicapping system in the game of 8-Ball. As of the writing of this book, over 50,000 sets of 8-ball have been played under M-8 rules - involving match-ups of all combinations of player's skills. This section contains rules affecting players' ratings and the scoring of matches. (Although most rules in this section also apply to M-8 Masters divisions, there are some differences. See the M-8 Masters Rule Addendum.)
1. PLAYER RATINGS - Ratings are determined by a proprietary computerized formula. This formula tracks several factors of each player's record of performance within the league. It is necessary for the integrity of ratings that this formula be kept confidential. It is not and will not be published. M-8 members (including league workers) do not know the details of the rating formula.
Range and Limits of Ratings - The minimum allowed player
rating is 30. The maximum rating is 100. Their rating becomes their
"race number" (see SCORING RULES) and
the higher the skills of the player, the higher the rating. The
ratings of all players are recalculated after each time they play an
M-8 set and that rating can be any number from 30 to 100. Although
regular season and play-off scores are entered before the following
week, there is usually a delay before tournament and special event
scores affect the player's current rating.
b) Changes in Ratings - The M-8 formula averages a large number of the player's scores. Because of this, a single score will seldom affect the rating of an established player by more than three points. However, especially with new players, the rating can sometimes change in a much larger range. Although not common, it is possible for a rating to rise after a loss or drop after a win. If this happens to you, do not assume an error or a flaw. Remember that your rating is an average of scores and the most recent score you have made is no more important than the others factoring into your rating. Once a player has established a full score history, each new score causes an older score to be removed from the calculation.
c) Ratings of Players Joining New Teams or Seasons - Once an M-8 member has established a rating, that score history follows with them throughout their competition within the league. If they join a new team or continue into a new season, their beginning scores are the most recent they have earned in M-8 sets. No matter how long they may have been inactive, they will "pick up where they left off".
d) Non-rated Players - Players who are new to M-8 have no established rating. With the exception of known highly skilled players (see Assignments), they are rated as an "NR". After having played one set, they become an "NR1". After two sets, they are rated "NR2". They do not have a true rating until they have competed in three sets. Any player rated "NR", "NR1", or "NR2" will race to 45 points with their opponent (35 points in the Women's Division). Both players race to the same number, regardless of the rating of the opponent. Please remember that a new player is NOT a "45", they are undated. The number that a new female player races to is determined by the type of division in which she is competing (45 in Open, 35 in Women's).
e) Assignment of Ratings - The overwhelming majority of M-8 members are rated only by the scores from the sets they play. However, there are situations that require an assignment of a player's rating. They fall into two categories - Automatic and Discretionary:
1) Automatic Assignments
a> A player who is new to M-8, but is known to
have exceptional pool skills, will not have the right to determine
their rating by the three "races to 45". They will automatically
begin the league rated as an "80". Even though automatic, this is
still an area that requires knowledge of the player and judgment by
league management. If you are adding such a player to your roster,
you are expected to contact the league office and have this player
begin as an "80". If you are aware of a player of this ability who is
listed as non-rated, you are requested to contact the league
b> Once a player has proven a level of performance, they establish minimum rating levels. Once a player has at least 12 scores in their league history, their highest earned rating is monitored. Their rating will never be allowed to be more than 10 points below that level. When a player wins a post-season set, their rating will never be allowed to drop more than 6 points below that level.
c> The ONLY exception allowed to these automatic assignments is a PERMANENT loss of physical capabilities due to injury or disease. Temporary or correctable problems do not qualify for an exception. Any exception must be approved by BOTH the League Manager & the Appeal Board.
2) Discretionary Assignments
a> Players must be given a reasonable chance to
establish a proper rating. The formula has proven to do an excellent
job of rating players in accordance with their abilities, but there
are two reasons for inaccuracies in a rating. If the player has only
a small number of scores, the factors of luck, inconsistency, and
opponent's skills can create a sizable discrepancy. If that player's
league performance has been significantly below their abilities at
the game (whether intentionally or not), their rating will obviously
be incorrect. During regular season, players are expected to make
their best effort and allow their scores to correct any discrepancies
that may exist. However, your team has a responsibility to make
corrections before post-season play if any members have ratings below
their true abilities. This requirement is described in the POST-SEASON
b> League management MUST retain the authority to assign ratings to players that are obviously rated below their abilities and are not entering scores that will correct this. This is usually (but not necessarily) a judgment of "sandbagging" (see SPORTSMANSHIP RULES section). This decision can be made by the League Manager or by the Rating Review Board. If the assignment was made by the League Manager, the player has the right to appeal that decision to the Rating Review Board. Any player who has been assigned in this manner will be notified by the league office. This area of rules and administration is probably the most misunderstood by players and the "gossip mill". This type of assignment is rare and is never done secretly. It is never done on the basis of a single complaint or a single match. Extensive research is done into the player's abilities and league history. League management has several years of experience in handicapping 8-ball and there are many different "patterns" that tend to appear in score sheets when players are attempting to manipulate their ratings. Remember that the league is trying to protect the fairness of your competition - League Management is not out to "get" anybody.
f) Team Rating Limit - Because of
the fact that the higher-skilled players have an advantage over the
lower-skilled, it isn't healthy for the league to allow teams to
consist of a group of "all-stars". To prevent this, there is a team
rating limit that is presently 300 points (250 in Women's Division).
In any given match, a team that plays five players whose ratings add
up to a total of more than 300 will pay a penalty in team points. See
the SCORING RULES for the details of
g) Changes in the Rating Formula - One of the strengths of the rating formula and scoring system is its flexibility. If the majority of the membership desires a change for one of the following reasons, the formula can be altered, all player ratings recalculated, and play can continue uninterrupted. Changes can be made to affect:
1) Length of time vs. luck - The longer the races,
the less effect that luck has on the outcome. The "down side" of this
is that longer races take more time. These two factors must be
considered together to make the most desired system. If the majority
of the membership wishes to shorten match length, it can be done
easily. Players must recognize that this would increase the
importance of luck.
2) Relative advantage of skills - Most players agree that the higher-skilled player has earned a right to an advantage over the lesser-skilled. The only potential debate is how much that advantage should be. The formula can be changed to raise or lower that "edge".
3) Strength of teams - The maximum non-penalized strength of a team can be changed to conform to the membership's desires. This can be done with either a change to the team rating limit or a change to the formula. The effects of this are obvious - the decision must balance the interests of the entire league.
2. SCORING RULES - Rules affecting the scoring of sets and matches are listed here. For directions and examples in filling out your score sheet, see the separate "How to Score" handout supplied by the league office.
a) Individual Set Scoring - Points are scored at the end of each game. The game winner receives seven points and each player receives one point for every one of their group of balls that has been pocketed. If, at the end of a game, ONE of the players has met or exceeded their own rating total, they have won the set. If, at the end of a game, BOTH of the players have met or exceeded their own rating total, the game winner is the set winner. At the end of the set, each player receives the points that they have scored and the set winner receives an extra 100-point Winner's Bonus.
1) Neither player has earned any points for a game until that game ends. If both players reached their total during the same game, the order in which they pocketed the balls has no meaning.
2) Points are scored regardless of how the balls were pocketed. You simply count what is left on the table and subtract from seven.
3) If the game ends on an open table (8-on-the-break or game-ending foul while table is open), the game winner chooses "stripes" or "solids". Their opponent takes the other group.
4) Be sure that any safeties played are marked on the score sheet. If you have any confusion as to whether a shot is a safety, consult the glossary. Players are requested to inform the scorekeepers when they have played a safety. Any pattern of under marking safeties or refusing to admit that a safety has been played is a violation of sportsmanship rules and penalties will follow (see SPORTSMANSHIP section).
5) Remember that the player's option given in a game-ending foul or 8-on-the-break situation (see GAME RULES) can affect the time at which a game truly ends.
6) Don't confuse the 100-point Winner's Bonus with the team's Rating Bonus listed below.
b) Team Match Scoring - At the end of each set, each team records the points scored and the ratings of both players in the team score section of the score sheet. At the end of the match, each team will have earned a total number of points scored and will have a total of the ratings of their members who played in the match. For purposes of determining each team's total ratings played, unrated players are counted as "45" ("35" in Women's). Players who've established a rating count as their true rating, regardless if they race to their own rating or they compete in a "race-to-45" with an unrated opponent.
1) Rating Bonus - If the total of the team's
ratings used is less than the 300 point (250 in Women's Division)
rating limit, the team will receive that difference to be added to
their points scored.
2) Rating Penalty - If the total of the team's ratings used is more than the 300 point (250 in Women's Division) rating limit, the team will pay a penalty of five times the difference to be subtracted from their points scored.
3) Forfeits - Most rules pertaining to forfeits are in the MISCELLANEOUS RULES section. Rules here only apply to the scoring of those forfeits. For each set forfeited:
a> Both teams must list a member for each set
forfeited. The forfeiting team may list any member that has not
played in the match. The team receiving the forfeit must list a
player who is present at the time and has not played in the
b> For each forfeited set, the forfeiting team receives 0 points. The team receiving the forfeit is given a total of 125 points, regardless of the rating of the player listed.
c> Both teams add the totals of all player ratings, just as if all five sets had been played. The forfeiting team pays the penalty if they have exceeded the Rating Limit, but can gain no bonus if they are under the limit. The team receiving the forfeit will add a bonus or subtract a penalty as though the entire match had been played.
1> If both teams prefer to make up the sets, see Make-Ups.
2> If neither team has five players present, see Unplayed Sets.
3> To prevent potential abuse in a "sudden-death" situation, scoring rules for forfeits in post-Season play are modified from those listed here (see Forfeit scoring rule in POST-SEASON PLAY section).
4) Make-Ups - If teams agree to finish the match at a later time, scoring is suspended at the end of the last set played. No Rating Bonus or Penalty can be calculated until the match is completed. For other rules affecting make-ups, see the MISCELLANEOUS RULES section.
a> Teams must note the agreement and the date
they will perform the make-up in the "Messages to League Office:"
area of the score sheet. If this is not done, the remaining sets will
be treated as unplayed sets.
b> All players are listed at the ratings they have at the time they actually play.
c> All other rules are in effect just as if the entire match had been played at one time.
5) Unplayed sets - If neither team has enough players present to finish the match, they are allowed to choose a make-up if they conform to all other rules. If a set is left as unplayed, each team will receive the total points that they have scored to that point. Both teams lose the right to a Rating Bonus.
c) Score keeping responsibilities - Good Score keeping is essential for the league to be able to provide you with a high quality system and accurate ratings. Following are a listing of rules on Score keeping and a list of those items on your score sheet that are required and those that are provided to help you, but are optional.
1) The scorekeeper can be anyone; they do not have
to be a member of the team. Team members are not only allowed, they
are encouraged to share Score keeping responsibilities. This not only
relieves a single member from being "stuck" with this job for the
whole night, you'll find that it also helps your members to pick up
on league rules and strategies - it will help make your teammates
"sharper" competitors. One of the best ways to ensure that the
coach's attention is directed towards helping their shooter is for
that coach to keep score.
2) Each team must score each set. If a match has been split to two tables, each team is required to score BOTH tables. This is essential for your own self-protection against errors or abuse. SCOREKEEPERS ARE NOT ALLOWED TO COPY THE SCORE SHEET OF ANOTHER TEAM. If another team insists on copying your score sheet, don't create an argument but DO inform league management that they have copied. This is important for your team's self-protection, since it may often appear to the league office that YOU have copied and your team could potentially lose bonus points.
3) It is a good idea to check with the other team occasionally to avoid errors, but DON'T ALLOW ANOTHER TEAM TO PRESSURE YOU INTO CHANGING ANY SCORING YOU FEEL IS CORRECT. If the two score sheets disagree, the league office will handle it. Please notify management if an opponent attempts to coerce you into changing your scoring.
4) Repeatedly defective Score keeping (especially under marking safeties or copying another team's score sheet) can cause your team to have points deducted from the division standings. Correct scoring will earn added standings points for your team. See BONUS AND PENALTY POINTS in the MISCELLANEOUS RULES section.
5) Required score sheet information - The following must be recorded by each team:
a> For each player in each set: Team number,
Player rating, Player number Safeties, Points scored in each game,
Innings in each game, Total innings for the set Total points scored,
Winner's Bonus, Player's total points earned
b> For the match: Pool table size - There is a "fudge factor" in the rating formula to equalize the scores resulting from different table sizes. Games tend to take longer on larger tables. If a team does not check the appropriate table size, they will be assumed to have played on the largest table at that location. "Messages to League Office:" - Any information that your team needs the get to league management should be noted here (roster changes, protests, questions, etc.). If you note it here, you can be sure it will be seen. Information noted anywhere else might be lost at your responsibility. If more space is needed than is provided, send in a separate piece of paper and note it here. Captain's signature - Both captain's should sign both score sheets at the end of the match to signify that they are accepting the results. If there is an unresolved dispute, the protesting captain should sign the sheet with the words "under protest" below the signature. They should record a note explaining the basic nature of the protest in the "Messages to League Office" area of the sheet.
6) Optional score sheet information - The following aren't needed by the office, but are provided to help you keep track. Many situations have happened that caused a team to regret not using these.
a> Any subtotal
b> Any block in the area for total team score.
c> "COACHING TALLY & TIME RECORD" - This serves two purposes. If you don't keep track of coaching periods, you run the risk of arguments over the coaching limit. If you keep track of the start and end times of each set, you have evidence for complaints of the opponent's slow play.
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1. MEMBERSHIP DUES - Each
member of M-8 must pay an annual due to participate in the league.
This is $15 per calendar year. Once they have paid their membership
dues, they are then free to play in as many different teams, seasons,
home locations, tournaments, special events, etc. as they wish. Only
one dues per year is required. All members must renew their
membership each year at the start of the Winter Season. If they were
a new member in the previous Fall Season and consequently were only
able to play one season for their $15 dues, they can receive
membership for the following year for only $7 IF they renew in the
Winter Season. This right to reduced dues is lost if the renewal
isn't paid during the Winter Season. DO NOT PLAY IF YOU HAVEN'T PAID
YOUR MEMBERSHIP DUES! A team is better off forfeiting a set than
using a player who hasn't paid their dues by the week that they play.
Any team that uses an unpaid player will lose any points that player
may score PLUS 200 team points will be deducted for each time this is
2. UNPAID PLAYERS ON THE ROSTER - Teams are allowed to have unpaid members on their roster who haven't played in any matches, but only until the fifth week of play. By that time, the team must either drop them from the roster or the team will become responsible for that player's membership dues.
3. TRANSFERRING OF MEMBERSHIP DUES - Although membership dues are not refundable, each team has the right to transfer membership dues from one player to another under the following conditions:
a) The player giving up their membership rights
must agree unless a sponsor has paid dues for the team.
b) The player giving up the dues cannot have played more than two times.
c) The dues must have been paid during the season in which the transfer is made.
d) There can only be one such transfer by a team in a given season.
4. TEAM DEPOSIT - Each team must
have a $30 deposit on account with the league. This deposit IS NOT a
fee. It is only a "good faith" guarantee and is fully returned to the
team at the season's end if the fees have been paid. Any team that
has its deposit on account by the first night of play will receive a
200-point team bonus for that season. Dropout teams or teams that are
excessively behind on fees will forfeit their deposit.
5. WEEKLY PLAYING FEES - Playing fees for regular season and play-off team matches are $30 per team ($6 per player if 5 sets are played). Both teams owe full weekly playing fees in the case of a forfeit. Teams that draw a bye owe$15 for that bye. This is an issue of fairness to all teams since this will ensure that all teams have contributed equally for the same chance of rewards at the Season Championship Tournament. There are no playing fees for the Season Championship or Consolation Tournaments or for the Annual Team Championship Tournament. Teams that have been punctual in their weekly playing fees will receive another 200-point team bonus near the end of that season.
6. COST OF GAMES - Teams are expected to split the cost of the games played. There are some special situations listed in the GAME RULES section that require one player to pay the cost of retrieving a pocketed ball. See that section for details.
7. TEAM SANCTION FEE - There is no team sanction fee or sponsorship fee. All that is required of a group of paid league members is that they put the $30 team deposit on account and they have a team spot.
8. OTHER FEES - The only other fees paid by members are entry fees for optional Special Event tournaments. These tournaments are ALWAYS "money added". The competitors will always receive more total prize money than the total entry fees.
9. CHECKS - Teams are welcome to pay fees by check. Please make them out to "M-8". "NSF" or "Account Closed" checks will be assessed the check amount plus a $10 "bounce charge". Regardless of the person who has written the check, the TEAM is responsible for the check and any possible "bounce charges".
10. TEAM RESPONSIBILITY FOR FEES - The entire team is responsible for their playing fees, membership dues, deposit, etc. Any team that has outstanding back fees or "bad" checks will have all prize money held until those charges are paid.
11. DROP OUT TEAMS - Teams that drop out during the course of a season cause several problems for the other teams in their division and for league management. They can create fairness problems in division point standings and can reduce the prize fund for the other teams if their fees aren't paid (see DROPOUT TEAMS in the next section for further explanation). For these reasons, a team that begins a season is held responsible for finishing that season. Although no one can be forced to play, a team that has started a season is responsible for the full season's fees. The captain of a dropout team will not be allowed to play on future M-8 teams until any owed fees are paid. Team members are required to "cover" their portion of owed fees before being allowed to rejoin another team.
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This section lists various rules affecting M-8 play. Although this section may appear to be a "grab-bag", please pay close attention to the following rules. These rules can have a significant effect on your team.
1. ROSTER CHANGES - Teams are allowed free rights to make changes in the roster during the first five weeks of each season. From the sixth week until four weeks before the season's end (usually the tenth week), a team may make a change only for its own survival; however, the resulting roster can have no more than six members. During the last four weeks of the regular season, any change made for team survival purposes will only be allowed if the changed roster has no more than five team members. No changes to the roster are allowed for any reason during post-season play. During the first five weeks, the team may make changes on the night of play. If the new player has previously played in any M-8 matches, the team MUST check with the league office to obtain that player's rating. CHANGES AFTER THE FIFTH WEEK MUST BE PRE-APPROVED BY LEAGUE MANAGEMENT. Please note the importance of making any needed roster changes during that "free" five-week period. A team that makes the later survival-related changes will find itself at a marked disadvantage. There will be no allowances made for that team in other rules (post-season eligibility, etc.) that require a member to have a given number of rating scores or sets played.
Added Text (S93):
2. UNPAID PLAYERS - If a
player hasn't paid their annual dues by the week that they play,
their team will lose any points that player has scored PLUS a 200
point penalty. You are better off forfeiting a set than using an
unpaid player. DO NOT USE A PLAYER WHO HASN'T PAID THEIR MEMBERSHIP
3. ILLEGAL SUBSTITUTION - If a team is found to have played one person using another player's name and rating, that team has lost all points for the entire team match. The opposing team is allowed the option of accepting the results of the match or accepting a five-set forfeit. If this happens during post-season play, the team is disqualified from any further play for that season and forfeits all prize money earned to that point. Remember that each player is required to provide proof of their identity. If you are unable to positively establish an opponent's identity, continue play and notify league management as soon as possible. Write down a detailed description of the player. League management will take the steps necessary to prove whether that player is the proper person. DON'T EVEN TRY THIS! IF YOU DO AND YOUR OPPONENT QUESTIONS THE PLAYER, IT IS VIRTUALLY IMPOSSIBLE TO "GET AWAY WITH IT." The penalty paid is FAR greater than the possible gain.
4. FORFEITS - Teams are expected to be present and ready to begin matches at the scheduled time. However, situations arise at some times that prevent this. A team may begin a match with only one player present, but there is a time limit beyond which forfeits are awarded to the team that is present. At 15 minutes past the scheduled start time (most often 7:15), both teams MUST have a player ready to begin the match. If a team is not present, one set is forfeit to the opposing team. At 30 minutes past scheduled start, this becomes two sets. At 45 minutes past scheduled start, all five sets of the match are forfeit. The team receiving a forfeit must have a separate player (who hasn't previously shot in the match) present to receive each set. Consult the SCORING AND THE RATING SYSTEM section for instructions on scoring this. In the spirit of good sportsmanship, teams are welcome to reschedule instead of accepting forfeits. However, no team has a right to demand a make-up unless prior arrangements had been made and agreed. Any team that harasses or insults another team for taking a forfeit will be penalized by M-8 management. If a set ends after the match has begun with no team member available to continue, the team is allowed 15 minutes to have a player ready IF the following are true:
a) The team was ready to begin the match on time.
If any sets had been forfeited at any other time in the match, there
is no time allowed.
b) There is no other team member available. A team cannot use this rule to wait for a specific player.
c) No earlier set was delayed by the team. This can only be allowed once in a match.
d) This is done on an emergency basis only. A team that has repeatedly taken advantage of this rule will have this right taken away by league management.
1) If a team has to forfeit a set after the match has begun, it must be the last set of the match. (For example, a team isn't allowed to choose to forfeit the 4th set and play the 5th.) All sets are played before forfeit sets are listed.
2) There are special cases where a team would lose more points by using a present higher-rated player than they would by forfeiting. Teams retain the right to forfeit a set, even if an available member is present.
5. SCHEDULING - Each division's
season is scheduled at the beginning with five separate factors
balanced to ensure the fairest possible pairing of the matches.
However, many situations can arise which will affect scheduling (see
the following five rules). For this reason, each team is provided one
preliminary copy of the season schedule on the first night of play.
Once the schedule is set (usually in the 3rd or 4th week), each team
will receive five copies. If a division starts its season with an odd
number of teams, there will be a spot held open as "To Be Announced".
If a new team is found to fill that spot by the 4th week, the
by-passed matches will be converted to make-up matches. If not, they
will become byes.
6. MAKE-UPS AND RESCHEDULING MATCHES - There are various reasons for two teams to have a make-up match to reschedule. A make-up can consist of a full match or a given number of sets. If your team has a make-up you have certain responsibilities. All make-ups are the responsibility of the two teams to schedule. If you need information to contact the other team or are having trouble in making an agreement, contact the league office. No make-ups are allowed less than seven days BEFORE the last scheduled date of regular season. Teams are required to give at least five days notice to the league office before playing a make-up. If the make-up was created at the request of one of the teams, they must make every reasonable effort to accommodate the other team's wishes in rescheduling. If the teams are not able to agree on a date before the deadline, neither team will receive points for the match and both will be responsible for weekly fees. If it is league management's judgment that one of the teams caused the deadline to pass, the other team will receive a forfeit.
7. TEAM RIGHTS TO RESCHEDULE - Normally, a team has no right to demand rescheduling of a match - they can only request this of the opposing team. However, the following two situations do give the team an automatic right:
a) Bad Weather Policy - If an OFFICIAL weather
emergency has been declared, a team can make notification that they
will reschedule. Individual players or teams don't have the right to
decide that the weather is unacceptable - it must be declared by
local weather services. The team must notify the league office prior
to scheduled start time or they may lose this right. In past weather
emergencies, the large majority of teams have decided to play as
b) Holiday Scheduling - In order to finish in time to qualify for post-season tournaments, it is sometimes necessary to schedule a division on a minor holiday. If a team has been scheduled on a holiday, they have an automatic right to reschedule. They will lose this right if they do not notify the league office at least 21 days in advance.
8. BYES - It is not always possible to
schedule every division with an even number of teams. If this
happens, there will be one team in the division each week with a bye.
Byes will rotate amongst the teams until each team has had one bye
and then the cycle will start again. During any complete cycle (each
team receives one bye), no points are awarded to a team with a bye.
If a cycle is incomplete, each team with a bye will be awarded the
average number of points that they have scored up to that point in
the season. If a division starts a season with a bye and a new team
later fills that spot, prior byes will be converted to make-up
9. DROPOUT TEAMS - A team that does not finish a season that it has started can create several problems of fairness within the division point standings. If this should happen, league management will do everything possible to remove that team from having an effect on the other teams. The guidelines used are:
a) Drop in First Three Weeks - Any matches that
team may have played are wiped out. All points that they or their
opponents have scored are deducted.
b) Drop in Last Four Weeks - All prior matches will stand as played. Any match scheduled against the dropout team which is yet to be played will be considered a bye and the opposing team will receive the average number of points that they have scored up to that point in the season.
c) Drop During Another Part of the Season - There are too many potential complications created by the various histories of dropouts to have a single method of handling this. Methods used include "wiping out" some or all past matches, awarding average points, converting to byes, awarding the maximum points scored against the dropout to all teams, and others. The method used may be any one or a combination of these - it will be the one that management believes to be the best in eliminating the dropout from affecting the other teams. If this happens, teams are welcome to check with the league office to learn the method used. If the majority of teams in a division disagree with the method, they can overrule league management.
10. REPLACEMENT TEAMS - It
is sometimes possible to find a new team willing to replace a
dropout. The replacement would accept the points earned by the
dropout and would continue the season. The replacement would also
have the right to play up to three make-up for bye weeks created
after the dropout.
11. BONUS AND PENALTY POINTS - There are various reasons why a team could gain or lose standings points outside of matches played. If a team has exhibited an attitude of good sportsmanship towards other teams, has handled match disputes in an adult and reasonable manner, and has returned reasonably correct score sheets, it receives 200 team bonus points for the season. One of the possible penalties for sportsmanship violations is the deduction of team penalty points. The number of points deducted varies with the severity of the offense. For bonus or penalty points related to payment of fees, see the FINANCIAL RULES section.
12. CHOICE OF TABLE - At locations with more than one pool table, the home team has the right to choice of table. However, this right of choice does not extend to poorly maintained equipment. If the visiting team can demonstrate that another table is clearly superior in condition (better leveling, better felt, better rails, etc.), the home team must either correct the condition if possible or switch to the other table. This switch must be made before or between sets. Size of table is not an issue.
Changed/Added Text (S93):
Size of table is not an issue except as described in the following notes.
a) At the beginning of a match held at a location
with more than one table size available, the visiting team
has the right to inquire of the table size to be chosen by
each player on the home team roster. The home team is not
required to disclose which members will be playing, but only
which table size the player will choose if they do play.
Once the team match has begun, no home player will be
allowed to change that original table size declaration
without the opponent's agreement. If the home team has
refused to provide this information, all sets must be played
on the same table size.
13. TWO-TABLE PLAY (Splitting Matches) - Matches can be played on one or more tables by agreement of the teams. If the teams do not agree on this, the following rules apply:
a) Until 2 hours after scheduled start time -
Either team has the right to demand one table.
b) At 2 hours after scheduled start time - Either team has the right to demand two table play if three sets are not completed and a second table is available.
c) At 2 1/2 hours after scheduled start time - Either team has the right to demand two table play if four sets are not completed and a second table is available.
1) No team has the right to refuse this rule. A team that does not promptly comply or harasses the opposing team runs the risk of forfeiting the remainder of the match. Contact league management if this happens.
2) There is no right to wait until the end of a game or set. If a team properly demands two-table play, the opponent must make the match-up for the following set immediately.
3) A second table must be available. Some locations have only one table, some location owners refuse to allow use of a second table, and some second tables are clearly unacceptable due to condition or access.
4) Times given are after the SCHEDULED start, not the actual start.
5) There is no consideration given for waiting for a late player. Normal forfeit rules apply.
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AT THE TABLE - A player is "at the table" when it is their turn to shoot (their inning). This term is also used to denote a player that has been chosen by their team to begin a set.
BALL-IN-HAND - ball-in-hand is the penalty paid in most cases by a player who commits a foul. An opponent with ball-in-hand has the right to place the cue ball anywhere on the table that they wish and shoot in any direction they wish.
BALL-IN-KITCHEN - Ball-in-kitchen is the usual penalty for a break foul. The cue ball must be placed within the head string. On the shot, the cue ball must make first contact with either an object ball or a rail which is outside the head string. A ball is determined to be "in" or "out" by the contact point between the centerline of the ball and the table bed.
BALL IN PLAY - A term used to denote any ball on the table bed which is available to be shot. A ball is either in play, a jumped ball, or pocketed. A ball is in play if it comes to rest in contact with the table bed.
BALL RETURN - The ball return is that internal portion of the table which collects and holds the balls until the next game.
BONUS - The term "bonus" as used in M-8 refers to three types of team standings points: 1) Winner's Bonus - The winner of a given set gains an extra 100 points for their team. 2) Rating Limit Bonus - If the five players used by a team in a match add up to less than 300 points, the team receives an additional point for every point they are under 300. 3) Team Bonus Points - Teams that have honored financial, sportsmanship, and scoring rules are awarded various team bonus points during the season. This makes it more difficult for a team that does not "do their bit" to gain advantage.
BREAK FOUL - A player has committed break foul if: 1) The cue ball scratches. 2) The cue ball is a jumped ball. 3) The player has interfered with the path of the cue ball while it has enough forward momentum to potentially scratch. The penalty for a break foul is ball-in-kitchen.
BREAK SHOT - The break shot is the stroke which begins a game. It is a unique shot in that all other shots are either legal strokes or fouls, while the break can result in three categories: legal breaks, nonlegal breaks, or break fouls.
BRIDGE - A bridge is a mechanical device used to support the cue stick during a stroke which is difficult for the shooter to reach. A bridge is also commonly called a "rake".
CENTER STRING - The center string is an imaginary line drawn between the diamonds at the center of the two short-rails.
CHAMPIONSHIP - Teams that finish regular season within their division in the top four positions are the Championship teams. They are the teams that compete for the Division Championship, the Season Championship Tournament, and gain ranking towards the Annual Team Championship Tournament.
COMBINATION SHOT - A combination shot is a shot where the cue ball strikes one object ball which then causes another object ball to be pocketed.
CONSOLATION - Teams that finish regular season within their division in the fifth or lower positions are the Consolation teams. They are the teams that compete for their Consolation Bracket Championship and the Season Consolation Tournament. They can not gain ranking in that season for the Annual Team Championship Tournament.
CUE (Cue Stick) - A cue is the tool used by the shooter to execute a stroke. It is usually made of wood, is tapered, weighs 16-21 ounces, and is normally 57-60 inches long.
CUE BALL - The cue ball is the white ball which is struck by the cue tip in order to pocket object balls. There are several types of cue balls in use, some of which are considered by most skilled players to be unacceptable for use (see Legal Cue Ball paragraph in GAME RULES section).
CUE TIP - The cue tip is a disk normally made of leather attached to the end of the cue. The cue tip is the item that makes contact with the cue ball on a legal stroke. It is usually 11-14 mm in diameter and is shaped with a rounded crown.
DIAMONDS - Diamonds are inlays on the outer rails of most pool tables. The standard arrangement has three diamonds evenly spaced on each rail between two adjacent pockets. This will place one diamond at each point which represents one-quarter of the distance between the pockets. Although becoming increasingly rare, there are some tables which have no diamonds or have an arrangement which doesn't conform to this description. If this happens, remember that the definitions of head string, foot string, and center string are based on the point that represents the midpoint between pockets. Players on one of these tables will have to make an agreement as to the proper position of the string lines.
DIVISION - A division is a group of teams joined in competition with each other for a season. A division usually consists of 8-12 teams, but can be smaller if required.
DOUBLE HIT SHOT - A double hit shot is one where the cue tip makes contact with the cue ball more than one time on a single stroke. Double hits commonly happen when the cue ball and the object ball to be shot are close to each other. A common misunderstanding is that a double hit is committed when the cue ball strikes an object ball twice (not true). Double hit shots are fouls. See the 45 Degree Rule paragraph in the GAME RULES section for the proper way to handle this situation.
DOUBLE-ELIMINATION - This is a format used in tournaments which allows a competitor to continue after their first loss. There are variations, but a competitor is out of the tournament on their second loss in standard double-elimination. The double-elimination format allows a competitor the advantage of a chance to "come back" after a defeat, but a large double-elimination tournament will take MORE than twice as much time as the same size single-elimination tournament.
DRAW - Draw is a deflection in the cue ball path after contact with the object ball which causes the cue ball to move in a more backward direction than normal. This is accomplished by striking the cue ball below center.
ENGLISH - English is side-spin (right or left) placed on the cue ball which will make it rebound after contact with a rail in a different direction than normal. English can also be used to help execute a throw shot. English is accomplished by striking the cue ball to the left or right of the center.
FELT - The felt is the cloth covering of the slate which is the surface of the table bed.
FERRULE - The ferrule is the sleeve at the end of the cue stick which provides an attachment point for the cue tip and protects the end of the shaft from splintering.
FLIGHT SYSTEM - The flight system is a method used in double-elimination tournaments. It allows the competitors to be grouped in "flights", each one of which has two or more winners advancing. It provides advantages in scheduling and allows a player who has lost an early match a more realistic chance to win. Winners who advance from a "flight" have any losses "wiped out" and enter the tournament finals on an equal basis.
FOLLOW - Follow is a deflection in the cue ball path after contact with the object ball which causes the cue ball to move in a more forward direction than normal. This is accomplished by striking the cue ball above center. Follow can also be placed on the cue ball naturally through friction between the cue ball and felt.
FOOT OF THE TABLE - The short end of the table nearest the rack.
FOOT SPOT - The point of intersection between the center string and the foot string. The balls are racked with the first ball placed on the foot spot.
FOOT STRING - The foot string is an imaginary line on the table which connects the second long-rail diamonds from the foot of the table.
FOUL - A foul is a violation of league rules of various sorts. Most fouls are the result of strokes taken that are not "legal shots". Some fouls are the result of violations of coaching or sportsmanship rules. Fouls are grouped in three categories: break fouls, ball-in-hand fouls, and game-ending fouls.
FROZEN BALL - A frozen ball is one lies at rest in physical contact with another ball or a rail. There are three separate game rules that deal with potential situations involving frozen balls. Although these are completely different situations, some players confuse them because of the term "frozen ball" (see 45 Degree Rule, Split Hit, and Object Ball Frozen to Rail rules in REQUIRED WARNINGS paragraph in GAME RULES section).
GROUP OF BALLS - This term is used to denote the shooter's object balls (stripes or solids).
HANGING BALL - It will occasionally happen that a ball comes to rest at the edge of a pocket and later drops without being struck by another ball or being "knocked in" by a player's body or cue stick. This is called a "hanging ball".
HEAD OF THE TABLE - The short end of the table which is opposite the foot of the table.
HEAD SPOT - The point of intersection between the center string and the head string.
HEAD STRING - The head string is an imaginary line on the table bed which connects the second long-rail diamonds from the head of the table.
HOOK - A shooter is hooked when there is no direct path which the cue ball can follow in order to contact one of their group of balls. This can be due to bad luck or an opponent's safety skills.
INNING - An inning is a shooter's turn at the table. It begins for that player when their opponent misses or fouls and ends when the shooter has missed or fouled. If the shooter wins the game, the inning continues into the next game. In scoring, an inning consists of BOTH players' turns at the table.
JAMMED BALLS - In extremely rare cases, two or more balls may become jammed together in the jaws of a pocket. If this happens, any ball whose vertical center axis is not directly above the table bed is considered pocketed.
JUMP SHOT - A jump shot is a shot executed to cause the cue ball to jump from the playing surface. This shot is used in an attempt to make the cue ball travel OVER an obstructing ball. A jump shot can be legal or a foul stroke, depending on the technique of the stroke (see Jump Shots rule in GAME RULES section).
JUMPED BALL - "Jumped Ball" is a term commonly used in billiards rules to denote a ball that comes to rest at any spot that is not either in the pocket, the ball return, or the table bed. A ball that is caused to temporarily leave the table surface and return is NOT a jumped ball. Jumped balls are normally "on the floor", but can sometimes come to rest on the top of a rail.
KICK SHOT - A kick shot is one where the cue ball rebounds from a rail before making first contact with an object ball.
KITCHEN - The kitchen is the area of the table bed which is between the head string and the head of the table.
LAG - The lag is used to determine the breaker of the first game of a set. Both players shoot a ball from the kitchen towards the rail at the foot of the table in an attempt to place that ball (in its resting position) as close as possible to the rail at the head of the table. This is not to be confused with "lagging out" in executing a kick shot.
LEGAL BREAK - A legal break must satisfy the four requirements listed in THE BREAK paragraph in the GAME RULES section.
LEGAL STROKE - A legal stroke is a shot where no foul has been committed. It may or may not result in a ball being pocketed.
LINE OF CENTERS - The line of centers is an imaginary line which connects the center points of two balls. This concept is most commonly used in explaining cut shots and in the 45 Degree Rule.
MASSE - A masse shot is a stroke executed with the cue held at a highly elevated angle in an attempt to place extreme english on the cue ball in relation to its speed of travel. A properly executed masse causes the cue ball to travel in a curved path. This shot is used to make the cue ball travel AROUND an obstructing ball. M-8 rules allow the use of masse, but a location's "house rules" may disallow this shot.
MATCH - In M-8, a match is a competition between two teams, made up of five or less individual sets. In billiards generally, the term match is used to denote any competition which is decided by more than a single game.
MISCUE - A miscue is the result of a stroke where the cue tip does not make full contact with the cue ball. This is usually a case of that contact being towards the outer edge of the cue ball and the cue tip 'slipping' off the cue ball surface.
MODIFIED DOUBLE-ELIMINATION - This is a hybrid combination of single-elimination and double-elimination formats which is used in tournaments. The tournament usually opens with double-elimination flights, which qualify players for a single-elimination final. The greatest advantage of this format is to reduce time length while still allowing a competitor to "come back" from an early loss. M-8 also uses this to help create singles competition which allows as much competition as possible between players of similar ratings.
NON-LEGAL BREAK - A break shot which is neither a legal break nor a break foul. If a player has committed a nonlegal break, the balls are re-racked and the same player breaks again.
OBJECT BALL - This term has two meanings. "Object ball" can mean the specific ball with which the cue ball makes contact on a stroke (intended ball). It can also generally mean any ball which is not the cue ball.
OPEN TABLE - "Open table" is a condition in the game of 8-ball where either player has the right to choose either group of balls.
OPPONENT - The team or player you are competing against is your opponent. This term is used frequently in this rule book to denote the competitor in a set who is not presently "at the table".
POCKET - The six pockets are the openings in the rails and the associated parts to surround and support those openings. The edge of the pocket is the vertical edge of the slate at the pocket opening. No part of the pocket is considered to be part of the table bed.
POCKET PATCH - The pocket patch is an object used by the shooter to mark the pocket in which they intend to place the 8-ball.
POCKETED BALL - A ball is considered as pocketed once it has come to rest in the pocket or the ball return.
PUSH SHOTS - A push shot is one where the cue tip maintains contact with the cue ball during the stroke. This contact is almost instantaneous in a normal stroke. Extending that contact is a push shot. Most shots that players commonly call push shots are really double hit shots. Push shots are fouls.
RACK - The rack is the grouping of the object balls in a triangular shape before the break shot is made. It is also the device used to facilitate the placement of that grouping.
RAILS - A rail includes the rubber cushion from which balls rebound, the support backing for that cushion, and that portion of the table top which is outside of the table bed. No part of the rail is considered to be part of the table bed. The rails along the longer sides of the table are called the long-rails. The rails along the shorter ends of the table are called the short-rails.
RUN - This term is used to refer to a series of balls pocketed by the shooter during a single inning. A shooter who pockets 6 of their object balls during an inning is said to have a "run" of 6. A shooter who pockets their remaining object balls AND the 8-ball in an inning is said to have "run out".
SAFETY - A safety is a stroke which is not intended to pocket an object ball and continue a run. It is defensive in nature, used to prevent the opponent from running out and to enhance the shooter's opportunity to win the game. A properly executed safety is a completely legal and ethical stroke which often requires a high degree of skill. Safeties can be used in an unethical attempt to stretch games and manipulate ratings. It is important to make sure that they are marked on the score sheet in order to prevent this manipulation. Even though it is not an attempt to pocket a ball, it is not considered a safety if the shooter is merely trying to avoid a foul by making a legal hit while FULLY hooked on ALL of their object balls. Basically, any other shot which is not intended to pocket an object ball is a safety. Some manipulators will play "fake" safeties. These are shots which are executed to look as though an attempt to pocket a ball is being made, but are actually intended to miss. These are also considered safeties. While most safeties are obvious, some safeties (especially "fakes") are not. The scorekeeper should use their own judgment in determining these "marginal" calls. Players are expected to call their own safeties.
SANDBAGGING - Sandbagging is an attempt to hide a player's skill and to manipulate their rating. THIS IS CHEATING OF THE WORST FORM. Sandbaggers are not welcome in M-8.
SCRATCH - A scratch is the act of the cue ball being pocketed on a stroke. A scratch is a foul, but the penalty can vary (see FOULS paragraph in GAME RULES section).
SEASON - A season is a self-contained cycle of competition between teams. It is usually 14 weeks in length (plus two weeks of play-offs). There are three M-8 seasons each year.
SEASON TEAM TOURNAMENTS - All divisions join at the end of each season in two league-wide tournaments. The top-finishing teams compete in the Season Championship Tournament. Teams that have finished 5th place or lower within their division compete in the Season Consolation Tournament.
SEEDING - Seeding is preferential placement in tournaments based on superior performance of the team.
SET - A set is the competition between two players (an individual match).
SHARKING - Sharking is the intentional behavior of a player calculated to distract their opponent and "throw them off their game". Sharking is ABSOLUTELY not allowed in M-8 (see SPORTSMANSHIP section).
SHOOTER - This term is generally used in this book to denote the competitor who is "at the table".
SINGLE-ELIMINATION - This is a format used in tournaments where each competitor is eliminated after their first loss. It is the most attractive format where time is a critical factor, but does not allow the competitor a single lapse or "stumble".
SOLIDS - The solids are the colored object balls numbered 1-7.
SPOTTED BALL - Some game situations require spotting an object ball which is a jumped ball or has been pocketed (see GAME RULES). A spotted ball is placed on the foot spot. If this position is obstructed by another ball, the spotted ball is placed in the closest possible position directly along the center string towards the foot of the table.
STOP SHOT (Stun Shot) - A stop shot is one executed with just enough draw to offset the natural follow created by friction so that the cue ball has no spin at the time of contact with the object ball.
STRIPES - The stripes are the colored object balls numbered 9-15.
STROKE - The stroke is the motion of the cue executed by the shooter. It is often also used to mean the results of that motion.
SLATE - The slate is the flat base of the table bed.
SOFT BREAK - Soft breaking is the INTENTIONAL act of attempting to strike the rack with just enough force to drive four object balls to the rails while still leaving the majority of the rack "clustered". This IS NOT allowed, as it can be used as a tactic to "stretch" games and manipulate ratings. An ACCIDENTALLY poor break is not considered soft breaking.
TABLE BED - The table bed is the playing surface. It's outer boundaries are the inside edges of the rails and the slate edges at the pockets.
TEAM - A team is a group of five to eight M-8 members joined together as a competitive unit.
TEAM RATING LIMIT - The Team Rating Limit is a method used by M-8 to increase competition between teams. It is 300 points in the Open divisions and 250 points in the Women's divisions. If the ratings of the five team members who compete in a match add up to a total in excess of the limit, they pay a penalty. If under the limit, they add a bonus.
THROW - Throw is an effect which causes the object ball to travel in a slightly different direction than geometrically expected. Throw is caused by friction between the cue ball and object ball. This is created in three ways-by the angle of cut, by the amount of english on the cue ball, and by the surface conditions of the balls.
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Periodically it is necessary to make changes and/or clarifications to the rules of the M-8 system. Documents explaining those changes are listed here.
1. M-8 RULE BOOK ADDENDUM (SUMMER 1993) - These changes are noted in the rule book text THIS ADDENDUM WILL TAKE EFFECT AT THE BEGINNING OF THE 1993 SUMMER SEASON. IT'S AN EXTENSION OF YOUR M-8 RULE BOOK. ANY CHANGES OR ADDITIONS LISTED HERE ARE OFFICIAL M-8 RULES AND WILL SUPERSEDE ANY DIFFERENCES THAT MAY EXIST IN THE BOOK. PLEASE ATTACH THIS ADDENDUM TO THE INSIDE BACK COVER OF YOUR RULE BOOK.
THE FOLLOWING RULE CHANGES WERE PASSED ON APRIL 18TH, 1993. THE CHANGE IN POST-SEASON RULES WAS PASSED BY VOTE AT AN OPEN MEETING OF ALL M-8 MEMBERS. THE MISCELLANEOUS RULES WERE PASSED BY VOTE OF THE RULES COMMITTEE.
SECTION E. POST-SEASON PLAY
Page 26 - Rule 11.a) Qualifying for the Season Tournaments (Existing rule replaced by:)
a) Qualifying for the Season Tournaments - When setting rules for team qualification for Season Tournaments, M-8 is trying to achieve two separate, but conflicting goals. We want as many teams as possible to enjoy the tournament competition, but they must be able to complete the tournament in a reasonable period of time. Because of this, the rules for team qualification change as the number of M-8 teams vary each season. The basic effect of this change is that only the first week of play-offs is used to qualify tournament teams when there are 200 or fewer teams and that both the first and second weeks are used when there are more than 200 teams. In this manner, the league is able to offer the Season Tournaments to as many teams as possible, while till allowing each team to complete their competition in three total days or less.
1) Championship - In a season with 200 or fewer
teams in competition, both the first and second place regular season
teams from each division are automatically qualified for the Season
Championship Tournament. The third and fourth place teams must win a
play-off match to qualify for this event. In a season with more than
200 teams in competition, only the first place regular season team is
automatically qualified. The second, third, and fourth place teams
must win the Division Championship match to qualify for this
2) Consolation - In a season with 200 or fewer teams in competition, a Consolation team must win a play-off match or draw a bye to qualify for the Season Consolation Tournament. In a season with more than 200 teams in competition, a Consolation team must win their bracket's Consolation Championship (2nd week play-off win) to qualify for this event.
SECTION H. MISCELLANEOUS RULES
Page 34 - Rule 1. ROSTER CHANGES (Exception note added:)
An exception to these restrictions may be made in the case of a team that has had unusual problems that were beyond their control or ability to predict. This need must be a permanent one - no temporary exceptions are allowed. To receive this exception, a team must request approval from the other teams in their division and must receive that approval from at least 75% of their division's team captains. This approval must be forwarded to the league office at least 7 days before the change can be allowed (NO changes "on the spot"). NO exceptions to eligibility rules are allowed.
Page 36 - Rule 12. CHOICE OF TABLE (Wording change [in caps], notes added to end:)
Size of table is not an issue EXCEPT AS DESCRIBED IN THE FOLLOWING NOTES.
a) At the beginning of a match held at a location
with more than one table size available, the visiting team has the
right to inquire of the table size to be chosen by each player on the
home team roster. The home team is not required to disclose which
members will be playing, but only which table size the player will
choose if they do play. Once the team match has begun, no home player
will be allowed to change that original table size declaration
without the opponent's agreement. If the home team has refused to
provide this information, all sets must be played on the same table
b) The following rule, TWO-TABLE PLAY, takes precedence. If a second table is required and no table of the originally declared size is available, the home player must choose a table of a different size.
2. M-8 MASTERS RULES ADDENDUM (Winter Season 1993) - M-8 MASTERS DIVISIONS PLAY UNDER RULES WHICH ARE GENERALLY THE SAME AS THOSE OF M-8 OPEN DIVISIONS. ALL RULES OF THE OFFICIAL M-8 RULE BOOK ARE IN EFFECT FOR MASTERS PLAY, EXCEPT WHERE LISTED AS DIFFERENCES ON THIS ADDENDUM.
SECTION A. GAME RULES
1. Normal M-8 "make it, take it" break rules do not
apply. The table is "open after break". The table will remain open
until a player has pocketed a "called" object ball on a legally
executed stroke following the break.
2. All shots are "call-pocket". The object ball must fall in the intended pocket for the shooter's turn at the table to continue. There is no requirement to call the rails to be contacted or to call caroms with other balls. Since most shots are obvious before the stroke, it's not necessary to verbally or physically indicate the desired pocket unless the shot is ambiguous or the opponent asks the shooter. If the opponent is unsure of the intended shot, it's their responsibility to ask the shooter before the stroke is made.
3. A safety ends the shooter's turn. If an object ball is pocketed after the shooter has called a safety, they do not continue shooting.
SECTION B. COACHING
Coaching is not allowed in M-8 Masters. The shooter is expected to make their own decisions and to call opponent's fouls on their own. Any shot advice or calling of fouls by teammates or spectators is a coaching violation. M-8 intends to promote a friendly and sportsmanlike attitude among and between teams, so any first-time accidental coaching violations are to be handled with warnings. Players are welcome to sit with their teammates during their set, but must not engage in conversation with teammates during their turn at the table. Any intentional coaching violation or second-time accidental violation is penalized by awarding ball-in-hand to the opponent. Since it is often very difficult to determine whether a player has violated coaching rules through error or if they have intentionally abused this rule, contact league management if you believe an opponent has attempted to use signals, whispers, feigned ignorance, etc. to "get around" coaching restrictions. Any player who has been determined by league management to be intentionally abusing coaching rules will be penalized according to rules listed in the sportsmanship section of the rule book. This includes possible penalties up to and including expulsion from M-8. In M-8, it's acceptable for teammates to remind the shooter to "patch the pocket" on the 8-ball, but they can not tell the shooter where to place that patch.
SECTION D. LEAGUE & TEAM STRUCTURE
Professionals allowed. There are three reasons why the "no professionals allowed" rule is not enforced in M-8 Masters. The first is that the M-8 Masters rating system has no top limit and therefore requires players of the highest levels of ability to provide a reasonable "spot" to opponents. The second is that any known standard of determining professionalism tends to be arguable and highly subjective. The third is that there simply aren't enough true professionals in the area to have a major influence. Any new member determined to be a professional player will not be allowed start their league competition in a "race-to-50", but will be assigned a starting Masters rating of 90.
SECTION E. POST-SEASON PLAY
Since M-8 Masters is a new and developing league, exceptions to the normal play-off and tournament structure may be made by mutual agreement of league management and the majority of the teams.
SECTION F. SCORING & THE RATING SYSTEM (see match & forfeit scoring changes in the Fall 1993 Masters Addendum)
The minimum rating allowed in Masters is 50. There is no maximum Masters rating. Unrated players on a Masters team compete in a "race-to-50" instead of 45. There is no team rating limit in Masters and therefore no team rating bonus or penalty. Although individual set scoring is the same as regular M-8 (except for different player ratings), team scoring is completely different. Individuals will receive MVP ranking points as in regular M-8, but teams will receive 100 points for each set win plus 1 point for each point they have held their opponent below the opponent's own rating (or under 50 if in a "race-to-50"). As an example, if two Masters players rated "80" compete and the final score is 84 to 60, the winner's team will receive 120 points for that set (100 points for the win & 20 points for the "margin-of-victory"). Forfeit wins are scored as 100 points for the team receiving the forfeit.
SECTION G. FINANCIAL RULES
In order to create larger prize funds, Masters weekly playing fees are $25.00 per team ($5.00 per player). Byes are $15.00
2A. MASTERS RULES ADDENDUM (FALL 1993) - During the 1993 Summer Season, the Masters players voted for two scoring changes: 1.) "Margin-of-Victory" Add-On and 2.) Forfeit scoring for post-season ("sudden-death") matches
CHANGE TO "MARGIN-OF-VICTORY" ADD-ON:
For each point that you can hold your opponent under their own rating, your team will receive three (3) times that amount added on to the 100-point set win.
For example, Paul (rated 75) plays Dave (rated 70). Paul beats Dave 82 to 45. Paul's team receives the 100 points for the set win plus the "margin-of-victory" (Dave's rating of 70 minus the 45 he scored is 25. 25 times 3 = 75). Paul's team gets a total of 175 for the set.
CHANGE TO FORFEIT SCORING FOR POST-SEASON MATCHES:
The 100 points awarded for each set forfeited in regular season will not be changed. However, a play-off or tournament forfeited set will be scored as 200 points.
3. M-8 ADVANCED TEAMS ADDENDUM - 99% of all M-8 rules are the same in all M-8 formats - Advanced, Open, Masters, & Triple Crown. Most of the differences of Advanced deal only with ratings and scoring. There are three rule situations that are different between Open and Masters, and Advanced is using two from Masters and one from Open. These decisions were made by a meeting of Advanced players on Sept. 6th. The differences are:
1) Call pocket on all shots (from Masters) - All
shots must be called "ball & pocket". As long as no foul is
committed, it doesn't matter how the ball gets there as long as it
goes into the called pocket ("kisses & rails" don't matter). If a
ball is made in the wrong pocket, the player's turn ends. There is no
patch requirement other than on the 8-Ball.
2) Open break (from Masters) - The table is always open after the break. The table remains open until a player has made a called shot on a legal stroke. Even though a player makes a solid only on the break, they can still choose to shoot at stripes. However, if they don't make that stripe on a legal stroke, their turn ends and their opponent also has an open table.
3) Coaching (from Open) - Coaching is allowed under restrictions listed in the rule book. A player rated 50 or below can be coached twice in a game. Players rated 51 or higher can only be coached once a game.
Two other commonly misunderstood differences between Open and Masters aren't really differences at all, just differences in players' habits. They are:
1) Lag for break - Masters players are in the habit
of flipping a coin to determine the opening break, but the lag rule
used in Open is actually in effect. If both players agree to flip a
coin, go ahead. Otherwise, determine first break by the lag.
2) Patch rule - Masters players also seldom use the patch, but that rule also applies. You are welcome to make an agreement with your opponent that you won't bother with the patch, but you can't assume this. If you want to just call the pocket, make sure your opponent has already agreed to this.