I was playing "killers", the billiards variant in Ireland a while ago. I was left with one life left and I did not feel I had a shot to sink any balls, so I decided I'd use my shot to make the next person's shot much more difficult by intentionally cueing the ball a few inches forward without striking any colored balls. I figured I lose a life whether I foul or whether I fail to sink, and I only have one life left, so why not?

I was accused of cheating. Is that right?

2 Answers 2


From initial reading, it appears that killers or killer is a variation of black ball, given that it uses the same table layout.

I could not find a definitive guide to killer rules, but there is a Wikipedia article. It contains this pertinent information:

Usually if the player scratches then an additional life is lost.

Scratching usually means pocketing the cue ball, but can also mean failing to contact a ball.

I would say that in any game that is serious enough to have players complain about cheating, this rule (ie. losing two points on a foul) would probably apply to prevent perverse incentives arising. Having said that, you were on your last life, so it wouldn't have made much difference here anyway.

If your opponent failed to consider that the player taking the shot before him had nothing to lose, that's his problem for not preparing accordingly. There's nothing to say that had you made an honest attempt, that the resulting leave would have been any better for him.

Deliberately fouling in pool games is generally not seen to be "cheating", as the penalties for fouling are generally strong enough to prevent the affected party from feeling aggrieved. This discussion seems to share that consensus - in 8-ball, for example, the ball-in-hand penalty is seen as a strong enough disincentive to deliberate fouling.


Philosophically or factually?

It's yes in both cases.

Deliberately breaking a rule, and choosing to not play in the spirit of the game, are both considered cheating.

  • 1
    I would be more inclined to say that this depends entirely on the sport and the situation in question. In football, it's completely acceptable to take a caution for a tactical foul as long as the foul doesn't put the opponent at risk of injury. Similarly, in most forms of pool, the penalties for failing to make a legal shot are strong enough to prevent opponents from deliberately fouling, except for a few rare edge cases. Jul 24, 2016 at 9:49
  • @studro It being accepted as an event which occurs often, doesn't change the fact it's a deliberate breach of the rules - which is de facto cheating.
    – Nij
    Jul 25, 2016 at 9:32

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.