Doubles Guidance

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Guidance for Playing Doubles

This page is intended as a best-practice guide only for local leagues for handling doubles frames.  The rules here are very similar in principle to rules that have been used at prestigious events like the WEPF World Championships, but they are not formally a part of the rules of 8 ball pool.

There is no official documentation of these rules and they are offered here as suggestions only.  Leagues wishing to adopt them should consider what happens if these rules are broken during a frame and document such local event rules using their normal internal processes.

The rules as published are written with only singles matches in mind, so there is a need to make some simple but effective special considerations for playing doubles, which is common at local league level.


Doubles frames may be played to a traditional format where each player stays in control of the table for an entire visit, or more commonly to the 'Scotch' format where they players in each pair take alternate shots throughout the frame.  This is something that the league management should decide and any breach of the agreed rules would be awarded as a standard foul for playing out of turn.  Referees should pay careful attention to the correct playing order.

Time Extension

The International Rules state that each player is entitled to one 15 second time extension per frame.  The EPRA suggests that the best guidance is that in doubles, this should be read as one 15 second extension per pair, per frame, not per player.  There can be no formal punishment for breaking this rule, but the referee and/or time keeper would simply refuse the extension if a pair requested it for a 2nd time during a frame.


Current rules state that coaching is not allowed, but doubles partners may wish to discuss tactics and shot selection during a visit to the table.  The EPRA suggests that the best guidance here is that partners may talk to each other only and nobody else, and they may talk up until the point where the first cue ball of a visit is struck, and no further talking after that.  Breaking the rule would be deemed a standard foul.  Players are reminded that time spent talking is eating away at their shot clock.

After a legal break where a colour ball is potted and the breaking pair remain in control of the table, the partners may also talk amongst themselves up until the point where the first cue ball of the visit after the break shot.

Nomination of Colours

Where nomination of colour group is required after a legal break, it is the responsibility of the incoming player to nominate to the referee with a standard foul if not followed since they are in control of the table at this point.

Playing Order

Where consecutive frames are being played in a doubles match, the playing order does not need to follow on from one frame to the next.  But, the break should alternate between each pair and each player in a repeating order.  Where an illegal break occurs, the normal rules will apply where the opposing pair has choice of which side re-breaks, but the alternating order must remain.

More than 2 Players?

Some leagues are known to play 'Scotch' type frames with more than just the standard pairs of players that we have in doubles.  All the suggestions made here can apply equally to such formats.

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