Skip to content

The Ultimate Guide to Pool Scratch Rules

The pool is a game of precision, one mistake, and the other player gets the ball. If you’ve played pool before, you must have encountered a “scratch”, and so you need to learn the pool scratch rules. Scratch is a shot when you pocket the cue ball along with the object ball into the pocket. Thus, even if you successfully pocket the object ball, you lose your turn to your opponent. For amateur players, it is very common.

When you study the game a little more, you’ll find many tiny details that need to be kept in mind while playing pool. It is not some child’s play, rather a game of skill and precision. Discover the scratches and techniques in this article.

Pool scratch rules behind the line

While taking a shot from behind the line, you must aim forward only. For avoiding a scratch, the cue ball should cross the string before hitting any object ball, or a cushion directly. It means that you can only shoot in the forward direction and not backward. The cue ball must not touch any ball within the kitchen.

Pool rules scratch on black ball

pool scratch rules

As per the pool scratch rules, you can scratch the black ball by a complete miss, or by driving it off the table, or by touching the cue ball. In these cases, similar to the 8 ball rule, if the black ball is still on the table, it is a ball in hand for your opponent anywhere on the table. While, if the black ball leaves the table, you lose the game with no re-spotting.

Pool rules scratch on break

Many times it depends on the game you’re playing. But for 8 ball and 9 ball, it is definite that after scratching, you have to give the cue ball to your opponent since you made a foul. It means that the opponent can place the cue ball anywhere in the 9 ball game and hit the next lowest numbered ball. While in 8 ball, the opponent can only place the cue ball behind the head string and make a legal shot. 

Pool rules scratch on first ball

If you end up scratching the first ball, you lose your turn and hand over the cue ball to your opponent for the next shot. It is similar to all other scratching rules, since here too, you will give the cue ball as a ball in hand to your opponent, and he can take a shot from anywhere on the table.

Can you scratch on the eight ball in pool?

pool scratch rules

You should avoid scratching on the 8 ball since it is a standard foul that could make you lose the game. As per the pool scratch rules, scratching on the 8 ball directly (driving it off the table) makes you lose the game without any re-spotting, and your opponent wins. However, if you scratch on the 8 ball but fail to pocket it, your opponent will take the ball and shoot from anywhere on the table.

What is the scratch rule in pool?

Scratching in the pool is considered t be a standard foul that results in you handing over the ball to your opponent. A scratch occurs if the cue ball gets pocked during any shot on the table. If the cue ball gets pocketed along with one or many object balls, it is considered a foul, and the opponent gets the turn. Also, if during the shot the cue ball hits the object ball in a filled pocket, it is a scratch. However, if you fail to hit an object ball or pocket it or touch the cushion with it, it is still a scratch.


1.What are the rules when you scratch in pool? 

If you make a scratch in the pool, there are two common outcomes. The first one is to hand the ball to the opponent, and he can take a shot anywhere on the table. While the second practice is that the opponent can only take a shot from somewhere behind the head string. This position makes it difficult for the player. Since he can only shoot the balls that are directly facing the head string or oppose it. These rules are made to prevent the players from scratching purposely.

2.What is considered a scratch in pool?

A scratch is a foul in the game of pool. It mainly happens when your cue ball hits the object balls and falls in the pocket with them. Also, if the pocket is full of object balls and your cue ball touches them. It also happens when the cue ball fails to hit the object ball or if the object ball that is hit by the cue ball does not travel to a cushion or a pocket. All these accidents are considered standard fouls.

3.When playing pool if you scratch on the break do you lose?

No, you don’t lose the game completely if you scratch on the break. Any object ball that gets pocketed will stay pocketed, while your opponent will get the cue ball to play further. Typically as per the pool scratch rules, your opponent will take the shot from behind the head string. 

4.Is it a scratch if you miss all the balls?

Yes, if you miss hitting any of the balls on the table, it is a scratch. This type of foul is termed as a table scratch, in which you miss a shot with the cue ball, and none of the object balls gets into the pocket or touches a cushion. Your opponent will get the ball in hand in such a case.

5.What happens if you scratch after hitting the 8 ball in?

As per the official rules, if you scratch after hitting the 8 ball in, you lose the game. You can scratch the cue ball at the same time as 8 ball, that way your turn gets over. But, if you pocket the 8 ball, you cannot afford to scratch afterward.