The official rules state that a break is considered legal if a ball is pocketed or if it causes at least four balls to come into contact with the pool cushion. If a break doesn’t meet the above requirements, it’s considered illegal and a player is said to have a scratch on the break.
Different house rules have different ways to deal with scratch foul, but despite the variations, none of those rules will treat the scratch foul in a friendly manner. Some are even severe to the point they can lead to a direct loss if the foul happens.
So, what happens if the player scratch on the break? According to WPA rules, if a player scratch on the break, their turn ends, and the turn is passed over to the opponent player, but the table remains open.
The next player gets a ball in hand behind the baulk, meaning the player can only place the Cue Ball behind the line and not anywhere else.
When executing the penalty, the opponent player must cross the Cue Ball past the headstring line before it hits an object, or else a player will give a foul. This implies a player cannot hit the ball behind the line if the ball hasn’t moved forward when executing the ball behind the baulk shot.
If the player simultaneously scratches and hits the blackball in on the break, two things can happen: the 8-ball is returned on the pool table for repotting but placed at the headstring line, or the breaker can request for a rerack and take the break again.
In some house rules, such as APA rules, the breaker gets an automatic loss if a player scratches on the break by pocketing both the Cue Ball and 8-ball. However, if the 8-ball is still in play, the guilty player only forfeits their turn, and the opponent player gets the ball in hand behind the head string.
Most house rules on the scratch foul vary, and for this reason, it’s good to discuss how to go about the scratch foul before the game begins. However, a scratch is a foul regardless of the rules being used.
The only difference is how the foul is treated in various house rules, therefore a scratch foul is not something to make fun of when taking a break. A poor break can cost a player a turn and a game, depending on the rules used in the game.
Do you lose if you scratch on the break-in pool?
Yes and no, depending on the rules followed at the pool table. If the official rule WPA rules are used, scratching on the break does not mean the guilty player will lose the game, but the opponent player has to take the Cue Ball behind the baulk line.
The player should shoot the white ball forward, and it must cross the line before hitting any object ball, or else the player taking the shot gets penalized for a foul. If the 8-ball sinks on the break, the breaker should ask for a rerack and have a chance to break again, or the breaker can take return the 8-ball on the table, re-spot it at the headstring line, and accept the break.
When APA rules are used, a scratch foul can lead to losing the ball in hand behind the head string. If both the cueball and blackball get sunk on the break, the rule states the guilty player will lose the game on the spot, but if the black ball is still in play, the opponent player gets a ball in hand.
They get to place the white ball anywhere behind the baulk line.
What happens if you scratch and make a ball?
If a player scratches on the break and one of the object balls goes in, the ball type is given to no one. The table remains open so the next player gets ball in hand behind the line to take a legal hit on any ball types.
The opponent player gets a ball in hand behind the baulk line, but while executing it, the Cue Ball must pass past the line before it hits an object ball.
In the middle of gameplay, if a player scratch and an object ball goes in, the pocketed ball remains pocketed. Still, the opponent is free to place the Cue Ball anywhere on the pool table or behind the line, depending on the rule applied.
If a player scratches, and in the process, the 8-ball goes in, the guilty player loses the match instantly. That’s a foul on the 8-ball, which leads to direct loss unless on the break.
If WPA rules are used on the break, pocketing the blackball does not make the breaker lose the game. Instead, the breaker can ask for a rerack or take the 8-ball out for racking dot and accept the break.
Pool scratch rules
- A scratch foul happens whenever a player drops the Cue Ball in any of the pockets or if the white ball jumps off the table.
- Regardless of whether or not a player has successfully pocketed any object balls, they lose their turn to their opponent player.
- A scratch foul happens during the break or on the gameplay.
- Any ball pocketed on the break remains pocketed when the scratch foul happens, but the ball type is not awarded to any player.
- Whenever the player scratches on the break, the opponent player gets a ball in hand, but the Cue Ball is only placed behind the head string line. When executing the ball behind the baulk, the white ball must pass the line without hitting the object ball. If it does, the foul is given to the other player.
- If the player scratch on the break and pockets the 8-ball in the process, the opponent player has two options: to request a rerack, and the previous shooter gets a second chance to rebreak again, or return the eight ball to the racking dot and assume the break was okay.
- If the player scratched on the gameplay, and they pocketed the 8-ball along with the Cue Ball, it led to the automatic loss. However, if the 8-ball is still in play, the opponent player gets a ball in hand advantage.
- When APA rules are used, scratching on the break and the 8-ball sinks along with the Cue Ball, the breaker loses the game automatically.
Scratch on Break in Pool: Conclusion
In most 8-ball pool rules, either casual or professional leagues, a scratch is classified as foul despite the variations in the rules. A scratch that is common in all these rules costs the guilty player a turn.
A scratch foul is very severe when it involves the 8-ball in gameplay, and in that case it costs the player a loss. Caution should be taken when handling the 8-ball shot because no matter how many objects balls the opponent has on the table, a win can be awarded anytime a blackball scratch occurs.
It doesn’t matter whether a scratch is intentional or accidental, the foul gives the opponent player an advantage over the player.
Rules are different for a scratch foul on the break, but no player would like to foul on their turn since they will be putting their chances of winning the game at stake. So keep the break clean and avoid the scratch on the opening shot in order to maintain momentum and clean up the table.