In a recent friendly game, I successfully snookered my opponent between the rail and one of my balls. To achieve this, I played the cue ball off a single rail and ended up touching my own ball before the cue ball stopped.

My opponent claimed a foul, since "only the cue ball touched a rail, and not the object ball".

Coming from a snooker background, I find the rules of 8-ball safety play somewhat confusing. I read the official 8-ball rule guide, however I did not see an explicit rule that corresponds to my situation.

So what constitutes a legal "safety shot" in 8-ball pool? Can I only snooker my opponent when both cue ball and object ball touch the rail? Is there an order in which this must happen (i.e., does the cue ball have to touche the rail first, or last)?

2 Answers 2


If you go by http://www.epa.org.uk/wrules.php I think that your shot was a foul according to rule 1 b in section G on Legal Shots.

  1. On all shots, the player must:
    • a. Cause the Cue Ball's initial contact with a ball to be with a ball "On", AND THEN
    • b. Pot a ball "On" OR; Cause the Cue Ball or any Object Ball to contact a cushion.

In this case the order is important. The cue ball must come into contact with one of your balls before you can count balls touching rails for the purposes of shot legality. If you had touched one of your balls with the cue ball before hitting the rail and then snookering your opponent, it would have been a legal shot.

  • This depends on the rules of play. There are pool rules where you don’t have to make a ball contact a cushion after a shot. With these rules you can roll the cue ball up to your object ball and as long as it contacts your object ball before an opponent’s ball it is a legal shot. Commented Jul 9, 2019 at 10:51

I find it odd that APA 8-ball rules for any/all safeties are silent on what exactly constitutes a legal safety - the UK/snooker reference above comes closest. The cue ball must FIRST contact one of the shooter's balls, followed THEN by either the cue ball or ANY other ball hitting a rail. This sequence/order are important but don't seem to be stated anywhere. Anyone have other thoughts or have I missed seeing this stated elsewhere?

  • Is this intended to be an answer to the question, or an entirely separate question?
    – F1Krazy
    Commented Jul 6 at 14:05
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