Rules of UK Pool

Pool stick and cue ball image by Jim Mills from

The English Pool Association, which is the official governing body of pool in England, formally adopted the World Eightball Pool Federation rules (known as "world" or "American" rules) in 1998. These apply in all national tournaments.

However, many local tournaments in England and the rest of the United Kingdom still use the previous EPA Rules, commonly known as English rules or UK rules. There are several key differences between these rules and the world rules.


Rather than the individually numbered spot or stripe balls of world pool, English pool generally uses seven red balls and seven yellow balls, with no other markings, plus the standard white cue ball and black ball.


The player breaking only has to make sure two balls hit a cushion, rather than the four ball requirement of world rules.


After a player fouls, the opponent is allowed two turns at the table, meaning they stay at the table for a fresh shot after failing to pot a ball. The player taking over after a foul has the option of moving the cue ball to anywhere behind the baulk line. On the first shot after an opponent's foul, the player may legally strike any ball except for the black, and potting any ball except the black will be counted as a legal pot.

Deliberate fouls

Unlike in world rules, a player who deliberately strikes an invalid ball will forfeit the frame.

Calling Shots

English rules do not require players to nominate the ball they intend to strike or the pocket into which they intend to pot it. This applies in all cases, including potting the black at the end of the game.

House Rules

There are a wide range of potential variations on English rules that may be used in informal games and competitions. These include being forced to nominate the pocket into which the player intends to pot the black, being forced to stick with that pocket in future attempts during the frame, not being allowed to move the white ball after an opponent's foul and only being allowed to move the white ball after an opponent's foul when snookered.