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Section 3.9 of the WPA Pool Billiards rules lists Bad Play from Behind the Head String as a standard foul for 8 ball. However, when you actually read Section 6.11 Bad Play from Behind the Head String, it says:

When the cue ball is in hand behind the head string, and the first ball the cue ball contacts is also behind the head string, the shot is a foul unless the cue ball crosses the head string before that contact. If such a shot is intentional, it is unsportsmanlike conduct. The cue ball must either cross the head string or contact a ball in front of or on the head string or the shot is a foul, and the cue ball is in hand for the following player according to the rules of the specific game.

But this seems like an unfair rule. Assume a scenario where I commit a foul and my opponent has a ball in hand with an easy shot in the kitchen. Is my opponent required to place the ball outside the kitchen just to abide by this rule (or take the other option of taking a long bank shot)? I have never observed this rule being applied in the recent matches of 8 ball pool that I have seen. Is there a different interpretation of this rule?

If I were to frame the rules, I wouldn't have included Section 6.11 as a standard foul for 8 ball, or at the very least I would have added a line saying applies to ball in hand only after a foul committed on the break. As it currently stands there's nothing restricting this rule to the spotting of the cue ball immediately after the break.

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The key here is that there's a difference between "ball in hand" and "ball in hand behind the head string". "Ball in hand" means the ball can go anywhere on the table and be shot at any (legal) ball on the table, regardless of location. "Ball in hand behind the head string" means that the cue ball must be placed behind the head string. In the latter, the ball may not be shot directly at another ball behind the head string, but must cross the head string first and be ricocheted/caromed back.

In other words, if you have "ball in hand" and choose to place the cue ball behind the head string, it doesn't suddenly change to "ball in hand behind the head string".

If you review the 8-ball rules, the only time that a foul results in "ball in hand behind the head string" is when there is a foul on the break. So the scenario you describe is unlikely, since there will be lots of balls on the table and purposefully committing a foul on the break would likely give your opponent lots to shoot at (though not those behind the head string).

Relevant info is in Rule 1.5 of the rules you linked to:

1.5 Cue Ball in Hand When the cue ball is in hand, the shooter may place the cue ball anywhere on the playing surface (see 8.1 Parts of the Table) and may continue to move the cue ball until he executes a shot. (See definition 8.2 Shot.) Players may use any part of the cue stick to move the cue ball, including the tip, but not with a forward stroke motion. In some games and for most break shots, placement of the cue ball may be restricted to the area behind the head string depending on the rules of the game, and then 6.10 Bad Cue Ball Placement and 6.11 Bad Play from Behind the Head String may apply.

When the shooter has the cue ball in hand behind the head string and all the legal object balls are behind the head string, he may request the legal object ball nearest the head string to be spotted. If two or more balls are equal distance from the head string, the shooter may designate which of the equidistant balls is to be spotted. An object ball that rests exactly on the head string is playable.

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