Know the rules.
Many players in the United States enjoy participating in pool leagues. We’ve got many choices including BCAPL, APA, VNEA, ACS, UPL, TAP, and countless other regional or local acronyms to pick. Trouble for an active pool player is to know which set of rules is being used at various tournaments as well as casual play in a pool room or tavern. The official global federation that has a very complete list of rules is the World Pool-Billiard Association known as WPA. I think they have a pretty good rules committee and revise the rulebook every few years. It seems that every league organization customizes the WPA rule set to best suit league and tournament play for their customers. You must be familiar with each set so you can take advantage of fouls by your opponent, avoid making fouls, and so that you aren’t taken advantage of by being ignorant to the prevailing rules.
Some examples of league specific rules:
- BCAPL: In 8-Ball, a scratch on the break shot is now ball in hand anywhere on the table not just behind the head-string.
- VNEA: In 8-Ball, if the table is open(if no player has stripes/solids as their group of legal object balls yet) you may call safe and establish your group by legally pocketing an object ball.
- APA: In any game, jump cues are not allowed.
- WPA: In any game, the table or rail cannot be marked with anything.
- VNEA: In 8-Ball, the eight ball is neutral after the opening break shot and may be used as the first ball contacted in a combination shot to establish stripes or solids.
- BCAPL: In all games, phenolic(Non-Leather) tips are forbidden on break cues. Phenolic and some other man-made materials can be used on jump cues.
- APA: In 9-Ball, calling a push out after the opening break shot is not allowed.
- APA: In 8-Ball, Stripes or Solids is determined on the break shot if there is no foul and only one suit is pocketed. The table is still open if nothing drops or one or more of each suit is pocketed.
These are just highlights of a few rules that differ depending on which set of rules is in play. Do your homework and know the rules so you don’t make any silly mistakes.