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8 Ball Scratch Rules (Do You Lose If You Scratch On The 8 Ball?)

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Have you ever been playing pool and you happened to scratch on the 8 ball? Maybe someone said you should lose, and someone else said it just comes back out. Well, in this article we will go over everything you need to know about pool and the rules of the game.

So what happens if you scratch on the 8 ball? 

According to the BCA (Billiard Congress Of America) official rules, if you scratch when you are shooting for the 8 ball, your turn is over and your opponent gets the ball in hand. If however, you make the 8 ball in a pocket and scratch you do actually lose the game.

So although scratching while shooting at the 8 ball does count as a foul penalty and your turn ends, as long as the 8 ball is not pocketed the game does not end.

If you want to know more about the official rules of pool, you will want to keep reading this article. You can also watch this short video to learn all of the official rules of pool. 

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What Is Considered A Foul In 8 Ball Pool?

It is a foul if the cue stick tip hits the cue more than once. Double touching of the cue tip is considered a foul resulting in a loss of turn. It is also considered a foul if the cue stick remains in contact with the cue ball for a longer time than a normal stroke.

It is like pushing it instead of hitting the ball.

However, there is an exception to this rule such as a frozen ball in touch with cue balls. If this happens, you may push the cue ball with the cue stick.

Also, any part of your body that touches the cue ball or moves the ball is considered a foul. Aside from the cue stick tip, from hand, clothing, or mechanical bridges are not allowed to touch any ball on the table. 

A single hit of the cue to the cue ball is the only thing allowed. In some cases, like those of other leagues and tournaments, only cue ball fouls are punished. In such a case like you moved or touched other balls by accident then there is no penalty.

Though, your opponents have the right to choose whether to move the ball to its original position or just let it be.

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What Is A Scratch In Pool?

When you are watching someone play pool you might hear the term “scratch” and not know exactly what it means in that context. Obviously, it doesn’t mean that someone has scratched the table but what exactly does a scratch mean in pool?

A scratch in pool is when the cue ball is pocketed or you do not make a legal hit (meaning hit one of your balls). According to the APA rules when you scratch or commit a foul the other player gets ball in hand (meaning they can place the cue ball anywhere on the open table).

Some people believe that if you hit a certain number of cushions (or rails) that you do not have to hit one of your own balls but there are no pool rules that stipulate that. The cue ball MUST touch one of your own balls or it is considered an infraction.

Your turn will end when you fail to pocket any legal balls. You also lose a turn when you commit a foul or scratch. If you committed a scratch during a break then you will lose the turn and your opponent has the chance to place the cue ball anywhere behind the head string.

After the cue ball crosses the head string, it has to contact your ball first before contacting any object ball.

To learn more about scratching in pool you will want to read the full article that I wrote. It covers everything that you need to know. My article about the pool scratching rules can be found by clicking here.

What Happens If You Pocket The 8 Ball On The Break?

The 8 ball is typically in the center of the triangle when you are racking up the balls for a game of pool. So often what will happen when you break is that some of the exterior balls will go into the pockets.

But what if the 8 ball goes in? Is the game over?

If the 8 ball ever goes in on the break, the opponent will have the option to either re-rack or have the 8 ball spotted instead. In some cases, like in tournaments, when you pocket the 8 ball during a break you win!

The risk you take is if you pocketed the 8 ball and commit a scratch then you will lose instantly.

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How Do You Lose The Game Of Pool?

You will lose the game when you pocket the 8 ball and commit a scratch at the same time. You also lose the game when the 8 ball jumps from the table at any time.

Also, in some tournaments, you will lose the game when you pocket the 8 ball before all the balls are assigned to you. Above all, you will lose the game when the 8 ball is pocketed in the wrong non-called pocket.

The object of the game is for you to pocket all of your balls as well as the 8 ball. So you will also lose the game if your opponent gets all of their balls into the pockets as well as the called object ball (the 8 ball) on their last shot.

Can There Be A Draw Or Stalemate In Pool?

A draw or stalemate game is unusual for 8 ball games, but this can happen when after six turns, three turns per player they fail to pocket any ball or move a ball.

This is when the referee will judge and mostly the result of a loss of the game. This is also applicable if there are only two object balls and the 8 ball is still on the table.

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Do You Lose If You Scratch On The Break In 8 Ball Pool?

If you were to take a guy who had never played the game of pool before and watch him break, it wouldn’t take long for him to realize that the break is just as important as what happens afterward.

Making sure that all of your balls are spread out on your first shot if you are the breaker is crucial if you want a good chance at winning the game. Although break scratches don’t have incredibly often (especially as you get better at the game) they will still happen.

So if an incoming player scratches on the break in 8 ball, do they lose?

You do not lose the game if you scratch on the break in 8 ball. It counts as a legal break shot but since you scratched than your turn is simply over and the opponent’s turn begins. 

Although it can stink when you scratch on the break and you do not get to continue with your turn, at least you do not lose the entire game. You will be at a disadvantage since you will not be able to shoot again until your next turn but at least it isn’t “Game Over”.

If you did knock in a ball before scratching then that ball stays in the pocket and that is your ball type (solids or stripes) for that game. If you knock in one of each type of ball then you have your choice of stripes or solids but it is still your opponent’s turn since you scratched.

You can easily overcome losing your turn, which is why scratching on the break does not mean that you lose the game. 

Some people think that you can lose the game if you scratch when you break, but that is not true. You can only lose the game if you scratch when you are hitting in the 8 ball, or knock the 8 ball into the wrong pocket. 

Do You Lose If You Scratch On Your Last Ball In Pool?

If you play any amount of pool (8 ball) at all, you have come across different people who play with different rules. One of the rules that is different is losing the game when you scratch while going for the 8 ball. 

During gameplay, scratches are bound to happen. But what happens when you scratch on your last ball Some people believe that if you scratch you lose it, while others think that game goes on.

So which one is the official way to play?

If you scratch while you are trying to knock in your last ball, you do not lose. You only lose if you succeed to knock in the 8 ball and then scratch. 

While this is not the way most people who are playing for fun play the game, these are the official rules. You only lose the game by actually scratching after you succeeded to hit in the 8 ball. 

If you do not hit the 8 ball in and you scratch, your turn is over and it is the opponent’s turn. This is the official way to play 8 ball no matter if you are playing with friends or professionally. 

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Can You Hit An Opponent’s Ball First In 8-ball Pool?

When you are playing pool, there are a lot of people that play by many different rules. Not everyone follows the official rules when they play the game. 

Even though you should always follow the official rules of the game, some people do not as they are just playing for fun, or are not that good at the game. I personally think you should still follow the rules as learning the wrong way to play can hinder your skills. 

You are not allowed to hit the opponent’s ball first in 8 ball without incurring a penalty. If you hit the opponent’s ball first instead of your own, your turn will be over even if you make your own ball in the pocket. 

Some people do not play this way. They allow you to hit the opponent’s ball first, and there is no penalty if you do. You simply continue playing the game as though you hit your own ball first. 

You should always play by the rules as anything else is not playing the game how it was intended to be played. It can also ruin the game if you start to not play by the rules as it can take the fun and skill out of the game. 

What Is A Table Scratch In 8-ball Pool?

If you play pool or 8 ball often, you have probably come across a few times where your opponent committed a table scratch.

Maybe you are not sure what a table scratch is, so you are not sure if you have committed one. 

A table scratch in 8 ball is when you hit the cue ball and it does not hit any other ball on the table. If this happens, it will count as a scratch, and the opponent will get to take the cue ball as though it was a regular scratch. 

If you have ever played pool, sometimes this will happen as you can be off your mark if you are not on your game, or you can also miscue when you hit the cue ball.

You always want to make sure that you hit the cue ball into one of your balls to make sure you do not get a scratch. 

If you do end up scratching when you are playing the game it is not the end of the game. You can easily overcome a scratch when you are playing pool by using ball placement, on the rest of your shots and making sure you do not scratch anymore in the game. 

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What Happens If You Don’t Call The 8-ball In Pool?

When you are playing pool or 8 ball, some people actually prefer to play where you do not call the shot for any of your balls including the 8 ball. The official rules are that you call the shot for every ball including the 8 ball though. 

If you do not call the 8 ball shot and you make it, you will lose the game as you did not call an intended pocket and you hit it into one. If you do not call the pocket and you do not make the ball into the pocket, there is no foul on the play. 

If you play pool or 8 ball where you do not call the shots, it is called slop. Most people actually play this way as they are not good enough to call all of their shots. If you hit a ball into a pocket you were not aiming for, it is called slop.

If you are playing slop, you can count any ball that goes into a pocket and continue your turn. If you are not playing slop, you may have to remove the ball from the pocket, or leave it in the pocket and end your turn. 

Is 8 Ball Pool Popular?

8 ball is the most popular pool game to this day. It is called the call shot game with a cue ball and fifteen billiard balls that have number markings from 1 to 15.

One player must pocket balls first from 1 to 7 for solid colors while for other player is from 9 to 15. Once all their designated balls are pocketed then the first person to complete may legally pocket the ball with number eight marking and win the game.

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General Rules For 8 Ball Pool

During the first shot of the game which is played from behind the head, the string is a break. The first ball of the rack is placed on the foot spot, a stripe ball in one corner and a solid ball on the other corner.

After the first shot was taken and some balls were pocketed then the player will continue the game. The player will lose their turn if he commits a scratch. A scratch,  which is a foul, means the cue was pocketed on a break.

In a legal shot, the cue ball must touch the object ball first. If the object ball was not pocketed then any ball including the cue ball must touch the cushion. 

Either way, if the first ball that was touched by the cue ball was frozen or stuck to a cushion and nothing is pocketed, then your turn is over. 

A shot can be identified as a legal shot when the shooter has hit one of his group of the ball first. There is an exception on the break and when the table is open. 

For tactical reasons a player may choose to pocket an obvious ball and may discontinue his turn at the table by declaring safety in advance. In Call Shot, evident balls and pockets don’t need to be demonstrated. It is the adversary’s entitlement to ask which ball and pocket he is aiming for.

This is because on the off chance that he is uncertain of the shot he has the right to know what the opponent is aiming for.

Bank shots and mix shots are not viewed as self-evident, and care ought to be taken in considering both the item ball and the planned pocket. When calling the shot, it is NEVER important to show subtleties such as the number of pads, banks, kisses, caroms, and so on.


All fouls must be called before another shot is taken. If you do not call foul before the next shot happens, then it will not be recognized. You win the game when you pocket all your assigned number of balls and pocket the 8 ball. This is the main reason why it is called 8 ball pool.

You will always want to make sure that you do not get a scratch or a foul.

If this happens, it may cost you the game, and one game loss can lose you a tournament. 8 ball is one of the most entertaining games when you are playing pool. It gives you both a physical and mental challenge.

Above all, you need to think critically, make a plan, and execute them. No matter how long you have been playing, if you scratch on the 8 ball then you will lose the entire game.