Supreme Pool Rules & How to Play them!

Supreme Pool Rules are the new pool rules on the block. This is a continuation of the “Pool rules” series where we’ll continue to simplify the different rules currently being played in 8ball pool today. This mini-series covers Old Rules, World Rules, Blackball and Supreme Rules. The aim is to cut to the chase and simplify the rules so that you can try them for yourself!

Background: The Supreme rules take their name from the table manufacturers of the same name. The rules were launched early 2018 by Lee Kendall of Players Pool Club (Stoke-on-Trent), which is consequently the first club I ever played for. Supreme Rules are billed as a hybrid of World Rules and Blackball rules so let’s take a look at what they’re all about!

The Top 3 things you need to know about Supreme Pool Rules:

  1. No such thing as 2 shots. Following a ‘standard foul’ a player is awarded one visit only with the added benefit of having ball in hand and being able to place the cueball anywhere on the table. This rule is new to 8-ball and has been borrowed from 9-ball.
  2. Combination shots are legal – taken from Blackball rules, a player can legally pot any opponent’s ball on the basis that they strike a ball of their own first and also pot any of their own balls on the same shot. However, in Blackball, a failed combination attempt results in a standard foul and awards your opponent 2 visits. Whereas a failed combination attempt in Supreme Rules simply means a loss of turn, the same as if you generally fail to make a pot. A loss of turn is not a foul and therefore, the incoming player must play their shot from where the cueball lies. This change enables a different tactical style, whereby players can strike their own ball first and remove an opponent’s ball that may be a causing a problem, for example; blocking a pocket. This is called a ‘Tactical Shot’.
  3. The ‘tactical shot’ is to Supreme Rules what the combination shot is to Blackball Rules. It’s the new addition, the progressive change. There is a big change in fusing the tactical shots and combination shots in the same set of pool rules. This change is that covering pockets no longer holds the advantage that it has done previously in other rules. In Old rules and World Rules it has long been a big advantage to take control of a pocket. Blackball made a dent in this school of thought with the combination shot. Now these Supreme rules have added further fuel to the flames that 8-ball pool is pushing to become a “no guts, no glory” sport.

The other main things you’ll need to know to start playing Supreme Rules:

  • Standard fouls are not exclusive to, but do include going in-off (potting the white ball). Going in-off on the break-off shot means that the incoming player must play from behind the baulk line. Not from anywhere on the table as mentioned previously.
  • As in World Rules; a ball failing to strike the cushion after the cueball contacts your object ball.
  • Failure to nominate your set on an open table. This rule can be bypassed if the referee deems it obvious which ball you are attempting. However, to save confusion or potential disagreement I’d recommend nominating in the event of an open table. Keep things simple.
  • In the event that any ball leaves the bed of the table and remains there at rest.

Other things that may crop up:

  • When you successfully play a combination shot in open play the sets, you will be on the colours of the same ball that the cueball struck first.
  • Mirroring Blackball rules, a player must make a genuine “bona fide” attempt to play their own object ball. Failure to do so will result in loss of frame.

Final Thoughts on the Supreme offering.

From a personal standpoint, I view Supreme Rules as a very attacking addition to the 8ball pool community. They advocate players to go “all-out attack” almost without consequence. Supreme rules also prevent players from slowing down a game by pursuing snookers in the hunt for 2 visits before they feel confident enough to go for the finish.

This may sound controversial for some of you World Rules players but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the EPA adopt Supreme Rules in the coming years and go head to head with Blackball to become the “go-to” pool rules.

To conclude, Blackball rules slightly favour the average pub player as they are more forgiving. After taking away the second visit comfort blanket that club players sometimes reply on; Supreme Rules favour the standout elite players, those cuesits with the confidence, skill and know how to back themselves with just one visit.

Will these rules reign Supreme?

One thing for sure is that the future of the game is bright. Let’s see how it plays out!

Hope this helps,


*UPDATE* In July 2020 the WEPF released a statement highlighting their intent to replace World Rules with Supreme Rules.

FURTHER UPDATE The team behind the Supreme Rules have re-branded them and they are now widely known as International 8-Ball Rules. To find out more about this change and where you can see these rules in play click here.

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