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IBA Official Rules

The home team always has "home field advantage". The home team gets to decide which table is to be used at the playing location. All matches are to commence at the designated league night starting time. If the preferred table chosen by the home team is occupied at the designated league start time another table must be chosen immediately. Under no circumstance should a visiting team be forced to wait for a table to be available which would postpone the league match to a later time.

The team who puts up the first shooter of the match is determined by a coin flip. The winner of the coin flip will decide if they would like to put up a player or have their opponent put up a player first. After each set, putting up a shooter first will rotate between the team until all of the sets are over.

Winner of the lag wins the right to the first break. To perform the lag, both shooters are to simultaneously shoot a ball from behind the head string to the foot cushion and back toward the head cushion. Whichever shooter's ball comes to rest closest to the head cushion is winner of the lag.

  1. If a shooter, during their lag shot, knocks their ball into any pocket or off of the table or contacts one of the side rails it is a loss of the lag.
  2. If both shooters knock their balls into a pocket or side rail then both shooters are to re-lag.
  3. If, during the lag, both shooter's balls make contact with one another both shooters are to re-lag.
  4. If, during the lag, one of the shooter's balls travels passed the head cushion, and resides inside the jaws of one of the pockets closest to the head cushion without falling into the pocket, both shooters are to re-lag.
  5. If, during the lag, a shooter's ball makes contact with any foreign object such as a stick, human being, or rack it is a loss of the lag.
  6. The winner of each game breaks the next game.

When a foul is committed on any shot other than the break, the opposing shooter gets cue ball-in-hand. This means that the shooter can place the cue ball anywhere on the table. The only time the cue ball is required to be placed behind the head string is when a foul is committed on the break.

If more than one type of foul is committed on the same stroke, the higher penalty applies. Any foul must be called before another stroke is taken. An attempt to avoid the penalty for a foul by hurrying the following stroke is an act of bad sportsmanship and is forbidden.

The following is a list of additional fouls which result in ball-in-hand for the incoming shooter:

  1. The cue ball fails to make its first contact with the shooter's object ball.
  2. No ball contacts a rail or falls in a pocket after the first contact between the cue ball and object ball.
  3. The cue ball is scratched or is a jumped ball.
  4. The cue tip contacts the cue ball more than once on the same stroke. (Refer to 45-Degree Rule in Required Warnings - Section 1.22)
  5. Double hitting the cue ball with the cue stick when shooting at the game ball and the game ball is pocketed this is a game-ending foul. The opponent has the choice of spotting the game ball or taking the points.
  6. A push shot is committed. Illegal jump shots are a form of push shot. (Refer to Jump Shots - Section 1.12)
  7. An object ball is accidentally moved during the stroke and then makes contact with the cue ball or has been moved from a spot that the cue ball passes through.
  8. The shooter allows ANY item (their hand, hair, sleeve, piece of chalk, etc.) to contact the cue ball at any time the set is “live”.
  9. The shooter strokes while a ball is still in motion. A spinning ball is in motion.
  10. The shooter ignores an opponent's call for a referee (Refer to Coaching - Section 2) or an opponent's warning. (Refer to Required Warnings - Section 1.22)
  11. The shooter clearly takes ball-in-hand shot when they were only entitled to ball-in-kitchen.
  12. The shooter causes the cue ball or game-ball to make contact with the pocket patch after being warned. (Refer to Required Warnings - Section 1.22)
  13. The shooter strokes without at least one foot on the floor while a bridge is available and after having been warned. (Refer to Required Warnings - Section 1.22)
  14. The shooter's team has violated coaching rules. (Refer to Coaching- Section 2)
  15. In some uncommon situations, the shooter may feel that they are in a position where they can only worsen their chances by taking a stroke. In this case, the shooter has the right to pick up the cue ball and hand it to their opponent. This is to be scored as a safety by the shooter
  16. If a player picks up the game ball, it is considered a “jumped ball” and the jumped ball rules apply.

Note: Although you are not required to call foul before taking ball-in-hand, protect yourself. You should call the foul and get an acknowledgement from your opponent before picking up the cue ball. If a player picks up the cue ball and cannot establish that a foul was committed by their opponent, they have themselves committed ball-in-hand foul.

When the cue ball is in hand, the shooter may place the cue ball anywhere on the bed of the table, except in contact with another ball. When placing the cue ball in position, the shooter is allowed to adjust the placement of the cue ball with the cue stick. This rule also applies to break shots when the shooter has ball-in-hand behind the head string.

  1. Allowing the cue ball (or any part of the hand or arm holding the cue ball) to come into contact with another ball on the bed of the table while the cue ball is in hand is a foul. The incoming shooter has cue ball-in-hand..
  2. The shooter may adjust the position of the cue ball with their hand or cue, as long as a “forward stroking motion” where the cue tip makes contact with the cue ball is not used.

When a pocket patch is used in a match, call the game ball by placing the pocket patch on the rail nearest the intended pocket.

  1. The patch must be nearest to the called pocket than any other pocket. The distance from the pocket does not matter. If the patch happens to be nearest the intended pocket before the shooter's turn, they do not have to touch or move it.
  2. There must be no more than one patch on the table.
  3. Anyone present may remind the shooter to "patch the pocket". Any attempt to tell the shooter WHERE to place the patch is an act of coaching and is controlled by coaching rules.
  4. The patch must not hang over the rail or pocket into the area of play. However, the opponent is required to warn the shooter.
  5. Any object can be used as the patch IF both players have previously agreed.

Note: The only format required to use the “pocket patch” is the Leisure format. The two players in the set can agree to not use the “pocket patch” and play “call your pocket” if both players agree prior to the start of the set.

If a shooter intends to play a safety they must notify their opponent.

The cue ball is considered frozen when the cue ball is touching one of the shooters object balls. The two balls are considered one and it is legal to shoot toward the object ball provided you use an otherwise legal stroke and no other foul is committed. (Refer to 45-Degree Rule & Frozen Cue Ball Rule in Required Warnings – Section 1.22)

Accidental movement of object balls is not a foul. If the object ball is moved prior to the stroke, the shooter must stop and allow their opponent the option of returning the balls to their original position or to accept the resting position of the moved balls. If more than one ball is moved, the opponent must either return all moved balls or accept the resting position of all balls. If the accidental movement is caused during or after the stroke, all balls must be allowed to come to rest without interference. After this, the opponent has the same option described above.

Note: It is not an automatic foul if the shooter attempts to return an accidentally moved ball. The important issue is that the opponent controls the replacement or acceptance of the moved ball. If the shooter has replaced the ball, the opponent can accept that, replace it themself, or place it back to the moved position.

The opponent does not have the right to place the ball anywhere they wish. They must make an honest attempt to place it in the position it had originally occupied.

It sometimes happens that so many balls have been moved it is impossible to return them to their original position. In this case, the opponent has the choice of accepting the moved position or calling for a re-rack of the balls. A re-rack is handled as described in Stalemated Game - Section 1.15

An accidentally pocketed ball is one that the shooter has caused to fall into a pocket by some other action than a stroke. If this ball is the cue ball, it is treated the same as if it had been pocketed on a stroke. (Refer to Foul Penalty - Section 1.4) If this ball is the game ball, it is a game-ending foul. If this is one of the other object balls, it is treated as an accidentally moved ball. If the opponent chooses to have this ball replaced to its original position, it is the shooter's responsibility to retrieve the ball.

If a ball comes to a complete rest at the edge of a pocket for at least three seconds, it is a hanging ball. If this ball later falls into the pocket for no apparent reason, it is not considered pocketed. It is to be replaced as near as possible to its original position. If both players agree, the ball may be left as pocketed.

Rules covering the cue ball or game ball coming to rest out of play are listed in the Foul Penalty - Section 1.4 Causing another object ball to be a "jumped ball" is not a foul. Any "jumped ball" other than the cue ball or game ball is spotted on the rack spot before the following stroke. If there is more than one "jumped ball", the opponent chooses which is to be spotted first. If the shooter has otherwise executed a legal shot and pocketed one of their object balls, they continue to shoot.

There are legal and illegal jump shots. A jump shot executed with a level or nearly level cue stick aimed at a low spot on the cue ball is a form of push shot and is a foul. A jump shot executed by a downward stroke aimed near to a line passing through the center of the cue ball is a legal stroke. If the location of play has a "house rule" against jump shots, this type of shot is not allowed.

Masse shots are legal by league rules, but many locations have "house rules" against masse shots. They are not allowed in these locations.

If, after 2 consecutive turns at the table by each shooter (4 turns total), both shooters agree that attempting to pocket or move an object ball will result in loss of game, the balls may be re-racked, if both players agree to a stalemate, with the original breaker of the stalemated game breaking again. No points are scored; all innings from the game are crossed off the score sheet.

Occasionally the shooter will mistakenly start shooting at the opponent's group of balls. This is obviously a ball-in-hand foul on the first such stroke taken. However, if the opponent does not call the foul and instead allows the shooter to continue, the opponent loses the right to call fouls for this violation. After the shooter strokes at two or more of the opponent's object balls, the opponent can only inform the shooter of this and choose one of these options:

  1. The shooter must return to their group of balls. If they have pocketed an object ball without committing some other type of foul, their inning continues.
  2. The game is re-racked as described in Stalemated Game - Section 1.15

Note: If the opponent has allowed the shooter to pocket the wrong group of balls and otherwise legally pocket the game ball, the shooter has won the game. The shooter will receive credit for the game win and any balls pocketed from that group. The opponent will receive credit for all the balls pocketed from the opposite group.

The kitchen exists on two strokes only - the break shot and the shot following a break foul. On these strokes, the cue ball must be stroked from a position inside the kitchen and its first contact must be with an object ball or rail outside of the kitchen. A ball is determined to be "in" or "out" by the point at which the centerline of that ball contacts the table. If the shooter strokes the cue ball from a position outside of the kitchen, it’s a ball-in-hand foul for the incoming shooter.

If the cue ball provided for the match does not satisfy the definition given here, either team has the right to substitute a cue ball which is legal. Once a set has begun, no cue ball substitution can be made until that set has finished. Once a legal cue ball is substituted, it will remain in use for the rest of the set. The requirements of a legal cue ball are:

  1. The cue ball must be returnable by the table if pocketed.
  2. The cue ball must be the same diameter as the object balls.
  3. The cue ball must be spherically balanced.
  4. A composition type cue ball ("mud ball" or "mush ball") is not a legal cue ball. This ball has small metal flakes distributed throughout its surface.

Note: If the opponent has allowed the shooter to pocket the wrong group of balls and otherwise legally pocket the game ball, the shooter has won the game. The shooter will receive credit for the game win and any of their correct group of balls pocketed, but will not receive credit for any other balls remaining on the table. The opponent will receive credit for the balls they pocketed.

It is possible for two or more balls to become clustered in the jaws of a pocket in such a way that one or more of these balls would fall into the pocket if the other balls were not preventing this. Any ball that both players agree would otherwise fall into the pocket should be placed in the pocket before the next stroke.

It sometimes happens that another person accidentally strikes the shooter's cue stick while they are preparing to stroke. This may then cause the cue stick to contact the cue ball. The outcome depends on who that other person is:

  1. The person causing the interference is a member of the shooter's team or is a spectator clearly present with that team. The contact with the cue ball is considered a stroke. (Refer to Foul Penalty - Section 1.4)
  2. The person causing the interference is a member of the opposing team or a spectator unconnected to the shooter's team - No stroke has been made. The balls are returned to their positions before the interference and the shooter then continues ("no harm, no foul").

The outcome of a stroke is determined by the position of the balls after motion has stopped. If a ball goes into a pocket and is "spit out" onto the table, it has not been pocketed. If a ball jumps off the table and returns to rest on the table bed after striking the pool table light or a piece of chalk, it is not a "jumped ball". There are several variations to this, but the basic meaning of the rule is that a ball is considered to be where it stops, not where it has been. The only exception to this is a case where that ball has been contacted by the shooter's body or an object held by the shooter. In this exception, the ball is considered to be a "jumped ball".

Some situations require a warning by the opponent before the stroke is executed. In most of these, a foul can't be called for this violation unless the warning was given. Any member of the opposing team is allowed to give the required warning.

45 - Degree Rule: The 45-degree rule is provided to allow a player or teams to have an easily defined way of executing a legal hit on object balls that are very close to the cue ball. When the cue ball and the first object ball to be contacted are within a distance equal to the diameter of the ferrule of the shooter's cue stick (approximately 1/2 inch) or closer, the cue stick must be stroked from an angle of 45-degrees or more from the line of centers between the cue ball and the object ball (either vertically or horizontally). If uncertain, the shooter has the right to ask the opponent before stroking to verify that they have satisfied this requirement. If the opponent does not verbally warn the shooter that they’re not satisfying the “45-degree rule”, it is assumed that they did satisfy the rule.

Split Hit ("bad hit"): The opponent should protect themselves by warning the shooter to wait until both teams can agree on a referee or referees to watch the shot and call the "hit" legal or foul. The decision of the referee is final. Although a foul may be called after the stroke if a warning was not made, "benefit of doubt" will rule in favor of the shooter. A shooter who ignores a proper warning and strokes without waiting for an agreed referee has committed ball-in-hand foul.

Object Ball Frozen to Rail: If an object ball is frozen to a rail, the contact of that ball to that rail cannot be considered to satisfy the requirements of a legal shot. No ball is considered as frozen to the rail unless it has been identified and agreed to be frozen before the stroke. If this object ball is the first ball contacted, one of the following must occur or a foul has been committed: The object ball later contacts any other rail, or the cue ball later contacts any rail, or a different object ball contacts a rail or any ball is pocketed.

Frozen Cue Ball: If the cue ball becomes frozen to the shooters object ball, the two balls are considered one. The shooter must notify their opponent that the cue ball is frozen to the object ball and no “push shot” foul can be called as long as a legal stroke is executed and no other foul is committed.

Pocket Patch Overhanging Into Playing Area: No foul can be called for any ball contacting the patch unless a warning was given by the opponent and ignored by the shooter.

One Foot on the Floor: It is a foul to stroke without at least one of the shooter's feet in contact with the floor. The exception to this is that a bridge must be available at the location or the rule doesn't apply. No foul can be called for this violation unless the shooter was warned prior to the stroke.

Coaching Violations: Some coaching fouls can only be called after a proper warning. (Refer to Coaching - Section 2)

Headphone and Audio Devices: Headphones and audio devices are not allowed during league and tournament play. If a player comes to the table wearing headphones or an audio device, a verbal warning must be given. If the player continues to wear the device, ball-in-hand foul will be awarded. Ear plugs and hearing aids are allowed.

One of the main purposes of IBA is to teach pool-playing skills to its less experienced members. Because of this, the right to coach players is essential. Time-outs (coaching periods) are to be kept to one minute or less in duration. If a player or coach exceeds the one minute time limit they are to be warned for the first violation and subsequent violations will result in cue ball-in-hand foul. This section will explain the rules both allowing and restricting coaching.

FORMATSKILL LEVELTIME OUTS ALLOWED
Masters50 - 150None
Advanced40 - 1501
Leisure30 - 502
Leisure51 - 1501

Note: Coaching in excess of the limit is an automatic ball-in-hand foul. Other violations are to be handled by warning the other team for a first-time violation and marking one coaching period as being used. If the offending player or team continues to violate coaching rules, each later violation in that set is ball-in-hand foul.

Coaching consists of providing advice to the shooter about what to shoot, how to shoot it, or calling fouls on the player's behalf. Requests for rule interpretations are not coaching only if that request is initiated by the player and that player has no private conversation with a teammate.

Each player has the right to choose their own coach at the beginning of the set.

Once a player has chosen their coach, they are not allowed to change coaches. There is only one exception to this rule. If a match is being played on two tables and the coach is called to play on the other table, they are not allowed to continue coaching. The player then must choose another coach.

  1. The coach must be a member of the team and on the roster.
  2. No one can perform coaching duties unless selected as the coach.
  3. If the coach has to leave the match for any reason, the player must complete the set without a coach unless the opponent agrees to a change in coaches.
  4. The coach cannot interrupt play because they have to temporarily leave the match. Play continues in their absence.
  5. Only the coach can provide direct advice to the player, but the coach can confer with other team members as long as the shooter is separated and cannot hear the discussion but the overall coaching time limit remains one minute.
  6. The coach cannot touch any ball. The first violation requires a verbal warning by the opponent. Each subsequent violation for the rest of the set is ball-in-hand foul.
  7. The coach cannot leave any marks on the table.
  8. The coach must leave the table before the shot. The coach cannot stand in the shooter's "line of sight".
  9. Non-members cannot directly provide advice to the shooter or call out fouls. Teams are responsible for the actions and statements of non-members who are in their company.

Calling fouls on the player's behalf at any time is coaching. Players are allowed to talk to their teammates and discuss strategy between games and during the opponent's turn, but coaching is assumed if they continue to talk after the opponent’s turn has ended (balls have stopped rolling).

The time length of a coaching period should be kept to one minute or less. This is a guideline. The issue here is the pace of play. If an occasional coaching period is longer than one minute, there is no problem. If a coach or team is habitually taking longer than a minute, they are violating the rules of league sportsmanship. The coaching period begins as soon as the advice is started or the foul is called. The coaching period ends when the player takes the following stroke. After calling foul for the player, the coach is allowed to advise them on their shot. The coach can leave the table and return as long as no stroke has been made and time is not excessive.

A time-out is an interruption of play. Before any interruption, you are heavily encouraged to inform your opponent that you want a time-out and wait for an acknowledgement from them. This will help to avoid confusion and arguments. It will also help to avoid unnecessary fouls. There are four acceptable reasons for calling a time-out:

Time-out for a referee: Any player may call for a referee to watch the shot. This is not coaching. That referee will then call the shot as a legal stroke or a foul. Their call is final.

Time-out for a rules call: Only the shooter or their coach can interrupt play for a rule interpretation. If this is initiated by the coach, it IS coaching. If it is initiated by the shooter and the shooter has any private conversation with their coach, it IS coaching. If it is initiated by the shooter and a member of the opposing team is present to hear everything said, it is not coaching.

Time-out to check status: Only the shooter can call for a time-out to check the status of the set (such as the score or the availability of time-outs). This is not coaching unless initiated by the coach.

Time-out for coaching: Only the shooter or their coach can initiate coaching. The proper way to initiate coaching is to call for time-out and obtain an acknowledgement from the opponent. If this is done, the shooter gains these advantages:

  1. The call for time-out is not coaching. The shooter or coach has the right to refuse the time-out and save that coaching period for later.
  2. If a call for time-out is made, the opponent must warn the shooter if they have already received their limit of coaching periods allowed. If an acknowledgement is made with no warning given, the coaching is allowed even if over the limit. It is not a violation to coach without first calling for time-out, but that player loses the protections listed above. If your opponent coaches without first calling for time-out and they have already used their coaching limit, they have committed a foul. Any coach that attempts to take advantage by using time-out calls as signals to the shooter is violating league sportsmanship rules.

Any action of a league member that doesn't conform to the rules outlined above is a coaching violation. A coaching violation may or may not be ball-in-hand foul. Violations are to be handled as described in the next two sections under sportsmanship and penalties.

Please note that the league is a combination of competition and recreation. We need to work together to avoid both the extremes of nit-picking and of rules abuse. Teams that continue to commit coaching violations after being warned are not acting in good sportsmanship.

IBA pool leagues are designed for fun and entertainment. Proper sportsmanship is expected from all shooters at all times. IBA reserves the right to ban or suspend any shooter, at any time, for any reason from future play.

A good sport will help everyone have a positive experience. One of the most critical characteristics of a good sport is honesty. While opponents are not required to disclose strategic information, they are required to give honest answers to game specific questions or league rules when asked. Some examples are:

  1. Shooters sometimes forget which group of balls they are shooting. If asked by the opponent, the player must give an honest answer.
  2. If the opponent asks the shooter if they have committed a foul, the shooter must answer honestly.
  3. If the opponent asks for an explanation of a league rule, the player will answer honestly to the best of their knowledge.
  4. During the period when teams are allowed to make roster changes "on the spot", the captain must inform their opponent of any new players being added to the team when asked. If the opponent asks and the captain has either refused to answer or has replied that there would be no new players added to the team that night, that captain has lost the right to use a player that is not already printed on the roster form.

Poor sportsmanship is not tolerated in IBA or any of its associated pool leagues. There are many ways for a member to show poor sportsmanship. The following are a few examples. Some of these are subtle and some are very serious. All are forbidden.

Disregard for league rules: Any member who refuses to acknowledge official rules of the league can only suffer by doing it. Remember that all rules have a valid reason for being. It is your own responsibility to know these rules. You have the right to introduce your rule change ideas to be considered by your fellow IBA members.

Displays of anger: Players who make obvious displays of anger out of frustration are acting in an unacceptable manner. Even if that anger is not directed towards an opponent, it's unsportsmanlike behavior. Any member who damages equipment at a host location is responsible for making full restitution to that location before continuing play in the league.

Nit picking: Sometimes people are so obsessed with winning that they will clutch at any possibility, no matter how minor, to gain advantage. Please display an attitude that the match will be decided by the shots taken at the table and not by “nit picking” any rules.

Rating manipulation (Sandbagging): Any attempt to manipulate the rating of a player is cheating. If you believe an opponent is intentionally stretching games or playing fake safeties, please inform management. Do not allow an opposing team to pressure you into changing your score sheet. There is no requirement that score sheets match each other. Just play pool and let the ratings determine themselves. If you see any evidence of an opponent or their team trying to manipulate ratings, please inform the league office. Remember that anyone who does this is a cheat and that we rely on each other to provide fair play. Your league management takes this subject very seriously and is constantly working on methods to make the IBA handicapping system TruSpot the best possible. Also please recognize that it is not necessarily true that a player is a "sandbagger" just because they have a good set. Also give new players a chance to find their proper rating. It's not possible to claim 100% accuracy of a rating that is only based on a handful of scores.

Sharking: Sharking is an action or statement intended to cause the opponent to lose concentration and make a mistake. There are several techniques that have been used to this end and some are very subtle. It's not always possible to separate sharking from unintended behavior, but "sharks" often show themselves by repeating this behavior at critical times. Sharking is cheating!

Some traditional sharking techniques are:

  1. The shark will constantly comment on the opponent's shots. They may repeatedly accuse them of blind luck or comment on the difficulty of making the next shot or getting out. They may constantly remind the opponent of the importance of the match or shot.
  2. The shark may constantly hang over the table during the opponent's turn. Players must stay well away from the table when it is the opponent's turn. If the player or coach stands within 5 feet of the table or in the opponent’s line of sight while the opponent is at their turn at the table, the opponent can issue a warning to the player. (Refer to Required Warnings - Section 1.22) If the player or coach continues to approach the table while the opponent is in their turn, ball-in-hand will be awarded to the opponent.

Signals: Any form of a signal system is cheating. If you believe your opponent is using signals to avoid coaching restrictions, notify league management.

Slow play: Excessively slow play is another difficult area to control. Sometimes slow play is a sharking technique and sometimes it is just the natural pace of the shooter. In order to achieve a balance that is in the interests of the majority of league members, management will consider any pattern of slow play to be a violation of sportsmanship rules. If your natural tendency is to be highly deliberate in considering every shot, you will have to make a conscious effort to pick up your pace of play. At tournaments, a slow player may be placed on a stopwatch. If that occurs, any shot that takes 61 seconds for any reason will be ball-in-hand foul. There will be no warning after the first shot.

Verbal abuse: Verbal abuse can take many forms. Especially offensive are racial, sexual, or ethnic insults. Any member that uses any slurs of this type towards another member will be required to make full apology or their membership will be suspended. Any member who does this repeatedly is not welcome in IBA and will be expelled. No one is allowed to verbally abuse another IBA member. Other forms of verbal abuse are dealt with according to the severity and frequency of the abuse.

Threats: Threats of physical harm are considered extremely serious and may be treated the same as physical abuse. No one has the right to cause another member to fear for their safety. This type of behavior is not tolerated in IBA and any member displaying this type of behavior will be expelled!

Violent behavior: Any form of physical abuse of a league member is immediate grounds for expulsion. Any member who initiates violence towards another member is automatically expelled from the league.

Dealing with violations of sportsmanship rules is an extremely difficult area for two basic reasons. The first is that it is impossible for teams that are playing self-supervised matches to impose penalties on each other. Second is that league management, who must make these decisions, is at a disadvantage by not being present and must decide based on second-hand information. Please see the next heading for advice to help management make proper decisions. The difficulty is further complicated by the fact that there are a large range of possible penalties. A member that has violated sportsmanship rules can be penalized by league management with anything from a warning to permanent expulsion from IBA (or anything in between). In all other areas of league rules, decisions are made without any consideration of the history of the teams or players involved. A rule is a rule and is always interpreted in the same way. Sportsmanship is very different! The past behavioral history of a player or team accused of sportsmanship violations will bare heavily on the decision made.

The possible penalties are:

Warnings: Whenever possible, management may give a warning to an offending member or team before penalizing them.

Ratings assignments: If league management is satisfied that a player is seriously underrated, the right is reserved to assign that player a rating that will remove any unfair advantage.

Forfeiture of set, match, or standings points: If it is the league management's opinion that a player or team has achieved an unfair advantage through unacceptable behavior, they will lose that advantage. This can go beyond forfeiture to include removing other team points that they had previously earned.

Removal as captain or coach: A league member that is frequently involving themselves in disputes with opponents can lose the right to act as the team captain or the coach until it is management's opinion that they have demonstrated the maturity to perform these duties with good sportsmanship.

Disqualification from post-season tournaments: Severe violations may result in the team losing its right to qualify for post-season play for that season. This would also result in forfeiture of any prize money for that season.

Suspension: A member or team may be suspended from all league events for a period of time to be determined by management. This suspension may be open ended in time until that player or team has reasonably shown that they are able to control the offending behavior.

Expulsion: This applies to a member or team that has so extremely violated the sportsmanship rules that they have shown themselves to be completely unfit to participate. Their membership is revoked, they are not allowed at any league event and they have no right to any refund of league fees paid.

Members who have been penalized for sportsmanship violations have the right to appeal before a committee of neutral league members. It must be recognized that this cannot be done immediately and that the league management's decision is binding until the appeal is heard. This appeal is heard by a neutral group of players from that team's division. The decision of the peer committee is final. They may uphold or overrule the league management's decision. They may specify a different penalty (either more or less severe). They may dictate a future action to be taken by league management if the player or team commits a future offense.

If you are in the unfortunate position of having to deal with a poorly behaving opponent, please “keep your own cool!” You can't control the behavior of others, but you can control your own. If one of your own teammates is out of line, it's your team's responsibility to control them or get them out of the area. One of the most important responsibilities of the captain is to maintain appropriate behavior from their team. Captains are expected to control situations and negotiate reasonable resolutions to conflicts. If this is not possible, call your league office. There is usually an official available by phone when you are playing. Since you can't impose sportsmanship penalties on each other, the only possible way to get an immediate decision is through management. If unsportsmanlike behavior continues, document it! Make a protest note on your score sheet and write a description of the problem on a separate sheet. The more evidence you can supply, the better job management can do to later resolve the issue. If possible, provide management with a way to contact a neutral observer or member of the other team to support your statements.

Decisions are made on the spot. Each team is provided with the "Rules of Tournament Sportsmanship" as they begin any tournament. Please refer to those rules for details.

IBA has an independent pool league handicapping system with its own copyrighted rating system (TruSpot), scoring system and rules. Although it shares many characteristics with other recreational league organizations, many of its characteristics are unique to IBA. This section will describe the way in which the league operates and its organization.

IBA teams are organized into divisions. Each division consists of 4 to 16 teams. The division is geographically set to reduce drive time between locations as much as possible. Each division will have matches scheduled for a given day of the week at a given time. Each division has its own self-contained schedule, play-offs, and awards. All teams in a division have the opportunity to qualify for league-wide tournaments. (Refer to Regular & Post-Season Play - Section 5) Most divisions compete with the same structure and rules. There are some special divisions that may have differences from the others in some rules or prize funds. Teams in these special divisions will be provided with notification of any differences from this rule book.

A team consists of 1 to 8 IBA members. 2 to 6 team members play in each team match. Restrictions on changes to the team roster are listed in the Miscellaneous Rules - Section 8 Rules affecting the eligibility of team members for post-season play are listed in the Regular & Post-Season Play - Section 5 Fee responsibilities of the team are described in the Financial Rules - Section 9

Although there is usually one person serving as team captain, it's acceptable for team members to share or rotate the captain's duties. The team is responsible for having a member that league management can contact as the captain if necessary.

The captain is responsible for the following:

Organizer: The captain makes sure that the team has the right players at the right place at the right time. They ensure that the team roster is correct and that member eligibility is maintained. They schedule the members for play and are responsible for the team adjusting to any schedule changes that may arise.

Communicator: The captain provides league management with any information needed to protect the team's interests and to satisfy league rules. They make sure that team members are aware of information provided by league management.

Negotiator: The captain represents the team's interests in issues that require negotiation with other teams (such as rules questions, scheduling of make-ups, etc.). They take control of any situation where emotions may arise and ensure that the team acts in a sportsmanlike manner to resolve any disputes that may occur.

Rules Authority: The captain is knowledgeable about the league rules and helps their teammates to also learn these rules. They are provided with a rule book and are invited to contact the league office for any interpretation or further rule information needed.

Treasurer: The captain protects the team's financial interests by taking responsibility for keeping the records necessary to ensure that all fees are paid by team members.

Each player has the right to choose a coach. Details are listed in the Coaching Rules - Section 2 Any team member can act as a coach.

A player must be a member of IBA to be on a team roster or compete in IBA events. There are certain rules and restrictions involving membership.

No professionals allowed: IBA members are amateur pool players. The standards used for determining professionalism are: is the player a touring member or does the player make their living playing the game of pool? Please recognize that there are amateur players who have the ability to compete as professionals but make their living in other ways and shoot pool as a hobby.

Age: There is no age restriction set by IBA. However, players are warned that most league activity takes place in locations with alcohol present. An IBA member younger than the legal drinking age must conform to all laws and policies of the establishment where that league activity is occurring. They must recognize that they have no inherent right to compete in any IBA event that excludes them because of age. Many areas allow the presence of a minor when accompanied by a legal guardian. It is the player's responsibility to know these restrictions and obey them. Any underage member that attempts to violate age laws or policies affecting an IBA event will be immediately expelled from the league.

Proof of identity: IBA players must always be able to provide proof of their identity. If a referee or opponent asks for this proof, they must request this in a sportsmanlike manner. Contact league management for assistance if a player cannot provide proof of identity. If a player is refused entrance to a location because they don't carry proper I.D., there is no allowance made in other league rules (the team must either play with the members present or forfeit the fifth set). Penalties for playing another person using the member's name are listed in Illegal Substitutions - Section 8.3

Playing on more than one team: Members are allowed to play on as many teams as they wish, but can only play on one team in a given division during a given season. Members are not normally allowed to change teams within the same division if they have played that season for another team. A change can be approved for team survival purposes if league management and the majority of teams (75% or more) within the division agree to the change.

In tournament play, players are allowed to play on multiple teams or in multiple events. However, players are only allowed to play for two teams or in two events, in any given time slot or round.

A player can only play in one set for their team in a match. The only exception to this occurs in rare cases during post-season play. (Refer to Gladiator Match in Tie Breaks - Section 5.5)

Sportsman-like play: Players must respect the rules and spirit of sportsmanship. A member that continually violates these rules will be penalized. This can include the revocation of their membership. (Refer to Sportsmanship - Section 3)

The major rewards of IBA are earned by players and teams after the regularly scheduled season ends. The seeding and pairings of teams are determined by the regular season point standings. ALL teams have an opportunity to compete for some portion of these rewards in post-season play. The great majority of league rules are unchanged from regular to post-season, but there are some differences. Those differences are detailed in this section. There are a few special IBA divisions which may have post-season rules which differ from this. Teams in those divisions will be informed of any exceptions to this section.

The division point standings at the end of regular season determine the seeding of teams in post-season play.

Championship teams: The teams that finish in the top four positions become the ones that compete for the Division Championship, the Seasonal Championship Tournament and earn ranking points towards the IBA Regional Championships. Individual trophies are awarded to each team member that is qualified for post-season play on a championship team.

Consolation teams: The teams that finish in the fifth through last positions within the division compete for the division's Consolation Championship and the Seasonal Consolation Tournament. They do not earn ranking points during that season towards the IBA Regional Championships. Trophies are awarded to each team member of the consolation championship team that is qualified for post-season play and if there are at least 3 teams in the consolation bracket.

Playoffs are paired by finish position:

Championship teams: The first place team earns home field vs. the fourth place team. The second place team earns home field advantage vs. the third place team. The two winning teams compete for the Division Championship, with home field awarded to the team with the higher finish position.

HomeVisitor
1vs4
2vs3

Consolation teams: Consolation play-offs are paired by finish position. Since there are differing numbers of teams in divisions, Consolation play-offs are divided into brackets of four teams. This will give all Consolation teams an equal opportunity to advance. If necessary, cross-divisional brackets are formed. In some cases, byes must be awarded. The two winning teams from the first round of each bracket will compete for the Consolation Championship.

After winter and summer season playoffs end, all divisions are combined into two seasonal tournaments, Seasonal Championship and Seasonal Consolation. These are single-elimination tournaments and the bulk of the season's prize pool is awarded according to each team’s success in their respective event.

Seasonal tournament qualifications are as follows:

Championship: The regular season first place team is automatically qualified for the Seasonal Championship, regardless of playoff results. The second, third and fourth place teams must win the Division Championship match to qualify for this event.

Consolation: To qualify for this event, a Consolation team must win their bracket’s Consolation Championship.

Preferential seeding is awarded to teams in the form of byes. The number of byes available changes each season according to the number of qualified teams. Teams are ranked into the categories listed below:

Championship Seeding

  1. Teams that both finished first place and won the Division Championship.
  2. Teams finish first but did not win the Division Championship.
  3. Teams that finished below first place and won the Division Championship

Consolation Seeding

  1. Teams that won their Consolation bracket with back to back wins.
  2. Teams that won their Consolation bracket after receiving a bye.

There are four possible situations that require a procedure for breaking ties:

  1. Team Standings

    1. The head to head point totals of the teams during that season.
    2. The total sets won during the regular season by each team.
    3. The total points lost to each team's regular season opponents.
    4. The two team's season records against the team which has finished immediately below them in the division standings.

  2. Division MVP

    1. If the tied players had competed against each other during the regular season, the player who had earned the most head to head points is the MVP.
    2. The average ratings of their regular season opponents are compared. If there is a difference of 5 or more rating points between these averages, the player who has competed against the higher rated opponents is the MVP.
    3. The players play a single set to determine the MVP.

  3. Gladiator Match

    Since post-season matches are sudden death, it can happen that two teams have played less than five sets and do not have a clear winner. In the case that neither team has another player present to accept a forfeit, each team is allowed to choose one of their members who has already played a set. All other league rules are in force and scoring of the match is otherwise the same.

  4. Dead Heat

    It's possible for two teams to have scored the exact same point totals at the end of a five-set match. During regular season play, this will stand as a tie. During post-season play, a dead heat is broken by awarding the win to the team that has won three of the five sets played.

At the end of the regular season, each division has a player who earns the title of Most Valuable Player.

Players are ranked according to three factors:

  1. Standings points they earn for their team
  2. Set wins
  3. Set losses

Total points scored by the player are added to a 200 point bonus for each set win and a 200 point penalty for each loss. Players who receive forfeit wins earn 125 points, but do not receive the extra 200 point set win bonus. The resulting total becomes that player's MVP ranking. The player who has the highest MVP ranking at the end of regular season is the Division MVP. A trophy is awarded to the Division MVP and they are offered a discounted direct entry into the Regional Singles Championship along with a direct entry into the Annual MVP Tournament. Additionally, any player finishing in the top 15 places of the division MVP standings will receive an invitation to the Annual MVP Tournament. Players finishing in the top 15 places of multiple MVP standings will be eligible to play in only one MVP tournament. The player is eligible to play in the higher format i.e. if a player qualifies in both Leisure and Advanced formats; the player’s eligibility is for the Advanced MVP tournament.

In order to help ensure fairness of competition during post-season matches, there are minimums of the number of times that each player must have played with their team and the number of scores in their IBA history. Scores in a player's history can come from any recorded IBA match. They do not have to be connected to any given team or season. Any member who has not completed a membership application for that year and returned it to the league office is not eligible for post-season events. However, if that player completes the membership application prior to shooting a post-season set, they can then become eligible. Members of a team who are ineligible cannot play, but they can be used as forfeits for team rating limit purposes. These are the numbers required before entering the following events:

Times w/TeamCalculated Scores
Division Playoffs47
Seasonal Tournaments58
Regional Championships69

Times w/Team - number of sets played that season as a member of that team. In the case of the Regional Championships, this is the number of times played with that team over the tournament qualifying year.

Note: If a player is dropped from a team roster and later added again, they must start this number over again.

Calculated Scores - The number of set scores a player must have in their rating history as a member of IBA.

Note: The only exception to this is if 50% or more of the players on a roster are new to IBA for the season. In this case the calculated IBA scores are:

Calculated Scores
Division Playoffs5
Seasonal Tournaments6
Regional Championships7

Special Case - A player can receive credit for one set played as a member of their team if:

  1. They have previously been present to play for that team and have received a forfeited set.
  2. They were listed on the score sheet from that match.
  3. The player has satisfied requirements for the number of calculated IBA scores in their rating history. No exceptions will be made.
  4. No more than one set can be credited no matter how many times that player has received forfeits.

Many league members choose to play in more than one division. When post-season tournaments mix the competition of all divisions, complications can result. A player who has earned post-season eligibility on more than one team retains their right to compete with each of those teams. However, players are only allowed to play for two teams or in two events, in any given time slot or round.

The following rules apply:

  1. If the player is eligible on the rosters of two teams who happen to meet in a tournament match, the player cannot play themselves. They can play in this match for either or both teams, but they must play in the first, second or third set only. If they play for both teams, they must obviously play for one team in the first or second set and the other in the third. This rule can be suspended upon request from both team captains.
  2. A team who has an eligible member who is playing at the same time for another team has the right to list that player for a set, delay the set, and then continue to the next match-up. This player must be involved in another IBA tournament match. As soon as that player is available, the set will begin on the first open table. This determination will be made by the Tournament Director.
  3. The above right to delay a set does not exclude a team from normal forfeit rules. Once a player has been listed and matched up, they can't be later withdrawn. If all other sets of the match are completed and the player is not yet available, the by-passed set becomes a forfeit. If the Tournament Director decides that a team is stalling for an absent player, one warning will be given. After that point, any evidence of stalling tactics will be considered a violation of sportsmanship rules and the Tournament Director will penalize accordingly. This can include forfeiture of match.

Each team must return their Team Rating Certification sheet before playing any post-season match. If any members of the team have pool playing abilities beyond their rating, their captain is expected to raise them to the proper level. Any team that does not sign and return this sheet may have all members of their team raised three (3) rating points for each post-season match the team plays until the sheet is signed. Ratings of members at the end of post-season play are compared to their ratings at the beginning.

If these changes exceed the limits shown below, the penalty will be as follows:

Potential Disqualification

If the rating of a team member rises from the beginning of post-season play by 15 or more points or if the total ratings of all team members rise by 40 or more points, the team is potentially disqualified. This is not automatic. If the team is determined to be guilty of rating manipulation, the team is disqualified. A team that has been disqualified on this basis has the right to appeal before a committee of neutral league members. The decision of that committee is final.

Automatic Disqualification

If the rating of a team member rises from the beginning of post-season play by 20 or more points or if the total ratings of all team members rise by 60 or more points, the team is automatically disqualified. There is no right of appeal.

Almost all league rules are exactly the same in regular season play and in post-season play. There are some essential differences listed in this section. If a rule pertains to a particular event, it is listed in the paragraph for that event. If it applies to multiple events, it is listed here.

Sudden death: All post-season matches end at the time when it is agreed that one of the teams has a lead that the other team can't possibly overcome. Teams are strongly advised to be careful to be sure that a comeback is not possible before admitting defeat. Factors such as the possible team rating bonus or penalty and forfeit rules can have a material effect. If in doubt, teams should continue play.

Forfeit scoring: In any post-season match, the team receiving a forfeited set does not receive the same points as regular season. (Refer to Forfeit Points – Section 6.6)

Presence of a referee (tournaments only): Some league rules exist because of the necessity for teams to be able to resolve situations with a neutral authority present. Since tournaments have a Tournament Director (hereafter called T.D.) acting as a referee, there are some differences. These differences are:

  1. 45-degree rule: The 45-degree rule does not protect the shooter in tournament play when a T.D. is present to make a determination as to whether or not the shooter executed the shot legally.
  2. Breaking down the cue stick: If it is the T.D.'s opinion that a player has unscrewed a two-piece cue stick during the opponent's inning, that player has conceded the set.
    1. 8-ball the game winner receives 8 points for the legally pocketed 8-ball and each player receives one point for every one of their group of balls that has been pocketed.
    2. 9-ball the game winner receives 9 points for the legally pocketed 9-ball and one point is awarded to each player for each ball they pocketed.
    3. 10-ball the game winner receives 10 points for the legally pocketed 10-ball and one point is awarded to each player for each ball they pocketed.
  3. Stopwatch: If the T.D. has judged that one player or team is responsible for an unacceptable pace of play, the T.D. will warn that team. If there is not an increase in this pace which is acceptable to the T.D., that player will be timed by a stopwatch. The first time that player exceeds 60 seconds between strokes they will be warned and must shoot immediately. After the first warning, any delay of 61 seconds will result in ball-in-hand foul. There will be no consideration given to the reason for the delay. There will be no subsequent warnings.
  4. Tournament rules sheet: The T.D. provides all teams with a sheet listing tournament rules as they begin their competition. This sheet is an extension of this rule book and describes the T.D.'s authority.
  5. Coaching violations: The T.D. decides the point at which fouls are to be assessed for these violations according to guidelines established by the tournament rules sheet.
  6. Sportsmanship violations: The T.D. has the authority to assess penalties on the spot for unsportsmanlike behavior. These are detailed on the tournament rules sheet.

The Regional Team Championships are the premier events in IBA. Teams and players earn eligibility throughout a calendar year to participate in these events. Teams can play Winter, Summer and Fall seasons to earn eligibility.

Team Eligibility: The eligible team roster for the Regional Team Championship is the Fall Season roster. Players must be listed on the fall season team roster and have played a minimum of 4 matches to be eligible for this event. Championship prizes are paid out based on the number of seasons a team participates and the number of common players in each of the seasons played. In order for a team to be eligible for the following prizes, 4 common players must be on each of the team’s roster each season.

  1. Single season teams are eligible to win $5,000.00 in all formats
  2. Two season teams are eligible to win $7,500.00 in all formats
  3. Three season teams are eligible to win
    1. Leisure - $12,500
    2. Advanced - $15,000
    3. Masters - $17,500

Ranking Points: If there are byes available, they are issued based on ranking points earned throughout the year. The fall team must have at least four members who were on a winter or summer team roster in order to retain ranking points earned by that winter or summer team. The key to eligibility is four common players between the qualified team and any past teams. An eligible team has the right to past credits regardless of the team name, division played, night of play, home location, or captain.

Ranking Points earned are as follows:

Regular Season Finish
1st Place6 points
2nd Place4 points
3rd Place2 points
4th Place1 points
Seasonal Championship Tournament
1st Place20 points
2nd Place14 points
3rd Place10 points
4th Place7 points
5th - 8th Place4 points
9th - 16th Place2 points

Division Championship Playoffs – 3 points for each playoff match won

Tie breaks: If there is a tie between teams for byes, the higher ranking will be awarded to the team that has scored the highest points per set average during all seasons in which that team has earned ranking points.

The Regional Singles Championship is a double elimination, flighted tournament where players will be seeded in flights by their rating. This will ensure that lower skilled players can rise in the tournament while competing against others of their same general abilities. Eligibility requirements are as follows:

  1. A player must be current with their IBA membership.
  2. A player must be listed on a current fall team roster.
  3. A player must have a minimum of 12 scores in their history

Player Eligibility: Players must be listed on a Fall Season team roster and have played a minimum of 6 matches in each season to be eligible for the following:

  1. Single season player is eligible to win $2,000.00
  2. Two season player is eligible to win $3,500.00
  3. Three season player is eligible to win $5,000.00

Note: Since there are many possible formats for a special tournament, any differences from this rule book will be provided at these tournaments. Rules determining play in the Regional Singles Championship are provided to players as they enter the event.

Tournament directors (T.D.) are available to players as a referee for questionable shots. Any player can call for a time-out for the referee. It does not count as coaching. A player who has ignored a call for the referee and shoots without waiting has committed a foul. If called in officially, the T.D. will call a shot as a foul or a legal stroke. It is very important to call the T.D. for questionable shots before the shot happens. At some sites, the T.D. may also be competing. They are to disqualify themselves from any decision that may affect their own team. Shot calls will be made by a neutral party. Rule interpretations and appeals can be made by calling the league office.

Note: If a T.D. happens to witness a shot without having been called as a referee, they will not offer a ruling.

During tournament matches practicing is not allowed and a warning must be issued. Once a warning has been issued, the following rules apply:

  1. It is a foul if you practice at any time during your set, including time-outs and periods of suspended play. "Practice" is defined as any stroke or shot that is not a part of your set, taken on any table at the event venue. In team play, this rule applies to all members of the team roster, whether or not they are playing at the time and whether or not they are listed on the score sheet of the match in progress.
  2. Singles and Doubles penalties: the first violation is a foul, and an unsportsmanlike conduct warning must be issued; a second violation results in loss of game; a third violation results in loss of match.
  3. Team Penalties – all penalties are team penalties; second and third penalties may be incurred by any member of the team.
    1. For practice violations by players who are actually playing in a set at that time: it is a foul, and an unsportsmanlike conduct warning must be issued to the team; a second violation results in loss of game for the player that commits the second violation; a third violation results in loss of set for the team.
    2. For practice violations by players who are not actually playing in a set at that time: it is a foul on all tables, and an unsportsmanlike conduct warning must be issued to the team; a second violation results in loss of the current game on all tables; a third violation results in loss of set for the team.

Rules affecting the scoring of games and sets are listed here. See the "How to Score" hand-out supplied by the league office for details and examples.

Neither player will earn any points for the game until the game ends. If, at the end of a game one of the players has met or exceeded their own rating total, they have won the set. If, at the end of a game, both players are within reach of their rating, the set is “hill-hill” and the winner of the last game is the set winner.

Leisure: Shooter receives points scored, plus 100 point win bonus.

Advanced: Shooter receives points scored, plus 100 point win bonus, plus “margin of victory” points.

Masters: Shooter receives 100 point win bonus, plus “margin of victory” points.

Leisure: Shooter receives points scored.

Advanced: Shooter receives points scored.

Masters: Shooter receives 0 points.

Margin of victory points is defined as the number of bonus points a shooter earns for holding their opponent under their rating.

Margin of victory points is determined by subtracting the number of points the winning shooters opponent scored from the opponents rating for the set and multiple by 3.

Note: In the case where an established player is playing against a new non-rated player (NR) and both players are playing to the new player rating (“45” or “50”) and the established player loses the set, the margin of victory points is calculated by subtracting the number of points scored from the new player rating (“45” or “50”) and not the established players rating.

When a team must forfeit individual sets, both teams must list a member for each set forfeited. For the member receiving the forfeit, write the number of forfeit points received in the “Total”. For the member giving the forfeit, write 0 points in the “Total”.

The forfeiting team may list any member that has not played in the match. The team receiving the forfeit must list a player who is present at the time and has not played in the match.

Note: In the Leisure and Advanced formats, both teams add the totals of all player ratings, just as if all five sets had been played. The forfeiting team pays the penalty if they have exceeded the Rating Limit, but receive no bonus if they are under the limit. The team receiving the forfeit will add a bonus or subtract a penalty as though the entire match had been played.

If a team has to forfeit a set after the match has begun, it must be the last set of the match. For example, a team isn't allowed to choose to forfeit the 4th set and play the 5th. All sets are played before forfeit sets are listed.

Teams are expected to be present and ready to begin matches at the scheduled time. A team may begin a match with only one player present, but there is a time limit beyond which forfeits are awarded to the team that is present. At 15 minutes past the scheduled start time, both teams must have a player ready to begin the match. If a team is not present, one set is forfeited to the opposing team. At 30 minutes past scheduled start, this becomes two sets. At 45 minutes past scheduled start, all five sets of the match are forfeited. The team receiving a forfeit must have a player that hasn't previously shot in the match present to receive a forfeit. Refer to Forfeiting Individual Sets – Section 6.4 for instructions on scoring this. Teams are welcome to re-schedule instead of accepting forfeits. No team has a right to demand a make-up unless prior arrangements had been made and agreed upon. Any team that harasses or insults another team for taking a forfeit will be penalized by league management. If a set ends after the match has begun with no team member available to continue, the team is allowed 15 minutes to have a player ready only if the following are true:

  1. The team was ready to begin the match on time. If any sets had been forfeited at any other time in the match, there is no time allowed.
  2. There is no other team member available. A team cannot use this rule to wait for a specific player.
  3. No earlier set was delayed by the team. This is only allowed once in a match.
  4. This is done on an emergency basis only. A team that has repeatedly taken advantage of this rule will have this right taken away.

Note: There are special cases where a team would lose more points by using a present higher-rated player than they would by forfeiting. Teams retain the right to forfeit a set, even if an available member is present.

There are a couple of options other than a team forfeiting the entire match:

  1. If both teams prefer to make-up the sets. (Refer to Make-Ups - Section 6.9)
  2. If neither team has five players present. (Refer to Un-Played Sets - Section 6.10)

If a team is a “no show” or a team has to forfeit an entire match, the opposing team is awarded forfeit points for each set that was to be played. Refer to Forfeiting Individual Sets – Section 6.4 on how to score each forfeited set. The team who forfeited the match will receive 0 points.

Note: If a team has at least one shooter, their team does not have to forfeit the entire team match. The lone shooter should go ahead and play their individual match. If the shooter’s teammates are still a “no show” at the end of the individual match the team will be credited with the one individual match played and all points accumulated during that match and simply forfeit the remaining individual matches. The remaining forfeited matches are considered ‘individual’ matches and the opposing team is credited with points earned, if any, for each set played as stated in rule 6.4 (above).

FormatRegular SeasonPlayoff/Tournament
Leisure125100 + player rating
Advanced150250
Masters100200

When scoring a set there are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Neither player has earned any points for a game until that game ends. If both players reached their total during the same game, the order in which they pocketed the balls has no meaning. The winner of the last game is the winner of the set.
  2. Points are scored regardless of how the balls were pocketed. You simply count the number of balls pocketed for each group and score accordingly.
  3. If the game ends on an open table (game-ball on-the-break or game-ending foul while table is open), the game winner chooses “stripes” or “solids”. Their opponent takes the other group.
  4. Be sure that any safeties played are marked on the score sheet. Players are requested to inform the scorekeepers when they have played a safety. Any pattern of under-marking safeties or refusing to admit that a safety has been played is a violation of sportsmanship rules and penalties will follow. (Refer to Poor Sportsmanship - Section 3.2)
  5. Remember that the player's option given in a game-ending foul or game-ball-on-the-break situation can affect the time at which a set truly ends.

At the end of each set, each team records the points scored and the ratings of both players in the team score section of the score sheet. At the end of the set, each team will have earned a total number of points scored and will have a total of the ratings of their members who played in the match. For purposes of determining each team's total ratings played, unrated players (NR) are counted as "45" in the Leisure format and “50” in the Advanced and Masters formats. Players who have an established rating count as their true rating, regardless if they race to their own rating or they compete in a race-to “45” or “50” with an unrated (NR) opponent (Refer to Margin of Victory – Section 6.3)

Note: In Round Robin matches unrated players use “75” as their starting rating which counts towards the overall team rating.

Rating Bonus: In the Leisure and Advanced formats, if the total of the team's ratings used is less than the 325 point rating limit, the team will receive that difference to be added to their points scored.

Rating Penalty: In the Leisure and Advanced formats, if the total of the team's ratings used is more than the 325 point rating limit, the team will pay a penalty of five times the difference to be subtracted from their points scored.

If teams agree to finish the match at a later time, scoring is suspended at the end of the last set played. No Rating Bonus or Penalty can be calculated until the match is completed.

  1. Teams must note the agreement and the date they will perform the make-up in the "Messages to League Office:" area on the back of the score sheet.
  2. All players are listed at the ratings they have at the time they actually play.
  3. All other rules are in effect just as if the entire match had been played at one time.

If neither team has enough players present to finish the match, they are allowed to choose a make-up if they conform to all other rules. If a set is left as un-played, each team will receive the total points that they have scored to that point. Both teams lose the right to a Rating Bonus.

Good scorekeeping is essential for the league to be able to provide you with a high-quality system and accurate ratings. Following are a listing of rules on scorekeeping and a list of those items on your score sheet that are required and those that are provided to help you, but are optional.

The scorekeeper can be anyone; they do not have to be a member of the team. Team members are encouraged to share scorekeeping responsibilities. This helps your members to pick up on league rules and strategies.

Each team must score each set. If a match is played on two tables, each team is required to score both tables. This is essential for protection against errors or abuse. Scorekeepers are not allowed to copy the score sheet of another team. Independent data is essential for proper handicapping!

It is a good idea to check with the other team occasionally to avoid errors, but don't allow another team to pressure you into changing any scoring you feel is correct If the two score sheets disagree, the league office will handle it.

The following is a list of “required information” that must be recorded by each team for each player in each set:

  1. Team number
  2. Player rating
  3. Player number
  4. Safeties
  5. Points scored in each g
  6. Innings in each game
  7. Total innings for the set
  8. Total points scored
  9. Winner's Bonus
  10. Player's total points

Pool table size must be indicated on the back of the score sheet along with any information that your team needs the get to the league office (roster changes, questions, etc.) should be noted in the “Messages to League Office” section. If you note it here, it will be seen. Also, both captains’ should sign both score sheets at the end of the match to signify that they are accepting the results.

The heart of the IBA Pool League system is its unique rating system. The IBA rating system TruSpot is well tested and we are confident that it is the fairest and most accurate handicapping system in the sport of billiards. This section contains rules affecting players' ratings.

Ratings are determined by a proprietary computerized formula. This formula tracks several factors of each player's record of performance.

Range and Limits of Ratings: The minimum allowed player rating is 30. The maximum rating is 150. Their rating becomes their "race number" (Refer to Scoring Rules - Section 6) and the higher the skills of the player, the higher the rating. The ratings of all players are re-calculated after each time they play a set and that rating can be any number from 30 to 150. Although regular season and play-off scores are entered before the following week, there is usually a delay before tournament and special event scores affect the player's current rating.

Changes in Ratings: The TruSpot formula averages a large number of the player's scores. Because of this, a single score will seldom affect the rating of an established player by more than three points. However, especially with new players, the rating can sometimes change at a much larger range. Although not common, it is possible for a rating to rise after a loss or drop after a win. If this happens to you, do not assume an error or a flaw. Remember that your rating is an average of scores and the most recent score you have made is no more important than the others factoring into your rating. Once a player has established a full scoring history, each new score causes an older score to be removed from the calculation.

Ratings of Players Joining New Teams or Seasons: Once an IBA member has established a rating that score history follows with them throughout their competition within the league. If they join a new team or continue into a new season, their beginning scores are the most recent they have earned in IBA sets. No matter how long they may have been inactive, they will pick up where they left off.

Non-rated Players: Players who are new to IBA have no established rating. With the exception of known highly skilled players, (Refer to Assignment of Ratings below) they are rated as a "NR". They do not have a true rating until they have competed in 3 sets. Any player rated "NR" in the Leisure format will race to 45 points with their opponent. In the Advanced and Masters formats they will race to 50 points with their opponent. Both players race to the same number, regardless of the rating of the opponent. Please remember that a new player is not a "45" or “50”, they are unrated. In all Round Robin formats, new players with no established rating are unrated as a “NR” and will be a “75” for the match.

Assignment of Ratings: Shooter receives 100 point win bonus, plus “margin of victory” points.

  1. Automatic
    1. A player who is new to IBA but is known to have exceptional pool skills will not have the right to determine their rating by the three races to “45” or “50”. They will begin the league with a rating appropriate to their known ability.
    2. Once a player has proven a level of performance, they establish minimum rating levels. Once a player has at least 12 scores in their league history, their highest earned rating is monitored. Their rating will never be allowed to be more than 10 points below that level.
    3. The ONLY exception allowed to these automatic assignments is a permanent loss of physical capabilities due to injury or disease. Temporary or correctable problems do not qualify for an exception.
  2. Discretionary
    1. Players must be given a reasonable chance to establish a proper rating. The formula has proven to do an excellent job of rating players in accordance with their abilities but there are two reasons for inaccuracies in a rating. If the player has only a small number of scores, the factors of luck, inconsistency, and opponent's skills can create a sizeable discrepancy. If that player's league performance has been significantly below their abilities at the game, their rating will be incorrect. During regular season, players are expected to make their best effort and allow their scores to correct any discrepancies that may exist. However, your team has a responsibility to make corrections before post-season play if any members have ratings below their true abilities. This requirement is described in Regular & Post Season Play - Section 5
    2. League management must retain the authority to assign ratings to players that are obviously rated below their abilities and are not entering scores that will correct this. (Refer to Sportsmanship - Section 3) Any player who has been assigned in this manner will be notified by the league office.
    3. Because higher-skilled players have an advantage over lower-skilled players, it isn't healthy for the league to allow teams to consist of a group of “all stars”. To prevent this, there is a team rating limit which is presently 325 points. In any given match, a team that plays five players whose ratings total more than 325 will pay a penalty in team points. Refer to Scoring Rules - Section 6 for the details of this rule.

Rating Percentage: In some instances when a player’s “true” rating is higher than the max-player rating, a rating adjustment is made to the lower-rated player for the set. This adjustment levels the ratings for both players in the set to a more equal and fair race.

Because higher-skilled players have an advantage over lower-skilled players, it isn't healthy for the league to allow teams to consist of a group of “all stars”. To prevent this, there is a team rating limit which is presently 325 points. In any given match, a team that plays five players whose ratings total more than 325 will pay a penalty in team points. Refer to Scoring Rules - Section 6 for the details of this rule.

Teams are allowed to make changes in the roster during the first five weeks of each season. From the sixth week until four weeks before the season’s end, a team may make a change only for its own survival; the resulting roster can have no more than six members. No changes to the roster are allowed for any reason during post-season play. When adding a player to a roster, the team MUST check with the league office to obtain that player's rating. Changes after the 5th week must be pre-approved by league management.

At locations with more than one pool table, the home team has the right to choice of table. However, this right of choice does not extend to poorly maintained equipment. Size of table is not an issue. Matches can be played on one or more tables by agreement of the teams. If the teams do not agree on this, the following rules apply:

  1. Until 1 hour after scheduled start time, either team has the right to demand one table.
  2. At 1 hour after scheduled start time, either team has the right to demand two-table play if a second table is available.

No team has the right to refuse this rule. A team that does not promptly comply or harasses the opposing team runs the risk of forfeiting the remainder of the match.

There is no right to wait until the end of a game or set. If a team properly demands two-table play, the opponent must make the match-up for the following set immediately. A second table must be available. Some locations have only one table, some location owners refuse to allow use of a second table.

Times given are after the scheduled start, not the actual start and there is no consideration given for waiting for a late player. Normal forfeit rules apply.

If a team is found to have played one person using another player's name and rating, that team has lost all points for the entire team match. The opposing team is allowed the option of accepting the results of the match or accepting a five-set forfeit. If this happens during post-season play, the team is disqualified from any further play for that season and forfeits all prize money earned to that point. Remember that each player is required to provide proof of their identity. If you are unable to positively establish an opponent's identity, continue play and notify league management as soon as possible. Write down a detailed description of the player. League management will take the steps necessary to prove whether that player is the proper person. If a person plays for another person (false identity) and league management is made aware of the violation and it is proven without a doubt to have taken place, the person that allowed the violation and the violator will be expelled from the league. If the team captain knowingly allows the violation and it is proven without a doubt the captain was aware of what was taking place, the captain will be expelled from the league. There are no exceptions to this rule.

Each division's season is scheduled at the beginning with five separate factors balanced to ensure the fairest possible pairing of the matches. However, many situations can arise which will affect scheduling. For this reason, each team is provided one preliminary copy of the season schedule on the first night of play. Each team will receive a permanent schedule by week 5. If a division starts its season with an odd number of teams, there will be a spot held open as "To Be Announced". If a new team is found to fill that spot by the 5th week, the by-passed matches will be converted to make-up matches. If not, they will become byes. It is not always possible to schedule every division with an even number of teams. If this happens, there will be one team in the division each week with a bye. Byes will rotate amongst the teams until each team has had one bye and then the cycle will start again. During any complete cycle (each team receives one bye); no points are awarded to a team with a bye. If a cycle is incomplete, each team with a bye will be awarded the average number of points that they have scored up to that point in the season.

There are various reasons for two teams to have a make-up match to re-schedule. A make-up can consist of a full match or a given number of sets. If your team has a make-up you have certain responsibilities. All make-ups are the responsibility of the two teams to schedule. If you need information to contact the other team or are having trouble in making an agreement, contact the league office. No make-ups are allowed less than seven days before the last scheduled date of regular season. Teams are required to give at least five days’ notice to the league office before playing a make-up. If the make-up was created at the request of one of the teams, they must make every reasonable effort to accommodate the other team's wishes in re-scheduling. If the teams are not able to agree on a date before the deadline, neither team will receive points for the match and both will be responsible for weekly fees. If it is league management's decision that one of the teams caused the deadline to pass, the other team will receive a forfeit. Make-up matches are to be played at a time convenient for the players involved in the make-up match that does not impede regular scheduled play. Typically make-up matches are played after all regular scheduled sets have been played. In the event a make-up match is started before regular play and the make-up match is still in process when regular play is to begin, the make-up match is suspended or put on hold until regular play has concluded.

Normally, a team has no right to demand re-scheduling of a match - they can only request this of the opposing team. However, the following two situations do give the team an automatic right:

  1. Bad Weather Policy: If an official weather emergency has been declared, a team can give notification that they will re-schedule. Individual players or teams don't have the right to decide that the weather is unacceptable - it must be declared by local weather services. The team must notify the league office prior to scheduled start time or they may lose this right. In past weather emergencies, the large majority of teams have decided to play as scheduled.
  2. Holiday Scheduling: In order to finish in time to qualify for post-season tournaments, it is sometimes necessary to schedule play on a holiday. If a team has been scheduled on a holiday, they have an automatic right to re-schedule. They will lose this right if they do not notify the league office at least 21 days in advance.

A team that does not finish a season that it has started can create several problems of fairness within the division point standings. If this should happen, league management will do everything possible to remove that team from having an effect on the other teams. Methods used include "wiping out" some or all past matches, awarding average points, converting to byes, awarding the maximum points scored against the drop-out to all teams, and others. The method used may be any one or a combination of these. It will be the one that management believes to be the best in eliminating the drop-out from affecting the other teams.

It is sometimes possible to find a new team willing to replace a drop-out. The replacement would accept the points earned by the drop-out and would continue the season. The replacement would also have the right to play up to three make-ups for bye weeks created after the drop-out.

Smoke breaks are not allowed during a set.

The Magic Rack is a thin piece of plastic used to rack the balls for a “tight” rack. This piece of equipment is allowed to be used during a match under the following conditions:

  1. Both players must agree to use the magic rack.
  2. If one player doesn’t want to use the magic rack but allows the other player to use it.
  3. If a player decides not to use the magic rack and doesn’t want the opponent to use the magic rack, then neither of the players are allowed to use the magic rack.

Each member of IBA must pay an annual membership to participate in leagues. This is $20 per calendar year. Once they have paid their membership dues, they are then free to play in as many different teams, seasons, home locations, tournaments, special events, etc. as they wish. Only one membership per year is required. All members must renew their membership each year at the start of the Winter Season. If they were a new member in the previous Fall Season and consequently were only able to play one season for their $20 dues, they can receive membership for the following year for $10 only if they renew in the Winter Season. This right to reduced dues is lost if the renewal is not paid during the Winter Season.

Some of IBA’s divisions offer sanctioning with other organizations. This opens more tournament opportunities for these divisions. See the sanctioning documentation provided in your team envelope for details and fees.

The entire team is responsible for their playing fees, membership dues, deposit, etc. Any team that has outstanding back fees or returned checks will have all prize money held until those charges are paid.

Teams are allowed to have unpaid members on their roster who haven't played in any matches, but only until the fifth week of play. At that time, the team must either drop them from the roster or the team will become responsible for that player's membership dues and sanctioning fees if any.

Each team must have a $30 deposit on account with the league. This deposit is not a fee. It is only a "good faith" guarantee and is fully refundable if all fees have been paid. Drop-out teams or teams that are excessively behind on fees will forfeit their deposit.

Playing fees for regular season and play-off team matches are $40.00 per team. Both teams owe full weekly playing fees even in the case of forfeits. Teams that draw a bye do not owe weekly fees for that bye. There are no playing fees for the Seasonal Championship or Consolation Tournaments or for the Regional Championship Tournament.

Teams are expected to split the cost of the games played. There are some special situations that require one player to pay the cost of retrieving a pocketed ball.

Teams are welcome to pay fees by check. Please make them out to "International Billiards Association” (IBA). Returned checks will be assessed the check amount plus a $20 fee if paid within 30 days of return date. Regardless of the person who has written the check, the team is responsible for the check and any possible charges.

Teams that drop out during the course of a season cause several problems for the other teams in their division and for league management. They can create fairness problems in division point standings and can reduce the prize fund for the other teams if their fees aren't paid. For these reasons, a team that begins a season is held responsible for finishing that season. Although no one can be forced to play, a team that has not withdrawn their roster at least 7 days prior to the start of a season is responsible for the full season's fees. The captain of a drop-out team will not be allowed to play on future IBA teams until all owed fees are paid. Team members are each responsible for a percentage of the total fees owed, depending on the number of players on the team, and the percentages not to exceed 100%.