Bonus Ball Rulebook

Amateur Version

*The amateur version of Bonus Ball highly resembles the pro version. The main difference being amateurs can use all six pockets on the table. This eliminates the need for a continuation shot, and there is no "forced safety". The amateur rules for the re-break are also different (See 3.2). The 15 minute game clock is optional, and there is no shot clock used in the amateur version.

Bonus Ball is played with nine billiard balls: four purple, four orange, and one black Bonus Ball. The objective of the game is to reach 30 points by pocketing balls. Each legally pocketed purple ball is worth one point, orange two points, and the Bonus Ball three points. Pocketing all three in order is called a "sequence". A player will continue their visit at the table until they fail to legally pocket a ball, or commit a foul. If a player fails to pocket the Bonus Ball on their turn, during their next visit to the table they will restart the sequence at purple.


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1.0 - The Break & Shoot

1.1 - The balls are racked with four purple and four orange balls frozen together, positioned with the apex ball on the footspot. The Bonus Ball is placed in the center of the table. (See Figure 1 Below)

1.2 - To complete a legal break, the active player must start by placing the cue ball behind the headstring. Contact must be made with the orange head ball of the rack. Upon contact, a combination of two or more balls must be pocketed or pass the headstring (the cue ball can count as one of the two balls crossing the headstring in the amateur version).

1.3 - Pending a legal break, the active player will continue to shoot, regardless of having pocketed any balls. Any pocketed balls on the break are re-spotted on their designated spots (See rule 4.0 below).

1.4 - In the event of an illegal break, the incoming player will re-rack for their own opportunity to break and shoot.

2.0 - Game Play

2.1 - The objective of the game is to score 30 points.

2.2 - Points are scored by pocketing balls into any of the 6 pockets on the table.

2.3 - Legally pocketed purple balls are worth one point, orange two points, and the black Bonus Ball is worth three points.

2.4 - Balls must be pocketed in sequence: purple, orange, and then the Bonus Ball. If a player fails to sink a purple or orange ball, they will continue to shoot that color on their next turn. Failure to legally pocket the Bonus Ball results in the end of the sequence, and the player must return to shooting the purple balls.

2.5 - Bonus ball is a call-shot game. Players are only required to call non-obvious shots. Only the desired colored ball and pocket must be specified, as additional details of the shot are not required. Any kick, bank or carom shot is not considered an obvious shot.

2.6 - It is not a foul to pocket any collateral ball(s) into any pocket, assuming you make the legal shot that was called. All balls pocketed outside of the original shot are spotted on their respective spots.

2.7 - Conversely, it is a foul any time a called shot is missed and any ball enters any pocket. The resulting penalty is ball in hand for the incoming player.

3.0 - Specialty Shots

3.1 - TARGET SHOT: This shot must be called prior to execution by announcing the words "Target Shot". Using the object ball (current color in sequence) to execute a combination or carom shot, the Bonus Ball can be legally pocketed out of sequence into any pocket to earn three points. The player will remain on the same colored ball in sequence prior to the shot, regardless of the outcome of the shot. (See Figure 3 below).

3.2 - RE-BREAK AND SHOOT: When the bonus ball is the only remaining ball on the table, the player at the table must pocket the bonus ball, then the purple and orange balls are re-racked. The bonus ball is spotted at center table, and the next player due up performs a break and shoot.

3.2.1 - If the bonus ball is missed, the player/team's turn is over. The bonus ball is then re-spotted, the purple and orange balls are re-racked, and the incoming player then performs a break and shoot.

4.0 - Re-Spotting

4.1 - Balls are spotted in the following default locations: (Also see Figure 6 below)

4.1.1 - Purple: On the footspot. If the spot is obstructed, the ball will re-spot a ball's width distance towards the footrail.

4.1.2 - Orange: On the headspot. If the spot is obstructed, the ball will re-spot a ball's width distance towards the headrail.

4.1.3 - Bonus Ball: On the center spot. If the spot is obstructed, the ball will re-spot a ball's width distance towards the footrail.

4.2 - All balls pocketed during any break and shoot are re-spotted at their default locations.

4.3 - Balls must always be pocketed in sequence: purple, orange, Bonus Ball. If there is no ball present on the table necessary to continue the sequence, the necessary ball will be re-spotted at it's default location. Re-spotting occurs when the spotted ball is required as the object ball.

4.4 - Illegally pocketed balls must be re-spotted.

5.0 - Fouls

5.1 - All fouls result in the opponent being rewarded ball in hand.

5.2 - The WPBL and the amateur game of bonus ball adhere to "all ball fouls". It is considered a foul if any part of a player's body or cue stick accidentally contacts any ball on the table. The incoming player will receive ball in hand as well as the option to have the ball moved back to its original position.

5.3 - It is a foul to pocket any ball into any pocket after failing to pocket the called shot.

5.4 - The following standardized billiard rules apply, all of which are considered fouls:

5.4.1 - Failing to first contact the object ball (current color in sequence).

5.4.2 - The cue ball or any object ball does not contact a cushion after contacting an object ball.

5.4.3 - The cue ball is pocketed.

5.4.4 - A shot is executed without at least one foot on the floor.

5.4.5 - Knocking the cue ball or any object ball off of the table.

5.4.6 - Shooting a ball before all balls have stopped moving or been re-spotted.

5.4.7 - Putting a hand in a pocket to catch a ball that has not yet left the playing surface.

5.4.8 - Double-hitting the cue ball.

5.4.9 - Playing out of turn (Scotch format).

6.0 - The Shoot Out

6.1 - A shoot-out applies in timed games only, and is necessary when the 15 minute time clock expires without either side reaching 30. Starting with the player that has the least game points, each player will be awarded one opportunity to break and shoot, attempting to improve their score (maximum 30 points).

6.2 - If either player reaches 30 points, they will be awarded the victory. If both players fail to reach 30 points, the player with the highest game score wins. If the two players or teams finish the shoot-out with the same score, the game ends in a tie.

For a complete breakdown of the professional rules, click here.