Cooking with billiards!

In a game of 8-ball over the weekend, one team scratched and my friend took the ball in hand. As she lined up a shot, we all yelled at her “you can’t hit that ball, it’s in the kitchen!” She had no idea what we were talking about, and it occurred to me that it is a rather odd phrase. Where does “in the kitchen” come from in pool?

I don’t know where the term “kitchen” comes from, but in 8-ball you shouldn’t be placing the cue ball behind the head string after a scratch (except for a scratch on the opening break).

The rule for a non-break scratch is for the incoming player to have ball in hand, placing it anywhere on the table he wants.

Actually, this is the rule for all foul shots, not just scratches. Foul shots include scratches, plus failing to hit one of your object balls first, plus failing to drive a ball to a cushion after the cue first strikes an object ball. In other words, this last rule says that if you bank the cue ball and it hits your object ball, but no ball after the impact hits a cushion or goes in a pocket, it’s a foul.

The ball in hand rule has existed for years, and makes for a much more enjoyable game. If you play by the real (BCA) rules, you don’t have situations where someone intentionally scratches to force you to shoot at an object ball behind the head string.

You can read them at .

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Many thanks to the citizens at at for the following answer after I posted the question there.

"This was taken from “THE ILLUSTRATED ENCYCLOPEDIA OF BILLIARDS” by Mike Shamos:
Kitchen …

“The origin of the term has been an object of speculation for a long time. Jim Vitalo, of Willow Springs, Illinois, explains that many American homes during the late 1800s did not have room for a separate billiard table. It was common to employ a COMBINATION TABLE that
could be used for both dining and billiards. This table would have to be placed in the dining room, which was often barely large enough to contain it. To increase the clearance available for BREAK SHOTS, the table would be positioned so that the HEAD RAIL was facing the doorway to the kitchen. This would allow the player to take a more comfortable backswing. He was thus literally “in the kitchen” when shooting from the HEAD STRING.”

Frank B"

Thanks for the answer funee.

As to ball in hand in eight ball, not being a pro I can only say what I’ve seen/played. If you were to take ball in hand and place it anywhere on the table after a scratch in a game of eight ball in Wisconsin, you’d likely end up with the ball in your #$*! Every game I’ve ever seen or played at a bar placed the ball in “the kitchen” after a scratch. Now, nine ball is a different story.

“In this life you must be oh so smart, or oh so pleasant. For years I was smart. I recommend pleasant.” -Elwood P. Dowd in “Harvey”

I agree that if you’re playing on a coin-op table in a bar, that it’s much more common to place it in the kitchen. Exceptions would be when you and your buddies all know the official rules, or when a tournament is played on coin-op tables (all tournaments I’ve seen or played in use ball in hand).

If you go t the kind of bar where you rent the tables by the hour, I’d say that it’s much more common to play ball in hand.

I play a lot of pool, and I haven’t played by the “kitchen-after-scratch” rule in 10 or 15 years. If you really enjoy playing, I highly recommend using the official rules, because the game is so much more enjoyable.

I have been playing pool for 3 years now. I have learned from my father and older brother. They have been playing for more years than I can remember. I was taught to play ball in hand on all fouls, save a foul on the break. The one tourny I have played in played ball in hand. Having played both ways, I deffently perfer to play ball in hand.

On a slightly different subject, I find myself now playing much more straight pool and snooker (sp) now. You should try both of these games for a much different experience

Kinooning it up for 20 years and counting

Wow, it sucks to kill a post…

“Bones, help that man!” – “Damnit Jim, I’m a doctor not a doc…I’ll get right on it.”

Didn’t you guys learn anything from the Clampetts?
You cook the food in the kitchen. You eat it in the bill-yard room. On the, what was it, the fancy-eatin’ table. Them long sticks are for passin’ the food.
mangeorge (Sheesh)

Teach your kids to bungee jump.
One them might have to cross a bridge someday.

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