Rules & Regulations


Player Responsibility

It is the player’s responsibility to be aware of all rules, regulations and schedules applying to competition. While tournament officials will make every reasonable effort to have such information readily available to all players as appropriate, the ultimate responsibility rests with the player.

Administrative Discretion

The NWPA reserves the right to set forth rules and procedures appropriate and reasonable for a particular tournament such as may regard player dress requirements, method of receiving entry fees, refund policies, scheduling flexibility, practice procedures, match races, etc.

Mandatory Players Meeting

All players must attend the mandatory players meeting at 9:30am the Saturday of each event they enter. Role call will be taken at the beginning of the meeting. Any player not in attendance during role call will be docked five NWPA tour points.

Match Start Times

A player must be ready to begin a match within 15 minutes from the time that match is announced by the Tournament Director (or appointed assistants) or the opponent wins by forfeit. The NWPA/Tournament Director will not be held responsible for estimating or posting timelines for upcoming matches during tournament play. It is the sole responsibility of the player to plan accordingly and be present when their match is called. If a player decides to leave the tournament room for any reason, they do so at their own risk and are still held responsible for reporting for their match within the required 15-minute timeline.

Unsportsmanlike Conduct

The referee has the right and obligation to ensure that no player engages in any activity which, in his/her judgement, is unsportsmanlike in nature, embarrassing, disruptive or detrimental to other players, tournament officials or hosts, or to the sport in general. The referee or other officials have the right to penalize or disqualify, with or without warning, any player who conducts herself in an unsportsmanlike manner. Board members who witness unsportsmanlike conduct may report these incidents to the officials and the rest of the board. At that time, witness interviews on both sides of the incident will be conducted. The board will then vote on whether disciplinary action should be taken against the offending player(s). Some examples of unsportsmanlike behavior include the use of foul language, arguing, coaching and breaking down one’s cue or conceding a game prior to the opponent pocketing the 9-ball.

1. For the first offense, the player will be given a warning and it will be documented. The player must sign the documentation of the offense before they can play in another event. A year-long probationary period will be instituted at that point.

2. For the second offense within a 12-month period, the player will be docked 50 points from their overall point total. If the player does not have 50 points, their point total will be reduced to zero. The offending player will also be levied a fine of $50.00. The offense will be documented. The offending player must pay the fine and sign the documentation before they can play in another event.

3. For the third offense within a 12-month period, the player will be escorted from the playing arena. The player will be suspended from the NWPA tour for a period of one year and will be fined $100.00. This fine must be paid in full before the player is able to play on the NWPA tour again. The suspension will be docketed and signed by the player. Once the offending player returns to the tour, she will be on probation for one year from the date of return (i.e., a single offense during the probationary period will be treated as a third offense).

4. Further offenses may result in more fines and suspensions.


Match play disputes – A player may request a rule interpretation or protest a failure to call a foul to the referee or appropriate tournament authority; however, the request or protest must be made immediately, prior to any subsequent shot being taken or it shall not be reviewed. Play must be suspended until the protest is resolved. Continuing play after one’s opponent has requested a protest, may result in disqualification or forfeiture of match under the provisions of “unsportsmanlike conduct.” The referee may at anytime, at their discretion, consult an outside party as an impartial observer of the conflict in order to resolve the dispute.

Major disputes – A player may formally protest unsportsmanlike actions by, or disputes with, another player. In order to do so, the filing player must adhere to the following procedure:

1. Fill out a Formal Protest form.
2. Send the Formal Protest form along with a non-refundable $25 filing fee made payable to the NWPA to 1225 224th Pl. SW, Bothell, WA 98021.
3. The NWPA will schedule a special meeting to review the situation. All players involved in the dispute will be asked to attend and will have the opportunity to speak. If one of the involved parties does not attend, they forfeit their right to speak on their behalf and must accept the NWPA’s decision.

General Rules of Etiquette

Whenever possible, players must be seated while their opponent is shooting. Any movement by the seated player perceived by the shooter while addressing or shooting the 9-ball will result in a game added to the non-offending player’s score. No sharking is tolerated. At any time during a match, intentional sharking behavior occurs by a player, the shooting player may call a referee or tournament official to the table to complain. The referee or tournament official has the right to warn and/or penalize the offending player with loss of game or disqualification from the tournament under the provisions of unsportsmanlike behavior.

Concession of Games

At no time should a player concede a game, even in the event of ball in hand on the 9-ball. If a player concedes, her opponent gains a game. If a player concedes a second time, she loses the match. Additional fines and/or penalties may be levied on the offending player for subsequent concessions. If a player attempts to unscrew a cue stick while the opponent is at the table, it will be considered a concession of the match. No warning from the referee is required in the case of this concession. If a player needs to break down a cue to change shafts, etc., she must first notify her opponent and do so between games.

Obscene Language

Obscene language is strongly prohibited. Continued use of obscenities during or immediately following a match could result in a foul, loss of game or match, or disqualification from the tournament under the provisions of unsportsmanlike conduct.

Outside Assistance Prohibited

No coaching is allowed during NWPA events. Unless specifically permitted by the rules of a specific event, players may not knowingly accept any form of playing advice during a match. A player may not engage in communication – verbal or non-verbal – with anyone other than the tournament officials or her opponent during a match. Conversation with spectators is not allowed during play except in the context of showmanship. Spectators may not be called upon to witness a hit, make a call or lend advice at any time during a match. Note: Failure to comply with these rules may constitute a foul or unsportsmanlike behavior.

Outside Interference

Should a spectator distract a player during a match, the player should not approach the spectator but should ask the referee or tournament director to advise the spectator of their distracting behavior. If the behavior continues, only the Tournament Director and/or host have the authority to remove the spectator from the arena.

Phone Usage

Absolutely no phone usage is allowed by players actively participating in a match. Cell phones and pagers must be turned off during matches. In the event that a player is in an “emergency situation” where it is imperative that they be reached, they must make arrangements to have someone not on the tournament floor answer the call for them.

Smoking and Drinking of Alcoholic Beverages

Smoking during a match is not allowed. Players may do so only in between matches and on their breaks. Alcoholic beverages are allowed at the table. Visible signs of intoxication will be considered unsportsmanlike.


Cue sticks must be within standard height (40″ minimum; no maximum), weight (no minimum; 25oz. maximum) and caliber (9mm minimum; 14mm maximum). The cue tip may not be of a material that can scratch or damage the addressed ball. The cue tip on any stick must be composed of a piece of specially processed leather or other fibrous or pliable material that extends the natural line of the shaft end of the cue and contacts the cue ball when the shot is executed. The ferrule, if metal, may not be more than 1″ in length.

It is the responsibility of the player to bring non-traditional equipment to the attention of the tournament director and/or NWPA Board before using such equipment in competition. If there are no set guidelines already in place regarding the use of a specific piece of equipment, the NWPA Board may disallow its use until a ruling can be made. The NWPA Board is allowed no more than 45 days for such a ruling to take place, during which time, the equipment in question may not be used. If, after 45 days, no decision has been reached by the NWPA Board, the equipment in question may be used until a final ruling is made.

Listening Devices

Wearing of listening devices while playing a match is prohibited during NWPA events.


Players are given a flip chart and score sheet for scoring games during their match. Each player is responsible for marking their own wins on their designated side of the flip chart as well as marking their wins on the score sheet. Upon completion of the match, both players must review and sign the score sheet. The winner takes the score sheet and name plates from the table to the Tournament Director’s “score sheet inbox”. Note: In the event of a scoring discrepancy, the score sheet takes precedence over the flip chart. It is imperative that both players continuously update the sheet on their own behalf appropriately.

Calling in a Referee

It is the responsibility of the non-shooting player to call a referee before any controversial shot is attempted. The non-shooting player must notify the shooting player that they are calling the referee. The shooting player must wait for the referee to arrive before attempting the shot. The referee’s decision is final.

Five-Minute Timeout

Players are allowed one five-minute timeout during each match. A timeout may only be taken between racks. If the player not calling the timeout chooses to continue play, a referee must first be called to rack and watch the game. If the player not calling the timeout chooses to discontinue play but also leaves the arena, she must return immediately upon her opponent’s return or will also be charged a five-minute timeout. The player not calling the timeout may hit balls for practice on the game table but not on a different table.


BCAPL 9-Ball Rules

Nine-ball is played with nine object balls numbered one through nine and a cue ball. For each shot, the first ball the cue ball contacts must be the lowest numbered ball on the table but the balls need not be pocketed in numerical order. If a player pockets any ball on a legal shot, she remains at the table for another shot and continues until missing, committing a foul or winning the game by pocketing the 9-ball. After a miss, the incoming player must shoot from the position left by the previous player but after any foul, the incoming player may start with the cue ball anywhere on the table. Players are not required to call any shot. A match ends when one of the players has won the required number of games.

9 ball rack

The object balls are racked in a diamond shape with the 1-ball at the top of the diamond and on the foot spot, the 9-ball in the center of the diamond, and the other balls in random order, racked as tightly as possible. The game begins with cue ball in hand behind the head string. The winner of the lag breaks first. Her opponent racks. Alternating breaks thereafter. When a player racks for their opponent, the opponent has the right to inspect the rack and to request a re-rack. At no time should the player inspecting a rack touch a ball or the rack. The player inspecting the rack may request a re-rack twice each game. If a satisfactory rack is not achieved after the second rack, a referee or tournament official must be called in to rack the balls. The breaker must accept that rack.

Order of Play

The order of play is determined by lag. The player’s ball arriving closest to the head rail without scratching, striking the foot cushion more than once or resting inside a pocket wins the option to break or to have the opponent break. Players alternate breaks thereafter.

Break Requirements

The rules governing the break shot are the same as for other shots except:

  • The breaker must strike the one-ball first and either pocket a ball or drive at least four numbered balls to the rail.

  • If the cue ball is pocketed or driven off the table, or the requirements of the opening break (as stated in #1) are not met, it is a foul and the incoming player has the option to shot with cue ball in hand anywhere on the table or to break.

  • If, on the break shot, the breaker causes an object ball to jump off the table, it is a foul and the incoming player has the option to shot with cue ball in hand anywhere on the table or to break. The object ball is not spotted (unless it is the 9-ball).

Continuing Play

For the shot immediately following the break, the shooter may play a “push out” (see push out rule below). If the breaker pockets one or more balls on a legal break, she continues to shoot until she misses, fouls or wins the game. If the player misses or fouls, the other player begins an inning and shoots until missing, committing a foul or winning. The game ends when the 9-ball is pocketed on a legal shot or the game is forfeited for a serious infraction of the rules.

Push Out or Roll Out

For the shot immediately following a legal break, the shooter may play a “push out” or “roll out“ in an attempt to move the cue ball into a better position for the option that follows. During a push out, the cue ball is not required to contact any object ball or any rail but all other fouls still apply. The player must announce her intention of playing a push out prior to the shot and receive acknowledgement from her opponent, otherwise the shot will be considered a normal shot. Any ball pocketed on a push out does not count and remains pocketed unless it is the 9-ball. Following a legal push out, the incoming player is permitted to shoot from that position or to pass the shot back to the player who pushed out. A push out is not considered to be a foul as long as no rule is violated (other than the “bad hit” and “no rail” rules). An illegal push out is penalized according to the type of foul committed. After a player scratches on the break shot, the incoming player cannot play a push out.


When a player commits a foul, she must relinquish her run at the table. No balls pocketed during the foul shot are spotted unless the 9-ball was pocketed. The incoming player is awarded ball in hand. Prior to her first shot, she may place the cue ball anywhere on the table. The player may continue to adjust the position of the cue ball until she takes the shot. If the end of the cue tip (not the ferrule) touches the cue ball during adjustment, it is considered a foul. If the cue ball touches any object ball during placement, it is a foul. If a player commits several fouls during one shot, only one foul is counted.

If an incoming player wants to confirm that a foul was committed prior to picking up the cue ball, the player who committed the foul must acknowledge that a foul was committed. If there is a dispute over whether or not a foul was committed, a referee or tournament official should be called in immediately.

Bad Hit

If the first object ball contacted by the cue ball is not the lowest numbered ball on the table, the shot is a foul.

No Rail

If no object ball is pocketed during a shot, failure to drive the cue ball or any numbered ball to a rail after the cue ball contacts the object ball is a foul.

Frozen Object Ball

When the intended object ball is frozen to a rail and the player fails to pocket a ball, drive the cue ball to a rail or drive the object ball to another rail, it is a foul. For this rule to be in effect, the non-shooting player must declare the object ball to be frozen and the shooting player must acknowledge prior to the execution of the shot.

Balls Jumped off the Table

A ball is considered to be driven off the table if it comes to rest anywhere other than on the bed of the table. It is a foul to drive a ball off the table. Object balls driven off the table are not spotted. Only the 9-ball is spotted.

Jump/Massé Shot Foul

If a match is not refereed, it will be considered a foul if, during an attempt to jump, curve or massé the cue ball over or around an impeding numbered ball, the impeding ball moves (regardless of whether it was moved by hand, cue stick or bridge).

Three Consecutive Fouls

If a player fouls three consecutive times on three successive shots, she loses the game. The three consecutive fouls must occur in the same game. In order for this rule to be in effect, the opponent must warn the offending player as soon as she has committed her second foul and the offending player must acknowledge the warning. It is considered unsportsmanlike conduct to inform a player that they are “on two” when they are down over the ball preparing to stroke. A player’s inning begins when it is legal to take a shot and ends when she misses, fouls or wins, or if she fouls between shots.

Illegal Marking/Measuring

Players are not allowed to mark the cushions, rails or table cloth with chalk marks, etc. Similarly, players are not allowed to use a ball, rack or any width-measuring device to see if the cue ball or an object ball will travel through a space between two balls, between a ball and cushion, etc. Doing so is a foul. Only the cue stick may be used as an aid to judge gaps, etc., provided the player not lay the cue on the table unattended. Chalk may be used to measure space between balls for the “double hit” rule but must be held and cannot touch either ball.

Catching Balls

During play, players may not catch, touch or in anyway deliberately interfere with a ball as it enters a pocket. To do so gives the opponent ball in hand.

Split Hits

If the cue ball strikes a legal object ball and a non-legal object ball at approximately the same instant and it cannot be determined which ball was hit first, the judgement goes in favor of the shooter unless the opponent called a referee to watch the hit prior to the execution of the shot.

Other Fouls

A foul is committed if:
• a player takes a shot without at least one foot on the floor at the moment the cue tip strikes the cue ball
• a shot is played while any ball is in motion (a spinning ball is in motion)
• a player strikes the cue ball below center (digs under it) and intentionally causes it to rise off the bed of the table in an effort to clear an obstruction ball
• the cue ball is frozen to an illegal object ball and that object ball is moved in the process of shooting
• the tip of the cue stick strikes the cue ball more than once during the execution of a shot or is still in contact with the cue ball when it strikes the object ball. Double hits occur when the cue ball and the object ball are less than a chalk’s width apart. To prevent a double hit, the shooter must jack up and/or shoot away from the center line. The cue ball must travel slower than the object ball after contact or it will be considered a foul. If the two balls are frozen, it is legal to stroke through them with extended contact.
• a player may not lay their cue on the table unattended

Shot Clock Usage

If, in the opinion of the referee, a player is impeding the progress of the tournament or match with consistently slow play, the referee can warn the player and then impose a 30-second shot clock that applies to both players. If the referee does impose a 30-second time limit and a player exceeds that limit, a foul will be called and the incoming player is rewarded ball in hand. The 30-second shot clock begins when all balls have stopped rolling and stops when the cue tip strikes the cue ball. The clocker will give a 10-second warning. No 10-second warning or foul will be called if a player is down on the ball stroking. If a player is down over a ball and then, rather than executing the shot, stands up again, the clocker will call the 10-second warning. The player must then complete the shot within 10 seconds or commit a foul. One 30-second extension is allowed per player, per game. The player must ask for an extension and be acknowledged by the clocker. Extensions will also be granted if a player from another table, announcements from the tournament director or host, or spectator actions cause interference with either the player or the clocker. Time resumes when the player can shoot without interference. The extension rule also applies when either player calls for a referee to watch a hit or make a ruling. Time resumes when the referee has made a decision or is in a position to observe the shot.

End of Game

A game starts as soon as the cue ball crosses over the head string on the opening break. The 1-ball must be legally contacted on the break shot. The game ends at the end of a legal shot which pockets the 9-ball or when a player forfeits the game as the result of a foul.


General 10-Ball Rules

10-Ball is a call shot game played with a cue ball and ten object balls numbered 1 through 10. You shoot the balls in ascending numerical order. The 10-ball is the game winning ball. The object of the game is to pocket the 10-ball on any legal shot after the break. The game is played by two players or two teams.

10 ball rack

The balls are racked as follows:

  • In a triangle shape with the 1-ball as the apex ball on the foot spot

  • The rows behind the apex are parallel to the foot string

  • The 10-ball is in the middle of the row of three balls

  • The two and three ball are placed at the bottom corners in no particular order

  • The remaining balls are placed at random.

Order of Play

The order of play is determined by lag. The player’s ball arriving closest to the head rail without scratching, striking the foot cushion more than once or resting inside a pocket wins the option to break or to have the opponent break. Players alternate breaks thereafter.

Break Requirements

  • You begin the break with ball in hand behind the head string. There is no requirement to call a ball on the break. The cue ball must contact the 1-ball before any other ball or cushion, or it is a foul. You must either pocket a ball or cause at least four object balls to contact one or more cushions, or it is a foul.

  • If you legally pocket a ball, you continue to shoot. Your inning ends if you do not legally pocket a ball or if you foul.

  • If you legally pocket the 10-ball on the break, it is spotted and your inning continues. Jumped object balls other than the 10-ball are not returned to the table. If the 10-ball is jumped, it is spotted.

Continuing Play

After the break (and push-out, if one occurs), play continues as follows:

  • You must contact the lowest numbered ball on the table first or it is a foul;

The 10-ball is spotted if it is illegally pocketed or if it is jumped off the table;

  • Other jumped balls and illegally pocketed balls are not spotted.

When it is your inning, you continue to shoot as long as you legally pocket a called ball on each shot. If the called ball is legally pocketed, object balls, other than the 10-ball, pocketed in addition to the called ball remain pocketed. If the 10 ball is pocketed in addition to the called ball, it is spotted. Your inning ends if you do not legally pocket a ball.

The game is won by the player who legally pockets the 10-ball.

Push-out After the Break

If there was no foul on the break, the player taking the first shot after the break has the option to shoot a push-out. On a push-out:

  • You must notify your opponent before the shot and your opponent must acknowledge your intention

  • The cue ball is not required to contact the lowest numbered ball first, or any object ball at all

  • No ball is required to contact a cushion

  • All other rules and fouls still apply.

Any object balls except the 10-ball that are pocketed on a push-out remain pocketed. If the 10-ball is pocketed it is spotted.

After a push-out, your opponent may:

  • Accept the table in position and shoot, or;

  • Require you to shoot again with the table in position.

Safety Play

On any shot after the break (and push-out, if one occurs), you may declare a safety. You must declare the safety to your opponent before the shot, and they must acknowledge your intentions.

On a safety, your inning ends after the shot unless you pocket a ball. If you pocket any ball on a safety, your opponent may require you to continue shooting.

If you do not declare a safety or it is not acknowledged, and you pocket an obvious ball, your inning continues and you must shoot again. A safety must meet the requirements of a legal shot or it is a foul.

Illegally Pocketed Balls

A ball is illegally pocketed if it is:

  • Pocketed on a safety, including the lowest numbered ball

  • Pocketed in other than the called pocket

  • Pocketed on a shot in which the called ball is not legally pocketed

If the 10-ball is illegally pocketed it is spotted. All other illegally pocketed balls remain pocketed. 

Opponent's Option

If you illegally pocket any ball, your opponent has the option to:

  • Accept the table in position, or;

  • Require you to shoot again.

If a referee judges that the table is in a position such that any attempt to pocket or move a ball will result in loss of game, and each player has had three consecutive innings without significantly changing the position, the referee will declare a stalemate. The game will be replayed with the player who broke the game breaking again.

Three Successive Fouls

You lose the game if you commit three successive fouls in one game.


If a referee judges that the table is in a position such that any attempt to pocket or move a ball will result in loss of game, and each player has had three consecutive innings without significantly changing the position, the referee will declare a stalemate. The game will be replayed with the player who broke the game breaking again.